As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Lesser Moorhen in Catalonia – a second for mainland Spain


An immature Lesser Moorhen was discovered on the outskirts of the city of Olot in Catalonia, Spain, on Thursday 23 January, part of a rich run of Afrotropical vagrants to be recorded in the Western Palearctic in early 2020. Pere Baucells Colomer was one of just four birders to see this extreme vagrant, and takes up the story:

I received a call from my brother Jordi just as I took my lunch break on 23 January. Amazingly, he had been told that a Lesser Moorhen had just been found in Olot! Adrià Ferrussola, who works at the sewage treatment plant near the town, managed to catch the bird. After a while, he released it close to the sewage works and sent my brother the news. Given these circumstances, we assumed the bird would be in poor condition and quickly went there to try and capture it again, so that it could be taken to a vet centre.

We found the bird in a flooded grass field close to the bushes where Adrià had left it. But, surprisingly, the bird seemed quite healthy, so we stayed to watch it and take some photos. When a Eurasian Sparrowhawk flew overhead, it became nervous. Suddenly it flew about 25 m to a forest with dense understory and was lost to view. We tried to relocate it because other birders had arrived, but it was never seen again.

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