I guess Lesser Whitethroats don’t mind being called ‘lesser’ but I’m going to stick up for them – they are different, not lesser.
They are, one has to concede, more petite than the Common Whitethroat (that’s not a very flattering name either is it?) but I like to think of them as different.
The Lesser Whitethroat’s most interesting difference, to me, is its migration route. This bird heads off to Italy and the Po Valley in autumn and takes a very easterly route to its east African wintering grounds. It’s quite unlike other UK migrants that actually end up in similar wintering grounds.
In Eilat this March, the Lesser Whitethroat was probably the commonest warbler that we saw – there were loads and loads of them.
My first UK Lesser Whitehroat this year was at my local patch of Stanwick Lakes where a bird was singing its rattling song over and over again. That’s what often happens when birds arrive on their breeding grounds but this bird was singing from a very unlikely patch of habitat for it to be its home for the summer – I’ve never before seen or heard a Lesser Whitethroat at this particular area of my patch. And the next day it appeared to have gone – judging by the silence anyway. So I am pretty sure it was a bird which sang a lot (why exactly?) and then moved on. Did it move on about a mile to the railway line bushes where I more often hear Lessers singing? Or is it now a hundred miles north of here? Or what? Birds are brilliant – and Lessers, or Differents, are no less brilliant than Commons.