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

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Saturday, 30 January 2010

Cambs ROUGH-LEG still on winter territory

The ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD was still present today, perched on the well-trimmed hedge about half a mile NW of Wentworth - Coveney crossroads. Also 2 Common Buzzards to the east of the road (Colin Kirtland)

Friday, 29 January 2010


Two GLAUCOUS GULLS (an adult and immature) were on the Loch of Strathbeg RSPB at 3.50pm. Other birds seen today included Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Hen Harrier and White-tailed Sea Eagle. A Greenland White-fronted Goose was seen on Wednesday (David Parnaby)

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Kent: GREAT WHITE EGRET at West Hythe

A GREAT WHITE EGRET is still in the West Hythe area, flying to flooded fields by Selby Farm in the evening. Some images at

Monday, 25 January 2010


Some superb shots of Oxfodshire's 7 TUNDRA BEAN GEESE south of Aston - still present today (see more of Stephen Burch's fabulous portraits at

TWITE at Paxton (Sunday)

Three TWITE were found late afternoon by Jamie Wells on the weedy edges around the NW corner of Diddington Pit. Present until dusk when they flew west (probably to roost).

Other birds seen (by Martin Davis): Red-crested Pochard 4 (3 drks) on Island Pit; Smew 5 (1 drk) on Pumphouse Pit; Little Egret 3+

Please remember to stick to footpaths around this working quarry site (Mark Hawkes)

Very showy LAPLAND BUNTING in Lothian

Dennis Morrison obtained these superb images of this LAPLAND BUNTING which is favouring the sea wall path around the old concrete plinth near the end of the new tarmac path at Musselburgh Lagoons.

Grafham Water summary - Sunday 24th

Some news from today:

Velvet Scoter, 2 imm drakes still by south end of dam
Great Northern Diver 3
Siskin 11
Goosander 10+ (Mark Hawkes)

Slavonian Grebe at Savages creek
Common Scoter 1
Greater Scaup 1 (Jonathan Taylor)

Black-necked Grebe by Sailing Club (Ade Cooper)

HAMPSHIRE: wintering PURPLE SANDPIPERS at Barton-on-Sea

A large group of PURPLE SANDPIPERS at about 11.15 this morning, playing hide and seek on one of the rocky strong points. Their camouflage seemed to be working particularly well this morning. The maximum I had in view at once was 8 but I would be amazed if there weren't at least 12 of them, possibly quite a few more. There were quite a few people and dogs out walking this morning, including a family group playing on the beach near the strong point. However the birds were feeding towards the seaward end and seemed quite unconcerned. None of the people seemed even to notice the birds were there. -- Trevor Hewson

Rainham over the weekend - WHOOPER SWANS

Just in case anyone was wondering the 5 WHOOPER SWANS were still at Rainham Marshes RSPB Sunday morning until 0747 when they left to the north east. One of the juvenile GLAUCOUS GULLS is still on the Target Pools and a single Bar-tailed Godwit was on Purfleet Scrape Sunday morning.

Saturday: 5 adult WHOOPER SWANS, 2 TUNDRA BEAN GEESE, 2nd yr Caspian Gull, Curlew, 33 Common Redshank, 2 Little Egrets, 120 Greylag Geese, 24 Shelduck, 90 Gadwall, 41 Tufted Duck, 15 Pochard, 12 Pintail, 4 European Golden Plover, 28 Snipe, 200 Dunlin, Water Rail, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, 2000 Lapwing, 5 Cetti`s Warbler, Mistle Thrush, 40 Linnet, female Peregrine, female Kestrel.

The five Whooper Swans were tracked all the way down the Lee Valley from Saturday lunchtime and ended up on the Thames at Crossness before heading to the scrape in front of the centre to roost. All were adults and one was colour ringed (Howard Vaughan)

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Star on a TV show

After the demise of the Middlesex Asiatic Brown Shrike, the Whitby BLACK-THROATED THRUSH has been by far the most exciting rarity in Britain this January. These cracking shots by Cumbrian photographer Craig Shaw perhaps explain why.........

