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Front-cover photograph: White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis, New South Wales, Australia, December 2017. Ian Davies


686      BB eye: The continuing insufficiency of the UK Special Protection Area network

            David A. Stroud

694      News and comment   Maddy Hine and Russ Malin

699      The BBRC review of records of ‘Little Shearwater’ in Britain              Andy Stoddart

707      White-chinned Petrel in Orkney: new to Britain        Andy Stoddart

712      Behavioural observations of Mandarin Ducks in north Northamptonshire  Richard Chandler

720      The effects of tidal flooding on colonisation of the Venice Lagoon,

Italy, by Mediterranean Gulls             Roberto G. Valle and Francesco Scarton

727      Notes

736      Martin Garner Spurn Young Birder event

738      Reviews

741      Recent reports


In an age when many tricky identifications are resolved by feather-level analysis of birds in photographs, examination of sonograms or even by DNA, rare seabirds continue to buck the trend. ‘Fleeting’ and ‘distant’ are two words that describe many sightings of seabirds. The fact that many seabirds are tricky to identify (even, sometimes, given good and prolonged views) only adds to the difficulty. What was formerly known as Little Shearwater is a classic example – rarely seen even in its native range, never lingering (except for the few birds found moribund) and with a (perhaps over-egged) reputation for being incredibly difficult to separate from the much commoner Manx Shearwater – and that’s before you take into account that multispecies split that saw Little Shearwater become three species in the North Atlantic. A review by BBRC has shown that all records that remain acceptable as ‘Little Shearwater’ in Britain can be assigned to Barolo Shearwater. As it’s the species that breeds the closest (the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands), that’s perhaps to be expected; but, as shown by the occurrence of White-chinned Petrel – a native to the southern oceans, with the first British record documented in this month’s BB – just about anything is possible when it comes to pelagic birds.

Stephen Menzie – Editor

Issue 12
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