Sedge Warbler – 1994

Acrocephalus schoenobaenus – TELOR YR HESG – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded from November to February

Breeding confirmed30
Breeding probable91
Breeding possible13
No of tetrads occupied134 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads28%

Mathew (1894) considered the Sedge Warbler to be the second most numerous, after the Chiffchaff, of the warblers to visit Pembrokeshire. Lockley et al. (1949) stated that it was a “numerous summer resident in almost every reedy, sedgy cover”. Lloyd’s detailed diaries for 1925-1935 recorded Sedge Warblers in localities where they are now absent, the habitat having become unsuitable. Lockley (1957) stated that “they can be found singing in every overgrown water ditch”.

Sedge Warblers are less numerous in Pembrokeshire today, the Breeding Birds Survey of 1984-1988 finding them to be locally distributed. Most were found in reedbeds and other marshy areas but some were breeding in completely dry scrubby places, including pairs at Haverfordwest Golf Course, around Mathry and along parts of the coastal path. Numbers vary from year to year, depending on how they survive the rigours of migration and the conditions they encounter at their wintering grounds south of the Sahara. They were noticeably less numerous during the first two years of the survey than in the latter three. By the end of this period there were estimated to be about 650 pairs breeding in Pembrokeshire. This is based upon individual assessments at some of the larger marshes plus an estimated average density of four pairs per tetrad elsewhere.

Sedge Warblers generally appear in Pembrokeshire in the second half of April, with occasional birds in the vanguard from 6 April. One was at Tenby Marsh on 25 March 1964. They continue to pass until about 9 June, and occur in most coastal areas, with occasional notable falls such as the 250 birds seen at Skokholm in May 1953.

Return passage is spread between July and 17 October, though one was recorded at Skomer on 29 October 1963.  Usually ones and twos are seen in coastal areas, with occasional falls of 20 or so, although up to 100 were recorded at Skokholm in August during the 1940s.

Donovan J.W. & Rees G.H, 1994, Birds of Pembrokeshire

LOCKLEY, R.M. 1957. Pembrokeshire. London, Robert Hale

More about the Sedge Warbler in Pembrokeshire