Rare ‘va­grant’ birds spot­ted across our isles

Macclesfield Express - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - SEAN WOOD

BRI­TAIN is the place to be for rare birds just now, as lit­er­ally any bird can turn up any­where, at any time.

For ex­am­ple, on Wed­nes­day, July 30, the fol­low­ing birds put in an ap­pear­ance: a Pacific Golden Plover at Dray­ton Bas­set Pits in Stafford­shire, a Bon­a­parte’s Gull at Oare Marshes in Kent, and a Black Winged Prat­in­cole at Cuck­mere Haven in Sus­sex.

The three visi­tors are nor­mally found, re­spec­tively, in the high Arc­tic tun­dra of North­ern Asia and Alaska, western Canada, and Ro­ma­nia, east through Ukraine to south-west Rus­sia and north Kaza­khstan.

The prat­in­cole mi­grates to south­ern Africa, where it spends win­ter in Botswana, Namibia and Zim­babwe.

Other no­table birds to at­tract at­ten­tion over the past 12 months in­clude the highly un­likely As­cen­sion Is­land Frigate bird, ap­prox­i­mately 4,422 miles from home on the Isle of Is­lay; the mighty black-browed al­ba­tross sail­ing past Port­land Bill, Dorset on July 5, and the won­der­fully pho­to­genic Gyr Fal­con from Green­land, spot­ted by my friend Liam Doyle and his 10-year-old son Adam.

Liam said: “It was a bright and breezy day down at Fenit, a small fish­ing vil­lage on the out­skirts of Tralee. The vil­lage con­sists of a small

Na­tional Trust/ Andy But­ler

●» A bee-eater catches drag­on­fly at Wy­d­combe, Isle of Wight port and much of its coast­line con­sists of small bracken-cov­ered cliff faces.

“When my son Adam first spot­ted the fal­con it had just killed a curlew,

The Laugh­ing Bad­ger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Pad­field, Glossop

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