A Big Birding Year: Part XIV (the pointy headed reed walker and its homoplastic friend)

Moving house and birding are not conducive to one another. The process of trying to sell property, and then hunting, buying, and moving (with all the bureaucracy and hassle that it entails) clashes badly with a desire to wander the countryside taking pictures. Even on a Sunday, when there is little that can be done, the guilt of taking time off for such an indulgently ‘removed’ (if that adjective makes any sense in this context to you – it was the best I could think of) pastime, acts as an internal barrier.

So, whilst my aim of photographing as many bird species as possible in a year has hit a treacly obstacle, it has not been forgotten. Today, I took some time to walk in the sun hunting for birds rather than houses. I chose the Hackney marshes for ease:

Hackney Marshes

My steely house-hunter’s determination was usefully applied by going in deliberate search of a specific species of bird. Given the time of year, I chose a place with lots of reeds where in previous summers I have seen one of our summer migrant warblers. I was duly rewarded:

Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)

Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)

My 84th species caught in pixels for the year is well named as the Sedge Warbler, but I personally prefer its lengthy scientific name. The latinised Greek, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus, roughly translates as ‘pointy-headed reed-walker’ which I think is terrific!

I was also pleased to get a reasonable profile of the homoplastic* female Reed Bunting.

Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

* Note: I couldn’t resist using that biological term, homoplasy, which describes the fact that the Reed Bunting and Sedge Warbler share many behavioural and environmental similarities, but have a radically different evolutionary ancestry – although the distinctions in form between the birds, mean I should properly have used the term, biologically analogous, but that just isn’t as cool.


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