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Front-cover photograph: Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus, Shetland, May 2021. 

Rebecca Nason

362      News and comment   Maddy Hine and Russ Malin

365      Scarce migrant birds in Britain in 2020          Steve White and Chris Kehoe

390      From the RBBP archives: Probable breeding of Great Grey Shrikes in Scotland in 1969

            Mark Holling

393      Little Egrets in Morecambe Bay and the Duddon Estuary     Dave Shackleton

401      Wood Warbler habitat preference in southern Sweden        Jonas Engzell

406      Notes

408      Obituaries

412      Reviews

415      Recent reports

419      Tail piece


The concept of scarcity is, in some ways, a relative one, and one that changes over time and in different contexts. The Scarce Migrants report covers species that are rare enough to be worthy of keeping track of at a national level in Britain, while not being quite so rare as to require assessment by BBRC. Sometimes species become rarer, and go onto the BBRC list, while at other times they become commoner and are tracked at a local level. Most of the species covered in the report would be the highlight of an average day’s birding for many of us.

Sometimes, scarce migrants are also rare breeders. There has never been a proven case of Great Grey Shrikes breeding in Britain, but an intriguing historical record comes tantalisingly close, and is detailed in this month’s issue. With the species having since undergone substantial declines in the west of its range, it’s an event that may not happen again any time soon.

One species that has previously featured in both the Scarce Migrants report and the RBBP report is the Little Egret. Now, it’s common across much of England and Wales. Studying waterbirds such as these in the vast expanse of Morecambe Bay can be difficult, and a two-year study counting birds coming into roosts has helped to shed some light on the numbers – and the fluctuations – of birds using the area throughout the year.

Issue 7
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