Rare warbler ringed in UK for first time

Tuesday 8th November 2011

Image credit: Mike Beatley Image credit: Mike Beatley

Rarely seen warbler wings its way from Eastern Asia to Hertfordshire

An eastern crowned warbler, only the second ever to be recorded in Britain, dropped into Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust’s Hilfield Park Reservoir Nature Reserve near Bushey recently.

Bird ringers caught what they thought was a yellow-browed warbler, which in itself would be a rare bird for Hertfordshire. However, after checking some features that puzzled them, it turned out to be something much more unexpected. The bird is the first of its kind to be ringed in Britain.

After ringing, they released the warbler into woodland on the perimeter of the site but in spite of the attention of a great many twitchers scouring the trees from the adjacent road, the bird was not seen again.

Tim Hill, Conservation Manager with Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust said, “In birdwatching terms, this is the equivalent of winning the lottery! These birds breed from eastern Siberia to Japan and spend the winter in Bangladesh and southeast Asia – to find one in a nature reserve in Hertfordshire, next to the M1 is quite extraordinary. The bird was ringed by members of the Maple Cross Ringing Group who carry out monitoring of birds at Hilfield Park Reservoir in conjunction with the Trust. The information is used to plan management of this important wetland nature reserve.”

Every year a number of birds arrive in the UK from far flung countries, having taken a different migratory route, perhaps because they are programmed to search out new territories. The eastern crowned warbler at Hilfield Reservoir was around 11,500km off its usual migration path!

Hilfield Park Reservoir Nature Reserve is accessible to members of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust. For details of how to become a member visit www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk.