I arrived at Houghton-on-the-Hill at around 0700 on Tuesday 3rd October, initially to walk a circuit with my dog Toby to check the area for migrant species and straight away heard two Chiffchaffs, one a singing bird. Also on route, at least 3 Blackcaps were encountered. Overhead, a very light southerly passage of Meadow Pipits was seen.
|Blackcap (male) Houghton-on-the=Hill 3rd October. 6+ seen in the area.|
|Chiffchaff at Houghton-on-the-Hill 3rd October. Several seen.|
I was initially struck by the size of the Yellow-browed Warbler, smaller than the other Warblers, Chiffchaff and Blackcap, which were present. I was struck by the long, yellow, and very conspicuous supercillium, this was accentuated by the dark eye stripe and green head and upperparts. "Quick, check for wing-bars" I thought to myself, with the bird seen through light cover I did manage to see the most prominent wing-bar, again, this feature accentuated by the darker wing. This was to be the best sighting of this gem before the bird continued through the churchyard and away. A call was heard at least once, this was a thin, very sweet and strident, "tseweest"
I called birding friends Peter Dolton and Micky Stainthorpe and told them both about this find, they both arrived and we started our search over roughly a two hour period, however, we did not relocate the bird on this occasion. Whilst searching for the Yellow-browed Warbler we saw a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps (male and female), Marsh Tit, Treecreeper, and Coal Tit.
This was my first inland record of Yellow-browed Warbler, and given the numbers turning up away from coastal locations, I doubt this will be the last.