Rare Bird Alert weekly round-up: 11 - 17 July 2012
Artiklen er tilføjet af MBH onsdag 18. juli 2012 kl. 14.55. Læst 406 gange
The week's highlights:
Not one but two pairs of Great White Egrets breed in Somerset
Roller in Aberdeenshire
The first Fea’s Petrel of the season
River and Paddyfield Warblers still on Fair Isle
This week’s weather remained stuck in its rut with cool temperatures and more rain, often torrential, for most. Somewhat bizarrely for mid-July, north-west Scotland remained the place to be for dry, sunny weather. Though the weather performed according to the predictions, sadly (and of course inevitably) only one of my predicted birds for this week turned up!
The real headline of the week must be the official announcement of the breeding of not one but two pairs of Great White Egrets at Shapwick Heath, Somerset. With three juveniles fledged from the first nest and another single chick now raised by another pair, this site will soon host quite a flock!
It is worthwhile pausing to reflect on the amazing change in status of this species. In 1950, the beginning of the BBRC era, there were only eight records in Britain. By the end of 1973 there had been a further eight though none had occurred since 1958. Four in 1974 and two in 1977 was described in the 1978 BBRC Report as a ‘flush of records’ though this still remained the the rarest British heron. Occurrences were then annual in the late 1970s and 1980s and by the early 1990s around 6 a year was typical. Since then, however, there has been a rapid and steady increase in records, culminating in the species’ removal from the BBRC list from 2005. By that time the British total had reached 310.
With the ever-increasing breeding and wintering population in the Netherlands, this was a long-tipped breeder so it is heartening to see it following in the footsteps of other recent actual or potential colonists such as Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Little Bittern, Purple Heron and Spoonbill. Glossy Ibis really should be next.
Meanwhile, in Aberdeenshire, a Roller was reported belatedly from near New Pitsligo Aberdeenshire on 12th but it could not be refound on 13th, only to reappear on 14th and 15th. Though of little immediate interest to English birders, many of whom have just gorged on the delightful long-stayer in Yorkshire, this is a rare bird indeed for Scotland. Perhaps surprisingly, it was the eleventh Roller for Aberdeenshire though six of these are nineteenth century records. There were only four in the twentieth century, the most recent being at Grange on 29th May to 3rd June 1974, so this was no doubt a very welcome county tick for most! There must, of course, be a strong possibility that this is the same bird as that in Yorkshire, still continuing its northward journey.
Equally distant for most was the season’s first (though now expected) Fea’s Petrel off Mizen Head, Cork at 0945 on 16th. Though the occurrence of these Pterodroma petrels is increasingly clouded by taxonomic as well as identification issues, this should not detract from what is still a fabulous and exciting find. Fea’s/Zino’s Petrel is of course now an expected feature of autumn with, to the end of 2010, 45 records in Britain and a massive 67 in Ireland, of which Cork alone has amassed no fewer than 31! Most occur from August onwards, however, with only around 10 July records.
Even further away for most, though still deserving a mention in the headlines, was the remarkable summering duo of River and Paddyfield Warblers in Fair Isle’s observatory garden.
While we’re considering birds a long way away, it’s worth being reminded of a host of exciting ‘Eurorarities’ this week - firstly an impressive Scandinavian triple-act of Western Sandpiper in Sweden, White-winged Scoter in Norway and Short-toed Eagle in Finland. With a Griffon Vulture on the border of Denmark and Germany and a Trumpeter Finch as close as Gravelines, France, there was ample evidence that our next big rarity may be only just over the horizon.
Much more in the full online round-up
- Great White Egret stats and facts
- Gripping Wilson's Petrel photos
- Autumnal wader arrival steps up a gear
Plus lots of great photos, analysis, and predictions...
>>> Read the rest of the round-up here <<<
(illustrated with photos, videos and maps)
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