Sunday 19 June 2022

Rufous Bush Chat at Coverack, Lizard, Sunday 22nd August

 A Rufous Bush Chat was found near Coverack on the Lizard on Sunday 22nd August.  Of all the predictions for the next first for Cornwall, this species was definitely not on the radar.  Its also just the 10th record for the UK.  (Another was found in Norfolk last year but that was the first in 40 years).  I still can't believe this species turned up in Cornwall.  It will surely be the bird of the year.

The lucky finder was Lizard stalwart Dougy Wright, out on a casual midday walk with his wife!  Steve Bury had also birded this same path the day before, so we can at least presume it had just arrived. It was tame and very showy, oblivious to its admirers.

The species has at least two obvious forms and this one has been identified as the Eastern form Syriacus. There is strong contrast between the rufous tail and pale grey-brown mantle. 

Syriacus breeds in the Balkans, Greece, Middle East and Turkey.  The species winters in NE and E Africa, from Sudan through Ethiopia to Somalia and Kenya. (P.Clement)

UK records:

1854 Nr Brighton, East Sussex

1859 Start Point, Devon

1876 Slapton, Devon

1951, Nr Dungeness, East Sussex/Kent

1959 Prawle Point, Devon

1963 Skegness, Lincs.

1972 Flamborough, N Humberside

1980 Prawle Point, Devon

2020 Norfolk

All records have occurred between 9th Aug and 20th Oct, majority in Sept.  (A further three have been recorded in SW Ireland).

Image by Paul Freestone 

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