This year Teifi Marshes appears to have witnessed a welcome increase in its population of Cetti’s warblers. A small dark brown warbler with short wings and a pale eye stripe, quite similar in profile to a large wren, the Cetti’s warbler loves to hide in the thick scrub we have allowed to become established alongside the reed beds at the reserve. This warbler is difficult to see and mainly reveals itself through sudden, short explosive bursts of song.
Originally a resident of southern Europe and the Mediterranean, it is a relatively recent addition to the breeding bird population of the UK. It first bred in Kent in 1972, and thereafter colonised a number of marsh and reed bed habitats in southern Britain. More recently they have moved northwards, with breeding colonies recently established in Nottinginhamshire for example.
Happily the Cetti’s warbler’s joyous bursts of song are a distinctive theme at Teifi Marshes this summer. Last year’s population was estimated at only 2 singing birds, but, as Richard Dobbins of the Teifi Ringing Group confirms, there appear to be 7-8 singing birds present this summer. Richard has caught Cetti’s warblers previously ringed in England over the last 18 months, as have bird ringing groups in south Pembrokeshire. He surmises that we may well have an increased population, through improved survival rates, immigration and an increase in the size of the gene pool.
This good news certainly makes it an excellent time to visit Teifi for a taste of the Mediterranean!