Once more we look in our birding crystal ball and make a (sort of) educated guess about which extreme rarities may turn up during the month. We may be wrong, but then again…
AMERICAN PURPLE GALLINULE
There have been only three of these North American relatives of our Moorhen ever recorded in the UK. One was moribund, the other two found already dead. So, it is not a bird which takes to crossing the Atlantic with gusto and in good health. The last was in 2011, in Devon at the end of January.
The year 2015 was a bumper year for this cracking duck from the far north, with two long-staying individuals in northern Scotland. The Aberdeen individual appeared in January and the Brora, Sutherland, duck in midfebruary. All recent records were from Scotland, but who knows where the next will turn up.
With only 44 accepted records, the Pied-billed remains a very rare bird. But in recent years it has come to be just about annual and expected. Most records are from Scotland, especially the Hebrides. But there have been recent long-stayers in Lancashire and Somerset. Pied-billed Grebes can turn up anywhere!
HOW DID WE DO? PACIFIC DIVER
What is presumably the returning adult was once again in the Penzance/mount's Bay area of Cornwall, sometimes in the company of Great Northern Divers in the second half of December into January.