As of 10 November 2015, a total of 430 species have been recorded this year

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Thursday, 31 December 2009

Abberton today - SPOT SAND still present

Highlights today:-SPOTTED SANDPIPER (first-winter still on the dam - permits available from the Visitor Centre to EWT and EBS members only - 1st, 2nd, 3rd January only, then the site will be closed to the public)

Great northern diver (1)
Whooper swan (1)
Smew (3)

Liz Huxley, Centre Manager, Abberton Reservoir Visitor Centre

SMEW still in Lothian

Returning redhead SMEW still showing really well on Linlithgow Loch. Only small patch of unfrozen loch remaining. All birds crowding into it. These fabulous images were obtained by Mike Thrower and from them you can clearly see the diagnostic black facial area of adulthood (first-years are uniform reddish-brown in that area)


There's a RED-THROATED DIVER at Frensham Little Pond. The bird is oiled and was sat on the ice! (per Shaun Peters)


The NORTHERN GREY SHRIKE was showing really well at Ash Ranges this morning. Enter by the Mytchett Gate (Bridge Hill), and the bird was in gorse and small birches to the right of the track, about 100 yards after crossing the railway.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009


Wasn't out for too long today - that wind would punch holes in you!! However, Maidens now has an adult DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE (a very scarce species in Ayrshire) along with the 4 Pale-bellied Brents - they were all feeding on the football field at 14.00 hrs. Two Little Grebes are now in the harbour and the 1st winter male Black Redstart was in the first bay south of the main breakwater - it occasionally feeds there but will return to the bay in front of West Nook if disturbed (Angus Hogg).

Tuesday, 29 December 2009


Yesterday (28th), there were two Ravens and a Peregrine at Harrington Airfield in the morning. Various visits to the north of the county (East Carlton CP, Welland Valley, Wakerley Wood, Fineshade, Blatherwycke Lake and Fermyn Wood CP) failed to locate anything of particular interest.

Birds at Pitsford Res (28th), included two GREAT WHITE EGRETS, a Little Egret, two drake Smew, four Redshank, eleven Dunlin, a Ruff and a Knot.

Today (29th), the two GREAT WHITE EGRETS were still at Pitsford Res, north of the causeway... Neil McMahon

CASPIAN GULL in Hampshire

The adult CASPIAN GULL was again on Ibsley Water this afternoon. When I arrived at 2.30pm it was roosting alone on the island nearest the far bank. It was present til about 4.05 when the gulls were spooked and after a quick circuit of the lake it flew off south on its own. The whole time we (Simon King and myself) were watching it stayed near the back except for a couple of short flights. Helpfully an adult Yellow legged Gull wandered up to it at one stage and allowed a direct comparison.

Nearby 14 (5 juv) Bewick's Swans on the water meadows (Mark Edgeller)


Grune Point this morning 1 Little Stint, Greenshank, Ring Tail Hen Harrier, Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 1 Brambling with c20 Chaffinch, 20 Fieldfare, 25 Grey Plover, c4000 Barnacle Geese, Jack Snipe, Snipe, c600 Wigeon, c50 Bar Tailed Godwit, c20 Twite lots of dunlin and Knot.

Port Carlisle lunchtime LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER showed very well, Spotted Redshank, 2 drake Goldeneye, Raven (Nick Franklin)

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Christmas Briefs

The adult RING-BILLED GULL is showing this lunchtime at Westcliff-on-Sea, Southend (Essex), a wintering LITTLE BUNTING is present in a garden at Dunnet, 8 miles east of Thurso (Highland Region), the juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER is still SE of Dunbar and just north of Barns Ness at White Sands Bay (Lothian), a CATTLE EGRET is 3 miles west of Barnstaple (North Devon) at Yelland in the horse field at Lower Yelland Farm (SS 492 323), an adult drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK is at Barton Broad (Norfolk) as is another just west of Pugney's Country Park (West Yorks) (along with a first-winter drake RING-NECKED DUCK), a YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER present for a third day at Westhay Moor NNR (Somerset) at the south end of Lewis's Drove and a WHITE STORK of suspect origin just south of Flamborough (East Yorks) in the field by the Timoneer Hotel. In South Devon, the adult RED-BREASTED GOOSE is again just north of Fishers Mill Bridge, Topsham, and in North Norfolk, the adult GREATER SNOW GOOSE just south of the A149 at Titchwell. The first-winter GLOSSY IBIS continues to survive at Holt Fen (Worcs) and the GREAT WHITE EGRET remains at Pitsford Reservoir (Northants).

KILLDEER present for its second day in IRELAND

A KILLDEER seen briefly yesterday morning at Greystones (County Wicklow) flew over near Charlesland Golf Club late morning, confirming its presence in the area.

