Wood Warbler – 1994

Phylloscopus sibilatrix – TELOR Y COED – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded from November to March

Breeding confirmed7
Breeding probable40
Breeding possible4
No of tetrads occupied51 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads10.7%

Mathew (1894) knew of no definite breeding records for Wood Warbler, and described it as a scarce and very local summer visitor, doubting if it occurred west of the Preseli Mountains, whereas Lockley et al. (1949) recorded it nesting in the east of the county and along the Western Cleddau between Hook and Benton. They also noted it had been recorded just once on the islands, at Skomer on 9 May 1946.

Wood Warblers are still very local breeders, their distribution showing a heavy easterly bias (see map). Their favoured habitat is oak and beech woodland, though in recent years a few pairs have occupied pure sitka and larch plantations. Apparently suitable woodlands exist west of this range, such as St Bride’s and Hilton Woods, and males have been known to occupy these areas, singing for a week or more before moving on. They arrive on the breeding grounds between 25 April and early May, but when they depart has not apparently been recorded. On the assumption that most nesting sites were located during the 1984-1988 Breeding Birds Survey, and that singing males are indicative of breeding pairs, the total county population can be fairly accurately assessed at about 250 pairs.

The Wood Warbler is a scarce passage migrant to the mainland coast and offshore islands, one or two being noted in most years. Spring records usually fall between 25 April and 25 May, though one was at Skokholm on 7 April 1977.

One or two autumn passage birds occur between 8 August and 27 September in most years, with one at Strumble Head on 2 October 1983. Autumn birds, although scarce, have occurred with increasing frequency in the last ten years.

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

More about the Wood Warbler in Pembrokeshire