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By: Steve White(Author), Chris Kehoe(Author)
The April 2015 issue of British Birds contains the first part of the Report on Scarce Migrant Birds in Britain in 2011–2012.
This report presents data on scarce passerine migrants recorded in Britain during 2011–12. The year 2011 was one of highs and lows – it was a best year on record for Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor, Woodchat Shrike L. senator, Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus and Common Rosefinch Erythrina erythrina, yet it was the worst year on record for both Red-backed Shrike L. collurio and Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva and a notably poor year for several other species, including Icterine Hippolais icterina and Aquatic Warblers Acrocephalus paludicola, Bluethroat Luscinia svecica and Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana. The year 2012 was a record year for Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica, but also a very poor year for Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris and (again) Ortolan. Reinforcing the findings of the two previous reports, covering the years 2004–10, several of the species treated here – Aquatic Warbler, Tawny Pipit and Rustic Bunting E. rustica in particular – are currently genuinely rare birds in Britain. Some notable individual records included an adult Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria in autumn (in Orkney in October 2012), the first ever Icterine Warbler in winter (on Scilly in February 2012), a winter record of European Serin Serinus serinus, also on Scilly, this time in December 2012, and the first Parrot Crossbill Loxia pytyopsittacus away from the breeding grounds since 1995 – in Sussex in January–February 2012. The continued increase in wintering by Yellow-browed Warblers P. inornatus and Richard’s Pipits A. richardi was apparent, and there was further clarification on the numbers of wintering ‘Siberian Chiffchaffs’ P. collybita tristis.
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