Colour-ringed TWITE in Bedfordshire

Paul Donald has found a colour-ringed TWITE in with about 1000 birds near Southill Lake. (Directions: Out of Southill village, park on the sharp bend near the Lake, park in layby or near bend, take footpath east for about 300 yards. Bird is in ploughed field) (per Richard Bashford)

Paul added ''Yes, it's a really well marked bird (even saw some pink on the rump as it preened in good light!) so I guess a male, with perhaps 1000 Linnets, though birds very mobile (buzzed by Merlin today, Peregrine yesterday!). Also in the area hundreds of Skylarks, and lots of Reed Buntings, Greenfinches etc., plus a smattering of Corn Buntings and Yellowhammers. This area is really amazing at the moment, must be like farmland used to be fifty or a hundred years ago. You need a scope and some patience to get good views. As Richard says above, it is on the bridleway that runs west-east from the right-angle bend in the road between Southill and Old Warden towards Broom.

The Twite is colour-ringed and I am going to ask some RSPB colleagues who are involved in Twite colour-ringing as to its origins. I only got good views of the left leg, which I think was metal (possibly white) above orange (possibly pink!)''

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

SIBERIAN STONECHAT continues to be top attraction

Here are a few images of the SIBERIAN STONECHAT that appears to be over wintering at Bevercotes wood in Nottinghamshire. It does show well at times,down to 25ft while i was there. The bird is very very mobile,and does range quite times feeding in the hedgerows well into the adjacent agricultural fields,but always comes back to its favoured area's. Patience is the key to good views (Mark Stirland).

Tuesday, 22 December 2009


See for an excellent selection of Phil Palmer's images and an account of this exceptional winter occurrence

Deep snow continues its grip on the South East

Still two GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS on Brogborough Lake this afternoon. However there seems to have been a clearout of other ducks here with no Scaups or Red-crested Pochards, and much reduced numbers of Pochards.The only other slightly notable bird I saw today was a female Pintail on Stewartby lake, presumably the bird from Rookery?

In the roost at Stewartby there was around 2,500 Common Gulls, well up on recent weeks (Steve Blain)

Thursday, 17 December 2009

LONG-TAILED DUCK still at Theale

Marek Walford obtained these superb images above, this bird now being present for several weeks.
17/12 13:30 : 1w Long-tailed Duck : Moatlands Main Lake, Theale GP. Still present just off Ski Club. Roger Stansfield

Old Favourites

The SPOTTED SANDPIPER is still ENE of Mottisfont (Hants) at Lower Brook feeding on the lawn and drive by the River Test (park at Stonemarsh car park just north of the pub and walk north for half a mile to the Test Way and view from the second bridge at SU 339 278. Photographed above by Simon Woolley.

Both adult PENDULINE TITS are again at Hookers Pit, Dungeness RSPB (Kent), with the first-winter still by the Hanson Hide on the ARC Pit. The CATTLE EGRET is today on the New Excavations Pit. The two EUROPEAN SERINS are still at Rainham RSPB.

The adult drake LESSER SCAUP is again at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park on the East Lake (East Glamorgan), with two GREAT WHITE EGRETS in Walgrave Bay, Pitsford Reservoir (Northants), the drake AMERICAN WIGEON at Welney WWT (Norfolk) (from Lyle Hide), the adult SPOTTED SANDPIPER near Killearn (Clyde), the drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK at Pugney's CP (West Yorks) and 3 GLOSSY IBIS at Catcott Lows NR (Somerset).

RED-NECKED GREBE still at Grafham Water

RED-NECKED GREBE still from dam, plus Great Northern Diver and Rock Pipit

Abberton today

Highlights this morning include (per Liz Huxley):

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (first-winter still in Peldon Bay; permit access only)
Great Northern Diver (1)
Merlin (1)
Smew (2)

BROWN SHRIKE surviving the cold snap

The BROWN SHRIKE is still present at the north end of Staines Moor today (Thursday 17 December) and is gradually becoming much more warmer coloured on the underparts and flanks (see Jason Atkinson's fabulous image above).


I am not sure which airport you will be arriving at.but from wherever, you need to get on to the M25 and leave at Junction 14 (best to arrive from the north but remember to ignore the new Terminal 5 Heathrow turnoff). At the roundabout go straight over into 'Stanwell Moor' and continue into the village. At the 'Anchor' pub, turn right into Hithermoor Road and follow it around to the southern end after 650 yards. From here, you take the footpath that runs south along the west side of King George VI Reservoir for 400 yards, veering off right on the extremely muddy track that takes you out on the Staines Moor. Once you have crossed the boardwalk, you will come out on to the moor proper and the bird favours the scattered bushes on the west side of the river at SU 034 735. Wellington Boots are essential.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Caerlaverock today

On the Folly Pond today, Drake North American Green-winged Teal, 24 Common Snipe, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, a small flock of about 30 European Golden Plover and 3 Tree Sparrows going to the hide. The G-w Teal was still showing well when I left at around 15-30pm (Brian Henderson)

Midweek Summary from around the Country - a Review - snow arrives in Eastern Britain

Much of Europe is experiencing plunging temperatures, heavy frosts and severe winter weather. Today, that weather extended into Eastern Britain, bringing the first snowfall of the winter. The effect of the weather on birdlife so far has been minimal with little evidence of immigration. It has forced a few more Smew and Goosander south, as well as both Bewick's and Whooper Swans west, but there are still very low numbers of Arctic gulls present, and Bohemian Waxwings are virtually non-existent.

