Not a classic few years for some as many of the megas in this period were in fact second or third records. Most birders got a few ticks, myself included, and everyone was very relieved with the repeat performance of a Grey-tailed Tattler, after the fiasco of the first suppressed bird. Strangely, the one "first" in 1994 was ignored initially on suspicion of having escaped from a cage, good job it sayed a while!


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Oriental Pratincole Gimmingham Norfolk May 1993
Frustration! This bird turned up 3 miles from where I was working that day, and my camera was at home. The third British record, it lingered for three months in the end, allowing me ample opportunity to rectify matters.There have been further records, including one 30 minutes from home, some are probably returning birds.

Citrine Wagtail May 1993
Although not a mega by any means, this obliging bird showed us what they look like in breeding plumage, most records in Britain being 1st winter birds in autumn.

Marmora's Warbler St.Abbs Head May 1993
Long thought to be a bird that would never occur in Britain again after a record in 1982, this species occured again ten years later, but proved so elusive that few people saw it. However the next arrival, this bird the following year, was far more obliging. There has been one further record of a one-day bird in Suffolk.

Desert Warbler May 1993
At the time there was a run of records of a species which has subsequently re-acquired Mega status, this bird however attempted to build a nest. Unfortunately it co-incided with the first twitchable Pacific Swift, which I went to see after work and missed by 40 minutes, so no happy memories for me!

Upland Sandpiper St.Marys October 1993
A typical record of this extremely obliging species which has become somewhat less frequent recently. The majority of records are from Scilly in Autumn, and birds have often lingered into November.

Black-eared Wheatear Stiffkey October 1993
Until this record, the most notorious of species for never staying for a second day. I once met a birder who had twitched fourteen and not seen one! This popular October bird in Norfolk bucked the trend and stayed nine days, showing very well to a constant stream of admirers.

Red-Flanked Bluetail Winspit November 1993
The first twitchable mainland Bluetail was very well received and stayed long enough for most people to catch up with it, little did we guess that there would be another within a year, and by the turn of the century they would be annual. Maybe Siberian Blue Robin will follow suit. (Please!!!).

Black-faced Bunting Pennington Flash March 1994
A first for Britain, but everyone assumed initially that it would be tarnished with the "escape" brush, so interest was slow at first. Those that did go were somewhat surprised, but very pleased, when it went straight on to category A after a relatively short time.

Bufflehead Colwick Country Park March 1994
Another huge twitch, although it was also thought to have possibly been an escape. As it wasn't a first and was far more accessible, most people went for insurance purposes, and eventually, myself included, gained a tick for their pains. It certainly wasn't approachable, as my photo indicates.

Song Sparrow Seaforth October 1994
Another port, another American "sparrow". One of the worst photos I've ever had published, as we just couldn't get any closer, but neither did anyone else. Another mega which hasn't been twitchable since, helping to make 1994 the best year of the three and a classic in its own right.

Greater Yellowlegs Rockcliffe October 1994
Just a bit further north on the same day as the Song Sparrow, was this bird, which at the time was a tick for many. I'd seen one ten years previously, but had to go for this before the Song Sparrow as I wasn't driving. The early morning light didn't help photography either, but I had no complaints at the end of a brilliant day.

Red-Flanked Bluetail Yarmouth Cemetary October 1994
Despite the huge twitch for the first mainland Bluetail the previous year this bird still attracted large crowds.I was lucky enough to be the other side of its preferred hedge when it flew out and landed on a gravestone in front of me. Keep hoping for a long-staying "electric-blue" male.

Pallas's Warbler Felixstowe October 1994
Not a mega even then, although the first record was as late as the seventies. One of my favourite photographs, I had about an hour before work, not usually long enough to capture such a fast-moving bird, but I just struck lucky. There were two birds present at the time, in a few low trees on the edge of a housing estate.

Yellow-rumped Warbler Ramsey Island November 1994
1994 seemed to continue turning up goodies right till the end, this was one of four major rarities in November. Never a common American Warbler, but a little run of records after this one gave many people a chance to catch up with the species. This bird was the most obliging, hopping around in a grassy ditch just below us.

Blyth's Pipit Landguard November 1994
Although it was in danger of losing its near-mythical status due to improved identification techniques, this was an easily accessible long-stayer, and enabled me to get a decent photo, which I had failed to do when I saw the Scilly bird the previous year. It succumbed to a Kestrel eventually.

Grey-tailed Tattler Burghead November 1994
Probably the biggest rarity of the year, the only other record being suppressed 12 years earlier. A 1st winter bird, it stayed over a month, enabling over 2,500 people to make the long trek north to see it. Unfortunately, birders were still arriving the day it was taken by a Sparrowhawk, a repeat is very long overdue.

Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler Yarmouth Cem. February 1995
Almost certainly arriving the previous autumn, this bird wintered here, and was usually easy to find as it called constantly. Only recently split from Yellow-browed at the time, it attracted a lot of visitors.

Scops Owl Morwenstow Cornwall March 1995
A good start to the year when this little gem, disturbed on a coastal walk, chose to roost in the open just feet from the path. A little easier than the previous twitchable one which necessitated the use of dismantled car headlights
to illuminate it!

Rock Thrush Holme Golf Course May 1995
Traditionally "one-day" birds, this superb male was delayed by the attentions of a Sparrowhawk, resulting in it being taken into care overnight, after which it remained for a week. A repeat occurence is getting a bit overdue. I saw it on the first day so no qualms about the tick!

Ross's Gull Greatham Creek June 1995
This bird came so close we thought it had gone when we arrived as all the 'scopes were pointing down just in front of the crowd. A summer adult, not as pink as some, but delightful all the same, it continued to entertain until the following weekend.

Olivaceous Warbler Benacre August 1995
This bird interrupted a shopping trip, neither of us like shopping and it meant we were halfway there anyway. A long-awaited "grip-back" for many people, ourselves included, it's surprising that its mega status has been largely maintained.

Long-tailed Skua Farmoor Resevoir August 1995
This beat even the Ross's Gull for tameness, but the best views were when it flew around. A rare inland record of an adult, this bird brightened up what was, by previous years' standards, a fairly quiet autumn.

Thrush Nightingale Landguard September 1995
Usually the most skulking of species, although not a major rarity many birders have never had really good views of one in Britain. This bird bucked the trend, as well as being a relatively long-stayer it came out to sun itself in a small area which was easily viewed.

Select:- 1985-1989 1990-1992 1996-1997 1998-1999 2000-2009
List of
Rarities from 1985
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Recent Rarities