A Warbler in the Night

Again a nightly adventure. I am attracted to nightly experiences. Now I return to a place where I can usually stand undisturbed and I lean against the bridge railing, just listening, tasting the sounds and fragrances. A friend has told me he heard a very rare bird here last night. A Blythe’s reed warbler.

It’s just before midnight when I arrive. I park the car and I walk slowly along the narrow country road. A grove of ashes and linden on one side, and wide fields of barley and oats on the other. The corn has just begun to grow ears.

On my way to the bridge, I see the bushy vegetation along the small river winding through the fields. At a distance, I see a figure at the bridge. Is it an old gate post? As I get closer, I see a person standing by the roadside.

We exchange greetings and it turns out that the person – a man in his 60s – has the same errand as myself.

We stand for a while listening to the quiet midnight. It is completely silent. No – from the nearby cemetery two young owls are begging for food. And one of the parents gives up a little hoot.

That’s all. We talk a little. Listen to the silence. After half an hour, a car stops by. Another person who wants to hear the rare bird. We are conferencing for a while. We move 600 meters east along a winding dirt road to a stone bridge with willow and reeds along the small river.

There we hear the warbler. In the twilight we do not see it, but it is only 5 meters away. It sings strong and beautifully.

As we listen, other night singers begin to be heard. Quail. Marsh warbler. It’s half past three a.m. before we leave.

Here you can listen to the Blythe’s reed warbler that we heard. Recorded by Håkan Krave on July 2, 2018.

Here is a more equilibrist specimen of Blythe’s reed warbler recorded in Dalarna in 2017 by M. Litsgård.


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