Boxing Day – Brunnich’s Guillemot, a belated and most welcome Christmas present.   Leave a comment

Mid-morning I received some excellent news, a Brunnich’s Guillemot had been found in Portland Harbour. This high arctic species breeds no further south than Iceland and has its stronghold in the far north in Svarlbard and northern Greenland and are an extremely rare visitor to the UK, with most records coming from Shetland. The Portland record is the first occurrence in southern Britain.

This is not only new for my Dorset list, it is also new for my British list and is actually the only British tick that I have had in 2013.

The bird was feeding close in and we had excellent views near Osprey Quay on a beautiful winters day.


There have been 42 records of Brunnich’s Guillemot in Britain. Of these 25 have been found as tideland corpses. Of the remaining only two have occurred south of the Scottish border, Farne Islands, Northumberland in 1970 and Yorkshire in November 2013. It is possible that this bird could be the same individual as the Yorkshire bird.


. Brunnich’s Guillemot is known as Thick-billed Murre in America. The thick bill, with a pale line on the cutting edge (particularly noticeable in summer adults), the slightly larger size, stockier appearance with shorter, thicker neck and black face in winter plumage separate it from Common Guillemot.


Brunnich’s Guillemot has paler axillaries than Common Guillemot.


On our way back home we called  in to see a Glossy Ibis that has been seen regularly on a flooded playing field near Radipole RSPB reserve.


The only other rarity that I have seen since getting back from Africa were these two juvenile  Common Cranes which took up residence for a week or so near Cheselbourne.


Posted December 26, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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