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Warblers at War

Friday, 27th June 2003, Page 2 of 2, West Yorkshire

warbler A warbler perches on the washing line by the clothes post, constantly probing for small insects or spiders, then launches itself vertically and tries, perhaps succeeds, to snatch an insect from the air.

It searches in the hedge by the shed with similar enthusiasm, then flies off to the greenhouse and starts investigating the crevices there. A second warbler appears and the two have a minor scrap; flying 2 or 3 feet up into the air as they fight it out.

I couldn't say for sure whether these were chiff-chaffs or willow warblers but if they're birds from this end of the wood I'd guess at chiff-chaffs, because we've heard chiff-chaffs singing more often than we've heard willow warblers this year.

Sparra' in a Barra'

sparrow chickyoung sparrowEvery female house sparrow seems to have a fledgling in tow, periodically fluttering its wings in a signal that puts over the message 'feed me! feed me!' very effectively.

One female pops up out of the wheel barrow, which is half full of some compost I mixed the other day. Sure enough, up pops a fledgling after her. It sits there on the rim of the barrow with that lost expression that fledgling sparrows are so adept at. It still has those yellow corners to its mouth. next page

Richard Bell