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.
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?
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.
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.