A personal account of the rare and scarce birds seen in Britain from 2011-2012. Birds featured include: American Buff-bellied Pipit, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Baillon's Crake, Short-billed Dowitcher, Little Swift, Western Orphean Warbler, Cream-coloured Courser, Pechora Pipit, Lanceolated Warbler, Pallas Grasshopper Warbler, European Roller, Common Yellowthroat, Oriental Turtle Dove, Western Sandpiper, Eastern Black Redstart, Spanish Sparrow, Greater Yellowlegs, White-throated Robin, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Waterthrush, Thayer's Gull and many more (see the species list under the table of contents tab for a detailed listing).
Please note that this disc does not feature narration.
Watch a trailer below:
"Capturing moving images of birds is challenging enough at the best of times, but with rarities it is all the more difficult. Often there will only be one individual to film and it may take many hours and several visits to obtain enough useable footage. Steve Evans is fast gaining a reputation for producing high quality DVDs of overseas birding trips and rarities occurring throughout the British Isles and this latest offering brings together two years worth of quality footage of many of the rarities that occurred during the period. Due to Steve’s foreign filming commitments, the number of birds caught on film in 2011 is limited to nine species but does includes stunning footage of some of that year’s highlights including the Oriental Turtle Dove at Chipping Norton (Oxon), White-throated Robin at Hartlepool (Cleveland), Western Sandpiper at Cley Marshes (Norfolk) and the Greater Yellowlegs at Druidge Bay and Eastern Black Redstart on Holy Island (both Northumberland). Other birds included for 2011 are a Black-throated Diver at Ryder’s Mere and an Iceland Gull at Stubber’s Green (both West Midlands), a Glaucous Gull at Kingswood (Staffs) and a Coues’s Arctic Redpoll at Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk).
The range of species included for 2012 is far more extensive with over forty species featured. The first winter period offered some mouth-watering rarities including the first twitchable Spanish Sparrow for 14 years (in Hampshire) while just down the road an equally appealing Dark-eyed Junco was also on offer and both species are captured superbly. Next up is the first-winter male Common Yellowthroat at Rhiwderin and while Steve had to make four separate journeys to obtain the footage, it was certainly well worth it. Considering how elusive this bird could be at times, the footage is absolutely stunning and is worth the cover price of the DVD alone!
A trip to the southwest in April bagged the Northern Waterthrush (on Scilly) and a Night Heron in Cornwall. One of the major highlights of early Spring 2012 was the first twitchable Thayer’s Gull for the British mainland and there is some great footage of the bird on the ground and in flight, displaying many of the key identification features. This was quickly followed by the two Long-billed Dowitchers at Meare Heath (Somerset), the ‘controversial’ Pied Flycatcher at Flamborough Head (Yorks) and a Squacco Heron at Blagdon Lake (Somerset).
Despite clocking up many miles to obtain footage of the aforementioned rarities, the month of May produced three star birds much closer to home for Steve. The first of these was the superb male Red-spotted Bluethroat at Doxey Marhses (Staffs), a daytime Nightjar roosting at Ladywalk NR (Warks) and best of all, the superb Cream-coloured Courser on Bradnor Hill (Herefords). The latter bird was filmed during the early morning following the day of its discovery and there are also some superb still images included. Although not as photogenic as the courser, the major rarity occurrence of the spring was the Western Orphean Warbler at Hartlepool (Cleveland) and Steve did well to obtain some good footage of the bird as it lumbered through its chosen bushes. June’s selection features the stunning Roller at Aldborough (Yorks), White Storks at Dingestow (Gwent), Rose-coloured Starling at Rhos-on-Sea (Denbighs) and the Little Swift at New Brighton (Cheshire) which is filmed at roost on a window ledge together with some flight sequences.
The unseasonal and confiding first-summer Sabine’s Gull at Startop’s End Reservoir (Bucks/Herts) provided some fantastic views of this beautiful species while the highly mobile Norfolk Caspian Tern was also pinned down during July. August often means rare waders and 2012 was no exception with Northumberland’s first Stilt Sandpiper being captured on film together with a fine selection of nearby terns, including Roseate. Further featured birds for August are a very confiding Baird’s Sandpiper at Angle Bay (Pembrokes) and a Great White Egret at Grimley (Worcs). September saw Steve catch up with two mega rarities in the form of the Short-billed Dowitcher at Lodmoor RSPB (Dorset) and the juvenile Baillon’s Crake at Rainham Marshes RSPB (London) while superb close up footage of a Spotted Crake at Greylake RSPB (Somerset) and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Marazion (Cornwall) are also included.
