Northern Oriole – 1994

Icterus galbula – aka Baltimore Oriole. Vagrant

A North American species which has been recorded 15 times in Britain (Colston et al 991), including birds at Skokholm on 5 October 1967 (C. Britton), at Hook on 6-7 May 1970 (D. Petrie, I. Williams) and at Roch from early January to 24 April 1989 (J.W. Donovan, J. Scammel et al.).

The latter bird was seen by observers from all over Britain, most of whom responded by making a donation to the Dyfed Wildlife Trust, the money being used to construct a hide at Marloes Mere in recognition of the hospitality shown by Mr and Mrs Scammel during the bird’s stay.

Donovan J.W. & Rees G.H, 1994, Birds of Pembrokeshire

Additional note from the Pembrokeshire Bird Report 1989:

Bird of the year must be the Northern Oriole – probably a first winter female – that found shelter and food in John and Sheila Scammel’s garden at Roch – where it was watched by many who contributed £1,020 to the Trust for the pleasure of seeing and some even photographing this :” star turn”. This was our 4th of the species and whilst it was noted first on 2 January, it probably arrived in Britain during the period of stormy westerly winds in October 1988, when it must have been carried over the Atlantic on jet streams from the Caribbean as it migrated north south in the New World.

We are all grateful to John and Sheila for their considerable fortitude – they proved that if the occurrence of a rarity can be “orchestrated” to offend none and benefit some, so be it. Not all occurrences will be so capable of organisation however.

Additional note for 1967 record: Adult female, 5-10 Oct – Nature in Wales Vol 11, No2)

Additional note for 1970 record: Male – Nature in Wales Vol 12, No 4)