Friday, 11 December 2015

Rarity Month 2015

One of the two Franklin's Gulls
2015 November Rarity month started off with a bang, slowed in the middle weeks, but then finished off on a high note which spilt over into December.  Rarities Month, was a term coined by Edward Massiah (one of the authors of Birds of Barbados) for the month of November because of its history of recording rare birds, especially Eurasian species.  Local birders may have varying opinions on which species may be considered as rarities but as I do my listing on ebird I follow their lead on what is considered a rarity for the island.
Marsh Harrier photograph by Dr. John Webster

The biggest find for the month, in fact for the year, a mega-rarity, was a bird seen for the first time on the island.  It was first seen by birder and photographer Dr. John Webster on Thursday, 5th.  It was a Marsh Harrier (read about it here), a Eurasian Raptor. This bird hung around for a few days and was last seen by Ed Massiah on 24th November.  But this bird keeps eluding me. 

Long-billed Dowitchers
Our next rarity was seen 15 days after recording the first.  This sighting was a lifer for me.  It was three Eurasian Wigeons seen flying in the north of the island with their new world equivalent, American Wigeons on the 20th.

The week starting the 23rd turned out a few rarities in the north of the island.  On the 23rd a Northern Pintail, 24th a mega-rarity, Franklin’s Gull and on the 25th a handsome Long-billed Dowitcher.  In the southern side of the island Dr. Webster reported a Ruff.

December started with reports of a White-winged Tern seen by Dr. Webster and an American Coot in the parish of St. Andrew.  What will the last month of 2015 have in store for us?  Time will tell but the start gives me a lot to look forward too.

Rarities seen during November Rarity Month


Common Name

Scientific Name

Marsh Harrier
Circus aeruginosus
Eurasian Wigeons
Anas Penelope
Northern Pintail
Anas acuta
Franklin’s Gull
Leucophaeus pipixcan
Long-billed Dowitcher
Limnodromus scolopaceus
Calidris pugnax

American & Eurasian Wigeons

Northern Pintail(R)

Franklin's Gull

two Long-billed Dowitchers