“If an unusual or un­known mi­gra­tory bird ap­pears, it’s im­por­tant to make ev­ery sec­ond count.”

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - WILD OCTOBER -

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.

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