Grasshopper Warbler, North Antrim
I still remember well some twenty five or more years ago when I heard my first Grasshopper Warbler. It's reeling call was a clear give away in the fields behind my parent’s home where I spent my youth exploring and learning about the local wildlife. I searched the rushes and scrub for hours over many days only ever getting a mere glimpse of the tail end of the bird as moved to ever deep cover.
Since then hearing a Grasshopper Warbler has always been special and occasionally over the years I have got decent, if all too brief, views. It remained though a species which I have never been able to get a decent image off.
This year one of my personal quests was to get that photograph of the bird that seemed so mysterious in my youth.
I have found a couple of reliable sites for this species in the North Antrim in recent years. This is a species which capitalises on the planting of conifers and whilst in the thicket stage these young forests offer the perfect breeding habitat. This year seems to be best year I can remember for Grasshopper Warblers. Sites which may normally have one or two 'singing' birds, have three, four or maybe five.
Over the Easter break I had the chance of a few early starts to go out and find and photograph these birds when they a calling to attract a mate. As a result I have had the chance to photograph a number of birds this spring. I reckon I have seen as many Grasshopper Warblers this spring as I have in the past decade, but I will never tire of that call and challenge in getting close and seeing them.