11 Oct 2014

11 Oct 14 - An Approachable Dartford Warbler

Dartford Warblers are a fairly widespread species across the heaths which surround Poole Harbour. As a UK species they were nearly wiped out by the 1962 - 63 severely cold Winter. Only 4 pairs were left in Dorset in the following breeding season, according to the excellent The Birds of Dorset by George Green. Fortunately, by 1998, the Dorset population had recovered to 400 pairs. Despite being a common species locally, it's uncommon to see a good, close view. Most views are of them diving into Gorse or Heather. It's not a species that I have tried to follow before to get a good set of photos, as it's a fairly common local species. I usually bump into them while looking for migrant species & I don't want to be distracted by the Dartfords. Additionally, it is a Schedule 1 species & it's an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb them, on or near an active nest during the breeding season. While I obviously would never want to disturb them in the breeding season, I am also reluctant to photograph individuals seen by during the breeding season, to avoid any misunderstandings of the circumstances the photos were taken in. Sadly, this doesn't appear to stop the odd irresponsible photographers from using tapes & hanging around nests to try to get the perfect photo. My strategy for photos has been more of a waiting game. Seeing them regularly around Studland I figured one of these days, I would bump into one without having to make any effort. Today was the day when this wait & see strategy paid off, when this Dartford Warbler just seemed to want to sit around & enjoy the late afternoon sun.
Dartford Warbler: According to my old Svensson ringing manual, ageing Dartford Warblers isn't possible so this looks like it will remain as a non adult male (feel free to leave a comment to help me on this one if you know better)
I was surprised when it allowed me to get closer & even more surprised when the dog walkers who were starting to come along the path, ended up taking a different track & the dog followed them: that doesn't happen often when they see me photographing something.
Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler
It finally flew across to some nearby Gorse, but even then was still on view.
Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler: A typical posture, before it finally flew into the Gorse

1 comment :

  1. Steve

    Great photos of a great bird. Long time since I have seen one at all and even longer since I have had views like that, but then I rarely bird in the UK these days.