This is the 59th annual report of the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC). Remarkably, Chas Holt’s first report as Secretary includes seven new species for Britain, together with a new first record of a previously accepted species and two new subspecies. Perhaps the highlight of 2016 was the extraordinary arrival of no fewer than 13 Siberian Accentors, one of those species new to Britain; the other additions to the British List are Red-footed Booby, Western Swamphen, Acadian Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, ‘Caspian Reed Warbler’, ‘Spanish Wagtail’ and Chestnut Bunting.
The year 2016 also saw notable arrivals of several species. In what was an excellent autumn for eastern passerines, influxes of Siberian Stonechat and Red-flanked Bluetail were perhaps to be expected, and – incredibly – this is the last year in which Red-flanked Bluetail will feature as a national rarity. More surprising, perhaps, were the seven ‘Eastern Black Redstarts’, five Brown Shrikes and nine Pine Buntings that accompanied the Siberian Accentor invasion, alongside good numbers of other birds from ‘high, dry Asia’ including Isabelline Shrike, and Isabelline and Desert Wheatears.
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