Norfolk is at the forefront of the easterly blast but is largely unaffected thus far: The adult white morph GREATER SNOW GOOSE continues to be the main attraction consorting with up to 15,000 Pink-footed Geese close to Titchwell village, in fields south of the A149 not far from the sewage treatment works entrance. A wintering Black Redstart is around the chalets on Heacham North Beach, whilst the most reliable Twite flock is that of 30 birds by the wooden bridge at Brancaster Staithe. Up to 8 Water Pipits are frequenting a ploughed field along Old Woman's Lane just east of Cley village, whilst the largest flock of Brambling in Britain this winter are the 186 frequenting the Beech trees in the Helen's Well car park at Santon Downham..Nearby, up to 8 Hawfinches are in the two Hornbeam trees in the paddock south of Lybford Arboretum.

There are at least THREE wintering SPOTTED SANDPIPERS: an adult still harbouring a few spots at Killearn (Clyde) (frequenting the area of Endrick Water by the bridge north of the Blane Water confluence at NS 503 858), a first-winter on the River Test near Mottisfont (Hants) and on the Exe Estuary north of the recreation ground at Topsham (South Devon) at SX 957 887.
The adult winter LESSER YELLOWLEGS is with Common Redshanks in Peffer Burn, Aberlady Bay (Lothian), the juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER on the uppermost part of the beach at White Sands Bay, Dunbar (Lothian) and the first-winter LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER in Port Carlisle Harbour (Cumbria).

Two EUROPEAN SERINS remain at Rainham Marshes RSPB (Essex/London), feeding with Goldfinches at the west end of the reserve in the vicinity of the 1.6km marker, with first-winter ROSE-COLOURED STARLINGS in New Hutton village, near Kendal (Cumbria) and in Forest Hill village, just east of Oxford (Oxon). One male PENDULINE TIT is very occasionally being seen early mornings in Bulrush clumps left of the Hanson Hide at Dungeness ARC Pit (Kent) whilst the first-winter BROWN SHRIKE is still keeping alive on Staines Moor (Surrey).

This winter has seen a record number of GREAT WHITE EGRETS present, with a mobile individual in the Long Lawford area (Warks) (often feeding in the stream by Clayhall Lane), one recently at Himley Hall Lake (Staffs), one very mobile bird in NE Scotland last seen on Forfar Loch on Monday, two birds at Pitsford Reservoir (Northants) (mobile but often in Walgrave or Scaldwell Bays), 2-3 birds in the Grange-over-Sands and Leighton Moss areas (Lancs), one at Banks Marsh (Lancs), 1-2 birds in the Lakenheath and Hockwell Fen areas (Suffolk), a long-stayer at Denge Marsh, Dungeness (Kent), the Loire de L'Atlantique colour-ringed adult at Blashford Lakes HWT (Hants) and the Somerset resident most recently WSW of Axbridge at Rooks Bridge.

Six first-winter GLOSSY IBISES from the Spanish Coto Donana are wintering: 3 NW of Glastonbury at Catcott Lows NR (Somerset) (at ST 400 414), 2 by the access track at Dungeness RSPB (Kent) and one on the east bank of the River Severn at Holt Fleet (Worcs) at SO 832 632, whilst CATTLE EGRETS include 3 together NW of Street and north of Sharpham Park at ST 469 380 (Somerset), 2 birds west of Saltash (Cornwall) at Lower Trewellard Farm, SW of Trematon, and singles in Christchurch (Dorset) and at Lydd (East Kent). As usual, one Salisbury Plain released Great Bustard is wintering with Mute Swans in Somerset on Sedgemoor Drain.

It has been the largest inland GREAT NORTHERN DIVER influx I can remember, with six apiece on Grafham Water (Cambs) and King George VI Reservoir (Surrey), two at Brogborough Lake (Beds), two on Pit 125 in Cotswold Water Park (Gloucs) and singles at Angler's CP, Wintersett (West Yorks), Hoveringham Railway Pit (Notts), Carsington Water (Derbyshire), Rutland Water (Leics) (in Whitwell Creek), Draycote Water (Warks), Alton Water (Suffolk) and Crowdy Reservoir (Cornwall) (where there is also a BLACK-THROATED DIVER). Grafham Water also has a RED-NECKED GREBE (viewable from the dam), whilst the only inland RED-THROATED DIVER is that in Whitwell Creek, Rutland Water. Carrick Roads, in Cornwall, has a good selection of wintering 'sea' birds, with 4 Velvet Scoters, 18 Black-necked Grebes and a Slavonian Grebe.

