Friday, 31 May 2013


Snor at Lakenheath; a fine photo by Jay Ward, who clearly saw it better than Dave, or me.

The Dutch name for the Savi’s Warbler is Snor.  At Lakenheath Fen this morning I discovered why.  It must be due to the fact that this damn-difficult-to-see-bird soon had rows of elderly birders falling asleep as they patiently wait in line.
Actually the Google translation service tells us that Snor = v. whir, whirr, drone, hum, purr, whizz, whiz, buzz, which probably has some connection to the strange noise emanating from the reeds just in front of us before a dark shape scuttled through the reeds. 
“Wake up Dave, I think I’ve seen it” said the guy next to me to his mate.
“Are you sure?” 
Luckily I’m a strange sort of birder that gets as much joy from looking at what the bird was stood on as the bird itself.  Very handy when the actual thing has gone.  I’ve stood on many a spot that many a Snor has landed on and on each occasion thinking
“Why here?”
And each time the dim light bulb up top gets brighter.  Each spot looks exactly the same!

Savi’s Warblers prefer large, tall and dense reedbeds, generally 10+ years old, with a well-developed, often dense, under-storey of old stems, leaves etc, often of sedge or other non-reed vegetation through which these birds walk, climb and hop.   They like shallow water that does not flood the dense understorey but they do need water.  Scattered willows are optimal but not essential.  This is an ‘internal’ reedbed bird, it prefers extensive stands of vegetation where ‘edgey’ structure is not essential.  They don’t like reedbed management.  Their requirements appear to be quite specialised and any old reedbed won’t do.  I wandered off happy to have seen a bit of vegetation well, along with a crap view of a brown blob.  Adding crap views of Golden Oriole, Bittern and Crane made me very happy indeed.

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