A Pallas's Leaf Warbler was reported on Birdguides in the Portesham area, West of Dorchester in Dorset over the last few days. It was noted to show on occasions along an old disused railway track which is now a bridle walk and public right of walk track. After seeing my first Pallas's on the day of my birthday in Spurn, Yorkshire last year, I could not resist the temptation not to twitch this bird and see another one of these mega rare gems.
The Pallas's Leaf Warbler is closely related to the Yellow-browed Warbler. A member of the Phyllosc family. They breed in Northern Siberia and winter in Southern China and Inondesia!! This bird is most likely an over-wintering bird that may have reversed migrated to Europe in the Autumn and with the mild winter we had it fancied staying in Dorset on this dense vegetated farmland.
I arrived about 10am, where a large crowd of birders gathered waiting and watching out for the bird. Unfortunately the bird had not been seen since 7.30am. It was seen along a very long stretch of mixed scrub of brambles, hawthorn, holly, ivy and birch trees along the track. I had some doubt about the bird reappearing. Weather conditions were not ideal, string east winds, dull overcast and freezing cold temperatures kept most birds consealed deep in the dense vegetation.
I took several walks to keep the blood flowing in my legs while searching for any small goldcrest type bird moving through the scrub. In the hour of searching I saw single Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Bullfinch, 2 Blue Tit and several Chaffinch.
At around 11am the Pallas's appeared to the crowd and showed very well flitting on the tree tops and occasionally low to the ground. I managed a few distant shots of the bird obscured my branches.
It was a special bird to watch at close quarters!! Really magical experience. Most of the birders present after having good views departed off leaving myself and 3 others present. A few short moments later the Pallas's dropped low down and started fly-catching showing off it's bright lemon-yellow rump! I was gobsmacked...I could not believe my luck with such views. It fed low down right in front of me and kept getting closer and closer till I could not focus on the bird with my 500mm lens!! I got a few nice shots but the experience of watching the bird at close range in lovely sunshine was a very magical moment.... words cannot describe the moment.
More birders arrived on site and the Pallas's flitted out of view into the back of the vegetation. I was happy with my views and headed back to Sherborne.
A few images of the Pallas's Warbler. Enjoy
|Pallas's Leaf Warbler giving stunning views|