Sunday, 31 December 2017

Rarities in December 2017

This is my summary of records of rare birds from the UK in December 2017, this is not aimed at being a comprehensive account of all the rare species in the UK in this month, for such accounts see the Birdguides review of the week or the Rare Bird Alert weekly round-up. I am largely writing this as a personal record of rarity records to aid my knowledge and feed my interest in UK birds. The dates provided under each species are only the date of the finding of that bird, 'megas' are shown in red and a full date range for these species is shown. I have only included confirmed records and, generally, have not included possibles or probables. The photographs that I used have been gleaned from the internet, I aim to provide the photographer with full credit and a link to their website or blog, if you see that one of yours has been used and you object to this then please email me and I will remove it immediately, alternatively if you would like to supply a better image or additional information or links then I will add. Contact me at


Pacific Diver
Marazion, Cornwall - The returning bird was present off Marazion until at least the 16th December.
Pendower Beach, Cornwall - One found offshore on 26th November remained until at least the 4th December.

Pied-billed Grebe
Loch Feorlin, Argyll - The adult male first recorded on the 6th May 2016 and intermittently since was reported up to 6th December.
Loch of Spiggie, Mainland / Shetland - Found on 4th November and present until at least 28th December.

St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly - One found on 29th December between Parting Carn and the airport road could not be relocated the following day.

Semipalmated Sandpiper
Clogheen Marsh, County Cork - 7th December.

Lesser Yellowlegs
Kilnsea, East Yorkshire - 1st December.

Bonaparte's Gull

Lulworth Cove, Dorset - 1st December
Dargan Bay, County Antrim - Adult on 6th December.


Red-breasted Goose
Gilston, Moray and Nairn - 6th December.

King Eider

Castlegregory, Kerry - Female on 28th December.

Ross's Gull
Longhougton Steel, Northumberland - Adult on 31st December.

Desert Wheatear
Happisburgh, Norfolk - Male from 2nd to 4th December.
Whitby, North Yorkshire - A male showing well from 23rd-31st December.

Desert Wheatear, Whitby, North Yorkshire by Ian Bollen, more of Ian's fantastic images including a good selection of rarities can be seen on his Flickr site here

Pied Wheatear
Ballymacoda, County Cork - 1st winter 11th-15th December.

Pied Wheatear, Ballymacoda, County Cork by Gerard Murray, more of Gerard's images 
can be seen on the Rare Bird Alert gallery here

Italian Sparrow
East Budleigh, Devon - A sparrow showing characters of this species found on 12th November was present until the end of December.

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll
Halligarth, Unst - 25th December.

Two-barred Crossbill
Hamsterley Forest, Durham - Male on 11th December.

Parrot Crossbill
Following the mini invasion in the northern islands in October many of the flocks recorded in November remained with the following new birds being confirmed:

Woodbury Common, Devon - Female on 8th December.
Broxbourne Woods NNR, Hertfordshire - 3 from 18th to 25th December.
Howden Reservoir, South Yorkshire - 12 on 28th December