With the news of a Western Bonelli's Warbler turning up at Arnfield Reservoir in just inside the boarder of Derbyshire, it struck out as a must visit. I took a trip down on Monday morning as soon as I heard positive news on the bird. Although the directions were a little dodgy, there didn't seem to be an industrial site that was recommended to park in...
There were enough birders around to follow to the site and when getting there people were spread out right along the area to which the bird was located, obviously no suprised there, but where was the best place? As doon as I arrived at a particular group of people, a guy started shouting "there it is, showing well". I thought yes! ...until he kindly let me look through his scope, Okay, Little Owl, not a bad bird, but not Western Bonelli's!!!!
Cutting a 3 hour wait in words, short, I finally got a second's apparent unconvincing glimpse of the bird, not great. What that it for another 3 hours? The bird was calling releatively frequently from time to time dropping clues to its whereabouts with its short version Wood Warbler-like trill, but impossible to locate through the dense branches of the trees surrounding the reservoir. Luckily soon after the bird showed well for a minute or so near the bridge over the small stream (shown in the image below).
It was a very worn individual which raises a handful of questions about the bird, how long had it been present before it was spotted? I would say quite possibly, over a month. Its very unusual for a July record of these species, another thought could be that the bird may have held territory in another nearby location and moved through to Arnfield Reservoir on its way back through. I guess time will tell, but it won't be long before the bird will think about moving on. Through having first hand sightings of this bird, I would say that it is easily confused with a Chiffchaff if the views are unsatisfactory so take care if you go.
Instructions from Birdguides: take path by river over bridge then right along the A628 to Crossgate Lane. Take the path behind the fishery, through the nature reserve gate to view from the first footbridge.