We have two 'reliable' RING-BILLED GULLS - 'old-faithful' adults at Westcliff-on-Sea, Southend (Essex) (on the ramp opposite Rossi's Ice Cream Parlour along the esplanade or on surrounding lamp-posts) and at Walpole Park Lake, Gosport (Hants) (often at low tide in the adjacent Haslar Creek)

NORTHERN GREY SHRIKES are in surprisingly short supply: in Scotland, one remains on the SW side of Slockavullin, in Birches and scrub alongside the track to Tayness at cNR 820 975, with another in the Lochgilphead area (Argyll), whilst elsewhere, just one has returned to a regular territory in the New Forest (Hants) with others at Dersingham Bog (Norfolk), Pannel Valley NR, Icklesham (East Sussex). A wintering WATER PIPIT is present with Rock Pipits on Barns Ness beach (Lothian) south of the lighthouse, whilst also rare in Scotland is a FIRECREST still present at Gramsdale on Benbecula (Outer Hebrides).

The female Hooded Merganser of unknown origin was back at Saltholme Pools RSPB (Cleveland) on 14 December, with FERRUGINOUS DUCKS in West Yorkshire (commuting between the Nature Reserve lake at Pugney's Country Park and the Calder Wetlands behind The Swan and Cygnet pub), Somerset (on Cheddar Reservoir) and in Dorset (an adult female on The Fleet at Abbotsbury Swannery - view from high ground on New Barn Road - also 9 Greater Scaup in area) The regular female SURF SCOTER is wintering in Dawlish Bay (South Devon) (with another in Hough Bay on Tiree, Argyll and two resident drakes in The Sound of Taransay on Harris) and AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEALS at Caerlaverock WWT (Dumfries & Galloway) and Eyebrook Reservoir (Leics). Drake AMERICAN WIGEONS can be found at Castle Loch NR, Lochmaben (D & G) and at Welney WWT (Norfolk), both erratic in their appearances, whilst the only RING-NECKED DUCKS are a female on Hookers Loch, North Ronaldsay (Orkney), a drake at Foxcote Reservoir (North Bucks) and a female WSW of Devil's Bridge (Ceredigion) at Llyn Rhosnhydd - SN 704 757.. The only KING EIDER - an adult drake - can be found with Common Eiders off Burghead (Moray).

Two Pink-footed Geese visited a stubble field below Belvide Reservoir dam (Staffs) yesterday, whilst an adult white morph GREATER SNOW GOOSE was with Pink-footed Geese and 2 Barnacle Geese in stubble north of Kinross (Perth & Kinross) and another of somewhat suspect origin with Greylag Geese north of the Craob Haven turning on the A816 in Argyll. A Blue Morph LESSER SNOW GOOSE is with Pink-footed Geese in the Loch of Skene area (Aberdeenshire) whilst the only RED-BREASTED GOOSE is the regularly returning adult on the South Coast currently with 500 or more Dark-bellied Brent Geese at the north end of the Exe Estuary north of Fisher's Mill Bridge at Topsham (South Devon). Four further white morph SNOW GEESE (remnants of the 31-strong flock seen in mid October) remain at Aldcliffe Marsh (Lancs).

The adult Little Stint is again wintering with Dunlin on the River Deben at Melton (Suffolk) (view the estuary from beyond the boatyard on Dock Lane) whilst many Eurasian Bitterns have returned to favoured wintering reedbeds throughout the Midland and SE region.

In IRELAND, the drake AMERICAN BLACK DUCK (which has been present this entire millenium) is again with Mallard at Sruhillbeg Lough, Achill Island (Co. Mayo) whilst the adult BLACK BRANT is with 108 Pale-bellied Brent Geese at Hopeland, Rosslare (Co. Wexford). Nearby, a RED-NECKED GREBE is at Rosslare Backstrand, and the long-staying and sole-surviving first-winter GLOSSY IBIS at Tacumshin.

A SHORE LARK of unknown racial identity was feeding along the shoreline close to the pier at Aphort on Arranmore Island (Co. Donegal) yesterday afternoon.

An adult drake LESSER SCAUP was on Lough Sheelin (Co. Cavan) on Monday 14 December, with the adult female BLUE-WINGED TEAL still in residence at North Bull Island (Co. Dublin)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

BAIRD'S again

The juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER is still present in White Sands Bay, just east of Dunbar (Lothian) this afternoon (per Dave Allan). The bird can be very unobtrusive, feeding at the top of the beach, on its own and in amongst the tidewrack. It is exceptionally confiding. Dennis Morrison obtained the excellent image above.

DOWITCHER still present

Drake SMEW still showing well albeit rather distant this morning at Longtown, on one of the waterbodies on the Gretna road.
At Port Carlisle, the first-winter LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was showing well down from the old harbour wall then later to the left of the harbour (see Tristan Reid's superb images above). Large flocks of Dunlin and Red Knot also there, with a large number of Barnacle Geese also in the vicinity (per Brian Henderson).

