In the March issue of British Birds:
Should Red-necked Nightjar be on the British List?
Tim Melling describes the recent BOURC review of the sole record of this species in Britain (a bird shot near Killingworth, Northumberland, on 5th October 1856). Although in first-winter plumage, it retained juvenile wing and tail feathers, and this is compatible with that expected of a first-winter in early October. The possibility of a fraudulent origin was considered extremely unlikely and it was agreed unanimously that the record should remain on Category B of the British List.
Olivaceous warblers in southeast Morocco
Both Western and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers occur in Morocco. The distribution of the former in the northern parts of the country is well known. Eastern Olivaceous Warbler of the form reiseri has been recorded from southeastern Morocco, but its status, range limits and the degree of sympatry with Western is still not fully understood. Volker Salewski and colleagues describe a semi-quantitative survey of both species in the Erfoud/Merzouga area of southeast Morocco in May 2007 using visual observations and tape recordings.
Hooded Merganser on North Uist: a return to the British List
Brian Rabbitts describes how a first-winter or female Hooded Merganser was discovered at Oban Trumisgarry, North Uist, Outer Hebrides, on 23rd October 2000. The location, arrival date, weather conditions and the bird’s behaviour suggested that it could be a transatlantic vagrant, and it was included by BOURC on Category D of the British List. Following subsequent records in Northumberland in March 2002, and Shetland in April–May 2006, together with others from the Azores and Canary Islands, BOURC reviewed the North Uist record as a potential first for Britain and accepted that the evidence was sufficiently persuasive to admit it to Category A of the British List.
The Portsmouth Group
A short article by Eddie Wiseman continues BB’s occasional series to celebrate notable characters of the British birding scene. This is an account of the collective endeavour of a group of young men who some 60 years ago banded together to study and document the birds of a single area, and who became known as the ‘Portsmouth Group’.
From the Rarities Committee’s files: an unusual Common Stonechat
Andy Stoddart charts the assessment of a striking adult male Stonechat discovered at the London Wetland Centre (formerly Barn Elms), by Nick Senior on 24th March 2005.
Conservation Research News
Windfarms and wintering farmland birds; climate change, migration schedules and population declines of European migratory birds
Letters (featuring an interesting discussion of Iran’s position relative to the Western Palearctic), Notes (featuring items on Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Common Swifts, Blackbirds, Blackcaps, Blue, Great and Willow Tits and Jays), Book reviews, News & comment, Announcements and Recent reports complete the issue.
See the British Birds website at http://www.britishbirds.co.uk for full details of current and back issues, and to download a sample copy of BB.