Breeding bird first at northern nature reserve is ‘consistent with climate change’
15 June 2012
RSPB Leighton Moss nature reserve in Lancashire has confirmed it has its first ever breeding pair of Cetti’s warblers.
This little brown bird only started to breed in the UK in the 1970’s, mainly in regions with milder temperatures such as the south east and south west. The UK population has since been steadily increasing, and spreading north and west. This is the very first time they have bred at Leighton Moss, and one of only a handful of times they have bred in Lancashire.
Harry Huyton, RSPB’s Head of Climate Change, said: “The Cetti’s warbler’s northward expansion in the UK is entirely consistent with what we would expect as a result of climate change. Having arrived in Kent in the early 1970s they’ve already expanded dramatically across Southern England and East Anglia, the arrival in Leighton Moss represents their latest stage in their northwards march.”
This expansion reflects the findings of work done by the RSPB and others that projected the potential changes in range for Cetti’s warbler as a result of climate change [note 1]. It projected a significant expansion of the Cetti’s range under a medium climate change scenario.
1. Climatic Atlas http://www.ebcc.info/wpimages/video/Climatic_Atlas.pdf
Leighton Moss is one of the RSPB’s most accessible and popular nature reserves. With its interesting variety of habitats, including the largest reedbed in the north-west, there is always something to see. Wildlife includes rare birds such as bitterns, bearded tits and marsh harriers, as well as mammals, including red deer and otters. In contrast, the vast inter-tidal sandflats and saltmarshes of nearby Morecambe Bay attract thousands of wading birds and wildfowl every autumn and winter.