In The Marsh
“REED-WARBLER . . . beware possibility of mimicry of
reed-warbler by marsh- or sedge-warblers.”
“SEDGE-WARBLER . . . beware possibility of reed and
marsh mimicking sedge.”
- R. S. R. Fitter, The Pocket
Guide To British Birds,1952.
Excuse a style so casual as to be positively daring
But I am recalling an encounter with a small
indistinct brown bird in terrain
watery and wearing,
And despite my ornithological erudition –
I know what possesses 'ear-like tufts and
I know my redstart from my redpoll and am
persevering with pipits –
I should welcome the loan of an oath.
Because what I still do not know is whether that
small indistinct brown bird was a
mimicking a sedge-warbler, a
mimicking a reed-warbler, or a
If you have any comments on this poem, Jerome Betts would
be pleased to hear from you.