28/05/22 Sardinian Warbler!!!

I’m slightly lost for words. At about 10.15 this morning I heard a distant sylvia warbler singing from a line of bushes 30 ft from the cliff on Lighthouse down . At first it sounded like a small syliva singing with a rolling momentum punctuated by pauses, I could hear it wasn’t any of our common breeding sylvias but also not unfamiliar to me. At this point not distinguishable from a number of other options in that family. As I got closer and the bird continued I began to pick out the Sardinian warbler type call notes scattered within the song; stuttered harsh and rapid rattling ‘tt-tt-tt tzek’s which are audible in the video link and recordings below. The bird then went quiet and after an hour of searching I relocated it 150m down at the bottom of the valley, where it called straight up like a Sardinian Warbler several times. It was this call that I found most useful and my moment of confirmation although I still hadn’t seen the bird. I spoke to a couple of friends before putting the news out, to say the words out loud and this helped alot.

UPDATE 31/05/22. It took over a day to get decent enough views but Ive seen the bird in flight several times and moving on the front of a bush aswell as perched a couple of times. It is a nightmare to try and photograph but a fantastic male Sardinian Warbler all the same. To my knowledge, It showed its best on Monday to myself, Rich B and a crowd of 10 or so. Most visiting birders (which there have been many due to the proximity to the Falcon) have either only heard it or seen it in flight (or nothing at all). It has been vocal at periods throughout each day until today (Tuesday 31st) where it seems to have disappeared.

Below are some recordings of the call, recorded on Sunday 29th by Andrew E.

Author: Jamie Partridge

Birding South East Kent: Langdon Hole to South Foreland

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