Siberian Accentor - Prunella montanella

In October 2016 a large influx of Siberian Accentors appeared in the Northern Europa, with birds in Finland, Sweden, Poland, Norway, Germany and Denmark. The first record for the UK was on 9 October on the Shetland Isles. A good overview of this influx can be found on Dutch Birding.
Tension rose in the Netherlands as the birds seem to pass on a relative small front north of the Netherlands. But on 21st October JurriŽn van Deijk and Jacob Lotz while birding on the Maasvlakte, near Rotterdam, found a bird at c 8:30 hours. The bird flew off in a small bush and was not seen immediately. More birders gathered at the location, but it was until 12:30 hours when the bird was relocated by Theo Admiraal and Gunther Vergouwen. From that moment till dark the bird could be observed quite well. It stayed on the ground and was feeding slowly in a gully under the sparse vegetation, sometimes appearing in the open and sometimes flying for short distances.
I had to pass an exam at 9:00 hours in Amsterdam and I was not allowed to enter the exam room with my smartphone. At 10:00 hours I finished (and passed!) my exam and I habitually checked my smartphone. The alert had went off at 9:07 hours, so for a moment I thought I was lost and running behind, but happily I could get a lift with Charles and Maurits Martens. We arrived at 12:15 hours and after a short search we were brutally interrupted by birders running in one particular direction! We had very good looks eventually and the whole event was a reunion of birders seeing each other after a long time.


The first picture and the one that was shown on the Dutch Birding Alerts; 21 October 2016, Maasvlakte, Rotterdam ZH; © JurriŽn van Deijk.

The pattern on the greater coverts strongly suggests a 1st calender-year. See this site for details.
21 October 2016, Maasvlakte, Rotterdam ZH; © Arnoud van den Berg.

Details of the head pattern; Eye colour (grey-brown) suggests 1cy bird. 21 October 2016, Maasvlakte, Rotterdam ZH; © Renť van Rossum.

21 October 2016, Maasvlakte, Rotterdam ZH; © Tijmen van Doornik.


The bird was only present on 21 October, the next day it was gone. It wasaccepted as the first Siberian Accentor for the Netherlands. A map with all records in Northern Europa in the autumn of 2016 so far can be found here.

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