RAR­ITY PREDICTOR

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your Birding Month -

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.

BUFF-BEL­LIED PIPIT

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.

BAL­TI­MORE ORIOLE

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!

SO­CIA­BLE LAPWING

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.

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