Every so often, the time and effort we put into this wonderfully addictive hobby pays off…and so it was at Padul last Thursday. I can’t remember how long I’ve wanted to see a Bluethroat, and after talking about this very species the day before, we found this handsome fellow towards the end of a productive and hugely enjoyable day at this important wetland reserve.
This long-distance migrant breeds locally in France and the Low Countries, up into Scandinavia, northern Europe and Siberia, and on into Asia. There are pockets of distribution in central and northern Iberia where it appears to have a year-long presence, and while most western birds winter in NE Africa, some – as we can confirm today! – spend the colder part of the year in southern Spain.
The Bluethroat Luscinia svecica is a bird of wet woodland, thickets, swamps and reedbeds…so the marshland habitat of the Padul reserve provides it with perfect, seasonal surroundings. The white spot on the throat shows this individual to be of the southern European race – northern birds have a red patch, eastern birds none – but its hard to speculate on how far this winter visitor has travelled. The ring on its right leg could hold some interesting information…
The bright, blue plumage on the chest made the ID straightforward to say the least of course, but the long thin, legs and bold, white stripe over the eye are also key points to look for. Females and juveniles are rather more muted in colour…and I have to say I’m thrilled that on this occasion we didn’t have to struggle too hard!
A life-list first for me, and a fantastic start to the new month. We’ll continue to look at some of the other seasonal species from the Padul reserve over the next few days, so keep please keep reading our posts, and if you’d like more information on our birdwatching trips and holidays, click here…we can share some terrific birding whatever the time of year!