A Common Yellowthroat found on a boat in Spain has made the crossing back across the Atlantic, in an extraordinary ship-assisted record of vagrancy.
The bird was first seen in Vigo, Galicia, on 4 May aboard MS Queen Elizabeth, a cruise ship, during a voyage between Southampton and San Francisco, California.
The Common Yellowthroat aboard MS Queen Elizabeth (Roy Nicklin).
It was then sighted daily until the ship reached the Caribbean port of Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands on 17 May – remaining on board when the ship docked at both Port Canaveral and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, between 12 and 14 May.
How the bird first got to Europe is unknown, though it may have arrived in Spain on a ship last autumn. According to the ship's itinerary, the MS Queen Elizabeth has been present in Europe since the turn of the year at least, with cruises visiting the western Mediterranean, Macaronesia and Scandinavia between January and late April.
The only previous Spanish record came at Cádiz, Andalusia, on 19 September 2014.