Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Yellow-browed Warblers in Lothian

Spot the Yellow-browed Warbler - in White Sands Triangle wood in 2010

As far as I know there have been 75 records of Yellow-browed Warbler in Lothian. The first record was in September 1976 and it has increased in frequency to the point that it has now been seen every year in Lothian since 1998. Well, it hasn't been seen yet in Lothian in 2013 - but that will undoubtedly change over the next few days with a wave of these Siberian waifs currently heading our way across the North Sea. Both 2005 and 2010 are the stand-out years so far with 13 and 10 records apiece, with the next-best year being 2011 with 6 records. There must be others that have not made it into the record books as the YBW is often fast moving and elusive in the foliage - for example I never submitted a brief view of one in Seacliff woods in 2005.

So, if you are planning on bumping in to one of these in the next few days you could do worse than pop along to Barns Ness/White Sands Bay area (32 previous records) - the old caravan site and the triangular wood at White Sands are good sites. Further SE along the coast at Skateraw there have been 16 records, with 7 at Torness, 7 at Thorntonloch and 1 at Bilsdean. Alternatively, there are also 7 records from Scoughall but none that I know of from the woods around Tynningham - maybe they just melt away in all that habitat. There is also a surprising general absence of records away from the coast, other than three records (in two different years) from Oxwell Mains. The latter, I assume, shows that hard work on a local patch away from the coast can pay dividends... Maybe someone will find one in Edinburgh if we really do have a bumper crop this year.

Edit: 25 Sept 2013

As widely predicted the first YBW's of the autumn arrived in Lothian this morning with light easterlies and drizzle. A total of eight birds have been reported from all the usual locations as far as I know making today the best single day to see Yellow-browed Warbler in Lothian. I managed to avoid them despite several hours after work in Torness, Thorntonloch and Skateraw... I think that the clear skies and sun later on encouraged the birds to head off as soon as possible.

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