Tom Gray’s Nature Notes: Return of the warblers

Tom Gray
Tom Gray

By last weekend I was somewhat disappointed not to have heard my first Willow Warbler of 2012 which I can usually hear before the 14th of April.

I usually hear it in the park in the early morning as I listen out from my front door.

Nor indeed have I yet this year heard a Chiffchaff which usually appears about a month earlier in the tops of the taller, leafless twigs which hang above the Lothrie Burn where the trees follow the stream through Riverside Park. Perhaps I should get out of the house a bit more often!

Chiffchaffs, named after their own two syllable call, are normally heard singing about a month before the Willow Warblers arrive, perhaps having a shorter migratory distance to travel from wintering around the Mediterranean than the Willow Warbler which chooses to visit the rainforests of West and Central Africa.

Another bird similar in appearance to the two species above, our Wood Warbler, also graces our taller Glenrothes trees with its longer trills, but not necessarily every year.

Another local warbler to listen out for is the Blackcap whose song is most often heard resonating from a bird unseen in the depths of a clump of Rhododendrons, and I must admit that I have difficulty in distinguishing its warble from that of the less common Garden Warbler unless the songster chooses to make an appearance in the open.

Call Tom c/o the Gazette on 753205 or email