Nature reserve delighted by breeding bird first
Last modified: 15 June 2012
Much excitement has been caused by the first ever confirmed breeding of Cetti’s warblers at RSPB Leighton Moss nature reserve in Silverdale, Lancashire.
This little brown bird is much more likely to be found breeding in the South East and South West of the country. They only started to breed in Britain in the 1970’s and their numbers have been increasing mainly in regions with milder temperatures such as Kent, Norfolk and Dorset. This is the very first time they have bred at Leighton Moss though, and one of only a handful of times they have bred in Lancashire.
Cetti’s warblers are a very secretive bird that can be difficult to see. They could be completely overlooked were it not for their amazingly powerful song. When walking through the reedbed at Leighton Moss, their explosive sound can be heard when it suddenly strikes up like a jukebox that someone has popped a pound into.
Cetti’s warblers are unusual in that unlike many other warbler species which head off to Africa for the winter, they tough it out here in the UK. Robin Horner, Leighton Moss Site Manager said “Cetti’s warblers have been heard for a number of winters here, but this is the first time they have been known to stay and breed. We are thrilled with this reserve record. It is a great reward for all the hard work we put into making the reedbed such a great habitat for birds and other wildlife to live in.”
Over the past couple of weeks visitors to the reserve have been treated to seeing the pair of Cetti’s warblers nipping into and out of a willow bush next to the path, with beakfuls of insects, a good indicator that they had young. Then early on Wednesday 13 June, Kevin Kelly, the reserves Information Assistant was lucky enough to spot the parents feeding a fledgling.
Kevin said “It was absolutely amazing to see the parents feeding their chick. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, it stopped me in my tracks. I have been visiting the reserve for a long time now, before getting this fantastic job here for the summer showing people wildlife from the hides. I have heard the Cetti’s warblers here in the winter before and have been getting glimpses of the adults over the past few days, but to be the first person to see the parents with young has made my week!.”
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. It projected a significant expansion of the Cetti’s range under a medium climate change scenario.
For more information on other wildlife you can see at Leighton Moss throughout the year visit www.rspb.org.uk/leightonmoss
How you can help
Not sure what that bird is?
Try our online bird identifier