Reed Warbler – 2003-07 breeding

Acrocephalus scirpaceus – TELOR Y CYRS – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded from December to March

This summer visitor’s appearance is plain, with unstreaked brown upperparts and buff underparts.  Its slow chattering song is usually the first indication of its presence in the deep cover of reedbeds, its principal habitat. Its nest is intricately woven around the stems of reeds.

The Reed Warbler has slowly expanded its range in Britain from about the 1960’s, in Pembrokeshire from1974, with breeding proven in 1975. By the time of the 1984-88 survey an estimated 60 pairs were breeding in the county. The estimate was made after some time spent in the main localities and was based largely on singing birds. Assessing the Canaston reedbed (also referred to as Minwear or Slebech reedbed) was made particularly easy because the local shooting syndicate had cut rides through the reeds the previous winter. (Note that although the largest concentration in the district has been the Teifi Marshes, the majority of them have been in Ceredigion, so only a small fraction qualified for inclusion in Pembrokeshire assessments).

By the close of the 2003-07 survey an increase of 48% in distribution had been plotted but it is unlikely that this represents an increase in population of this magnitude. New sites were in small areas of reeds around ponds and along river banks, which did not have the carrying capacity of major reedbeds. On the premise that about 10 pairs were added in these new sites and that the main population remained stable, as it has nationally, there were probably about 70 pairs nesting in Pembrokeshire by 2007. Although the population estimates have been given in pairs, they are mainly based on singing birds and some of these may not have attracted mates, which is not uncommon among Reed Warblers.

Graham Rees (County bird recorder 1981 to 2007)

Comparison with previous atlas:

1984-882003-07
Breeding confirmed87
Breeding probable1024
Breeding possible30
No of tetrads occupied21 (of 478)31 (of 490)
Percentage of tetrads4.4%6.3%

Rees G.H., Haycock R.J., Haycock A, Hodges J.E., Sutcliffe S.J., Jenks P, and Dobbins R. 2008, Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pembrokeshire 2003-07. Pembrokeshire Bird Group.

More about the Reed Warbler in Pembrokeshire