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Old Saturday 5th May 2012, 17:37   #1

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Rare Bird Alert weekly round-up: 25 April - 01 May 2012

From the RBA weekly round-up: 25 April - 01 May 2012

The weeks highlights

Britain’s first potential Atlas Flycatcher found in East Yorkshire
An afternoon Bufflehead stops off in Lincolnshire
Lingering Greater Yellowlegs remains in north-east Scotland
Singing male Scops Owl reported in Highland
Fly-by Roller in south Devon

Rain, rain go away, come again another day……

Another seven days passes by and occasionally it felt as if we’d never see the sun again. Weather maps showed seemingly endless blue swathes (of different hues) as rain belts unloaded themselves on the south, then north of England over a truly foul weekend.

Sadly, those blue bits on the weather map related to threatening, dark, leaden grey skies, full of rain and any number of places across England and Wales suffered some pretty grim conditions as the week edged by ~ flooding was noted in some places ~ and it really wasn’t nice to be in the field….unless you were further north and west of course, much of Scotland and Ireland dodged the damp and chilly bullets, enjoying some decent birding conditions….

As the week drew to a conclusion (coinciding with data that told us it was the wettest April on record) a blue-skied Monday across much of the county opened the door to warm south-easterlies and they had a sunshine effect on the spirit and on the birds too….but a close-down of sorts followed on swiftly, more rain rolled in as the week concluded.

Headline bird

As the weekend drew to a close it was East Yorkshire that became the focus of attention for many when compelling images of a first-summer (second calendar year) male black & white flycatcher appeared online, the bird being discovered at Flamborough Head on 28th.

A series of shots posted by Brett Richards showed what appeared to be a strong candidate for Britain’s first Atlas Flycatcher ~ a beautiful bird, full of field marks which soon generated a significant degree of “interested party” chat.

Informed online comment following on after Brett’s original post, primarily from ex-BBRC- man Brian Small and Italy’s Andrea Corso, saw the ball rolling towards the Atlas trail ~ the large diamond-shaped head patch, the sizeable primary covert patch and the even-more sizeable white wings all apparently ticking the right boxes and the suite of characters seemed to be further enhanced by the intensity of the black (also shared with Collared-types) and the tail pattern too.

It did all seem to be a little bit “after the horse has bolted” though ~ the bird had been looked for subsequently, but not seen again. That was until the afternoon of 30th when it reappeared in the Old Fall hedge and was trapped and ringed later that day.

One or two things noted were seen by some to be being highly indicative of a hybrid rather than a bang-on Atlas Flycatcher but with the bird still present on 1st and with more Italian comment coming forth to ease the worries of tortured listing souls, (primarily with regard to its greater covert pattern), the bird’s bandwagon gathered more and more momentum.

When the bird was being processed in the hand, feather samples were taken and these will lead to resolution, one way or another. Without them, and being the age it is, the Flamborough bird would undoubtedly struggle at committee level but in what is already a record year for Atlas Flycatchers across Europe (two trapped and ringed in central Italy, at least two seen on Sicily with singles in Spain and Malta) the individual in East Yorkshire has, as well as looking rather interesting, some decent circumstantial evidence in its favour too.

More in the full online round-up

- Lincolnshire Bufflehead photo plus British records stats and facts
- White Stork flock - interactive map tracking their movements
- Fantastic photos of Ortolan and Little Bunting in Kent
Plus much more...

(illustrated with photos, maps and more)

Last edited by Birdforum : Saturday 5th May 2012 at 17:42.
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