Home   Romney Marsh   News   Article

Acadian flycatcher sighting in Dungeness has sparked a huge reaction from the UK's birdwatching community as thousands flocked to Romney Marsh

By Matt Leclere

Birdwatchers from all over the country have been flocking to Dungeness this week after a special migrant landed on the beach.

Excited birders descended on the Marsh on Tuesday when the acadian flycatcher (Empidonax virescens) was spotted hopping around on the pebbles.

The small bird, which is normally found in North America and eats small insects – hence its name – appears to have been blown a long way off course during its migration.

The Acadian flycatcher has been spotted in Dungeness. Martin Casemore captured these images of it on the beach and posted them on his blog. Picture: Martin Casemore
The Acadian flycatcher has been spotted in Dungeness. Martin Casemore captured these images of it on the beach and posted them on his blog. Picture: Martin Casemore

After leaving the eastern coast of America and southeastern Canada it can usually be seen in eastern Mexico, the Caribbean, southern Central America and in Colombia, western Venezuela and Ecuador.

"At one point someone counted 230 birders' cars down there. It’s been a poor year for rarities in Kent and suddenly out of nowhere this has turned up." Kent birdwatcher Dave Mairs

If the Dungeness bird is confirmed as an acadian flycatcher, it will be the first record of the bird in the UK. It was found by Dungeness regular Martin Casemore.

Visitors from as far afield as Devon, Cleveland and north Lancashire are thought to have made the journey to the south Kent coast to see the American visitor.

Kent birdwatcher Dave Mairs said: “The information was put out on the bird information services and it’s thought about 1,000 people came down to see it.

“At one point someone counted 230 birders' cars down there. It’s been a poor year for rarities in Kent and suddenly out of nowhere this has turned up - a potential first for Britain.

“It was first seen around the fishing boats and then moved into someone’s garden.

“What is thought to happen with American vagrants is they migrate north to south and get caught up in weather systems taking them out to the Atlantic. They then pitch down on ships and when they see land they off towards it.

Hundreds of birdwatchers have flocked to the Marsh to see the bird. Picture: Owen Leyshon
Hundreds of birdwatchers have flocked to the Marsh to see the bird. Picture: Owen Leyshon

“These American flycatchers are known as some of the most difficult birds anywhere to identify.”

Luckily, a sample of the bird’s poo was collected in the hope that DNA tests will prove its identity.

Dozens of birding bloggers have posted about the arrival.

Mr Casemore captured photographs of Dungeness’s newest visitor and posted them on his Plodding Birder blog.

Follow us

Like Us on Facebook

Most popular

Kent Travel News

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More