British Birds June 2010

Published on 01 June 2010 in Latest issues

June 2010 Cover

June 2010 Cover

From the Rarities Committee’s files: The status in Britain of ‘Siberian Chiffchaff’

Reports of ‘Siberian Chiffchaffs’ Phylloscopus collybita tristis have become regular in Britain in more recent years, both as a migrant and as a winter visitor. In 2007 the BBRC co-opted a ‘tristis panel’, charged with investigating the current status in Britain of Siberian Chiffchaff and the criteria employed in its identification. The background to the review, the procedures and criteria adopted, and the conclusions reached are presented here.

Least Tern in East Sussex: new to Britain and the Western Palearctic

A Little Tern with a distinctive ‘squeaky’ voice was discovered in the colony at Rye Harbour, East Sussex, in June 1983. It returned annually until 1992. Although it was dismissed initially as an odd Little Tern, comparison of sound recordings of the call with those of the North American form S. (albifrons) antillarum, together with the noticeably greyer rump and central tail feathers, led to the eventual realisation that it was one of the New World races of Little Tern, known as ‘Least Tern’.

The predation of Balearic Shearwaters by Peregrine Falcons

Previous reports have documented attacks by Peregrine Falcons on seabirds as large as Manx Shearwaters. The examples presented here demonstrate that Peregrines will also readily attack Balearic and Sooty Shearwaters. The regular predation of Balearic Shearwaters at breeding colonies is particularly noteworthy given the endangered status of this species.

Moult and ageing in Black-browed Albatross

The Black-browed Albatross is the most frequently recorded albatross in the Western Palearctic. The ability to determine the age of birds in the field can be helpful when attempting to track individuals over time and between sites, thus enabling greater precision when evaluating records and establishing patterns of occurrence. This short paper discusses the moult timing and ageing of Black-browed Albatrosses in their first few years of life, and highlights some apparent errors in the literature.


Shorter articles and letters cover a wide range of subject matter, including records of Great Blue Heron in Iceland, the nest of the Golden Oriole and a Snowy Owl pellet from Cornwall that contained the remains of, among other things, a Teal.

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