British Birds July 2010

Published on 14 July 2010 in Latest issues

Summary of contents:

Yellow-nosed Albatross – new to Britain

Adam Rowlands, Pauline Kidner and Paul Condon combine to tell a remarkable tale of the one that got away from the nation’s listers. An immature Yellow-nosed Albatross was discovered in a garden at Brean, Somerset, on 30th June 2007. It was taken into care, kept overnight, and released from the clifftop at Brean Down the following day. Amazingly, on the evening on 2nd July 2007, it was rediscovered on an inland fishing lake near Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, where it remained until the following day. The same bird was also seen near Malmö, southern Sweden, on 8th July. A review of the identification, distribution and taxonomy of Yellow-nosed Albatross showed that it was of the nominate subspecies, which breeds in the South Atlantic. Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross has occurred in the North Atlantic on several occasions, and is treated as a distinct species by some authorities.

Identification of Eastern Woodchat Shrike

Adam Rowlands reviews the identification features of Woodchat Shrikes of the eastern race niloticus. A number of young birds seen in autumn in Britain have apparently shown extensive moult of the juvenile body feathers, a feature associated with niloticus. The equivalent moult in the nominate race occurs on the wintering grounds after migration, and this difference is central to the identification of young birds in autumn. The criteria and guidelines presented here should help observers to identify a potential niloticus, a taxon that is not yet on the British List.

Wilson‘s Storm-petrels off the Isles of Scilly: a ten-year analysis, 2000-09

Bob Flood and Ashley Fisher present a ten-year analysis of the occurrence of Wilson’s Storm-petrels seen from short-range pelagic trips off the Isles of Scilly. They discuss the overall passage period, peak passage, exceptional happenings and the variation between years.

First breeding record of North African Long-legged Buzzard in continental Europe

Javier Elorriaga and Antonio-Román Muñoz describe the first breeding record of Buteo rufinus cirtensis for continental Europe, in southern Spain. Although this is a short-distance expansion of the species’ range, it is a major step in biogeographical terms, since the Strait of Gibraltar is still an important barrier separating North African and European flora and fauna.


Shorter articles and letters cover a wide range of subject matter, including rapid moult to breeding plumage by a first-summer Curlew Sandpiper in Japan, discussion of a pontial zone of intergradation of Common Redstart subspecies in the Crimean peninsula, the display of the Grey Partridge and a snowballing White-tailed Eagle!

As usual, a range of reviews, news & comment and a summary of recent reports complete the issue.

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