Saturday, 23 January 2010

'Yank' Wigeon back at Castle Loch

The drake AMERICAN WIGEON was still present at Lochmaben at 1530 hours today, but was not easy to find in amongst all of the roosting Eurasian Wigeon. There were also 22 Whooper Swans (Dave Bradshaw)


At least one HAWFINCH was at the usual place nr Mercer Way,Romsey, this morning (there has been up to 4 this winter) (Mike Rafter), whilst in the New Forest, up to 14 are at Blackwater Arboretum, Rhinefield.

ESSEX: Wallasea Island - its location and birds today

Wallasea Island reserve is situated here - click link below
Observations today included 8 Bewick's Swans (4 near Grapnells with Mutes, 4 out on fields to south of island), 1500 Dark-bellied Brent Goose (approx), 2 Pale-bellied Brent Goose (at least 1 1st winter and 1 adult, possibly more), 1 Black Brant (at least 1 really obvious bird, possibly another less well marked), 1 RED-BREASTED GOOSE (adult with brent in NE corner, flushed to south of island but refound later), 1 Marsh Harrier (female late morning), 1 Hen Harrier (ringtail through mid afternoon), 1 Merlin (ad female late morning chasing Meadow Pipit).
There were also two odd birds amongst the brent flock that require a bit of research, essentially showing a large flared pale grey flank patch, unlike Black Brant, Pale Bellied or Dark Bellied. Hopefully the flock will be back on its favoured field at the NE corner by tomorrow.
The Wetlands will be open from 8 to 4:30 as usual. There may be a few more cars than usual so if the car park is full please park back by the gate, not on the grass verges (Jeff Delve).

Another Wild Goose fest - this time in Essex

Jeff Delve discovered and photographed this adult RED-BREASTED GOOSE at Wallasea Island (Essex) this morning, the bird still being present with up to 1,500 Dark-bellied Brent Geese this afternoon (Graham Ekins, Steve Arlow, John Wright, et al)
The geese flock were disturbed initially by walkers and then actively by the farmer. The flock of c.1,500 then became very distant. The flock also included an adult BLACK BRANT and several PALE-BELLIED BRENT GEESE, with 8 Bewick's Swans in the area, Hen Harrier, Barn Owl and good numbers of Pied Avocet and Eurasian Wigeon.
The geese appear to favour the fields in the NE corner. This is directly along the seawall after turning right from the car park.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Apparent dark juvenile male THAYER'S GULL in County Galway

This dark juvenile THAYER'S GULL was found and photographed by Dermot Breen at Ross Beach, Claggan (Co. Galway), on Tuesday and was still present today.

ROSY PASTOR survives the freeze

Remarkably, the first-winter ROSE-COLOURED STARLING is still present in Forest Hill village, just east of Oxford (Adam Hartley).

OXFORDSHIRE hits purple patch

16 of the 21 DARK-BELLIED BRENT GEESE recently at Farmoor Reservoir (Nic Hallam)
The 7 TUNDRA BEAN GEESE remained today, in fields south of Aston (Jason Coppock, Justin Taylor, LGRE, et al), showing well at times but typically flighty and nervous.
Bob Nind along with Ron Louch had 35-40 EURASIAN WHITE-FRONTED GEESE circle and land on Otmoor late yesterday afternoon. They settled at the north end of Greenaways.
Also 7 different CASPIAN GULLS (5 first-winters, a 2nd winter and adult) in the Didcot/Appleford area over the last week (per Ian Lewington)

A winter's day in the New Forest

The GREAT WHITE EGRET showed well at Harbridge this morning, by the stream at the opposite end of the road from the bridge, near the big house.

On Ivy Lake, three Red-crested Pochard, one leucistic. From the woodland hide at Blashford, Brambling, Lesser Redpoll and Siskin.

At Eyeworth Lake, four Goosander (two male) early afternoon, plus one drake Mandarin.

Extensive flooding in some areas of the New Forest today. At Blackwater Arboretum, the small streams around the arboretum have become raging torrents, and numerous small lakes have appeared throughout the area. No Hawfinch there up to 2pm, but Treecreeper and plenty of Redwing (Nick Montegriffo).

