After a message on Ornitho.de – an portal for internet sightings – I visited the city of Bad Vilbel – a suburb called Massenheim- in the lower Wetterau about 20 km north from Frankfurt city. There, the reported Melodious Warbler (Hippolais polyglotta) could be discovered singing. Bird-lens was ablte to shoot some photo documents.
The slowly eastward spreading bird is increasingly present in western Germany. The Melodious Warbler normally arrives in the northern part of the distribution area in mid-April and settles preferably in young successional stages. This warbler prefers dense vegetation with broom, blackberries, hawthorn and rosehip. These plants can be found on wasteland, former clearcuts, fallow vineyards, gravel pits, sand pits and windthrow areas in forests. The species is probably thermophile and is usually located not higher than 300 m abs (above sea level). The best time to search for an occurrence of the bird in Germany is from early May to late June. The evidence now – the end of May – is therefore already quite late, which could have to do with the long winter and the late return of many migratory birds from their wintering grounds.
The above mentioned description of the habitat fits perfectly on the found area. A former brickworks adjacent to gardens of a quite new housing estate. And blackberries, shrubs such as blackthorn and hawthorn and soft woods such as willow dominate the higher vegetation. The bird sang on the day around 12:00 all the time and could eventually seen and photographed up first in a pasture, then quite exposed on a hawthorn branch.
The Melodious Warbler occurs in Germany in the states of Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Baden-Wuerttemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia and obviously is spreading to the north-east.
First, the Saarland was settled. Melodious Warbler are recorded nesting since 1984 in the Saarland. Currently not only in traditional areas which are climatically favored as the Blies and the Saar Valley, but increasingly in the central and northern Saarland, too. In 2004 this Warbler was well represented Art in the Saarland. The estimation of current breeding pairs is at around 500 breeding pairs.
The first Hessian Melodious Warbler is said to have sung in 1992 in the central botanical garden on the Marburg Lahn hills. Birds of this species are still recorded in that area. Thus on May, 27th at Weimar-Kehna. Much more reliable are recordings near Frankfurt in the the central Rhine Valley. A example is a sandpit near Ingelheim which is almost a traditional site for some years. But in general the occurrence in the central Rhine Valley between Ruedesheim and Eltville is still quite unstable and limited in number. Up-to-date Information about current sightings you can find under www.ornitho.de (search for the birdname) or under www.naturgucker.de