Category
A
Status
Vagrant
Breeding status
First Record
1959
Last Recorded
1996

Bluethroat Luscinia svecica


Bluethroat photographed at Claire Mare [CLA] on 3/9/2011. Photo: © Christopher Mourant
  Bluethroat photographed at Claire Mare [CLA] on 3/9/2011 Photo: © Christopher Mourant (visit site)

Despite being a regular migrant in Britain and in France, the Bluethroat is a very rare autumn migrant to the Bailiwick. After the first Guernsey record from Lihou in 1959, there was a gap of 5 years until the next record in 1965. During the period between 1965 and 1974, there was a series of 14 records and the Bluethroat was an almost annual migrant. There have only been 5 records isince, two in 1979 and one in 1989,1993 and 1996. The recent sightings show that the Bluethroat is now a very rare autumn vagrant to the island. The Bluethroat has also been recorded on Sark, where it is also a rare migrant (Rountree), and also the Casquets in 1976 (Conder).

The majority of birds are seen from the end of August and throughout September. There is a very early record of a bird at Pleinmont on 31 July 1996. Surprisingly, there have been no spring records.

The sites at which birds have been seen are typical of the species. They tend to be in reedbeds or scrub, especially near marshes. A number of birds have been discovered by ringers operating in marshes such as the St Sampson's Marais. Five birds were ringed there between1966 and 1968. Ringing stopped there in the mid-seventies and it may be that the habitat was particularly suitable for migrant Bluethroats, hence the decline in records since then. The suitability of marshes also declined throughout the 1970 and 1980s through poor management and drainage and it was not until the mid-1980s that wetlands in Guernsey started to be restored. Even so, the recent records have been from coastal headlands such as Pleinmont and Pulias. Given the skulking nature of this species it may well be an annual migrant which is missed.



View all photos (1)
Bluethroat photographed at Claire Mare [CLA] on 3/9/2011. Photo: © Christopher Mourant
Bluethroat photographed at Claire Mare [CLA] on 3/9/2011. Photo: © Christopher Mourant (visit site)



View database records (5)
Bluethroat Pleinmont 18/9/1993 1
Bluethroat Pulias 31/7/1996 1
Bluethroat Claire Mare [CLA] 3/9/2011 1
Bluethroat Claire Mare [CLA] 3/9/2011 1
Bluethroat (Red-spotted) Claire Mare [CLA] 3/9/2011 1