Thursday, 21 January 2010

A fantastic day at Rainham

A fantastic day on the reserve with a notable goose movement and a site tickfor me with an early morning Bittern71 Pink-footed Geese (66 east, 5 down although not found after landing), 2 Tundra Bean Geese that also dropped out of the 73 strong flock of geese, 22 Dark-bellied Brent Geese in four groups in the morning, 2 juvenile Glaucous Gulls on Wennington, Water Pipit, Woodcock, Bittern (0730), 3 Water Rails, 5 Cetti's Warblers, 30 Tufted Duck, 16 Pochard, Little Grebe, 10 Mute Swan, 3Peregrine, 4 Golden Plover, 45 Redshank, 24 Ringed Plover, 70 Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Curlew, 7 Rock Pipits, 12 Redwing, 2nd yr Caspian Gull (taking us to about 15 this month as this is the first 2nd year seen), 26 Yellow-legged Gulls (21ad 2 1styr, 3 2nd yr) (Howard Vaughan)

Wild geese on the move

Recent days have seen some interesting wild geese relocating, many from the close continent, including a flock of 7 TUNDRA BEAN GEESE in Oxfordshire today (in winter wheat in Ham Lane, Aston, at SP 338 025) and 2 at Rainham Marsh RSPB (London) (on Aveley Marsh), some impressive skeins of PINK-FEET (again over Rainham), a major inland influx of DARK-BELLIED BRENT GEESE (including 21 at Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon) and a party of 3 TAIGA BEAN GEESE for a third day in fields by the B1093/Byall Fen Drove junction in Cambs at TL 440 875.

In addition to the above, an apparent TODD'S CANADA GOOSE is at Slimbridge WWT Rushy Pen (Gloucs), 91 TAIGA BEAN GEESE were counted today in the Yare River Valley at Buckenham Marshes RSPB (Norfolk) and the adult white morph GREATER SNOW GOOSE is visiting Holkham Freshmarsh (Norfolk) daily.

Whilst reports come in thick and fast of rare Siberian thrushes in back gardens, the only real contender is our star performer and much visited female BLACK-THROATED THRUSH in North Yorkshire, still enticing and thrilling allcomers in Newholm village, near Whitby (park by the village hall and walk 80 yards to the second road beyond the Beehive Pub to view the front garden of 5 Glen View). Artificially being fed is another garden vagrant - a LITTLE BUNTING - in relatively inaccessible Dunnet Bay (Caithness).

The only other real excitement is that of an adult BONAPARTE'S GULL still showing well in Ligwy Bay, on Anglesey.

GREAT WHITE EGRETS continue in abundance with long-stayers on the River Dee in Aberdeenshire, in Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Reservoir (Northants), in its usual series of ditches east of Pymoor (Cambs) (TL 511 883), at Worth Marshes, Sandwich (Kent), again in the Chess River Valley near Chorleywood (Herts) and on the Harbridge Water Meadows (Hants), with CATTLE EGRETS at Brew Farm, Sennen (West Cornwall) (at SW 371 251) and by the cattle sheds at Park Farm, Chideock (Dorset) (at SV 428 930) and the three surviving first-winter GLOSSY IBISES at Catcott Lows NR (Somerset)

NORTH AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEALS remain at Llyn Padrig (Anglesey) and Brandon Marsh NR (Warks), drake NORTH AMERICAN BLACK DUCK on the Abbey Pool, Tresco (Scilly), with the two first-winter drake VELVET SCOTERS just off the dam at Grafham Water (Cambs) and the female RING-NECKED DUCK still wintering on North Ronaldsay (Orkney).

William Girling Reservoir in London hosts both BLACK-THROATED and 2 GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS, with King George VI Reservoir in West London playing host to no less than 7 juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS - a new record. Meanwhile, Whitlingham Broad near Norwich (Norfolk) is supporting the only inland/freshwater RED-NECKED GREBE and a few Smew.

Wintering SHORE LARKS include the two birds at Snettisham RSPB (Norfolk) and singles at Point of Ayr (Clwyd) and Kessingland North Beach Pools (Suffolk), whilst up to 7 LAPLAND BUNTINGS can be found at Frampton Marsh RSPB (Lincs). A RICHARD'S PIPIT was at Walmsley Sanctuary (Cornwall) on 20th.

A GREY PHALAROPE put in a brief appearance at Gibraltar Point NNR (Lincs) on 20th.

