Warbler sighting is first for England, experts say

Bird watchers have been arriving on the Isles of Scilly after a rare sighting of a small songbird from across the Atlantic.

The Cape May warbler is thought to have been blown off course by a storm on its migration south to the Caribbean from its natural habitat in North America.

It is the first sighting of the species in England and only the third in the UK, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) said.

It said the bird was among a number of American warblers which have been put off course by Atlantic storms this year.

'Lack of experience'

The sighting of the Cape May warbler on the island of Bryher has attracted at least 20 bird watchers, known as twitchers.

The bird, a female less than a year old, is among a surge of American warblers in the UK, said Nick Moran from the BTO.

"This autumn has seen an unusually high number of American songbirds because of the fast moving storms," he said.

Among the arrivals have been three black and white warblers at Bardsey Island off Wales.

The first UK sighting of a Canada warbler had been made in Pembrokeshire and a bay-breasted warbler had been seen on Ramsey Island off Wales.

Two magnolia warblers had been spotted in Pembrokeshire and Glamorgan.

"Many of these arrived on Storm Babet," said Mr Moran.

A male Cape May warbler was also seen off the Republic of Ireland in September.

Mr Moran said the young female on the Isles of Scilly may have been blown off course because of its lack of experience and strength.

"It would be a bit more prone to coming across," he said.

The Isles of Scilly, off the western tip of England, have seen a number of errant American birds in the past, including a Blackburnian warbler in October 2022.

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