Report on rare birds in Great Britain in 2004

Published on 01 December 2005 in Main articles

This is the forty-seventh annual report of the British Birds Rarities Committee and it provides details of accepted records of rare birds in Britain in 2004, along with some additional, outstanding records from earlier years. Some have questioned the continuing importance of this report, suggesting that many good records are not being reported to BBRC, partly as a result of our `unreasonably high standards’. In order to examine this assertion further, we worked with BirdGuides, one of the commercial bird information providers, when preparing this year’s report, and compared sightings of rarities reported to their website with records submitted to BBRC. We then investigated those records for which BBRC had received no details, via the County Recorder network. The feedback received from County Recorders was positive, with comments received on some records from almost all areas, and comments on all the missing records from the whole of Wales and some southern and eastern coastal counties. We found that the reasons why sightings of rarities reported to BirdGuides were not submitted to BBRC could be broken down into five groups. Of these, the most frequent responses fell into two categories: · Observations, often a brief encounter or a `fly-by’, where identification was not certain at the time of the sighting (or subsequently), but which were felt worth reporting to the birdlines. Most birders, BBRC included, would regard the reporting of such sightings as good practice. It is important that news about probable rarities is shared, preferably quickly, in order that other

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