Monday, 14 December 2009

Northamptonshire GREAT WHITE EGRETS

Two GREAT WHITE EGRETS still at Pitsford this afternoon. Quite mobile but both viewable from causeway from time to time (Peter Allen)

Castle Loch - Dumfries & Galloway

The drake AMERICAN WIGEON is showing this morning at Castle Loch, Lochmaben, along with the LONG-TAILED DUCK (per Pat Baines)

In neighbouring, the first-winter ROSE-COLOURED STARLING is still present. Craig Shaw obtained the images above.


Here are a selection of images of the moulting adult GREAT NORTHERN DIVER discovered yesterday on the rowing course at Holme Pierrepont. This is additional to the leighbouring juvenile present at Hoveringham Railway Pit (Mark Stirland)

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Berkshire LONG-TAILED DUCK still present

Long-tailed Duck : Moatlands Main Lake, Theale GP. still between jump & island. (Jerry O'Brien)


The first-winter LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was again this morning at Port Carlisle harbour.

Stewartby Lake, Bedfordshire: SLAV GREBE new in

A SLAVONIAN GREBE was found from the western end this afternoon, whilst the two GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS remain present, 7 GREATER SCAUP and 2 Red-crested Pochards.

Yesterday, 4 adult BEWICK'S SWANS were at Broom Main Pit (per Andy Plumb)

Grafham Water: all SIX GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS still present

GREAT NORTHERN DIVER, still 6 birds; 4 from Mander CP this morning (two adults and two juveniles) and 2 from the dam (adult and juvenile). Interestingly, the young bird with a white "fly in its crown appears to have removed the hook - either that, or it has left, and been replaced by another juvenile.

Common Scoter, female from dam late morning.

Lots of Redwings around today, plus Siskins and Redpolls.

Mark Hawkes

Friday, 11 December 2009

Ditchford Gulls

After the fog had lifted, today was spent completing a WeBS count at Ditchford GP. Highlights among the gulls was a second year Iceland Gull, 4 Caspian Gulls (3 adults - one of which may have been the Pitsford bird, and a 3rd Year) and 3+ 1st year Yellow-legged Gulls. All birds were west of Ditchford Lane. Other birds present included an adult Whooper Swan on the main pit between Higham Ferrers and Irthlingborough, a Water Pipit, a juvenile male Peregrine, 4 Water Rails, 2 Green Sandpipers, 2 Redshanks, 7 Kingfishers and 7 Cetti's Warblers.(Neil McMahon)

Afternoon visit to Abberton Reservoir

Afternoon visit

Layer de la haye Causeway; BEWICK'S SWAN 3 (2ad + 1 juv), ROCK PIPIT unrung bird in SE corner

Layer Breton Causeway: BITTERN 1 in reeds by the weir showing well; SPOONBILL 2 juveniles; PEREGRINE 1; BARN OWL 1 at the west end not seen this species here lately probably due the destruction of the nesting box of the pair in Wigborough bay?

SMEW 1 redhead; CANADA GOOSE 1 small race bird seen to the east of the causeway but distant. Looked good for Richardson's with white lower neck band. Better views needed.(Adrian Kettle)
Inset photo: the recent SPOTTED SANDPIPER (AK)

Warwickshire WHINCHAT still surviving

WHINCHAT - Tame Valley NR between main road and pool; also Common Chiffchaff - at SK 206 025 - still present today - rare December record

Cumbrian ROSY STARLING - visitors no longer welcome

I managed to see this bird this afternoon. Rob, the owner of the house in whose garden it is frequenting, is now very unfriendly towards birders; in fact he is sick of them! I was the third person today to ask permission to view the bird. There are warning signs for birders everywhere stopping them entering his garden/trespassing.


Luckily there is a public footpath on the south side of his house overlooking the trees in his garden. To reach this you have to walk along the tarmac road to behind the new refurbished flats/old school. Turn left through the gate down some steps in a wall to a concrete pad with a cattle trough. From here you will see the bird frequent the trees in his garden. There are feeders in his front garden, where a few of us waited for a while but where the starling does not visit.
Hope this clarifies things now....   Craig Shaw

.........And GREAT NORTHERN DIVER still present in Berkshire

11/12 14:20 : juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER : Brimpton GP. Still on Northern-most fishing lake. Showing very well (Adrian Hickman)

Dungeness today

Black-necked Grebe - three Denge Marsh
Eurasian Bittern - one at Hooker's pits
Great White Egret - Denge Marsh
Glossy Ibis - near Boulderwall farm
Smew - two red-heads, New Excavations

Christine Hawkins
Visitor Centre Manager, RSPB Dungeness

Escaped Ferruginous Duck in Berkshire

This is the 'resident' adult drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK that frequents the Jubilee River NR, between Slough and Taplow. It has survived for over four years now and has strayed as far as Staines Reservoirs in freezing conditions. Colin Humphrey obtained this excellent image.


