Sub-alpine Warbler – records

Curruca spp – Telor BrongochVagrant

Note – Western Sub-alpine warbler Curruca iberiae

Eastern Subalpine warbler Curruca cantilans

Western  Subalpine Warblers  of the nominate race cantillans breed in SW Europe and NW Africa,  Eastern Subalpine Warblers of the the race albistriata, in SE Europe and Turkey. Spring males of the two races are readily separable by the extent of and intensity of rufous on the underparts and the thickness of the sub-moustachial stripe. Females are more difficult though the intensity of colouring can be helpful; with Eastern showing paler, colder tones on both upper and underparts. The Skomer bird of spring 2013 shows features of ‘albistriata’ but beng a female may be impossible to determine for sure. Records of Subalpine Warblers in Pembrokeshire were confined to the Islands until a bird at St Davids Head in spring 2013.

Subalpine Warbler was removed from the list of species considered by BBRC in 2006 and is now on the WRP list of Welsh rarities.

Skokholm Records

  • Skokholm 1st October 1953 1st winter female
  • Skokholm 3rd May 1970 male
  • Skokholm 7th June 1976 male
  • Skokholm  11th May 1990 female
  • Skokholm 15th May 1992 male
  • Skokholm 24 May 1994 sex uncertain
  • Skokholm 7 May 1995 female
  • Skokholm 29 May 1995 female
  • Skokholm female 2nd-8th April 2001 (G Thompson)
  • Skokholm 1st winter/female 3rd Nov 2001(G Thompson)
  • Skokholm 4-5 May 2003 male
  • Skokholm (female ssp cantillans) 16th May 2013 (E Wood et al ). western form See photo below
  • Skokholm – first summer female on Skokholm on 15th May (RB) (WBRC – eastern group)
  • Skokholm – 2CY+ male, 24 April 2016, eastern group
  • Skokholm – 2CY+ male, 14 May 2016, eastern group
  • Skokholm – male 9 May 2020 eastern group (circulating BBRC)
  • Skokholm – female trapped 8 May (RDB et al) circulating BBRC

A first-summer female trapped in the Well Heligoland on 16th May 2013. The warm tones of this year’s bird, coupled with a lack of white extending along the inner web of the second most outer tail feather, suggest that it is of the Western form (species). Skokholm Annual Report 2013

Skomer Records

  • Skomer on 20 April 1971 male
  • Skomer 20 April – 8 May 1985 male
  • Skomer 20 May 1986 male
  • Skomer 26-27 1989 March – male
  • Skomer 3rd May 1990 male
  • Skomer 26th May 1990 male
  • Skomer 14th May 1992 male
  • Skomer 22 May 1992 male
  • Skomer 14 May 1994 sex uncertain
  • Skomer 16 May 2002 male
  • Skomer male 19th May 2008 (D Boyle)
  • Skomer female 29th-30th   May 2013 (J Boulter, E Stubbings) Photo below by Dave Boyle, note cold colouring which may indicate an Eastern bird.
  • Skomer 20th April 2CY+ male, eastern group
  • Skomer 8th May 2017, 2CY+ male, eastern group
  • Skomer 20th May 2018 (E. Stubbings). Initially accepted as Subalpine Warbler sp, but now a second (mitochondrial) DNA analysis confirmed its identity as a Western Subalpine Warbler.

Ramsey Records

  • Ramsey 12 May 1993 (IDB et al) male, eastern group
  • Ramsey 23rd-27th May 2006 (G M,L M) 1st summer female
  • Ramsey 1st summer male 15th May 2008 (J Wells)
  • Ramsey male 23rd June 2009  (SC Votier)
  • Ramsey 8-9 May 2014 female

The only record away from the Islands thus far:

  • St Davids Head (male ssp cantillans) 23rd-27th April 2013 (W James, K Mr, R Seekins, M Young-Powell) photo below by Mike Young-Powell. (WBRC – eastern group)

Mike Young-Powell 29/05/2013

2020 –

Males on Ramsey 16 Apr (GM) and at Martin’s Haven 23 Apr (STu). Circulating BBRC. As there were no photographs of the outer tail feathers and no DNA was collected these two, that were most likely Eastern Subalpine Warblers can only be accepted by BBRC as Subalpine Warbler sp

More recent records added from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports/Welsh Rare and Scarce Bird Report by Annie Haycock

More about the Sub-alpine Warbler in Pembrokeshire