Once again we try to predict the unpredictable, with a stab at guessing which very rare birds will be the next big thing to hit the headlines. Here are our shouts for December, and any we may have lucked upon over the last couple of months.
Over the last decade, the rare Buff-bellied Pipit (43 accepted records) has been increasing as a vagrant to the UK, with 2012 being a particularly good year. However, this trend has come to a bit of a halt over the last couple of years. Though often thought of as an autumn vagrant, a few records have occurred in December and some birds have proved very hardy, lingering well into January.
There have been just 25 accepted records of this colourful North American icterid. Three of these birds have occurred during December, all outliers from the usual distribution of birds on Scottish islands or Scilly and the South West. They were in Warwickshire (1968), Essex (1991) and a popular bird in Oxfordshire (2003). It is time for a repeat!
The Sociable Lapwing is a much-declined species, globally, and what was once a rare vagrant (43 accepted records) has become much rarer in recent years. A quarter of all the occurrences have occurred during December, so this is not a bad time to be searching Lapwing flocks for the 44th British Sociable Lapwing.
HOW DID WE DO? DUSKY THRUSH
A Dusky Thrush (November BW ) was found on St Mary’s Scilly on 26 October.