This splendid adult drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK is currently residing on the main reserve lake at Pugney's Country Park in West Yorkshire. Ron Marshall obtained these cracking shots of the bird as it swam 25 yards away.
A female FERRUGINOUS DUCK is also at Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset

AMERICAN BLACK DUCK on the Isles of Scilly

An AMERICAN BLACK DUCK was present on Abbey Pool, Tresco, for a short time, before flying off to Pentle Bay, and then off towards Samson. A late YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER was also on Tresco (10 December)

Late news from the archipelago concern a RUSTIC BUNTING phone-scoped at the junction of Airport and Old Town Lane on 30 November and a RED-THROATED PIPIT on Periglis Beach, St Agnes, on 6 December

........And more images of the magnificent bird (POMARINE SKUA)

Gary Thoburn is simply one of the best bird photographers around - and published above are a selection of his Beachley Point POMARINE SKUA images.


This near-adult POMARINE SKUA spent over a week recently at Beachley Point in Gloucestershire - at the side of the River Severn - feeding on a sheep carcass. These fabulous photographs were taken by Glyn Sellors.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Abberton Today

The SPOTTED SANDPIPER was still present in Peldon Bay this morning, whilst at Layer Breton: Whooper Swan, female Smew, 6 Goosanders (+ 10 more in Peldon Bay), 15 Snipe, Green Sandpiper and between the two causeways: 2 juvenile EURASIAN SPOONBILLS, 12 Spotted Redshanks and 14 Ruff.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


The BROWN SHRIKE is still present at the north end of Staines Moor (Middlesex), whilst adjacent, a record SIX juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS are on King Geoirge VI Reservoir (strictly permit access only)


The adult PACIFIC DIVER and a Great Northern Diver are both still present on the Carnsew Basin pool at Hayle (West Cornwall). Matthew Sallis took the superb flight shot above

LESSER SCAUP in South Wales

The drake LESSER SCAUP has returned for its second winter in Cardiff Bay, whilst the wintering YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER remains not that far away.

Lothian BAIRD'S SAND still

Mike Thrower obtained this brilliant image of the White Sands Bay juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER


For its 19th consecutive day, the juvenile ROSE-COLOURED STARLING is present in the back garden of ''Hagg Hill Top'' - please respect the privacy of residents of this village


The Aberdeenshire GREAT WHITE EGRET is now relocated in Fife where for the past five days it has been frequenting Kilconquhar Loch.

The only NORTHERN GREY SHRIKE in Scotland is a bird wintering 8 miles north of Lochgilphead (Argyll) just SW of Stockavullin (view only from the track at NR 820 975)


James Lowen obtained the excellent images above. The two first-winter GLOSSY IBISES can still be located to the right of the entrance track just beyond Boulderwall Farm and the GREAT WHITE EGRET is on view from the Denge Marsh Hide

Worcestershire GLOSSY IBIS still

The first-winter GLOSSY IBIS was again SE of Holt Fleet on the flash on the east bank of the River Severn early afternoon. Park off of the A4133 in the disused car park and follow the footpath downstream to view from by the large Hawthorn hedgerow at the end of the first large field at SO 832 632.

ROSE-COLOURED STARLING still in Forest Hill (Oxon)

The long-staying first-winter ROSE-COLOURED STARLING is still frequenting gardens along Mickle Way in Forest Hill hamlet, 3 miles east of Oxford.


The adult RED-BREASTED GOOSE is still present at Topsham today, feeding with 500 Dark-bellied Brent Geese close to Darts Farm on the Clyst Marshes.
On October 28th, the day after the Black Throated Thrush was found on nearby Dartmoor, Matthew Knott found what was presumably this bird on his daily check of Blackill Quarry Pool, a mile inland of Exmouth. This is a fenced off pool in a large open valley that attracts Teal, Little Grebe and Tufted Duck and a sizeable daily roost of up to 1,000 gulls. The bird was by itself and happy feeding on the grassy peninsula at the south end of the pool (see Dave Stone's photograph above). It was however unringed, fully winged and very nervous and would for instance even react before the 700 gull flock present did. The bird remained on site until November 26th, when it had been witnessed, especially at the latter half of its stay, by a steady stream of Devon based birders.
What was presumably the same bird was then relocated at the southern end of Bowling Green Marsh on December 3rd amongst several hundred Dark-bellied Brent Geese, in the field by the viewing platform and was still present on December 4th, allowing many of the keenest Devon listers to connect during that afternoon (contributed by Mark Bailey)

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Wintering BAIRD'S still present in Lothian

At White Sands today, the very confiding juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was showing well all morning on the beach. Also good numbers of Sanderling, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Oystercatchers and Redshanks. I managed the images above.

Later at Aberlady Bay, the winter adult LESSER YELLOWLEGS was still present down stream from the bridge (Dennis Morrison)

SPOTTED SANDPIPERS in South Devon and Hampshire

Both of the juvenile SPOTTED SANDPIPERS present at Exeter (South Devon) and at Lower Brook, near Mottisfont (Hants) are still showing today. Rob Laughton obtained these superb images of the Exe individual.


