Early Wakefield warbler could be a first for Yorkshire

A reed warbler. Picture: John Gardner
A reed warbler. Picture: John Gardner

A reed warbler spotted in Wakefield this week could be the earliest spring record for Yorkshire.

The migrant dropped into Calder Wetlands, near Pugneys Country Park, on Sunday.

John Gardner, president of Wakefield Naturalists’ Society, said: “The mild spring weather and southerly breezes of late has brought an influx of spring migrants with chiffchaff, willow warbler, wheatear and even swallow all being seen in Wakefield this past week or so.

“These are all the usual suspects for an early arrival but what has been of more interest to local birdwatchers is the early arrival of a reed warbler on April 6 at Calder Wetlands, just behind the Swan & Cygnet pub on Denby Dale Road.

“Reed warblers are a fairly nondescript bird, a little brown job as birders are apt to call them, spending the winter months in sub-Saharan Africa but head north to Europe in the Spring to breed deep in our reedbeds.

“Although it is possible to see reed warblers quite readily in the reedbeds around Wakefield, they are very much a secretive bird and prefer to sing from deep within the reeds.

“For such a small bird they have a great vocal range, a loud voice and they are easily recognised by their slow chattering song but they are also great mimics too.” “What makes this record unusual is that it is a couple of weeks early and could well be the earliest ever spring record in Yorkshire. Although he might have to wait a week or so for a mate, he will certainly get the pick of the reedbeds to set up territory.”

For more spring sightings please visit the Wakefield Naturalists’ Society website at www.wakefieldnaturalists.org