Little change in IRELAND, other than interesting gulls, some perhaps Arctic hybrids of Nearctic origin, but with a good crop of RING-BILLEDS, the usual adult NORTH AMERICAN HERRING and the ever-faithful FORSTER'S TERN, the latter two both sharing Galway Bay in the Nimmo's Pier area.

The adult drake NORTH AMERICAN EIDER was still off Glasagh Bay, Fanad Head (Co. Donegal) this week, with a drake AMERICAN WIGEON at The Gearagh and a LESSER SNOW GOOSE at Loch Swilly. A BONAPARTE'S GULL was east of Cobh at Cuskinny (Co. Cork) on at least 17th.

TUNDRA BEAN GEESE in Oxfordshire

Jeremy Dexter found 7 TUNDRA BEAN GEESE just south of Aston this afternoon. They are in a winter wheat field at SP 338 025. Park in Aston and walk south down Ham Lane from the centre of the village. The birds are on the west side of the track 300m after the houses end.

PINK-FOOTED GEESE all day in Hampshire

Four Pink-footed Geese on Pennington Marsh this morning and afternoon. Best viewable from the Oxey Barn entrance off Lower Woodside. Still present at 11.30 (Hoslist).

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

A CORN BUNTING wonderland


A band of heavy rain moved through the region throughout the morning bringing some localised flooding. Temperatures dropped for a while too (to 3 degrees C) before picking up during the afternoon. A cold SE wind was blowing.

Spurned on by Richard Bashford and Francis Tusa, I checked out the Stotfold bunting feast today and was overwhelmed by the sheer number of birds - a truly wonderful experience. Also checked out the Little Egret roosts at dusk, and caught up with a few missing Bedfordshire Year-ticks.


Well, what a spectacular. I arrived on site shortly after midday and after following the footpath to just beyond the Poplar plantation, came upon the three stubble fields harbouring an impressive number of wintering farmland species. A guy was walking four dogs in the fields and was scattering birds everywhere. Consequently, the 'clicking' mass of CORN BUNTINGS erupted, moving from the east field to the west and landing in the shorter stubble just short of the houses. Now, I had a chance to click-count them, and carefully panning the 'scope from left to right, amassed an enormous total of 738 birds (five counts in total, registering 611, 696, 738, 722 and 704 whilst in the stubble). Later, the flocks dispersed into two main groups, and on one occasion all flew up into the tall Poplars - this resulted in even higher counts, with the peak reaching 859 birds - a flock of Spanish steppe proportions and truly awesome. This is the largest single flock of Corn Buntings I have ever recorded in Britain and a truly significant find. Corn Buntings have become seriously depleted in numbers in recent years so a flock of this proportion is truly outstanding. The birds were quite wide-ranging during my stay, smaller parties branching off and flying south across the A 507.

In addition to the Corn Buntings, there were also 220 EURASIAN SKYLARKS, 38 Chaffinch, 25 Reed Buntings, 50 Yellowhammers and several Linnets, as well as 34 Stock Doves (in one feeding flock), 87 Common Starlings, 106 Redwings and a few Fieldfares. Two Common Kestrels were in the vicinity but I did not see the Merlin (despite returning towards dusk).


See map opposite. Leave the A1 at the A 507 Shefford turning and continue west on the new bypass to beyond the second roundabout parking in the layby on the south side, often utilised by a 'bus' cafe. Walk back east towards the A1 and after 150 yards, walk north past the 6-bar metal gate and take the track off to the right. Continue 120 yards through the small plantation and this brings you out into the large stubble fields, where the central footpath provides you with ample opportunities for viewing. The fields are just SW of Stotfold village.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


This immature male RING OUZEL has been present in Bill Blarney's garden in Salisbury (Wiltshire) since the turn of the year, one of at least three birds recorded this winter in Britain


Watched these for half an hour or so, and took some pictures. With my limited experience of grey geese, on checking through the photos this evening, all 3 TAIGA BEANS and the 2 Pinkfeet look like adults, showing barring on the flanks and grooving on the neck. Hopefully some better pics will be had in the next few days.

As I set up my 'scope, all of the geese (most of which were sleeping/resting) took off in alarm as a buzzard and a sparrowhawk soared overhead- the 3 taigas flew off separately, and whilst the greylags and pinkfeet flew a couple of fields away, the Beans flew round the field in front of me, twice over my head, calling all the time, before landing again. They looked particularly long-winged and long-necked in flight, with Pinkfeet providing a direct comparison, short-necked and short-winged, compact (David Hopkins)

A flock of over 700 CORN BUNTINGS in Bedfordshire

I took the afternoon off today, primarily to see the Corn Buntings but with a quick skim around the brick pits.

