98th for the car-free year list and quite unexpected on my way to the Friday Market to buy some Glastonbury Twanger. The quick route takes me over what I think of as Portbury Rhyne (or perhaps Portbury Pill?) It runs from this side of Clevedon through the Gordano Valley and out to the Severn Estuary just by Portishead Marina.
Pedestrians can cross it near the Gordano Gate pub. (Is that the first mention of a pub in this blog? I can hardly believe it.) Here is a thin margin of reeds and I caught the bird’s song from within. Initially I believed it to be a sedge warbler: the melody was very rich. But as I listened, it somehow didn’t seem manic enough and I began to revise my opinion to reed. I needed to see the bird and after a couple of minutes it obliged and a plain brown jobbie came into sight.
The plainness clinched it although this individual did have an eye-ring that gave it a slight supercilium. More reed warbler evidence showed in its warm brown rump – not a phrase to be used anywhere other than in bird identification. So, a year bird too.
Acrocephalus scirpaceus it is scientifically, the family slotting between the leaf warblers and grasshopper warbler, which is a semi-bogey bird. I’ve only ever heard one but reports have come in from Portbury Wharf this month. I’ve managed to miss them all. Maybe I’ll have another go this afternoon.