Rarity round-up

Three new birds to the UK in­cluded a much-an­tic­i­pated Siberian vis­i­tor, re­ports Lee Evans

Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents - COM­PILED BY: LEE EVANS

Lee Evans re­views the rare birds seen in the UK and Ire­land through­out Septem­ber

SEPTEM­BER SAW A del­uge of rar­i­ties, with Ire­land con­tin­u­ing to ex­cel and the North­ern Isles of Scot­land tak­ing a full hit. Records were be­ing bro­ken, with the to­tal num­ber of species recorded com­bined breach­ing 340, al­most as many as were recorded in the whole of 2015. An in­cred­i­ble three new birds for the UK have ap­peared in the last month. The most re­cent was a mag­nif­i­cent Siberian Ac­cen­tor on Shet­land found in early Oc­to­ber (more on this next month). The other two were Red-footed Booby and Eastern King­bird, both in Septem­ber. The adult brown-morph, white-tailed Red-footed Booby came hard on the heels of last month’s Ir­ish Brown Booby. This in­di­vid­ual was seem­ingly mori­bund, be­ing picked up on a St Leonards Beach, near Hast­ings (East Sus­sex), af­ter be­ing watched for a cou­ple of hours at very close range on 4th. It was taken to a lo­cal an­i­mal hos­pi­tal, then the RSPCA Cen­tre at Mal­ly­dams, where it rea­son­ably quickly made a re­cov­ery. It re­mained in care at the cen­tre into Oc­to­ber. This Caribbean species has re­cently colonised Cape Verde. With a highly volatile hur­ri­cane sea­son in full swing and a jet­stream mak­ing a di­rect bee­line for the Outer Hebrides and Shet­land, it came as no sur­prise that the first of the Nearc­tic passer­ines would ar­rive, her­alded by a first-win­ter Yel­low- billed Cuckoo that spent a day in a South Dell gar­den, just south of Ness, at the far north-west of the is­land of Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 28th. Al­though not seen next day, its oc­cur­rence was eclipsed later that af­ter­noon, when the is­land of Barra (Outer Hebrides) hit back with the UK’S first-ever Eastern King­bird at Eoli­garry, show­ing well sal­ly­ing af­ter in­sects in a shel­tered gar­den op­po­site the church­yard. This third for Bri­tain and Ire­land con­tin­ued to show well up un­til dusk and for much of the fol­low­ing day, be­fore fly­ing high north to South Uist, where it was re­lo­cated on South Uist on 2nd Oc­to­ber. Again, its reap­pear­ance was brief, the bird fly­ing off high to the north early af­ter­noon. Also as­so­ci­ated with this ar­rival were a cou­ple of Swain­son’s Thrushes (sin­gles on Tiree on 23rd and on South Uist on 23rd-24th), a Rose-breasted Gros­beak at Fir­keel, Garin­ish (Co. Cork) from 29th, four Red-eyed Vireos (in­clud­ing two in Ire­land and two on St Agnes from 26th) and Scilly’s fifth Cliff Swal­low at Porthel­lick Pool, St Mary’s, from 6th-10th. Scot­land also saw the first-ever Septem­ber Brün­nich’s Guille­mot ap­pear­ance, with a sickly first-sum­mer swim­ming close in­shore of the pier at An­struther Har­bour (Fife) from at least 25th (pos­si­bly 8th) which was found dead on 30th. Septem­ber also saw an un­prece­dented in­va­sion

