There’s the sound of a malfunctioning robot coming from the reeds. It sounds like a pilot episode of a 1970s science fiction series, where they’ve yet to finalise the sound effects. There’s the merest glimpse of a small brown bird amongst the swaying reeds
It has a distinctive large bill and a white patch on its neck.
I’ve photographed Reed Warblers, Acrocephalus scirpaceus, before but never had a photograph as clear as that. To say they are elusive would be an understatement. Further on, alongside the brook I hear another one. It can’t be any other species. I stand on the muddy bank, surrounded by reeds for half an hour waiting to see if I can catch a glimpse.
There it is, for a split second.
It’s moving so fast on the opposite bank that I can hardly keep up.
I wait around for another hour and catch glimpses of them. There are two, and they seem to meet directly opposite me, in the reeds on the opposite bank. This is the only other clear view I get.
Reed Warblers live in Africa and come to the UK to breed. They weave a nest suspended in the air on reeds. I’d love to see one.
The next day I go back. At the quay I can hear the familiar robot. There’s no sign, until one appears on the water level and takes a good look around.
It flits and then shuffles down a branch towards the water.
It’s going down for a drink from the river. All those insects must make your throat a bit dry, surely?
Then a few more hops:
And it’s gone.