Elstow - well they may be plastic but they sure are smart - 27 Red-crested Pochards. Didn't see the Smew though. Chimneys north and south had fair numbers of Pochard and Tufted Duck, two Goldeneye.

At Stewartby Lake, there were at least 110 Great crested Grebes so well down on recent counts.

I then headed to Stotfold, parking in a layby just off the A507 bypass. This is adjacent to a stand of poplar trees where SCB and I have seen the bunting roost before. Walking east a little brings you out just north of the trees at TL205366 and a footpath heading back into Stotfold town. This area is public. The buntings were either in the poplars, in the field but mainly in trees and bushes on the edge of town - TL211364. When they were up in the trees, I did a count - I got to 680 CORN BUNTINGS with a small number in the field (at least 500 in my image above). Also 40-50 Yellowhammers and a few Reed Buntings, 30 Magpies and 25 Stock Doves. So I think the count of c700 is a pretty good one. While I was there, I went to the otherside of road to TL208381 where there were another 50-60 Corn Buntings, 75 Linnets. This bunting flock really is worth a look.

I then headed north to Broom and fortunately found the BLACK-NECKED GREBE really close on the western side of the lake. Nipping around to the Gypsy Lane side, I saw the adult EURASIAN WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE with the Greylags. Birding until 4.15 - must be nearly spring...Richard Bashford

Regular GREAT WHITE EGRET back in Cambs

A GREAT WHITE EGRET present again in drains north-east of Pymoor, near where dyke passes railway line this afternoon (Bruce Martin)

Monday, 18 January 2010

TAIGA BEAN GEESE in Cambs and in Beds

A party of 3 TAIGA BEAN GEESE were today south of Manea (Cambs) along B1093/Byall Fen Drove at 3.50pm with wild swans and 2 Pink-footed Geese at TL440875 (James Cadbury, Bruce Martin, Owen Marks).

Meanwhile, the 3 TAIGA BEAN GEESE remain for a second day in the Ouse Valley at Radwell GP, in fields west of the southernmost pit with 277 Greylag Geese.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Both GREAT WHITES again at Pitsford

Diane and I found two GREAT WHITE EGRETS at Pitsford Reservoir today, both on the slowly thawing reserve side. One was on the right as you look across to Walgrave bay from the causeway, the other towards the Holcot end. (But no little egrets found.)

Also, wonderful views were had of the juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER, first in front of the gorses, then later (about 4pm) in, what I think is, Pintail Bay - the second bay on the left walking away from the dam end. In the first bay were three Red crested Pochard (2 drakes), much reduced from the 20 I counted there on 15th January. There was also a male on the reserve side. We couldn't see any ruddies or goosander, and only 2-3 SMEW (1 drake), but at least 30 Little Grebe.

Wader-wise, we saw two Dunlin and 1-2 Common Redshank; lots of lapwing about but no Golden Plover found.

The last birds of special note were a Common Treecreeper and Common Stonechat. 58 species in all ( per Barbara)


Highlights/totals from todays WeBS count (07.30-12.00):

VELVET SCOTER, 2 1st-winter drakes still at south end of dam. The newer bird has a much more advanced state of moult, and brighter bill pattern.

SLAVONIAN GREBE from sailing club at 8am

GREAT NORTHERN DIVER 4 still (3 from dam, 1 west end)

Common Scoter, 3 juveniles still along north shore
Smew, 2 redheads in lagoons
Greater Scaup 1 drake
Red-crested Pochard 16
Green Sandpiper 2
Little Egret 2
Goosander 10
Tufted Duck 2,242 (huge site count)
Coot 2,252
Pochard 526
Common Goldeneye 102
hybrid aythyas, 2 drks
Common Redshank 11

(Mark Hawkes, Colin Addington, David Hollin et al)


A juvenile BLACK-THROATED DIVER, 2 continuing GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS, a female Red-breasted Merganser, 24 BLACK-NECKED GREBES, a few Goosander and Goldeneye. All likely to be visible with a scope from Mansfield Hill (Roy Woodward).

