Report on scarce migrant birds in Britain in 2017: passerines

Published on 12 November 2019 in Main articles

By Steve White and Chris Kehoe

This report presents data on scarce passerine migrants recorded in Britain during 2017. Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus makes its first appearance in this report but with just six records in 2017 it was an inauspicious beginning. In contrast, there was another strong arrival of Yellow-browed Warblers Phylloscopus inornatus in autumn, an annual total of c. 1,950 making it the fourth-best year. A good run of late-autumn migrants, mostly from northern Europe and Siberia, was one of the few high points of an otherwise mediocre year for many species. Supporting the influx of Yellow-browed Warblers came good numbers of Radde’s P. schwarzi, Dusky P. fuscatus and Blyth’s Reed Warblers Acrocephalus dumetorum, ‘Siberian Chiffchaffs’ P. collybita tristis, Olive-backed Pipits Anthus hodgsoni and Little Buntings Emberiza pusilla. Numbers of most species from the near continent fell below average, and many of these are in long-term decline. The annual totals of four Penduline Tits Remiz pendulinus and seven Citrine Wagtails Motacilla citreola mean that these species remain close to the BBRC threshold. Other species faring badly include Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus, Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio, Melodious Hippolais polyglotta, Icterine H. icterina and Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria and Ortolan Bunting E. hortulana.

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Bluethroat, Willow Tree Fen, Lincolnshire, February 2017. Kit Day