Rare Breeding Birds Panel
RBBP - the secure information archive on the UK's rare breeding birds - Twitter: @ukrbbp
Rare Breeding Birds Panel - April 2017
Each week during the 2017 breeding season we will once again include a TIP OF THE WEEK here on our home page. Each tip will suggest an activity that birdwatchers could take part in to help find and record rare breeding birds. At times, we might focus on species of uplands or lowlands, forest or coast, north or south, but over the season there should be something for everyone. Watch out for new tips every week; so far this year we've given hints for recording Goshawk, Water Rail, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Willow Tit and Hawfinch. If you found any, please ensure that you submit the records to the local county/regional bird recorder directly or via BirdTrack. You can download a short guide on using BirdTrack to submit records of rare breeding birds here. All such records will be collated for compilation into the annual return by county recorders to RBBP.
This week's featured species: Little Egret (right) and Cetti's Warbler Since the Rare Breeding Birds Panel started reporting the status of rare breeding birds annually in 1973, these two species have colonised Britain from the south and established sizeable populations.
Cetti's Warblers first bred in 1973 and now number over 2,000 singing males, though they became scarcer following the run of cold winters. We need counts from all sites to confirm their recovery and status. Counts of singing males are needed and April is a good time to get the maximum count for a site. They frequent damp marshy areas, often with low scrub in amongst reeds and other waterside vegetation and are particularly associated with coastal and riparian sites in the southern half of England, and Wales. They are very scarce north of a line from Morecambe Bay to Flamborough Head and there have been no breeding records from Scotland (yet). This is a good time of year to find new sites for this species. Listen to the song of Cetti's Warbler here.
Little Egrets, being large and white, are rather more conspicuous and are often believed to be less rare but with confirmed breeding counts of no more than 1,100 nests there are only half as many breeding pairs of egrets as Cetti's Warblers. We believe that some colonies are now being overlooked; many that we know about are also difficult to count. Check heronries in April and May to see if Little Egrets are nesting there too; also be aware of Little Egrets flying into trees at this time of year as this may point to the location of nest colonies. Many colonies are small with fewer than ten nests. Little Egrets have also not yet been proved to breed in Scotland.