12 June 2011

Ten Birds from Africa

11/06/2011 - Ten Birds from Africa

James Wolstencroft is trying to pull together summaries and comparative opinion from as 
many correspondents, in as many countries as possible, regarding the abundance or paucity this spring of the following "out-of-Africa"  species:
·        Great Snipe
·        European Turtle Dove
·        Common Nightingale
·        Thrush Nightingale
·        Wood Warbler
·        Icterine Warbler
·        Marsh Warbler
·        Woodchat Shrike
·        Red-backed Shrike
·        Lesser Grey Shrike

Three other species that are keen contenders for discussion are:

·        Corncrake
·        Lesser Whitethroat
·        Spotted Flycatcher

He started the blog http://afrotropical.posterous.com/is-a-natural-east-africa-going-going-gone,
a couple of weeks ago to see if their comparative abundance or rarity, i.e.   their occurrence when viewed right across the Western Palearctic region during this spring season of 2011, is reflected in what we know of rainfall distribution across sub-Saharan Africa during their 2010-2011 non-breeding season.

So even a one line statement, concerning any of these species which might have occurred in your area, during any part of the period April - June, would be of some help to me:- James Wolstencroft <gonolek AT gmail.com>

My records for James, which are included on his website were:-

Great Snipe is a rare vagrant here.
No sightings

Turtle Dove is a regular and at times abundant passage migrant and migrant breeder
The first birds seen by me were on 28th April when small groups of up to ten were seen. They were then seen almost daily in numbers of less than ten until the 28th May. None were seen then until the 8th May when a single was located.

Rufous Nightingale is a scarce passage migrant
First seen on 12th April. Only six sightings of individual birds. Last sighting 26th April.

Thrush Nightingale is a rare to scarce passage migrant
Two sightings of possibly the same bird, on two different days 14-15th April. The bird(s) were seen in two different, but relatively close locations.

Wood Warbler is a rare vagrant
No records

Icterine Warbler is a vagrant
No records

Marsh Warbler is a passage migrant
Plentiful over a very short period in early May with up to ten birds seen in a single day. First recorded on 1st May and last recorded on 12th May. Many more birds possibly of this species were seen over a wider date range but the dates mentioned were good views of birds of this species.

Woodchat Shrike is a regular passage migrant
First bird was seen on 17th March and the last and adult on 1st May. Seen almost daily but never common with a maximum daily count of four birds and generally only singles. All adults.

Red-backed Shrike is a regular passage migrant
Red-backed Shrike was seen by me first on 28th April when an adult male was seen. They were then seen daily in small numbers (<4) until May 5th when eight were seen. All birds seen until 8th May were adults when the first, first-year bird was seen. The last sightings by me were a first year on 28th May and an adult on 11th June.

Lesser Grey Shrike is a scarce but regular migrant
First recorded 2nd May. Seen daily until 18th May. The largest number seen in a single day six birds, but regularly three or four birds. All adults.

Corncrake is a scarce passage migrant
No records

Spotted Flycatcher is a common migrant
First bird was seen on 29th April from when they became quite common with more than ten seen daily until mid May. Then numbers dropped to one or two birds with last record on 28th May. No more sightings were made until a very late bird was seen on 8th June.

The status mentioned for each species may not be accurate as it is from Birds of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia by Bundy, Connor & Harrison which was published in August 1989. Mnay things have changed over the years since this book was published.