“If an unusual or unknown migratory bird appears, it’s important to make every second count.”
must sit out the inclement conditions before moving on. This should increase your chances of seeing them.
The key to finding and identifying out of place birds is to make sure that you know the run-of-the-mill species well in their respective plumages. This intimate knowledge of ‘the common’ should mean that anything out of the ordinary will stand out more easily. Be mindful that birds in the throes of migration can, confusingly, be seen away from where you’d normally expect to spot them, meaning firecrests can be found in bramble patches and ring ouzels might be spotted among blackbirds.
Broadcast your find
Any weary migrant needing to rest will look for cover, and as many coastal locations are sparsely vegetated, any bushes, copses, walls and watercourses can prove productive. If an unusual or unknown bird should suddenly make an appearance, it’s important to make every second count. Many birders reach for their camera in the first instance, but equally the old-fashioned method of making detailed field notes and sketches can also help clinch identification once the bird has retreated from view.
Finally, the more birders who catch sight of the bird, the more chance it has of being correctly identified and accepted by the county recorder (you can find the local one at bto.org) or rarities committee, so do broadcast your find. Plus, it’s always so much more rewarding to share the love.
The Isles of Scilly provide a place to stop and rest for exhausted birds.