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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Rarest bird you have seen in the UK? (1 Viewer)

Welsh Peregrine

Well-known member
There is also a difference between rare birds, ie those with a genuinely small population, and rarely seen birds. The latter might be because they are skulkers such as Water Rails, or because they do not occur where you usually go birding, such as (at present) Gannets. Whatever, enjoy rare sightings, but also enjoy “common” birds doing “normal” things, even if it is just because you cannot predict when they will no longer be common (yellowhammers and cuckoos 😰).
 

Ev4dawin

Well-known member
United Kingdom
There is also a difference between rare birds, ie those with a genuinely small population, and rarely seen birds. The latter might be because they are skulkers such as Water Rails, or because they do not occur where you usually go birding, such as (at present) Gannets. Whatever, enjoy rare sightings, but also enjoy “common” birds doing “normal” things, even if it is just because you cannot predict when they will no longer be common (yellowhammers and cuckoos 😰).
Are yellowhammers becoming rarer? I saw one a year or so back at a park which is on a golf course and has a ton of deer on it and a few pheasants; I forget the name of it but I saw one there.
 

Welsh Peregrine

Well-known member
Yellowhammers are certainly rarer up here in Wirral, a small flock of 4 or so earlier this year caused a local twitch (and I dipped). Mind you, I did see them in Scotland this summer.
 
It also depends where you are within the UK and where you do most of your birding. For example, I'm in Aviemore and do most of my birding in the local area with a few visits up to the Moray coastline every year and take most of my holidays on the Western Isles, so things I see regularly, like Crested Tit and Golden Eagle, would be considered rare by others who don't visit this area. Then again, I haven't seen a Nuthatch since I last visited the Lake District in 2013, same time I saw an Avocet for the first, and so far only, time.
 

Andy Strachan

Well-known member
Scotland
I know that gannets aren't rare, but for a beginner birder like me, who hasn't seen a wide variety of birds like most of the people here have, that's what I consider rare, because those were the only ones I've seen as a beginner birder. And I just want to clarify that I was asking about what birds occur in the UK that are considered "rare" but that's my fault for not making that clearer.
I still consider myself a beginner.
However the rarest I've seen would be Greater Yellowlegs! I'm lucky that it's been only 20 mins from me for a couple of weeks now, and that's a biggie. I went to visit a couple of times and one day it wasn't showing and everyone was asking each other if it had been seen and everyone was saying no, and I felt so bad for people that had travelled so far, I stayed for hours longer than I would have just to try and help them find it! haha there were people from Edinburgh, Skye, Newcastle, Glasgow!
Also, at the same place (RSPB Loch of Strathbeg) and same week, I was lucky enough to see Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper and Little Egrets.

Other than that, I still consider things like Snow Bunting rare! I've only seen them once.
Even Long-tailed Tits I get excited about when I come across them in the park once in a while. Or Greenfinches! I rarely ever see them in my local park, which I'm in every day. And Siskin I've only seen maybe two or three times in the park. And this is over a couple of years.
What's common to some people, isn't always common to others. And it wasn't too long ago that I was pleased to see my first Gannets! Even though there's a major breeding ground just 30 miles away :LOL:
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
It's interesting how people's concepts of rarity vary between those who define it in local / national or global terms. In British / W European terms I guess Pacific Diver and Northern Mockingbird are the rarest birds I've seen, yet both are widely distributed species with a Least Concern IUCN status.

The time dimension is also important, whatever geographic scale you are working on...back in my youth I added little egret and red-backed shrike to my life list within a couple of days of each other. The egret was by far the most exciting then, but their relative status in Britain has changed drastically since, particularly given the shrike was holding territory within its Suffolk coastal heath breeding range at the time. Similarly but more tragically, after spending a few months in India in the 1980s I reached the stage where Indian white-backed vultures were barely worth another glance, second only to black kites in abundance.

The moral of the story (if there is one) to younger / beginner birders is to value all observations, as the birds which are familiar now may become rarities within your lifetime.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Similarly but more tragically, after spending a few months in India in the 1980s I reached the stage where Indian white-backed vultures were barely worth another glance, second only to black kites in abundance.
Split as 'Indian' on the basis of their preferred food, curryion :rolleyes:
 

Himalaya

Well-known member
In terms of the number of records in Britain.....there are only 3 I have seen which have less than 10 records in Britian..

1. Long Toed Stint...this year...which will be the 3rd record?
2. White Tailed Lapwing at Blacktoft - less than 10 records?
3. Baikal Teal - Marshside 2013 - less than 10 records?

I have not been to see any of the megas this year other than the 2 on my list.

Rarest breeding bird ....that would need research
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
In terms of the number of records in Britain.....there are only 3 I have seen which have less than 10 records in Britian..

1. Long Toed Stint...this year...which will be the 3rd record?
2. White Tailed Lapwing at Blacktoft - less than 10 records?
3. Baikal Teal - Marshside 2013 - less than 10 records?

I have not been to see any of the megas this year other than the 2 on my list.

Rarest breeding bird ....that would need research
Would that go perhaps, to one of the newly established Egrets or Herons?
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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