A juvenile ROSE-COLOURED STARLING has been present 2 miles SE of Kendal and 0.75 miles west of New Hutton for 12 days. From the A684 take Beehive Lane and take a road on top of the hill to SD 548915. This is a park-type housing development (though no building work is currently evident) along with a few existing houses - and an old school.

The bird is frequenting a private garden with special access, arranged in advance with the owner. At present, I do not have any specific details, but some 50 local birders have already taken advantage of 'special invites'.

Grey morph GYR on Orkney

Jim has just phoned the RSPB Office to say that about ten minutes ago he had an intermediate phase GYRFALCON fly in off the sea at Black Craig, Stromness. He lost it beneath the cliff so we don't know which way it's heading but worth keeping an eye open just in case (per Eric Meek)

Monday, 7 December 2009

WHINCHAT in Suffolk

Gerald Jobson has just seen a WHINCHAT at the dam end of Alton Water (Suffolk)

ROSE-COLOURED STARLING still present on Orkney

The ROSE-COLOURED STARLING is still coming to gardens in Balfour Village in Shapinsay. Apparently it loves bananas and pears! I wonder what they'll give it for Xmas dinner? It has been here since 15th October. Anybody know the record length of time any other Rosy Starling has spent in Orkney? (Paul Hollinrake)

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Not much new - but a busy Saturday

Concentrating on 'new' arrivals or birds not previously mentioned, wildfowl were perhaps the main interest. A drake AMERICAN WIGEON was found at Welney WWT (Norfolk), with 'new' RING-NECKED DUCKS including a female in mid-Wales WSW of Devil's Bridge near Tregaron at Llyn Rhosrhydd (at SN 703 757) and at Blagdon Lake (Somerset) (moving from Chew Valley Lake, where it was seen yesterday).

GREAT WHITE EGRETS totalled at least 8 today, with 3 on the saltmarsh of the outer Kent Estuary (Cumbria/Lancs) and singles at Pitsford Reservoir (Northants), Lakenheath Fen RSPB (Suffolk), Long Lawford (Warks), Denge Marsh (Kent) and Sturminster Marshall (Dorset).

A flock of 12 SHORELARKS was present on Blakeney Point (Norfolk), whilst TAIGA BEAN GEESE numbers crept up to 71 birds at Cantley/Buckenham (Norfolk)

Everything else other than the Devon Red-breasted Goose which was not seen today remained the same (and for specific details search for earlier posts) - 29+ Great Northern Divers at inland localities including 6 together on Grafham Water (Cambs) and 5 on King George VI Reservoir (Middlesex), Red-throated Diver at Chew Valley Lake (Avon), BLACK-THROATED DIVER at Papercourt Sailing Lake (Surrey) (flew off though at 0830 hours with no further sign), 22 Black-necked Grebes at inland localities including 13 on William Girling Reservoir (London), 2-3 displaced juvenile European Shags in Hampshire, CATTLE EGRETS in Hampshire and Kent, a long-staying WHITE STORK of unknown origin in County Durham, 3 first-winter GLOSSY IBISES (including the Worcestershire bird again), 27 Eurasian Spoonbills, at least two SNOW GEESE, two RICHARDSON'S CANADA GEESE on Islay (Argyll), at least eight Black Brants, 7 North American Green-winged Teals. two additional FERRUGINOUS DUCKS (Norfolk and West Yorks), the drake KING EIDER at Burghead (Moray), female SURF SCOTER at Dawlish Warren (South Devon), 5 inland Long-tailed Ducks, an influx of Smew following the colder temperatures of late, at least 40 COMMON CRANES, all of the wintering rare waders including the juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, 4 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, the LESSER YELLOWLEGS and 2 GREY PHALAROPES, both inland POMARINE SKUAS, 2 regular RING-BILLED GULLS (Hants & Essex), 29 CASPIAN GULLS, a small number of GLAUCOUS and ICELAND GULLS, a handful of scattered LITTLE AUK sightings, a RICHARD'S PIPIT at Abberton (Essex), YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER in South Wales, the Middlesex BROWN SHRIKE, 4 wintering NORTHERN GREY SHRIKES, two juvenile ROSE-COLOURED STARLINGS and 1-2 EUROPEAN SERINS (Lee G R Evans)

GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS in Southampton Water

At 07:30 Andy Collins found a group of 5 GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS off Southampton (Netley) Sailing Club which were still visible when I arrived at 07:40 and until I left at 08:30 so there were obviously 2 clearly defined groups wuith these and the 4 which Paul had. We could see 1 of Paul's birds over near Hythe Marina for a short while but there was certainly no movement of our 5 to the north. This mirrored Andy's sightings yesterday and with the summer plumaged bird still absent clearly shows at least 10 birds involved in the recent sightings (Ian Watts)

Friday, 4 December 2009

Brogborough Diver still present

Brogboro' Lake 2.35 to 3.45pm - juvenile Great Northern Diver still present, also 4 female Greater Scaup still, 21 Goldeneye, 15 Great Crested Grebes and 20 Cormorants, hordes of Tuftys and Pochards. A small gull roost of 24 Lesser Black Backs, 22 Herring Gulls, 3 Gt B Backs, plus quite good numbers of Common Gulls, maybe 50 plus, and numerous B H Gulls.