October commences with an interesting feature on Fair Isle filmed and narrated by Peter Walsh. This six minute segment includes great footage of many of the island’s specialities including a Lanceolated Warbler running around birders feet, a Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, a Paddyfield Warbler and a Pechora Pipit. Two further rare (and showy) warblers at opposite ends of the country were also captured on film in October; a Paddyfield Warbler at Church Cove (Cornwall) and an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler at Kilminning (Fife) while scarcities in the form of a Red-backed Shrike at The Lizard (Cornwall), a Hoopoe at Sand Point (Somerset) and a Slavonian Grebe at Shustoke Reservoir (Warks) provide added interest. Some stunning footage of an extremely unseasonal Bee-eater at Seaburn (Co Durham) in November is one of the highlights of the DVD and includes sequences of the bird perched on a TV aerial catching wasps in a residential street! Further south, the Sussex Hooded Merganser and Hampshire’s Red-breasted Goose and Ring-billed Gull are successfully captured while a trip to North Wales sees a typically confiding Desert Wheatear providing great views at Rhyl along with a few local Waxwings. The DVD closes with superb close up footage of the two star birds of December, the ultra confiding Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll at Aldeburgh (Suffolk) and the equally showy American Buff-bellied Pipit at The Queen Mother Reservoir (Berks).
Throughout the film, many of the individual sequences commence with views of the location and habitat which is particularly interesting if you have never visited one of these sites before. Whether or not you were lucky enough to see all of the featured birds, this DVD provides a great way to spend time during the dark winter evenings viewing many of the rarity highlights of the past two years. Consisting of two discs, the total running time is 2 hours and 27 minutes and at just £14.99 this DVD represents great value for money. Fully recommended."
- Birding Today
Please note, one asterisk indicates a mega rarity; two asterisks indicate birds that are escapees, of unknown origins, or part of a re-introduction scheme.
Black-throated Diver - Ryder's Mere, West Midlands - January
Iceland Gull - Stubber's Green, West Midlands - January
Glaucous Gull - Kingswood, Staffordshire - February
Oriental Turtle Dove* - Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire - March
White-throated Robin* - Hartlepool Headland, Cleveland - June
Greater Yellowlegs* - Druidge Bay, Northumberland - November
Eastern Black Redstart* - Holy Island, Northumberland - November
Western Sandpiper* - Cley, Norfolk - December
Coues's Arctic Redpoll - Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk - December
Spanish Sparrow* - Calshot, Hants - January
Dark-eyed Junco* - Hawkhill Inclosure, Hants - January
Common Yellowthroat* - Rhiwderin, Gwent - March
Northern Waterthrush* - Lower Moors, Isles of Scilly - April
Night Heron - Kenidjack, Cornwall - April
Thayer's Gull* - Elsham, Lincolnshire - April
Long-billed Dowitcher's - Meare Heath N.R. Somerset - April
Pied Flycatcher - Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire - May
Squacco Heron - Blagdon Lake, Somerset - May
Bluethroat - Doxey Marshes, Staffordshire - May
Cream-coloured Courser* - Bradnor Hill, Herefordshire - May
Nightjar - Ladywalk NR, West Midlands - May
Western Orphean Warbler* - Hartlepool Headland, Cleveland - May
European Roller - Aldbrough, North Yorkshire - June
White Storks - Dingestow, Gwent - June
Rose-coloured Starling - Rhos-on-sea, North Wales - June
Little Swift* - New Brighton, Cheshire - June
Sabine's Gull - Startop's End Reservoir, Buckinghamshire - July
Caspian Tern - Strumpshaw Fen RSPB, Norfolk - July
Stilt Sandpiper - Low Newton by the Sea, Northumberland - August
Terns - Alnmouth, Northumberland - August
Bairds Sandpiper - West Angle Bay, Pembrokeshire - August
Great White Egret - Grimley, Worcestershire - August
Buff-breasted Sandpiper - Marazion Beach, Cornwall - September
Short-billed Dowitcher* - Lodmoor RSPB, Dorset - September
Spotted Crake - Greylake RSPB, Somerset - September
Baillon's Crake* - Rainham Marsh RSPB, London - September
Fair Isle trip report - Presented by Peter Walsh - October
Paddyfield Warbler - Church Cove, Cornwall - October
Red-backed Shrike - The Lizard, Cornwall - October
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - Kilminning, Fife - October
Hoopoe - Sand Point, Somerset - October
Slavonian Grebe - Shustoke Reservoir, Warwickshire - October
Bee-eater - Seaburn, County Durham - November
Hooded Merganser** - Pagham Harbour LNR, West Sussex - November
Red-breasted Goose - Farlington Marshes HWT, Hants - November
Ring-billed Gull - Gosport, Hants - November
Desert Wheatear - Rhyl, Denbighshire - November
Waxwings - Rhuddlan, Denbighshire - November
Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll - Aldeburgh, Suffolk - December
American Buff-bellied Pipit* - Queen Mother Res, Berkshire - December
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