Today at Kelly’s Swamp across from the Bittern hide in
the willows just leafing out and catkin full, there was a bird with a light
mantle around the shoulders, that is clearly a warbler of northern origin, but
just a bit different from the Reed Warblers in the reeds below. The
question I have, for those more familiar with Asian warblers than myself, is
whether this is a different species?
I observed this bird for about half an hour, 4:30-5-00pm
Sunday, in the willow tree directly across from the Bittern hide at Kelly’s.
I mention this because the behaviour did not seem to replicate the “present
and hide” behaviour of the very vocal Reed Warblers in Kelly’s.
This bird moved fairly slowly amongst the catkins of the willow for a comparatively
long time in this tree, compared to usual observations of Reed Warblers. It was
not until a White-plumed Honeyeater challenged it, that it moved back to
the reeds. It has a long, slightly upward angled bill of dark colour which it
uses to explore the catkins at a leisurely pace. The bird appears, in the
afternoon sun, to have an eyebrow of similar _expression_ to the Reed
Warbler. Its underparts are unstriped but with a yellow wash forward and
a buffy tint rearwards. Perhaps most striking, after the mantle, is
a pale spot (whitish) above the beak, which reminds me of our Robin females.
That having been said, I think this may be a leucistic
variant of the Reed Warbler; the only thing that will consume me, if someone
else does not see this bird, is that it is not behaving as the rest of the pack.
But then tall poppies are made of these ...