Apparent ATLAS PIED FLYCATCHER – a species new to Britain
In my opinion, the South Landing bird best matches a first-summer male ATLAS PIED FLYCATCHER – a species new to Britain – and on the back of 5 or 6 similar extralimital records elsewhere in southern Europe in the past week, most likely associated. There have also been a number of recent vagrant records of other North African species within the region, including Bar-tailed Desert Lark and Moussier’s Redstart.
Alternatively, it could be a first-summer male IBERIAN PIED FLYCATCHER, a very close relative of the Atlas Pied, which can be very difficult to differentiate in the field. This too would be a first for Britain and is recognised as a full species by the UK400 Club
Martin Collinson has been sent two feathers that fell from the bird in the hand and results from the analysis of these should be available next week. It could theoretically prove to be a hybrid White-collared x Pied Flycatcher, of which perhaps represent between 4 and 8% of the Scandinavian/ Polish/European Russian populations, although I personally failed to see any White-collared flycatcher features in the plumage.
At this stage, I would recommend anyone that can to go and see this beautiful bird because whatever the eventual outcome, it is a particular interesting and educational individual
Andrea Corso has spent a lot of time and effort studying Atlas Pied Flycatchers in recent years and has commented extensively on the identification elsewhere, whilst Martin Garner has displayed some outstanding images and offered some interesting insight on his Birding Frontiers blog.
The bird is at South Landing at Flamborough Head, where the recent deforestation on site allows for easy viewing. Turn right just beyond the main crossroads on the outskirts of Flamborough village and follow for 500 yards to the car park. View from the road or adjacent footpaths