of Yel­low-browed War­blers from mid-month, in­volv­ing at least 1,200 in­di­vid­u­als. Al­though the ma­jor­ity were recorded in the North­ern Isles, a mam­moth 137 made land­fall in the Flam­bor­ough/ Bemp­ton area (East Yorks) on 21st. A sea­watch from Cape Clear Is­land (Co. Cork) on 3rd re­sulted in the pas­sage of no fewer than 2,243 Great Shear­wa­ters and 725 Cory’s Shear­wa­ters past as well as a Fea’s Pe­trel, while equally ex­cep­tional was a Cory’s Shear­wa­ter that flew south-west over Re­gent’s Park (Cen­tral London) on 15th. A fur­ther Fea’s flew past Pen­deen Watch­point (Corn­wall) on 3rd, while Wil­son’s Pe­trels in­cluded late sin­gles from the Scilly Pe­lag­ics on 1st and 5th, two from a Gal­ley Head (Co. Cork) pelagic on 6th and an­other off Bran­don Point (Co. Kerry) on 16th. About 60 Leach’s Pe­trels were noted, in­clud­ing a first-year at Queen Mother Reser­voir (Berks) on 10th. About eight Cat­tle Egrets re­mained from Au­gust with those in the Dun­geness RSPB area (Kent) and Marsh­side Marsh RSPB (Lancs) all month, with 40 or more Great White Egrets, in­clud­ing 19 in Avon/ Som­er­set. A long-stay­ing ju­ve­nile Pur­ple Heron re­mained at Ot­moor RSPB (Oxon). A Black Stork was over Port­land (Dorset) on 7th and at Road­ford Reser­voir (Devon) next day. Up to a dozen Glossy Ibis were seen. In­trigu­ingly, there was a flock of 24 Snow Geese at Banks Marsh, South­port (Lancs) from 25th Au­gust to 9th, in­clud­ing a sin­gle ju­ve­nile and pre­sum­ably part of a post-moult­ing dis­per­sal from the Ger­man/dutch bor­der pop­u­la­tion. The drake Black Duck re­mained at Stron­tian (High­land) through­out; with a drake Amer­i­can Wi­geon at Coss­ing­ton Mead­ows (Le­ics) from 8th-22nd and a drake Fer­rug­i­nous Duck of un­known ori­gin at Brent Reser­voir (London) from 20th-30th. Septem­ber saw an­other in­flux of Pal­lid Har­ri­ers, with as many as 10 recorded, in­clud­ing one or two on Shet­land’s south Main­land. Ire­land saw yet an­other Semi­pal­mated Plover record, while a ju­ve­nile Ken­tish Plover en­ter­tained those at Spurn (East Yorks) on 10th. Pa­cific Golden Plovers were iden­ti­fied on Tiree (Ar­gyll) on 1st-3rd and on In­ner Farne (Northum­ber­land) on 13th; with at least a dozen Amer­i­can Golden Plovers recorded, mostly in Ire­land. There were seven Tem­minck’s Stints, the long-stay­ing Hud­so­nian Whim­brel in Boat Cove, Per­ranuth­noe (Corn­wall) all month, and a Great Snipe on Fair Isle (Shet­land) from 16th-20th and on the Out Sk­er­ries (Shet­land) on 27th. An ex­cep­tional in­flux of Baird’s Sand­pipers in­cluded at least nine in Ire­land and sin­gles at Bois­dale, South Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 7th, Up­ton War­ren NR (Worcs) from 9th-16th, Seafield (Loth­ian) on 17th, on the Gan­nel Es­tu­ary, Newquay (Corn­wall) from 25th-30th and at Boul­mer Beach (Northum­ber­land) from 30th. There were sin­gle White-rumped Sand­pipers at Fi­ley Brigg (North Yorks) from 8th-10th and at Pen­ning­ton Marshes (Hants) from 19th-24th. It has been an ex­cel­lent au­tumn for Semi­pal­mated Sand­pipers, par­tic­u­larly in Ire­land, with up to five to­gether at Tacumshin (Co. Wex­ford). A ju­ve­nile Western Sand­piper was at Aird an Ru­nair beach, Bal­ranald RSPB (Outer Hebrides) from 31st Au­gust to 3rd. The big­gest in­flux of ju­ve­nile Buff-breasted Sand­pipers for years, with 28 birds seen, in­cluded five on Tiree, four on Scilly and con­fid­ing birds at Marazion Beach and David­stow Air­field, Corn­wall. There were 23 Pec­toral Sand­pipers. Lesser Yel­lowlegs were well above av­er­age in num­ber, with five in Ire­land and sin­gles at sev­eral Bri­tish sites. Two ‘new’ Long-billed Dow­itch­ers were in Ire­land and two Red-necked Phalaropes of at Dun­geness ARC Pit (Kent) on 2nd-3rd and Thor­ney Lit­tle Deep (West Sus­sex) from 5th-12th. The reg­u­lar adult Azorean At­lantic Gull roosted reg­u­larly at ei­ther Stan­wick GP (Northants) or Grafham Water (Cambs) with at least two ad­di­tional birds in Ire­land, while in­land Sabine’s