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Mid-January Round-up

A female BLACK-THROATED THRUSH in North Yorkshire continues to be the lead attraction as the snow starts to melt across the country as milder southerly winds briefly move in. The bird is performing admirably in gardens in Newholm village, not far from Whitby, within walking distance of the Beehive public house. The superb images above were obtained by Ron Marshall.

And now for the supporting cast - in chronological order....a total of 242 species already having been recorded in Britain and Ireland thus far in 2010.

The only freshwater BLACK-THROATED DIVER is that still present on Oulton Broad, Lowestoft (Suffolk), whilst long-staying GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS inland include singles at Rutland Water (in Whitwell Creek) (Leics), Whitlingham Broad, Norwich (Norfolk), Pitsford Reservoir (Northants), Stewartby Lake (Beds), Brogborough Lake (Beds) and Cheddar Reservoir (Somerset).

Four BALEARIC SHEARWATERS moved west off Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 14 January, indicating wintering of this species surprisingly north in the Atlantic, whilst EURASIAN BITTERNS involve at least 63 surviving birds and CATTLE EGRETS at Brew Farm, near Sennen (SW 371 252) (West Cornwall) (2 birds) and another flying south along the A487 at Llanfain (Ceredigion) today. The long-staying GREAT WHITE EGRET of French origin was showing well on Rockford Lake, Blashford (Hants) today, with another present for a fifth day near the dam at West Hythe (East Kent). The three first-winter GLOSSY IBISES in Somerset at Catcott Lows NR have survived the worst of the weather, whilst wintering EURASIAN SPOONBILLS include at least 9 in Poole Harbour (Dorset), up to 6 in Cornwall and singles on the River Axe, Axmouth (South Devon) and in Pagham Harbour (West Sussex).

On the wildfowl front, a white morph SNOW GOOSE is with Greylag Geese near Craob Haven (Argyll) (in fields at NM 805 085), at least 15 TAIGA BEAN GEESE remain in the River Yare at Cantley Marshes (Norfolk), two vagrant CANADA GEESE remain with Barnacle Geese on Islay (Argyll), a displaced flock of 19 BARNACLE GEESE is near Chypraze Farm, Morvah (at SW 387 358) (West Cornwall), BLACK BRANTS are at Wells Harbour (Norfolk), Reculver Marshes (North Kent), HMS Sultan Fields, Gosport (Hants) and on The Fleet (Dorset) and the adult RED-BREASTED GOOSE of perhaps feral origin on the Exe Estuary (South Devon).

Drake NORTH AMERICAN GEEN-WINGED TEALS remain at Tain (Inverness-shire), on Loch Leven (Fife), Eyebrook Reservoir (Leics) and off Hayling Island Oyster Beds (Hants), 270 displaced Red-crested Pochards at a variety of sites, FERRUGINOUS DUCKS of unknown origin at Brookley's Park (Staffs), Barton Broad (Norfolk) and on the flooded diggings west of Rosebud Farm at Westhay Moor NNR (Somerset), the drake LESSER SCAUP at Cardiff Bay Wetlands (Glamorgan), the drake RING-NECKED DUCK at Pugney's Country Park (West Yorks) and a drake KING EIDER off the end of Bath Street in Burghead (Moray). At least one VELVET SCOTER is inland off of the dam at Grafham Water (Cambs), with an adult drake SURF SCOTER off Ruddon's Point in Largo Bay (Fife) and an adult female off Dawlish Warren (South Devon). Presumed escape Hooded Mergansers continue at Radipole Lake (Dorset) and on the Petroplus Pools at Saltholme Pools (Cleveland). The cold weather has forced 70 or more SMEW into Britain, with an impressive flock of 97 GOOSANDER at Old Moor RSPB (South Yorks).

The juvenile BLACK or ASIATIC BLACK-EARED KITE of suspect origin continues to show very well at feeding times with up to 420 Red Kites at the Gigrin Farm feeding station near Rhayader (Powys), with a juvenile PALLID HARRIER in West Cornwall (highly elusive and only occasionally seen during daylight hours) and just one twitchable ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD on the Haddiscoe Levels (Norfolk/Suffolk border). A beautiful white morph GYRFALCON is present for a second day on the island of Eilean Mhic Connich (NR 163 523) at Portnahavern, Islay (Argyll).

