I saved this treat from the end of my walk on the Little Orme as I thought it would be better enjoyed on its own.
I heard the Whitethroat singing from somewhere in front of me, obscured from immediate view by gorse bushes and a bend in the track. I walked forward slowly and there he was, at the top of another bare stem, this time of Elder. A perfect, close, unrestricted view of him warbling away, declaring himself king of all he could survey, which is a great deal from where he was perched, to whom-so-ever it may concern.
The Whitethroat is a summer visitor and passage migrant to Britain that may be seen in all parts of the country and most frequently choose arable land, scrub and reedbeds as nesting sites. They arrive during April-May and leaving in late September-early October to winter in Africa, some heading as far south as South Africa.
A medium-sized, long-tailed warbler, the male is grey, dusted with rust brown above, with bright chestnut-brown fringes to the wing feathers, the head is a pale grey, the breast pinkish-buff and the throat a bright white. The bill is greyish-brown and the legs are pale brown. The eye is pale brown with a white eye ring. Females are similar but brown on the head and nape where the male is grey.
Warblers in general are often described as ‘skulking’, but the Whitethroat is not quite as secretive as some; the male will perch in full view to deliver its brief song with gusto.
I could see flies in the air around him, but he made no attempt to catch any of them, he was far more intent on singing although he did take a few short breaks to do a bit of preening. I think he had a bit of an itch.
I watched and listened for some time and took a few photographs before risking taking this short video, which is not the most professional you’ll have ever seen, but it gives more of the bird’s personality than a still. It’s better on full screen too.
The song is variously described as sweet, ‘scratchy’ and having a jolty rhythm. They are also very inquisitive birds and will venture to the top of a bush to investigate any intruders, before scolding them with a rapid churring call.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. You even got to share the atmosphere of the sunny, windy day!