Gulls in­volved an adult at El­ton Hall Flash, Sand­bach (Cheshire) on 5th and ju­ve­nile at Queen Mother Reser­voir (Berks) on 20th and Up­ton War­ren NR (Worcs) on 21st-22nd. An adult Franklin’s Gull re­mained at Whit­tle Dene Reser­voir (Northum­ber­land) from 16th-20th, with the adult Forster’s Tern in Co. Louth through­out, a ju­ve­nile Whiskered Tern at Col­lege/ Ar­gal Reser­voirs, Fal­mouth (Corn­wall) from 14th-18th and White-winged Black Terns at Rish­ton Reser­voir (Lancs) on 4th, on the River Thames in the Cliffe/east Til­bury area (Kent/es­sex) on 5th-8th, off Mude­ford Quay, Christchurch (Dorset) on 6th, South Gare (Cleve­land) on 7th and Cars­ing­ton Water (Der­byshire) on 12th. Of half a dozen Hoopoes, pop­u­lar ones in­cluded sin­gles on Shet­land at Easter Quarff from 26th30th and in north Nor­folk at Bran­caster Golf Course from 20th-28th. Some 38 Wry­necks were noted (mostly in the South West). There were six Short-toed Larks, Tawny Pip­its at Dun­geness Beach on 11th, Eas­ing­ton Gas Ter­mi­nal (East Yorks) on 11th, Titch­well Marsh RSPB (Nor­folk) on 12th and at Ex­mouth (Devon) on 20th; sev­eral early Richard’s Pip­its; four Red-throated Pip­its (mostly on is­lands) and Citrine Wag­tails at Long­town on the River Esk (Cum­bria) on 3rd-4th, Fair Isle on 13th (two), St Agnes on 14th and on Ben­bec­ula (Outer Hebrides) on 26th. A showy Thrush Nightin­gale spent the day on Holy Is­land (Northum­ber­land) on 18th, with seven Bluethroats recorded (mostly on Shet­land) and a very early one or two Red-flanked Blue­tails at East Hills, Wells-next-the-sea (Nor­folk) on 18th. There was a paucity of Barred War­bler sight­ings, with just 17 re­ported, the odd Subalpine War­bler, an Aquatic War­bler in Lytch­ett Bay (Dorset) on 1st, early Lance­o­lated War­blers on Fair Isle on 13th, 21st and 26th and near Sum­burgh on 26th, and a Pal­las’s Grasshop­per War­bler trapped and ringed at Kew, Kilnsea (East Yorks) on 16th. There was an ex­cel­lent crop of Blyth’s Reed War­blers on Shet­land, in­volv­ing at least eight in­di­vid­u­als; Pad­dy­field War­blers at Nan­quidno (Corn­wall) on 7th and on Fair Isle on 28th; a Great Reed War­bler on Shet­land on 22nd; 18 Ic­ter­ine War­blers; eight Melo­di­ous War­blers in­clud­ing two long-stay­ing birds on Bard­sey Is­land (Gwynedd). Booted War­blers were on Shet­land at Sum­burgh Farm on 3rd and 9th-12th, Fair Isle on 4th-9th, Noss on 7th-11th, Melby on 9th and at Fun­zie, Fet­lar on 10th. Western Bonelli’s War­blers were at Gal­ley Head (Co. Cork) on 15th-17th and at Water­mill Cove, St Mary’s (Scilly) on 24th-27th. An early Dusky War­bler was at Bur­rafirth, Unst (Shet­land) on 28th, and an early Radde’s War­bler on Unst on 29th-30th. Arc­tic War­blers ap­peared on San­day (Orkney) on 3rd, at Va­lyie, Unst, on 3rd-7th, East Hills, Wells (Nor­folk) on 15th-16th, Land­guard NR (Suf­folk) on 20th, Hoswick (Shet­land) on 23rd-28th, Ham, Foula (Shet­land) on 27th-29th and Frakkafield (Shet­land) on 28th. At least nine Green­ish War­blers and up­wards of 2,000 Yel­low-browed War­blers fol­lowed the first ar­rivals, ex­cep­tion­ally early in the month. Red-breasted Fly­catch­ers were well rep­re­sented, with 33 noted, 17 Red-backed Shrikes, a very early Is­abelline Shrike on Foula from 17th-20th and ju­ve­nile Wood­chat Shrikes in the Lyth Val­ley (Cum­bria) on 4th-5th, Wyke Regis (Dorset) on 11th, Tresco Heli­port (Scilly) on 16th-19th and at South Ef­ford Marsh, Ave­ton Gif­ford (South Devon) from 24th-30th. Most un­ex­pected was a white-ringed ju­ve­nile Lesser Grey Shrike from a Span­ish rein­tro­duc­tion scheme in Northum­ber­land at the Long Nanny Burn from 13th-15th, while an ex­cep­tion­ally con­fid­ing adult re­mained at Jen­ny­cliff Slope, Mount Bat­ten, Ply­mouth (Devon) from 19th-27th. Some 15 ju­ve­nile Rose-coloured Star­lings were recorded, a Horne­mann’s Arc­tic Red­poll on Unst on 28th-30th, 25 plus Lit­tle Bunt­ings, a Rus­tic Bunt­ing on Papa Westray (Orkney) on 9th, 23 Or­tolan Bunt­ings and an im­ma­ture/fe­male Black-headed Bunt­ing at Haroldswick, Unst on 17th.

Siberian Ac­cen­tor, Scous­burgh, Main­land, Shet­land, 9 Oc­to­ber

Lee Evans is the UK’S most well-known and fa­nat­i­cal ‘twitcher’, hav­ing recorded 588 species in Bri­tain and Ire­land, 863 in the wider Western Palearc­tic and 386 in just one cal­en­dar year in the UK. He has writ­ten many or­nitho­log­i­cal pub­li­ca­tions and runs nu­mer­ous bird­ing tours through­out the year, in­clud­ing cus­tom-led trips. Visit bbabird­ing.blogspot.co.uk and uk400­clu­brarebirdalert.blogspot.co.uk

ABOVE (LEFT TO RIGHT) Eastern Crowned War­bler, Bemp­ton Cliffs, East York­shire, 6 Oc­to­ber

White-rumped Sand­piper, Fi­ley Brigg, East York­shire, 8 Septem­ber

ABOVE (CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT) Eastern King­bird, Barra, Outer Hebrides, 30 Septem­ber.

Brün­nich’s Guille­mot, An­struther, Fife, Septem­ber

Bairds Sand­piper and Lap­wing, Up­ton War­ren, Worces­ter­shire, 11 Septem­ber

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