Rare ‘vagrant’ birds spotted across our isles
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
●» 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,
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