Siberian Stonechat

(all photos Ian Livingstone)

Saturday 28th September comments: The Isle of May has a brilliant reputation for rare and scarce migrant birds and the isle struck again last week. On Monday the ringers from the Bird Observatory caught and ringed a Stonechat except this was no ordinary Stonechat. In the hand views allowed identification to confirm as a Siberian Stonechat; a very rare visitor to these shores.

This species (only recently split from European Stonechat) is generally darker above and paler below with a white rump and black armpits helping it confirm its more eastern origin. Interestingly the Isle of May lays claim to the first ever record of the species in the UK; a bird shot on here on 10th October 1913. However the island has only welcomed two further individuals with singles on 7th October 1977 and 12th October 1980, so this represents the fourth ever and first in almost forty years!

This was a series of sightings of birds from the east during the week on the Isle of May including at least twenty Yellow-browed Warblers and an Arctic Warbler but more on these in the next few days. Until then we have plenty to discuss over the individual, as the Isle of May strikes again…

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