There were two surprising additions to the Irish List during 2006: Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus (seen in Cork in the spring) and Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis (seen in Clare in the autumn). Cork also produced the second records of Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus, Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus and Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula and the third record of Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida, all in the autumn. The fourth Pallid Swift Apus pallidus (in Wicklow) and fourth Booted Warbler Hippolais caligata (in Waterford) were also recorded during the year.

Other exceptional occurrences were the third Black Tern Chlidonias niger of the American race surinamensis (in Wexford), the fourth record of Tundra Bean Goose Anser fabalis rossicus (in Cork) and the return of a Barrow's Goldeneye Bucephala islandica, the first recorded in Ireland, for its second successive winter in Down.

It was an outstanding year for American waders, with four species (American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica, White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis, Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii and Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis) appearing in record numbers during the autumn. Notable amongst American wildfowl were record numbers of Ring-necked Ducks Aythya collaris. Exceptional numbers of Bonaparte's Gulls Chroicocephalus philadelphia, Laughing Gulls Larus atricilla and Franklin's Gulls Larus pipixcan occurred, following on from the influx which began in late 2005 in the case of the last two species. Otherwise, however, it was a poor year for rare gulls with no new American Herring Gulls Larus smithsonianus found for the first time since 1995. The total of five species of Nearctic landbirds was above the recent average; in addition to the three mentioned above, Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus and Blackpoll Warbler Dendroica striata were also discovered in the west during the autumn.

Other species found in record numbers during 2006 were Wryneck Jynx torquilla, Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta and Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva. In some cases, the increase can be accounted for in part by the new recording system, put into place on 1st January 2005 (Irish Birds 7: 413-418), whereby numerous species (those in Appendix 2) no longer require written documentation. A number of Appendix 1 records for 2006 are still under assessment, but it is satisfying to note the lack of unaccepted records from this category in this Report.

P.Milne and D.G.McAdams (on behalf of the Irish Rare Birds Committee)
BirdWatch Ireland, 1 Springmount, Newtownmountkennedy, Wicklow.

Back to Irish Rare Bird Report