Stewartby Lake roost 3.55 to 4.15pm - 287 Herring Gulls, 127 Great Black-backs, 30 Lesser Black-backs, numerous Common Gulls, 1000+ B H Gulls, no Yellow-legged Gulls tho' (Martin J Palmer)

The FRIDAY review - Arctic Auk flashes by

BAIRD'S SANDPIPER on White Sands Beach, Lothian, 3 December 2009 (Colin Davison)
This is the UK400 Club Rare Bird Alert for Friday 5 December, released at 1800 hours and produced in close association with Rare Bird Alert Pagers, whilst utilising the Regional Birdlines, BirdGuides, Birdcall and local Websites as well as gleaning additional information from individual observers.

A BRUNNICH'S GUILLEMOT flew west close inshore past Cley Coastguards (North Norfolk) at 0955 hours (James McCallum), emulating a near identical occurrence at exactly the same spot on 12 November 2007 (Mark Golley, Andy Stoddart). A handful of LITTLE AUKS today included 4 in the Scapa Flow (Orkney). Elsewhere in East Anglia, it is very quiet, with TAIGA BEAN GEESE now numbering 65 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB (Norfolk), the white morph adult GREATER SNOW GOOSE still in the Holkham Freshmarsh area (Norfolk) and the GREAT WHITE EGRET at Holkwold Fen (Suffolk). Up to 23 SHORE LARKS are wintering in Norfolk at three sites, whilst 8 or more LAPLAND BUNTINGS are in a stubble field at Thornham Harbour.

South Devon is shining through on the 'rare bird stakes' today with the adult RED-BREASTED GOOSE that has been in residence at Blackhill Quarry Pool, East Buddleigh Common, since the end of October finally joining up with the Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the River Exe at Bowling Green Marsh RSPB, Topsham. Nearby, the juvenile SPOTTED SANDPIPER can still be seen at the top of the Exe between the M5 bridge and the recreation ground, Exeter, and at the extreme south end, the adult female SURF SCOTER has reappeared again off Dawlish Warren. A single LITTLE AUK was also seen on the calm sea there today.

In neighbouring Dorset, an adult drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK arrived with an influx of Northern Pochards at Abbotsbury Swannery this morning, whilst in Hampshire, the juvenile SPOTTED SANDPIPER remains on the River Test at Mottisfont. The first-winter GREY PHALAROPE continues to show well on the Jetty Lagoon at Pennington Marsh (Hants).

After reappearing briefly yesterday, the first-winter GLOSSY IBIS was again this morning half a mile south of Holt Fleet in Worcestershire, visiting the flooded marsh on the east bank of the River Severn (Park off of the A4133 in the disused pub car park and walk SE to view from by the Hawthorn hedgerow). Elsewhere, the two GLOSSY IBIS continue at Dungeness RSPB (Kent), along with the GREAT WHITE EGRET, CATTLE EGRET and at least one male PENDULINE TIT (the latter in bulrushes by the Hanson Hide on the ARC Pit).

The South East also offers the wintering BROWN SHRIKE at Staines Moor (Middlesex) (wellingtons essential), a juvenile ROSE-COLOURED STARLING in Forest Hill village, east of Oxford (Oxon) (in gardens along Mickle Way), 1-2 EUROPEAN SERINS at Rainham Marsh RSPB (London), a GREY PHALAROPE at Amberley Wild Brooks (Sussex) (at the south end by the first sluice on left 200 yards along the Wey South Footpath from the village at TQ 030 135) and the SPOTTED SANDPIPER and 2 juvenile EURASIAN SPOONBILLS at Abberton Reservoir (Essex). A RICHARD'S PIPIT was also seen in a private part of Abberton Reservoir.

A GREAT WHITE EGRET flew over Swan Meadow, Cossington Meadows (Leics), at 1605 hours, the adult drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK remains at Pugney's Country Park (West Yorks) and two COMMON CRANES NE of Whittlesey (Cambs) at Thorney Dyke in the beet field by the River Nene at TF 303 003.

SCOTLAND has some nice offerings with the juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER still in White Sands Bay, Barns Ness (Lothian), the LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Aberlady Bay (Lothian), the adult SPOTTED SANDPIPER near Killearn (Clyde) and the drake KING EIDER off Burghead (Moray). In WALES, a YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER remains south of Maesteg (Glamorgan) at Llangynwyd Sewage Works at SS 879 881.