Rarities Roundup


16th September – 13th October 2020 

This prime period for Nearctic landbirds met all expectations with the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher lingering on Tiree, in Argyll, until 23rd September, a Swainson’s Thrush on Burray, Orkney, on 17th–30th, a Bobolink at Fanad Head, Co. Donegal, on 20th–24th, a long-awaited Tennessee Warbler on Yell, Shetland, from 29th September to 7th October, a Swainson’s Thrush on Dursey Island, Co. Cork, on 1st October, another Tennessee Warbler on Inishbofin, Co. Galway, on 6th–7th, a Red-eyed Vireo on St Martin’s, Isles of Scilly, on 7th–11th, another Swainson’s Thrush on St Mary’s, Scilly, on 7th–8th, an American Buff-bellied Pipit on North Uist, Outer Hebrides, on 7th, a Black-and-white Warbler on Tresco, Scilly, on 8th, a Common Nighthawk at Church Norton, Sussex, on 8th, a Blackpoll Warbler on Mizen Head, Co. Cork, on 8th–11th, a Red-eyed Vireo at Kenidjack, Cornwall, on 8th–10th, a Philadelphia Vireo on Inishmore, Co. Galway, on 9th–12th, a Red-eyed Vireo at Feohanagh, Co. Kerry, 10th–11th, a Swainson’s Thrush on Bryher on 10th–14th, and further American Buff-bellied Pipits on North Ronaldsay, Orkney, on 10th–13th and on Scilly on 13th October. Other rarities from America were a Bonaparte’s Gull still in Co. Cork on 17th September, a Laughing Gull in Highland at Loch Fleet on 22nd, an Upland Sandpiper on Inishbofin from 30th September to 10th October, a Northern Harrier at Barry’s Head, Co. Cork, on 2nd–4th, a Least Sandpiper in Co. Cork at Timoleauge on 7th October, plus two Wilson’s Phalaropes, four each of both Spotted Sandpiper and Cackling Goose, six Long-billed Dowitchers, seven Semipalmated Sandpipers, eight Baird’s Sandpipers, and a total of 13 Blue-winged Teals.

Tennessee Warbler, Yell, Shetland, 4th October. Andy Pryce


Black-and-White Warbler, Tresco, Isles of Scilly, 8th October. Chris and Alison Allen


Common Nighthawk, Church Norton, Sussex, 8th October. Andy Wilkes

From the east there was a Brown Shrike at Warham Greens, Norfolk, on 18th–22nd September, Paddyfield Warbler at Porthgwarra, Cornwall, on 22nd, a Two-barred Greenish Warbler at Budle Bay, Northumberland, from 29th September to 2nd October, a Siberian Thrush at Kilminning, Fife, from 30th September to 5th October, an Eyebrowed Thrush on North Ronaldsay on 2nd–8th, a Masked Shrike at Hartlepool on 3rd–4th, a Lesser Grey Shrike on Holy Island, Northumberland, on 4th–5th, a Steppe Grey Shrike at Benacre, Suffolk, on 4th–7th, Eyebrowed Thrushes in Shetland at Brae (Mainland) and on Fetlar on 7th, a Great Reed Warbler on Unst, Shetland, on 9th, a Brown Shrike on Yell on 11th, an Isabelline Wheatear on Lundy, Devon, on 12th, and a Golden Plover at Findhorn Bay, Moray & Nairn, on 10th–13th. Plus: three Great Snipes, five Pallas’s Grasshopper, Lanceolated and Booted Warblers, six White’s Thrushes and Eastern Yellow Wagtails, seven Pallid Harriers, 11 Rustic Buntings, 12 Eastern Stonechats and an incredible 27 Red-throated Pipits.

Masked Shrike, Hartlepool, Cleveland, 4th October. Martyn Sidwell

Lanceolated Warbler, Sumburgh Head, Shetland, 3rd October. Ron Marshall

From other points of the compass were: a Brown Booby passing Trevose Head, Cornwall, on 16th September, a Collared Pratincole at Ballinskelligs, Co. Kerry, on 20th, an Aquatic Warbler at Radipole Lake, Dorset, on 21st, a Tawny Pipit at Porthgwarra on 21st–22nd, a Fea’s/Desertas Petrel at sea off Co. Cork on 27th, a King Eider at Findhorn Bay, Moray & Nairn, from 29th September to 13th October, a ‘Subalpine Warbler’ at Mizen Head, Co. Cork, on 4th October, a Rock Thrush on Fetlar on 10th, and a Western Orphean Warbler at Lothbeg Point, Highland, on 10th–11th. Both the Pied-billed Grebe in Argyll and Black Duck in Highland were present throughout, and there were two each of Snowy Owl, Pallid Swift, Little Bittern and Western Bonelli’s Warbler, four Kentish Plovers, five Black-browed Albatrosses and 11 Arctic Redpolls.

Western Orphean Warbler, Lothbeg Point, Highland, 11th October. Nigel Voaden

The Bearded Vulture – wild-born from the reintroduced population in The Alps and first seen in England in the West Midlands on 26th June – remained in Derbyshire until 19th September when it commenced migration – passing through Leicestershire, Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and London before finally reaching Kent on 12th October.

The Rarities Roundup is brought to you by Rare Bird Alert. RBA is the longest running instant birdnews service in the UK, providing birders with up-to-the-minute updates on the latest rare, scarce and uncommon migrants turning up all over Britain and Ireland. With services available on their unrivalled pager packages, to their market leading birdnews smartphone and tablet app, to their website carrying birdnews, galleries, articles and much more, they have something to suit all birders. Find out more at www.rarebirdalert.co.uk

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