Dan Gets Wood Again

After the relative thrills of having a spring wood sandpiper on the local patch, Dan got wood for a second time in two days when he found a singing wood warbler near the FAUNA nature reserve on Sunday morning.

Wood warbler record shot by Dan H
Yet another rapidly declining species nationally, wood warblers are not easy to find anywhere in North Lancashire these days and they are extremely scarce off-passage migrants. Only a handful have been recorded on the Aldcliffe patch by local birders in recent years with the last at Stodday on 25 April 2016 (almost four years to the day; also found by Dan). Prior to that, the last sighting I'm aware of was in early May 2011. So with that context, it is quite easy to see why Dan's Sunday discovery was exceedingly notable!

I was unable to get out yesterday but thankfully (if somewhat surprisingly) the warbler stayed around overnight and was still in the area this morning. Dan heard it in Admiralty Wood early on and I caught up with it along the tree-lined Aldcliffe Hall Drive where it was singing intermittently and eventually showed well.

Cetti's warbler by Dan H
On the subject of warblers, Dan's persistence and dedication paid off once more when he located a Cetti's warbler between Lunecliffe Road and the canal. Again, this is an uncommon species locally but unlike wood warbler, this colonising warbler is increasing across the UK. Once regarded as a major rarity confined to the south coast this skulking but vociferous bird can be found at nearby hotspots such as RSPB Leighton Moss at Silverdale and Middleton NR near Heysham.
With just one previous record on the patch (October 2015) Cetti's is long-overdue as a breeding bird on this side of the Lune. Let's hope that this signifies the arrival of the species as a regular bird to the patch!