Report on scarce migrant birds in Britain in 2015: part 2, passerines

Published on 06 November 2017 in Main articles

By Steve White and Chris Kehoe

Abstract This report presents data on scarce passerine migrants recorded in Britain during 2015. Three species appear in this report for the first time, having previously been assessed by BBRC: Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus, Blyth’s Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum and Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola. The inexorable rise of the Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus continues, reaching yet another new high (2,843 records). Numbers of ‘Siberian Chiffchaffs’ Phylloscopus collybita tristis also reached a new high (351), possibly due to better reporting of wintering birds, and the same was true for Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor (375), with a strong autumn passage supplemented by numerous wintering birds. Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla (71 individuals, second-best year on record), Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni (36, fourth) and Blyth’s Reed Warbler (17, fourth) were other species for which numbers remain high, and trends suggest that they may continue increasing. Species in long-term decline include Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana (32, 36th) and Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta (21, 35th). With just nine records, it was the poorest year for Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla since 1978; just eight Radde’s Warblers Phylloscopus schwarzi sees this species teetering on the BBRC threshold; and there were no records of Parrot Crossbill Loxia pytyopsittacus in 2015.

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Siberian Chiffchaff, by Alan Harris