High Weald

willow_warblerThe Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) makes its return from West Africa to spend the spring and summer in the UK to breed and raise their young before leaving again in August.

This tiny warbler has greenish-brown upper parts, buff underparts and with a pale stripe above the eye. The Willow Warbler is more yellow, and often (but not always) has paler legs than the Chiffchaff. The bill is pale brown and the legs are dark brown to flesh-coloured.

Closer inspection and a keen eye reveal that Willow Warblers also have longer wings and no eye-ring. Often mistaken for its relative, the Chiffchaff, the song is the main difference. The Willow Warbler song is a melodic rippling phrase that rises quickly before slowly dying away.

Willow Warblers have been placed on the Amber list because of conservation concern and although its decline is mainly due to the deterioration of its wintering grounds in Africa, changes in the management of woodland fringes in the UK are also blamed.

Willow warblers may be seen anywhere with open scrubby woodlands with small trees and ground cover for nesting, including most importantly birch, alder, and willow habitats. They will benefit in the High Weald from management plan objectives to enhance the ecology of woodlands.