British Birds February 2018

Published on 01 February 2018 in Latest issues

BB eye A Yellowhammer revival? Nicholas Watts

Siberian Accentors in Europe in autumn 2016 and the first British records Autumn 2016 was arguably the best ever for Siberian vagrants in Britain but it will be remembered most for the unprecedented influx of Siberian Accentors. This paper documents this extraordinary event, setting it in the context of a much larger arrival across northern Europe. It is suggested that the influx resulted from an unusual conjunction of meteorological factors but some other possible mechanisms are also discussed.

Ageing Siberian Accentors Almost 200 Siberian Accentors were examined in the hand, the majority of these being passage or wintering birds in eastern China in autumn. In autumn, most Siberian Accentors are possible to age in the hand. Differences in the pattern of juvenile and adult-type greater coverts are the most reliable feature for ageing, but supplementary characters involving the tertial pattern, tail feathers and iris colour are described.

Iberian Chiffchaff: a new breeding species for Great Britain In May 2015, Ed Hunter discovered a singing male Iberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus ibericus on territory in the Nedd Valley, Gower. Subsequently, the male Iberian Chiffchaff was observed feeding recently fledged young; also present was an adult female, giving the distinctive and diagnostic call of Iberian Chiffchaff. The pair went on to raise a second brood and at least seven chicks fledged, including two young males from the first brood. This is the first known breeding attempt for this species in the UK.

The BB/BTO Best Bird Book of the Year 2017 British Birds and the British Trust for Ornithology announce the winner of the Award for Best Bird Book of the Year. All books reviewed in BB, BTO News and on the BTO website during the year 2017 were eligible for consideration for this Award.

Letters Feeding association between Little Egrets and Great Cormorants.

Notes Cattle Egret feeding around geese; Unusually high tolerance of fledged offspring in Little Grebes; Siberian Rubythroat eating Viviparous Lizard; Dipper predated by Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Obituaries Tim Cleeves

Book reviews, News & comment and Recent reports complete the February issue.

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