Subalpine Warbler

Sylvia cantillans

(p.209)

All new records

2007

Update

11, 19 & 20 Apr – The record of a male in Millcombe (A. Jayne, J.W. Leonard et al.) was accepted by DBRC and constitutes the 13th record for Lundy. The sightings are presumed to refer to a single individual, though the possibility that two birds were involved cannot be entirely discounted.

2010

New record

9 Jun – A female, thought to be in its second calendar year, was watched and photographed in the clumps of gorse just west of the main track gate near Quarter Wall Pond on 9 Jun (D. Spittle). Record accepted by DBRC; the 14th occurrence for Lundy.

2011

New record

24 Apr – An apparently adult male of the western race S. c. cantillans was seen at Quarter Wall on 24 Apr (K. Rylands). Record accepted by DBRC; the 15th Lundy Record.

2012

New record

30 May to 2 Jun – Two second calendar-year males were mist-netted (one just outside Brambles, the other in the willow scrub in St John’s Valley) and ringed within a short time of each other during the morning of 30 May (Paul James, Rob Skeates et al.). One was later relocated in Millcombe, on the south side of The Ugly (Chris Baillie et al.) and in the same general area on 1 & 2 Jun (Grant & Michaela Cozens et al.). Records accepted by DBRC; the 16th & 17th records for Lundy.

Male Subalpine Warbler, Millcombe,
30 May 2012 © Paul James

2017

New record

13 May – A male Eastern Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans was on the side of the Ugly near the top of the ‘Steps of Doom’ (Dean Jones). Record accepted as an unraced individual by BBRC. The 18th reecord for Lundy.

2019

New records

22 Apr – A second calendar-year male Eastern Subalpine Warbler of the race Sylvia c. cantillans was trapped and ringed in Millcombe (Rob Duncan, David Kightley, Dean Jones). Sub-specific identification confirmed by DNA analysis.

30 Apr – A second calendar-year female Eastern Subalpine Warbler of the race Sylvia c. albistriata was seen on the flanks of the Ugly near Millcombe House, then trapped and ringed in Millcombe walled gardens shortly afterwards. Sub-specific identification confirmed by DNA analysis (Rob Duncan, Tim Jones et al.).

1 & 5 May – A second calendar-year male Western Subalpine Warbler Sylvia inornata was trapped and ringed in Millcombe (Rob Duncan, David Kightley et al.). It was subsequently resighted in Millcombe on 5th. Initial identification confirmed by DNA analysis.

6 May – A second calendar-year male Eastern Subalpine Warbler of the race Sylvia c. albistriata was seen feeding in sycamores below Brambles, then trapped and ringed in Millcombe walled gardens shortly afterwards (Rob Duncan, Tim Jones, David Kightley et al.). Initial identification confirmed by DNA analysis.

11 May – A second calendar-year female Eastern Subalpine Warbler of the race Sylvia c. albistriata was trapped and ringed in Millcombe (Rob Duncan, Dean Jones, David Kightley). Sub-specific identification confirmed by DNA analysis.

The unprecented occurrence of five individuals within three weeks comprises the 19th to 23rd records for Lundy, or nearly one-quarter all the Subalpine Warblers ever recorded on the island! Records accepted by BBRC.

The official British List maintained by the BOU, and followed here, currently includes Subalpine Warbler as a single species S. cantillans. BBRC, however, distinguishes Eastern Subalpine Warbler and Western Subalpine Warbler. Following an international review published shortly before this report was finalised, it is likely that Eastern Subalpine Warbler (S. c. cantillans and S. c. albistriata) and Western Subalpine Warbler (S. iberiae) will soon be formally recognised as separate species within the British List.

 

For the latest sightings and photos of birds on Lundy visit the Lundy Birds blog