A COMMON CRANE visited Penhill Marsh on the Taw Estuary (North Devon) on 15 January, with the long-staying and only second-ever wintering BAIRD'S SANDPIPER at White Sands Bay, Dunbar (Lothian), the SPOTTED SANDPIPER on the Exe Estuary (South Devon) and a GREY PHALAROPE today off of the wooden pier of the Lunar Fish Factory in Aberdeen.

An adult BONAPARTE'S GULL remains for a third day on the sea in Ligwy Bay on Anglesey, with the only regular RING-BILLED GULLS being the old adults at Westcliff-on-Sea (Essex) and Walpole Park Sailing Lake, Gosport (Hants).

A flock of 12 WOODLARK was an unusual find in Penrhyn Bay (Clwyd) (at SH 805 798), with further birds in South Wales, with SHORE LARKS at the Point of Ayr (Clwyd), Snettisham (Norfolk) (2), Kessingland (Suffolk) and at the NW end of the Flamingo Pool at Cliffe Pools RSPB (North Kent) at TQ 713 773. Just 1 BOHEMIAN WAXWING is twitchable at present - an adult in Norwich (Norfolk) favouring an apple tree in Lower Clarence Road.

The first RING OUZELS of the year visited gardens in Charlbury (Oxon) and in Poldhu Cove, Lizard (Cornwall), with a single very elusive and erratic PENDULINE TIT in the Dungeness area (Kent), a single continuing EUROPEAN SERIN at Rainham Marsh RSPB (Essex) and NORTHERN GREY SHRIKES at just six wintering locations.

In IRELAND, Nimmo's Pier, Galway Harbour (Co. Galway), is typically productive, with the adult winter FORSTER'S TERN, adult AMERICAN HERRING GULL and 3 adult RING-BILLED GULLS, with 3 SANDWICH TERNS off Aughinish Island (Co. Clare) and further RING-BILLED GULLS in Sligo, Carrickfergus (Co. Antrim) and Sandymount Strand (Co. Dublin). The regular drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK is at Craigavon Balancing Lakes (Co. Armagh)

Thursday, 14 January 2010

A NORFOLK roundup

Up to 34 COMMON CRANES can be found in the Horsey area - they roost each evening in the reedbed at Brayden Marshes where they can be seen from Stubb Mill - at the end of the lane beyond the Hickling Reserve car park. By day, parties of them can be seen in the fields just SE of Horsey Mill and in the stubble and ploughed fields around the Brograve Farm corners just west of Waxham

In the Holkham Freshmarsh area, there are 203 Eurasian White-fronted Geese, whilst at Titchwell RSPB, 3 redhead SMEW are on the main freshmarsh, along with Bittern, Spotted Redshank, Ruff and 2 Water Pipits.

An adult BLACK BRANT is in the main harbour at Wells-next-the-Sea, whilst in the Yare Valley east of Norwich, some 32 TAIGA BEAN GEESE remain at Cantley Marshes RSPB (viewable from the end of Bunt Hill Lane)

Just south of Norwich, at Whitlingham Country Park, the juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER is still showing well on the Great Broad, whilst the adult BOHEMIAN WAXWING can be easily seen in Norwich between the railway line and Morrison's Supermarket on the A147 Koblenz Avenue.

A further 4 SMEW (2 drakes) are on Barton Broad, with 54 Bewick's Swans and 2 Whooper Swans nearby at Ludham Bridge and a further mixed herd of 18 and 3 respectively behind the gas storage depot in Catfield.

Two SHORE LARK are on the beach at the south end of Snettisham Pits (with 40 Snow Buntings), with a further 50 Snow Buntings on the pools and shingle just west of Salthouse Beach car park

Deeside GREAT WHITE EGRET still wintering

Just had a chat with some of the Dee Fishery lads who have re-located the GREAT WHITE EGRET on the River Dee about 1km east of the Milltimber Road bridge around 1:30hrs today. The bird was flushed off a small pool on the north bank of the river (just at the end of a small track car park, which came off what I think might be Beaconhill Road from the North Deeside Road) and flew to the main river where it remained. The location is approximately where the river does a sharp northwards u turn before heading south towards the B9077 road (large shingle spit on south bank) at approx. NJ 868 012 (per Harry Scott)

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


The LAPLAND BUNTING, photographed by Peter Alfrey, was present on a private part of Beddington Sewage Farm (Surrey) today - a superb record for London

Sunday, 10 January 2010

KITE of unknown origin still in Powys

In Powys, this juvenile/first-year apparent BLACK-EARED KITE is still present, visiting daily during feeding times mid-afternoon. The bird is showing exceptionally well and was photographed yesterday by Alex Bevan above.


