By Andrew Easton

Yellow-browed Warbler yearly totals

Yellow-browed Warbler - Lowestoft  Nov2000 - Andrew Easton

The Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus was added to the Lowestoft list as recently as the 20th October 1981 when the late Brian Brown discovered one feeding in Sycamores Acer pseudoplatanus in Kensington Gardens, it stayed until the 22nd. I well remember cycling from Gunton to see it on the first evening. Amazingly for what is now considered more of a scarce migrant this was only the fifth to be recorded in the County of Suffolk. The first had been seen at Southwold September 3rd 1910, the next was at Aldringham September 12th 1915. There then followed a long blank period until one was at Minsmere October 2nd 1961, and the fourth one was also at Minsmere October 5th 1968.

Since 1981, as can be seen from the chart above this species has been seen rather more frequently, with at least 54 being seen in this 21 year period, and has been seen annually since 1987. To what degree increased observer knowledge and coverage is responsible for this as opposed to possible population increases and/or changes breeding/wintering ranges is unknown, but it must have played a fairly large part. The species has been recorded in the Lowestoft area between September 17th and November 21st, and the chart below shows the cumulative totals for each date in this period. The best areas have been between Warrenhouse Wood and Arnolds Walk.

Yellow-browed Warbler dates 1981-2001

Although the sample size is rather small, and is skewed slightly by the bumper year of 1988 the chart above gives you some idea of the most likely dates you may expect to find one. The prime time for us is between mid-September and the end of the third week of October.

In the first ten year period between 1981 and 1990 inclusive, 24 Yellow-browed Warblers were found in the Lowestoft area between September 17th and October 23rd.

Yellow-browed Warbler dates 1981-1990

Yellow-browed Warbler dates 1991-2000

In the next ten year period between 1991 and 2000 inclusive the total seen was also 24. These fell within the date range September 24th to November 21st. Most of the November dates refer to year 2000 records.

In 2001 the earliest arrival date was September 20th and the last date was October 23rd.

Pallas's Warbler yearly totals

Pallas's Warbler - Lowestoft - Tim BrownLowestoft had to wait until 1987 before receiving it's first visit from a Pallas's Warbler P. proregulus. In the fifteen year period since then a total of around 25 have been found in the area between Kessingland and Corton, and it remains probably the most sought after highlight of each autumn.
Since 1987 there have been only four blank years, the most recent one rather unexpectedly in 2001, as it had been recorded annually since 1993 and 2001 had already produced six Yellow-browed Warblers. Favoured sites have been the Arnolds Walk to Flycatcher Lane area (particularly the Sparrows Nest and Belle Vue Parks) and the disused railway line next to Lowestoft Cemetery where up to three together have been found.

Pallas's Warbler 1987-2001 dates

The species has been recorded in the Lowestoft area between October 18th and December 13th, and the chart above records the cumulative totals of Pallas's Warbler present on each date in this period. One bird at Belle Vue Park in 1995 was responsible for the December dates. Not quite the latest County record, that accolade goes to one at Felixstowe on December 23rd 1987.

Pallas's & Yellow-browed Warbler dates comparison

The two species have been seen together in Lowestoft very occasionally, but the overlap period locally has been fairly restricted as can be seen above. Hopefully we will be treated to the presence of both these delightful birds in the 2002 season.

Payn, W.H. The Birds of Suffolk. (2nd Edition). 1978. Ancient House Publishing.
The Suffolk Bird Report 1981-1999