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Post Info TOPIC: Species in Focus - Garden Warbler.


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RE: Species in Focus - Garden Warbler.


Henry Cook wrote:

Garden Warbler seen carrying food at a site in the south of the county today so the short window of opportunity to confirm this shy species breeding for the atlas has opened!

-- Edited by Henry Cook on Wednesday 25th of May 2011 05:07:34 PM






What a fantastic achievement Henry - very well done! clap.gif I think I'm right in saying that you personally now have two out of the three confirmed breeding records for this species to date and I'm sure that it is a really satisfying thrill and reward for you, after the considerable amount of time and effort that you will have needed to have put in and not forgetting the patience and skills required to achieve such a result. nod.gif Great stuff - keep up the good work!

Best wishes,


Bill.


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GREATER MANCHESTER NEEDS YOUR BIRD SIGHTINGS!


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Garden Warbler seen carrying food at a site in the south of the county today so the short window of opportunity to confirm this shy species breeding for the atlas has opened!

-- Edited by Henry Cook on Wednesday 25th of May 2011 05:07:34 PM

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and if you're struggling to separate Blackcap and Garden Warbler, there's a short video you can get via the BTO website:

http://www.bto.org/about-birds/bird-id/blackcap-garden-warbler

as Bill says, "Good Luck" smile.gifsmile.gif

Steve

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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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Garden Warbler - definitely one of our more difficult species to confirm breeding for! nod.gif Yet our birding predecessors at the time of our last atlas project (Breeding Birds in Greater Manchester or BBGM 1979 - 1983) managed to find it occupying 57 tetrads, with confirmed breeding in 8 of those tetrads, probable breeding in 22 and possible breeding in 27. Just for comparison, at the end of the 2010 breeding season this species had been recorded as a confirmed breeding species in just 2 tetrads (25% of BBGM). BBGM reported that "the Garden Warbler has declined markedly, paralleling the decline of the Whitethroat". Whitethroat is considered to have mounted a recovery since then.... so has the Garden Warbler as well? Obviously, this is one of those species where every single record received will be of great help in answering this important question. nod.gif

It's the beginning of May and Garden Warblers have only recently started being reported on the sightings forum as being present at a few sites across Greater Manchester...so isn't a touch early to start looking at trying to confirm breeding for this particular species? Yes, certainly given that both confirmed breeding records from the first three years of our current atlas project were logged in the second half of June. However, might a strategy of locating singing birds in May and then trying to follow their progress throughout this species relatively short breeding season help us improve upon our totals of both probable and confirmed breeding for Garden Warbler? This species is one of our later summer arrivals, with the earliest birds usually arriving in the second half of April. So if we do find a singing bird in late April and May (and are absolutely sure it's not a Blackcap!) we can input our record for that particular tetrad to the usual BTO Bird Atlas website http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/birdatlas using code S - indicating that a singing male is present (or breeding calls heard) in the breeding season, in suitable breeding habitat. A little more on where might be the best places to look/listen for this species and on what could be classed as suitable habitat shortly. Also a little later, two links - one to a song sample for Garden Warbler and one giving the alarm calls of this species, which may be useful in helping us locate breeding birds when they are not actually singing. Incidentally, records for singing birds for the first three years of our current atlas project were reported between 3/5/08 - 6/7/08, 20/4/09 - 14/6/09 and 25/4/10 - 25/5/10.

After the initial exciting success of locating a singing bird, why not re-visit the same area after 7 days or more and see if it is still singing/present there? If it is still present on that follow up visit, it can then be classed as holding a territory (use breeding code T on the BTO Atlas webpage) and the breeding status for that tetrad will then be upgraded from possible to probable. So how best to further upgrade the breeding status from probable to confirmed? There's no simple, easy, magic formula I'm afraid! Not one that I am aware of anyway!! Just by looking at a few facts and figures it quickly becomes apparent just how short a time frame there might be in which to confirm breeding for this species. Firstly, to make things even more difficult Garden Warbler is usually just single-brooded, although replacement clutches will be laid after egg loss. Secondly, nestlings may only be in the nest for around 9 to 14 days. Young can leave the nest prematurely at around 7 days, if disturbed although even at 10 to 12 days may not be able to fly properly. Young then become independent of adults at around 10 to 14 days after fledging. So in summary and if we are not actually able to find the nest, then we will usually get just one opportunity each summer in which to confirm breeding for a pair and with possibly 3 to 4 weeks maximum in which to observe adults carrying food and/or feeding young. Hopefully, by knowing that a bird or a pair of birds are holding a territory and then making some repeat visits to that particular site and with a good amount of watching, waiting and with some knowledge of these timescales and blessed with a degree of good fortune, you may just strike gold by seeing an adult carrying food or with recently fledged dependent young. If you do, you certainly can give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back, as you will be joining an "elite" few who have managed to achieve the near impossible! clap.gifclap.gif

So, what are the best habitats to look and listen out for this elusive species? It is suggested that deciduous, mixed and/or coppiced woodlands with glades and other open areas, with a dense scrub layer, are its favoured habitat. Nests are usually sited at low level, with one study indicating over 50% of nests being sited in bramble. Nettles and willowherb provided other, although less frequently used, nesting mediums. As promised a little earlier - samples of Garden Warbler song can be heard here and its alarm calls here.

Finally, if a quick refresher is needed on those types of records which are indicative of possible, probable or confirmed breeding and the coding system that is used for these breeding categories, a clear, concise and straightforward explanation can be found at:- http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/birdatlas/taking-part/breeding-evidence.

Once again, good luck and many thanks for your help. nod.gifbiggrin.gif

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