Clamorous Reed Warbler: bird of the week XI

A lifer! The brown bird chirped intermittently as it flitted through the base of reeds. Our boatman poled the skiff as quickly as he could to keep up. It was a clamorous reed warbler, recognizable by the white supercilium and round-head, a bird with the wonderful binomial Acrocephalus stentoreus. Looking at the distribution of this bird, also known as the Great Indian reed warbler, I’m puzzled. It is reported from a lot of disconnected patches across the world: as far west as the banks of the Nile, in the north Kazhak plains, southwards around the Java Sea, and eastwards in the Philippines. The thickest sightings are in India and the Philippines. Why is it so patchily distributed? Does that mean that the wetlands where it lives are drying up?

There aren’t many places on WordPress where bird watchers can share posts. If you post any photos of birds this week (starting today and up to next Monday), it would be great if you could leave a link in the comments, or a pingback, for others to follow. There is no compulsion to post a recent photo, but it would help others to know when and where you saw the bird. You might consider using the tag “Bird of the Week” in case people search for old posts using it. I hope you’ve had the time to look at what others have added this week and in the previous weeks.

The rest of the story

White eared bulbuls

I’d started a story from the middle when I posted about flamingos in the backwaters of Mumbai. In order to finish the story, I have to give you its beginning. We gathered before sunrise in the region between the Thane creek and the aeration ponds of the Bhandup pumping station. As The Night drove in, a flock of flamingos flew overhead. The sky was the light grey just before dawn. A coucal flew into the bushes ahead of us. As the horizon dipped below the sun, and the sky began to light up, we walked back down the canal.

We saw several birds on our slow walk. I’d seen most of the waders, and could still recall their names. I’ve just begun to notice the warblers, and the clamorous reed warbler which we saw was a lifer. One interesting thing about birds is that they are creatures of habit. If in addition they are territorial, then they tend to appear at the same time in the same place every day. We met birders who come to this place very often, and sometimes they told us to look out for some bird or the other, because it should appear soon. It usually works. Passing on socially acquired knowledge is characteristic of our species, isn’t it?

Eventually we went on to ducks and flamingos, but those are stories I have already posted.