RAR­ITY PRE­DIC­TOR

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your Birding Month -

Once more we look into our bird­ing crys­tal ball and make out­ra­geous (and not so out­ra­geous) guesses as to which rare bird will be grab­bing the head­lines this month.

BELTED KING­FISHER

In 2005, many bird­ers thought an April Fool’s prank was be­ing played when a Belted King­fisher was re­ported on 1 April at Mil­ford Stafford­shire. But it was a gen­uine bird, though it did not hang around for long, in­stead turn­ing up the next day at Eas­tring­ton, East York­shire and then on 5 April at Peter­cul­ter, Aberdeen­shire (stay­ing to 9th). On 22 April 2016 an­other Belted King­fisher was re­ported on River Bann, Lon­don­derry, Col­eraine. How about an­other one of these mighty North Amer­i­can king­fish­ers ap­pear­ing this month?

CRETZSCHMAR’S BUNT­ING

With only six ac­cepted UK records, this one is a bit of a long shot. That said, the 2014 in­di­vid­ual on Fair Isle, Shet­land, was first found on 27 April (stay­ing to 2 May). Cretzschmar’s Buntings are like the blue-grey-headed, or­ange-mous­tached south-east­ern Mediter­ranean equiv­a­lent of the Or­tolan Bunt­ing.

CRESTED LARK

Of the 24 Crested Larks which have oc­curred in the UK, four have been found in April (though one of these was back in 1879, be­fore even Bird Watch­ing was launched). The most re­cent April record was at Dun­geness, Kent, on 27 April to 4 May, 2009. Kent is a bit of a Crested Lark hotspot, with four of the last seven records be­ing from there. But Crested Larks have turned up around the coun­try, though largely in coastal coun­ties.

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