Saturday, 1 October 2011

More on Scillies

As a follow-up to my last post I thought I'd look into the rarity status of two of the rarer birds I'd seen on the Scillies. I'd usually check out Slack (2009) Rare Birds Where and When Volume 1 before the event but due to my high workload prior to going down there I didn't get the chance.

Northern Waterthrush was probably bird of the trip. It's always nice to get an American vagrant, but so much sweeter when it's a passerine. I was a bit gutted not to get the Black-and-white Warbler but statistically the Waterthrush is the rarer bird. There has been 15 previous records of B&W Warbler in the UK, with only 8 records of the Waterthrush.

There is a definite bias for the Scillies with four previous records (2x St Agnes 1958 and 1989, 1x Tresco 1968 and 1x Bryher 1982) all occurring. Other UK records include County Cork (1983 and 2008), Lincolnshire 1988 and Dorset 1996. Interestingly this morning the bird on the Scillies was caught and ringed. Check out the incredible picture below from Ashley Fisher and the Scilly Pelagics Website for more pictures and a video.

There has been approximately 35-40 Solitary Sandpiper records with approximately 25% of these occurring on the Scillies with the vast majority of others either in Cornwall or on various Scottish Islands. No doubt there will be a full and detailed account within Volume 2 of Rare Birds Where and When. Scillies certainly seems to be the best place to connect with this transatlantic vagrant.

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