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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

WHITE-COLLARED FLYCATCHER still on Portland and a summary of British records

First-summer male COLLARED FLYCATCHER, Southwell, Portland, Dorset, 29 April 2009 (Martin Cade)

The beautiful first-summer male WHITE-COLLARED FLYCATCHER was still present today and showing very well throughout much of the day.

It was still frequenting Pete and Debby Saunders' garden in Southwell and during the warm sunshine, was commuting between the four tall Leylandii conifers at the back of the garden and two Sycamore trees and two flowering Apple trees. Although there is NO ACCESS WHATSOEVER to ANY of the private gardens in Sweethill Lane, the garden can be adequately overlooked from the road and the bird seen at 75 yards as it actively moves about the trees (flycatching on many occasions).

DIRECTIONS: Head as if you are driving to Portland Bill proper but instead of turning down to the Bill by the Eight Kings public house, continue back around into Southwell and just after the bus stop turn into Sweethill Lane. After just a few yards park sensibly and courteously in the road and by number 8 view through the wide gap towards the Bill and the back garden. Please, please consider the local community and respect all privacy of the residents. Actively involve and inform any local that is interested in the event.

White-collared Flycatcher is a very rare vagrant to Britain and a particularly challenging bird to catch up with - Poland is the best place to see them, where they are numerous in the old Oak forests.

1) The first British record concerned an adult male obtained on Whalsay (Shetland) on 11th May 1947 (Scottish Naturalist 1948: 51).

2) A fine adult male was identified in Nant Withy, on Bardsey Island (Caernarfonshire) on 10th May 1957 (British Birds 51: 36).

3) A male was seen at Hunscarth, Harray (Orkney) on 30th May 1963 (Britsin Birds 57: 275; Scottish Birds 2: 478; 3: 174).

4) An adult male was found dead at Eskmeals, near Ravenglass (Cumbria) on 2nd June 1964 (British Birds 58: 367).

5) A male remained in the Trapping Area at Holme NOA Reserve (Norfolk) from 4th-6th May 1969 and was trapped on 4th. This was the first individual to be 'twitched' and was enjoyed by over 75 observers (British Birds 63: 286).

6-7) A male was seen on Out Skerries (Shetland) on 13th May 1975 (Scottish Bird Report 1975: 228) and was followed by a female on the same island on 25th May 1976 (Scottish Bird Report 1976: 112) (British Birds 69: 351 & 70: 436).

8) A male visited a coastal garden at Frinton-on-Sea (Essex) on 6th June 1979 (British Birds 75: 524).

9) A male remained on Bressay (Shetland) from 23rd-24th May 1979 (Scottish Bird Report 1979: 44; British Birds 73: 525)

10) A male was seen on Stronsay (Orkney) on 31st May 1980 (Scottish Bird Report 1980: 48; British Birds 74: 487).

11) An elusive male frequented the churchyard and parkland at Northdown Park, Foreness (Kent) from 24th May until 9th June 1984. It was extremely difficult to see as it moved rapidly between the canopy branches, but was eventually enjoyed by over 825 observers (British Birds 78: 578).

12) A fine male frequented a large pine tree at the entrance to the campsite on St Martin's (Scilly) from 20th-21st May 1984 (British Birds 78: 578).

13) A first-summer male was present at then western end of Holkham Pines (Norfolk) from 12th-13th May 1985 (British Birds 96: 600).

14) A first-summer male frequented the bowling greens and adjacent parkland and private gardens at Sparrow's Nest, Lowestoft (Suffolk) from 13th-14th May 1985. It was an unusual individual in that it spent virtually the whole of its stay feeding on the ground and could be observed dashing around the bowling greens snapping up flies. It disappeared just after midday on 14th, but by then had been enjoyed by up to 85 birders. An account of the occurrence and an excellent photograph of the bird taken by the late Brian Brown was published in British Birds 82: 223-224, plate 151.

15) A stunning adult male frequented the Hawthorn hedge adjacent to the Country Park at Filey (North Yorks) from 21st-22nd May 1985, and was admired by at least 160 fortunate observers (British Birds 78: 416, plate 191; 79: 575).

16) A first-winter was trapped and ringed at the Double Dyke, Fair Isle (Shetland) on 8th October 1986 (British Birds 81: 586; 84: 20-21 [Plates 8 & 10]; Scottish Bird Report 1986: 251; 1987: 49).

17) An adult male visited Hirta, St Kilda (Outer Hebrides) on 24th May 1992 (Scottish Bird Report 1992: 59; British Birds 86: 523)

18) A male visited the East Bank bushes, Cley NWT Reserve (Norfolk), briefly on 5th May 1995 (British Birds 89: 520).

19) A male visited Tresta (Shetland) on 5th June 1995 (Scottish Bird Report 1995: 60; British Birds 89: 520).

20) A superb and rather showy first-summer male was well-twitched at Ethie Mains, near Arbroath (Angus) from 31st May to 1st June 1997 (British Birds 91: 510; Rare Birds 3: 188, plates 23-25).

21) An adult male was on Fair Isle (Shetland) on 28th May 1998 (Rare Birds 4: 272; British Birds 92: 599).

22) A superb male was at Cove Community Woodland, Aberdeen, from 30th April to 1st May 1999 (British Birds 93: 560, plate 340).

23) A female was photographed on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 31st May 1999 (British Birds 94: 494).

24) A first-summer male was at Skaw, Unst (Shetland), on 13th June 1999 (British Birds 93: 560).


25) A stunning male performed for at least four hours for up to 170 admirers at Church Norton, Pagham Harbour (West Sussex) on 20th June 2002 (British Birds 96: 600). It was in trees between the harbour entrance and the car park from 1115 and disappeared from view at 1530.

26) A first-summer male was present on Fair Isle (Shetland) from 9th-12th May 2004 (British Birds 98: 682). It was initially discovered in 'Small Trinket Geo'.

27) An adult male at Muness, Unst (Shetland), on 2nd June 2004 (British Birds 98: 682).

28) A fabulous male flycatched from fenceposts adjacent to Brow Marsh (Shetland) from 9th-10th May 2006 (British Birds 100: 744, plate 360 and photographs in 99: plate 164: Birding World 19: 190).

29) A male was on Lundy Island (North Devon) on 12th May 2008.

30) A female was on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) near the Lighthouse on 24th May 2008.