|Adult male Blackcap: calls of adults and young are different from Garden Warbler. © Jakup Stanco (commons.wikimedia.org)|
One of the great things about birding is that, no matter how long we have been doing it, we continually learn new things.
On 24 June, I was walking along a track at Chew Valley Lake, Somerset, when I heard some soft, quiet calls emanating from some nearby hawthorns: a rather flat eeh, or slightly more disyllabic eeut, almost like a soft toy trumpet. I’d heard these calls before and I’d always assumed that they were part of the repertoire of juvenile Great Tits. However, as I shoved my head into the bush, I was surprised to find a brood of recently fledged Blackcaps and their attendant parents. All the years that I have been plodding around that lake, I had never before sussed this call!
Adult Blackcaps have a more familiar call, but a lot of people struggle to separate it from that of Garden Warbler, something that has always baffled me. Whereas adult Blackcaps give a hard and definite chet or teck, Garden Warbler gives a quite different repeated soft vit vit vit vit vit vit. A brood of Garden Warblers that I came across on 14 June was also giving a throaty, slightly rasping, eeup or eeip call, more similar to the juvenile Blackcaps (but probably stronger).
|Garden Warblers give their contact call less frequently than Blackcap, but it is quite distinct once learned.© Steve Garvie (commons.wikimedia.org)|