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Stonefaction Monday 27th November 2017 20:02

What birds should we be paying more attention to....
Given the fairly recent discoveries of a possible "Siberian" Oystercatcher and an American Horned (Shore) Lark in the UK, and also the American White-Winged Crossbill in Iceland what other birds should we maybe looking a little closer at? Surely the American equivalents of Moorhen and Goosander could potentially be overlooked or even ignored completely if they turned up somewhere. What else 'exotic' might be hiding in plain sight?

I've got both the excellent Birding Frontiers Challenge series books and they are great for flagging up possibilities, however slim the chances may be, but what species/subspecies might have featured in further volumes?

JWN Andrewes Monday 27th November 2017 20:24

Rough-legged Buzzard/Hawk has been mooted in the past. Black-crowned Night Heron, although provable provenance could be tricky. And did I see somewhere that Fulmars in the Pacific differ from those in the Atlantic,or did I imagine that?

Stonefaction Monday 27th November 2017 21:43

The Pacific Fulmars are indeed rather different with a tail band being probably the most obvious difference (at least on the paler birds).

Nutcracker Monday 27th November 2017 23:14

Mew Gull among the Common Gulls is one to look for. And some more records of Cabot's Tern - any overwintering 'Sandwich Tern' could well repay close scrutiny.

Fat Paul Scholes Tuesday 28th November 2017 08:52

I've often wondered why all of the eastern black redstarts that turn up appear to be adult male types...

Those leggy, beaky eastern redshanks probably make it over here too.

Andrew Clarke Tuesday 28th November 2017 20:56

Taiga Merlin must reach Europe more often than its few records suggest.

lewis20126 Tuesday 28th November 2017 21:08

'Red Crossbill' from the Nearctic, 'Korean (Far Eastern) Oystercatcher' osculans from the Eastern Palearctic perhaps; both good species.

cheers, alan

Stonefaction Tuesday 28th November 2017 22:14

A few other possibilities some of which have already put in an appearance but could potentially be overlooked easily, and some real outside bets (but you never know - especially if no-one is really looking for them) ... Snowy Egret, young Bald Eagle, Barrow's Goldeneye - especially in eclipse/juv, American Red Necked Grebe, southern hemisphere Gannets, Double Crested Cormorant, American Crow(?), Steppe Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Syrian Woodpecker, American Barn Swallow(?), Far Eastern Curlew (?). (Not including potential far eastern Buntings, random far eastern leaf warblers, waders & gulls that are already usually checked quite thoroughly anyway).

Andrew Clarke Tuesday 28th November 2017 23:03

Pallas’s Reed Bunting?

Martin Bell Tuesday 5th December 2017 12:37

American Woodcock - they have turned up in a few French shooters bags so can, and almost certainly do, make it to UK (and Ireland).

Ian Lewis Tuesday 12th December 2017 19:18

1st year Tree Swallows could be overlooked as Sand Martins.

African Reed Warbler is said to be the breeding reed-warbler of Iberia and Morocco, they could easily overshoot and turn up in the UK (I'd think African and Eurasian Reed Warbler should be lumped)


Acrocephalus Thursday 14th December 2017 20:23


Originally Posted by Ian Lewis (Post 3653930)
African Reed Warbler is said to be the breeding reed-warbler of Iberia and Morocco,

Thatís indeed the treatment of the IOC World Bird List. As of version 6.4, it included ambiguus in the African Reed Warbler.

jurek Friday 15th December 2017 13:31

Pigeon Guillemot can be easily written off as stained/damaged/moulting Black Guillemot.

Slaty-backed, Kelp, Glaucous-winged, Western, Thayer's, Vega, Armenian, and perhaps even California and Yellow-footed Gulls. All similar to already headache-inducing European gulls...

Which buggers me, because years ago in two different winters I twice saw an odd black-backed gull which fit neither Lesser or Greater Black-backed very well. I remember it had very big spots on primary tips. One time a friend had a good camera but left it in the car, and before we decided to go back the said gull took off. I am still wondering if it could be chronologically first Slaty-backed Gull - at that time such pacific gulls were considered improbable.

Stonefaction Saturday 16th December 2017 14:21

That's sort of my reason for posting this topic. There are birds that aren't expected to turn up in the UK/Europe until they actually do, and then sometimes they begin to be noticed more and more, which begs the question were they overlooked before? Being aware of the possibilities, however slim, surely makes the chance of finding one slightly more likely.

jurek Saturday 16th December 2017 17:47

Some more examples of rarities similar to very common European birds which most birdwatchers ignore:

Double-crested Cormorant => like Cormorant but with different yellow throat.
Great Blue Heron => like Heron but rufous leg feathers and weak pale spots on wing margin
Wilson's Snipe => like Snipe but with little white stripe on secondaries
Pin-tailed Snipe => ditto, and also strange paler patch on wing-coverts
American Buff-bellied Pipit => like Rock or Water Pipit but with buff/orange-ish background on breast
Pallid Swift => like Swift but slower call and longer tail, take pics of shape.
Horned Puffin => like Puffin with deeper bill
American Oystercatcher => like Oystercatcher with shorter wingbar
Sharp-shinned Hawk => like Sparrowhawk, even don't know how this one easily is told apart
(please somebody more familiar with American birds correct me for most obvious ID points)

At sea, several Pacific shearwaters will be probably unnoticed, given that seabirds are usually very poorly seen.

American sparrows would be probably passed as 'freak Reed Bunting'. It doesn't help that books do not illustrate well variability of Reed Buntings.

In South Europe, juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron would be most likely overlooked as Night Heron. There is also mystery of Relict Gull. This endangered gull which breeds in Central Asia and winters on Pacific coasts has two ring recoveries from Bulgaria and Turkey. Does it sometimes migrate west, not east? It would be easily overlooked as Mediterranean Gull.

BTW, the first Grey Heron for North America laid for years in an American museum drawer as Great Blue Heron. So certainly these things can be overlooked!

Andrew Clarke Saturday 16th December 2017 20:16

Some great replies people ��

Those Relict Gull recoveries are news to me - wow!

jurek Sunday 17th December 2017 01:39

This would be good topic for an article on some website or "British Birds". I imagine it with pairs of photos showing common and rarity species... Lets face it, with better field equipment, travel etc. such extreme rarities are as achievable as commoner rarities were when first field guides appeared.

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