“I’d set myself a task over the weekend to try and hear a cuckoo and get a picture of one, and to try and get the first sighting of the year of the whitethroat. I was told by my mate Pete to walk right down the river towards Lound, so that’s what I did. I heard that amazing call: a harsh “tchak” followed by a rapid cheerful scratchy warble, and knew that it was the call of a whitethroat. It then flew up from vegetation and perched high on a bush, where I got the first pictures.
Notice its lovely grey cap and cheeks, the striking white throat and long brown edged white tail, with light pinkish brown legs. The whitethroat will sing in flight too. A summer visitor or migrant to much of Europe, it will nest concealed in vegetation near the ground. Heath, scrub and woodlands are among its favourite places to hang out. Since I took these pictures around Idle Valley, we’ve seen and heard lots of whitethroats in different locations.
“We really enjoy our birding outings, and I often get asked when I’m out what I’m looking at. This happened on a Friday, when I got talking to a lady and gentleman. We discovered that they knew my mum and dad (both sadly departed) very well from being teenagers. It was a fantastic moment when they realised whose son I was, and it made my day. Another reason to get out there — you never know who you might meet!
Retford resident Lee Mason writes regularly on his birding blog, www.featheredfriendsthroughthelens.wordpress.com.