Lesser Whitethroat – first and last dates

Sylvia curruca – LLWYDFRON FACH – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant.

Previous records are summarised in Lesser Whitethroat 1994

The previous earliest arrival date was 26 March 1984.

YearFirstLast
199025 March16 October
199124 April16 September
199224 April22 October
199329 April19 October
199414 April5 October
199523 April20 October
199624 April21 October
199726 April30 September
19987 April13 October
199927 April17 October
200021 April29 September
200124 April2 November
200231 March *2 October
200330 April31 October
200427 April12 November
200519 April7 October
200618 April14 September
200716 April11 October
200820 April17 September
200928 April27 October
201022 April29 September
201119 April4 September
201224 April 
201319 April28 June
201413 April30 October
201514 April22 September
201618 April11 October
201716 April11 October **
201817 April **2 October
201919 April29 October

* 2002 Bird Report gives a date of 1st March. This was a typo, as the original record shows one singing 31st March at Milford Haven Golf Course, with a bird singing there on the 7th and 10th April too.

** 2017-18 One in a Kilgetty garden, from 12th Nov until 16th Feb (T. Hughes). This represents the first record of this species overwintering in the county.

Records extracted from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports which may contain more detail.

More about the Lesser Whitethroat in Pembrokeshire

Lesser Whitethroat – 2014 Siberian subspecies

Sylvia curruca blythi – LLWYDFRON FACH

In October a bird looking a close match for a Siberian Lesser Whitethroat S. c. blythi was found at the Farm on the 3rd (RDB). It appeared to have a shorter than average primary projection, the browner crown and nape typical of the race and when later trapped the wing was found to be rounded, with a second primary roughly equal in length to the seventh, and the tail exhibited a white tip to the penultimate feather and a brighter white outer feather. A feather has been sent for DNA analysis which will hopefully confirm this as the first Siberian Lesser Whitethroat for Skokholm. The bird was present from the 3rd until the 5th. The final record of the year on 30th October also looked like a good candidate for S. c. blythi, however it soon entered the Bracken and was not trapped to allow for a close inspection of wing formula and tail pattern (GE).

Source: Skokhom Annual Report 2014

DNA from the feather confirmed the identity, and the record was subsequently accepted by WBRC

More about the Lesser Whitethroat in Pembrokeshire

Lesser Whitethroat – 2003-07 breeding

Sylvia curruca – LLWYDFRON FACH – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in January, February and December

Comparison with previous tetrad atlas:

1984-882003-07
Breeding confirmed154
Breeding probable4666
Breeding possible89
No of tetrads occupied69 (of 478)79 (of 490)
Percentage of tetrads14.4%16.1%

The Lesser Whitethroat, a summer visitor, is an inconspicuous warbler which favours deep cover. Its most notable feature when seen well is its black patch through the eye. Its monotone rattling song often reveals its presence in the scrubby areas it frequents and where it nests.

No way has been found to separate possible passage birds from the records when evaluating the results of the 1984-88 survey. A minimal density of one pair per tetrad was used to estimate a county breeding population of 70 pairs. The 1988-91 National Atlas shows an abundance distribution where the Pembrokeshire density was much lower than the UK average of just over two per tetrad, suggesting that the local estimate was realistic. The same situation existed when assessing the returns from the 2003-07 survey, so the county estimate remains the same. Nonetheless the uncertainty of the impact of migrants being involved, means it should be regarded as a maximum and the true level might have been smaller, for the BTO considered that the UK population dropped to about 64,000 pairs by the year 2000 from an estimated 80,000 in 1991.

Graham Rees (County bird recorder 1981 to 2007)

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 Lesser Whitethroat in Pembrokeshire

Lesser Whitethroat – 1994

Sylvia curruca – LLWYDFRON FACH – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in January, February and December

1984-88
Breeding confirmed15
Breeding probable46
Breeding possible8
No of tetrads occupied69 (of 478)
Percentage of tetrads14.4%

Although Mathew (1894) did not encounter the bird, he does include it on the strength of records at Lamphey and Dale, though Lockley et al (1949) considered these records to be dubious, noting only a few scattered occurrences, which included breeding near Llangwm in 1932, stating that the Lesser Whitethroat was a scarce migrant. Lloyd found them in each of the years from 1927 to 1931, and strongly suspected breeding at Bosherston and Tenby. They were recorded with increasing frequency from 1952 onwards, breeding being suspected at Keeston in 1965 and proved at Roch Bridge in 1974. A few pairs were reported breeding at three localities in 1977 and 1981. The Breeding Birds Survey of 1984-1988 was conducted at a time when Lesser Whitethroats became strong colonists. About 70 pairs were found during the period (see map), 60% of which were in the confirmed breeding or probably breeding categories. They are found in scrubby areas, sometimes nesting in the same place for a year or two before disappearing.

