Friday, 25 September 2015

The YBW's Are Coming.

Yellow-browed Warbler. Stuart Piner.

According to the North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory website NRBO.Co.UK I just looked at, the peak count of Yellow-browed Warbler (YBW) there this week has been in excess of thirty birds, so perhaps a YBW could well be on it's way to a bush on the coast near you anytime soon. In 1985 there was an amazing influx of the YBW into this country with in excess of 600 known individuals. I did a snoop around for one on Tuesday....But after all these years, I'm afraid I've still to find my first. 

The YBW has a huge breeding range across Siberia where it is one of the commonest birds, it is also the commonest Siberian vagrant to Western Europe, it winters in Nepal, southern China, and Southeast Asia, though birds have been found in winter in small numbers in the UK, some of which have been known to survive until the following spring. Reports of YBW's have been made at coastal sites in spring, presumably individuals that have overwintered elsewhere in SW Europe or further afield. Some suggestions are, that a new migration pattern might evolve, if some of the birds that winter in SW Europe return to breeding grounds in W Asia a population of westwards-migrating birds could arise.

But what happens when the YBW leaves Britain is a complete mystery and the truth is, until it is established that an unknown wintering area has been discovered, it seems likely that the vast majority of YBW's which turn up in Britain each year in autumn, leave to continue their migration south-westwards, only to perish in the Atlantic Ocean. 

The first record of YBW in Britain was in Northumberland 1838, the bird was initially thought to be a Pallas's Warbler and it wasn't until 25 years later that the mistake was corrected in 1863.

Thanks to SP for the image of an excellent record of the Yellow-browed Warbler he found at Cockersands 2 October 2013.  

I'd sooner be birding!....and in the next thirty minutes I'm hoping to be doing just that.

1 comment:

Richard Pegler said...

It's sad to reflect that the YBWs we see in UK are probably going to drown at sea, Pete. I've been lucky enough to see two in recent years, but they were someone else's 'find'. I'm unlikely to find one for myself as I'm about as far away from the coast as it's possible to get in UK! In fact there's a pub about ten miles from me which used to be named 'The Sea Around Us' as it was reckoned to be precisely as far from the sea as possible.

Hoping you find your YBW soon - - - Richard