1st June

As so often happens at this time of year, as the length of the day list gets shorter so the quality increases. Two Chiffchaffs at the Bill were the only routine migrants making today's list but the other two birds of note were both rarities: what was presumably yesterday's Golden Oriole showed briefly early in the morning at the Grove Stadium, whilst towards midday a Greenish Warbler dropped in at the Obs where it was later trapped and ringed.

The Greenish Warbler was a very tricky bird that we're still investigating. It first announced its appearance by suddenly calling loudly and then briefly singing beside the Obs patio; since it wasn't visible, Greenish seemed like the best bet on what had been heard but there was a caution mentioned that perhaps Two-barred Greenish couldn't be eliminated. Quite a while elapsed before it sung again and our recorder placed in the garden picked up quite a few song phrases during this period without us ever actually seeing the bird:

The calls recorded more or less confirmed what we thought we'd heard at the outset: they were rather clipped and disyllabic rather than trisyllabic (which we took to be a pro-Greenish feature):

Eventually it turned up in a net whereupon we were pretty surprised to discover how prominent the greater covert wingbar was and how there was clearly a median covert wingbar of sorts. These features certainly lent support to the possibility of it perhaps being Two-barred Greenish. However, it was also apparent that the supercilium appeared to 'bridge' over the base of the bill and that there was a general cold greyish tone to the upperparts - both features that seemed to be more pro-Greenish:

After brief perusal in the hand we were a bit fortunate to have obtained both a faecal sample and a couple of dislodged feathers which put our mind at rest that although we were hedging toward it being a Greenish, in the fullness of time a definitive ID was going to be possible and we wouldn't have to fret over the matter any more! After release the bird proved to be as difficult to get to grips with as it had been before: it was silent and was only glimpsed on odd occasions and pretty well always in circumstances that offered nothing by way of help with what its true field appearance might be © Martin Cade: