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Sedge Warbler in Dorset: what your tweets tell us ...

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  • A common species of reed beds in summer but more often heard than seen.



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Whilst the sedge warbler is a summer breeding visitor to Dorset a significant number of the reports of this species are of those on passage to elsewhere in Britain to breed. As with many summer migrants they arrive over a short period of time generating a peak in reports but the outward journey is spread over a much longer period and so it becomes less obvious to detect from the number of reports. The names of most, not all, warblers are fairly descriptive of their preferred habitat or of their appearance and this is so with the sedge warbler as they nest in deep sedge or reed beds and as Dorset has a number of reed beds the sedge warbler is not uncommon in the locations where suitable habitat exists. Birds seen elsewhere will, in general, be passage migrants.

The twitter reports would suggest that the sedge warbler arrivals begin quite early in spring in week 12 in late March but the peak for arrivals is between weeks 16 and 19 in April. By early May they are back on their patch and singing in territories and this is when they are most evident as a breeding species. Once their chicks hatch the singing stops and the frantic feeding of young deep in the reed bed starts and so reports tail off and so there are few records between week 23 and week 28 in June and July. Autumn migration south to Africa seems to start around week 29 and continues with the latest report we have being in week 39 in late September but most seem to go in August.

There are records from thirty nine sites in Dorset and the bulk are from river, lake or harbour locations where there are reedbeds; not always large reed beds but size does not seem to be a criteria for the sedge warbler. Given there are few, if any, reed beds on Portland it may seem surprising that Portland produces the most records but it seems Portland is a popular landing point for incoming birds and many are ringed at Portland Bird Observatory each year.

Ticking off sedge warbler on your Dorset list should be quite easy if you visit any reed bed in May where you will hear the sedge warbler's grating song coming from within the reeds.


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This chart shows the number of reports per week for this species where there are reports (see note below):

The intention of this chart is to show which weeks during the year this species is most likely to be seen. See note above about multiple reports of a single specimen!

This chart shows the number of reports per month for this species where there are reports (see note below):

The intention of this chart is to show which months during the year this species is most likely to be seen. Remember that is is the total number of REPORTS; there may be several reports for just one occurrence of the species (that is to say, a number of individuals may have been to see a single specimen of a species).

This chart shows the number of reports for each year for this species where there are reports (see note below):

Contributors to the Nature of Dorset have seen this species at these locations:

Please note that the markers show APPROXIMATE locations of the observation, not exact locations! You can find often find out more information about location by looking at the original tweet. Click on any marker to see the name of the location and then click on the location name to see more details about the site where available.

This chart shows the number of reports per site for this species. Hover over any column to see the site and the number of reports:

Ckick/tap the list icon for an alphabetical list of all the posts in this series from where you can access any that are of interest to you

Name Peter Orchard
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Twitter Screen Name peterorchardnod
Location Wareham, Dorset, UK

This is a feed of contributions to my main website; the Nature of Dorset. My 'high five' are the five most interesting species from my walks in Dorset somewhere

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