On Thursday, 19 September, Giles Pepler and Ian Spence had set up for a ringing session at the Rhydymwyn NR. In the first round, from a net that is a fair way from the small wetland area, Giles extracted a small bird and said nothing about it. When we were ringing the birds from that round it became clear that the bird in question was a Cetti’s Warbler, a species that Giles had not ringed for about 40 years, his last at Radipole Lake, Weymouth. As far as we know, this is the first record of Cetti’s Warbler at the reserve. If it had been there previously and had been singing it would have been noted as its explosive song is so distinctive. The bird was an adult and we hope that it will be able to attract a mate as the habitat at Rhydymwyn, around the wetland would probably be suitable.
The other sites from which Cetti’s Warbler have been recorded are RSPB Conwy, Gronant dunes, Shotton Steelworks (where several have been ringed by Merseyside Ringing Group) and the adjacent Shotton Paper Mill. Another site is on the Afon Conwy, just 4 km south of RSPB Conwy, but to the west of the river so outside NE Wales. This record at Rhydymwyn is the first, inland, record from a site that is not near the sea or a major river. I understand that the species is spreading in Cheshire but I don’t yet know if it is associated with meres or other wetland habitat.
Words and photos by Ian M Spence.