Lesser Whitethroats have also become more frequent spring migrants, with birds passing through coastal districts usually between 15 April and 5 June. One was at Upper Ripperston on 25 March 1990 and another at Dale on 26 March 1984. They remain sparse on autumn passage, with just a few occurring between 12 August and 31 October, with one at Skokholm on 3 November 1927.

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

More about the Lesser Whitethroat in Pembrokeshire

Lesser Whitethroat – 1949

Sylvia curruca curruca

Old records are somewhat dubious. Heard near St Davids 1923 (V.Roberts) and in 1924 (Miss C.M.Acland); seen near Tenby, 4 June 1927, and at Castlemartin, Bosherston, Amroth, and Newport, 1929 (Bertram Lloyd).  Its characateristic rattle has been heard by R.M.L at Llangwm and Dinas Cross, and by B.L. at Moylegrove.  Bred near Llangwm, 1932 (B.Birds XXVI 193).  Scarce passage migrant Skokholm (late record on 3 Nov, 1927)

M.Lockley, G.C.S.Ingram, H.M.Salmon, 1949, The Birds of Pembrokeshire, The West Wales Field Society

More about the Lesser Whitethroat in Pembrokeshire

Lesser Whitethroat – 1894

Sylvia curruca

This species is not included in their lists either by Mr. Dix or by Mr. Tracy. It does not appear to visit the adjoining county of Cardiganshire, which is far richer in the smaller summer birds than Pembrokeshire. We have, ourselves, never met with it, and it is a little bird that cannot easily escape detection. We have seen no specimens of it in any collection of stuffed birds in the county. 

We only admit it doubtfully on account of information supplied us by Mr. Mathias, of Haverfordwest, who tells us that when he was a boy of 14 or 15 he found a nest of this species at Lamphey, being at that time well acquainted with both the Common and Lesser Whitethroats through having taken the nests of both of them on many occasions in Gloucestershire. He adds that in the summer of 1882, a pair of these little birds frequented Hayguard Hay bottom in the parish of Dale, where he watched them closely on several days hoping to find the nest, “but they were too much for me, nettles and thorns making more impression on my hands than they did fifty years before.”

Mathew M.A. 1894, Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands

More about the Lesser Whitethroat in Pembrokeshire

Lesser Whitethroat

Sylvia curruca – LLWYDFRON FACH – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant.

Lesser Whitethroat – first and last dates

Sylvia curruca – LLWYDFRON FACH – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Previous records are summarised in Lesser Whitethroat 1994 The previous earliest arrival date was 26 March 1984. Year First Last 1990 25 March 16 October 1991 24 April 16 September 1992 24 April 22 October 1993 29 April 19 October 1994 14 April 5 October […]

Lesser Whitethroat – 2014 Siberian subspecies

Sylvia curruca blythi – LLWYDFRON FACH In October a bird looking a close match for a Siberian Lesser Whitethroat S. c. blythi was found at the Farm on the 3rd (RDB). It appeared to have a shorter than average primary projection, the browner crown and nape typical of the race and when later trapped the wing was […]

Lesser Whitethroat – 2003-07 breeding

Sylvia curruca – LLWYDFRON FACH – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in January, February and December Comparison with previous tetrad atlas: 1984-88 2003-07 Breeding confirmed 15 4 Breeding probable 46 66 Breeding possible 8 9 No of tetrads occupied 69 (of 478) 79 (of 490) Percentage of tetrads 14.4% 16.1% The Lesser Whitethroat, a summer visitor, is […]

Lesser Whitethroat – 1994

Sylvia curruca – LLWYDFRON FACH – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in January, February and December 1984-88 Breeding confirmed 15 Breeding probable 46 Breeding possible 8 No of tetrads occupied 69 (of 478) Percentage of tetrads 14.4% Although Mathew (1894) did not encounter the bird, he does include it on the strength of records at Lamphey and […]

Lesser Whitethroat – 1949

Sylvia curruca curruca Old records are somewhat dubious. Heard near St Davids 1923 (V.Roberts) and in 1924 (Miss C.M.Acland); seen near Tenby, 4 June 1927, and at Castlemartin, Bosherston, Amroth, and Newport, 1929 (Bertram Lloyd).  Its characateristic rattle has been heard by R.M.L at Llangwm and Dinas Cross, and by B.L. at Moylegrove.  Bred near […]

Lesser Whitethroat – 1894

Sylvia curruca This species is not included in their lists either by Mr. Dix or by Mr. Tracy. It does not appear to visit the adjoining county of Cardiganshire, which is far richer in the smaller summer birds than Pembrokeshire. We have, ourselves, never met with it, and it is a little bird that cannot easily escape detection. We […]

Lesser Whitethroat

Sylvia curruca – LLWYDFRON FACH – Breeding summer visitor and passage migrant.