Hot off the presses comes the news that the British Ornithologists' Union have accepted a record of a juvenile American Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago delicata, commonly known as Wilson's Snipe, to Category A of the British List. Note that the BOU currently consider Wilson's Snipe to be a subspecies of Common Snipe so you will not be able to add this to your BOU-based lists on BUBO Listing. However, the BOURC’s Taxonomic Sub-committee is currently reviewing its taxonomic status, so maybe there could be an armchair tick coming in the not too distant future for those lucky enough to have seen the bird that was present on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly from 9 October 1998 until 7 April 1999.

There are several other claims of Wilson's Snipe in Britain, as well as accepted records from elsewhere in the Western Palearctic. The fact that a British claim has now proven genuine, together with the fact that it is a known long-distance migrant with some birds thought to cross the western Atlantic on their southward migration, could well mean that it is a relatively regular transatlantic vagrant. The extreme complexity of identification means that an excellent series of detailed photographs would surely be a pre-requisite for acceptance of any live bird however.

The full BOURC and BBRC announcement can be read on the BOU news blog.