Two LAPLAND BUNTINGS in second stubble field north of Dunnottar Castle (Stonehaven) this afternoon. Difficult viewing due to strong wind -probably best from inside a car on the closed road towards Stonehaven on west side of field. Also at least 80 Snow Buntings in the area, and large flocks of Eurasian Skylarks (Hugh Addlesee)

Grafham Water continues to attract great variety

Another splendid few hours this afternoon:

SLAVONIAN GREBE between Hill Farm and Church Lane, but mobile (found by Mark Piercey and Nigel Butler)

BITTERN, at least 3 in the lagoons (found by Dean Harlow). One showing occasionally at reed edge on ice of pool right of hide. Only my second ever here, and c.4th site record.
Cetti's Warbler, one calling in lagoons (4th site record)

VELVET SCOTER still from dam
Smew, c.10 at various places (including 3 redheads in lagoons)
Common Scoter 3 again along north shore (Mark Piercey & Nigel Butler)
Great Northern Diver 2+
Greater Scaup, pair at Savages creek

Woodcock, 2 singles reported
Red-crested Pochard 10+
Dunlin 3

No sign of White-fronted Goose today (Mark Hawkes)


The Shrike was present this morning at 11.30 on Fenns Moss at SJ 477362 which is the path near the old works which leads to the canal. This is the same area where the bird was present last weekend. It then flew towards the central area of Fenns Moss.

Alongside the canal there is a mixed flock of c200 Lesser Redpoll and Siskin with a few Goldfinch. I would estimate 60:40 in favour of the Redpoll but they are flighty and difficult to guesstimate accurately. Very little else present on either of the mosses one Raven, two Kestrels and small numbers of Fieldfares.

The floods are still mainly frozen, c100 Mallard, c30 Wigeon and c25 Teal on the small patch of open water (Howard Coot)

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Bedfordshire: a bumper crop of BITTERNS and RED-CRESTED POCHARDS

A cracking days birding.

Started off with the rest of the Beds Bittern Taskforce (Neil Wright, and Robin Edwards) at Brogborough flicking sprats out to the edge of the reedbeds. During the course of the next couple of hours I saw three different BITTERNS, with Ray W and Mark Ward seeing five different birds. One of these birds seems to have no tail and is probably one of the birds seen recently on Stewartby Lake.

Also on Brogborough, as mentioned by others are:

1 Great Northern Diver
2 Red-crested Pochards
1 Scaup

Next stop was Stewartby Lake:

22+ Red-crested Pochards
1 Great Northern Diver
2 Goosanders
(Couldn't see any Pintail, but lots of duck on here today - more than I've ever seen on there in fact.)

A quick view of Rookery North from Milbrook station platform found a femalePeregrine sat on the ice (with another on the Chimneys a few minutes before.)

On to look at Chimney Corner South pit and 9 more Red-crested Pochards, but the surprise of the day was a fly over Grey Plover! There was also a fine adult Yellow-legged Gull on the ice, along with 270+ Greater Black-backed Gulls.

The end of the day was spent looking for the Stewartby lake Bitterns, and we found one in the Marston corner at dusk. This made a score of six Beds Bitterns for Mark today - amazing considering he'd never seen one in the county until today! Steve Blain/Mark Ward

Grafham Water in the freeze

From 08.15 - 16.30 - life in the freezer!

One of my most enjoyable days ever at Grafham, culminating in finding a Grafham tick.

Eurasian White-fronted Goose, initially at Gaynes creek, then mid-afternoon feeding in field south of Plummer CP with 100+ Greylags and a Pink-footed Goose. An over-due patch tick for me.

Kittiwake, juvenile from dam early afternoon
Whooper Swan, adult flew east towards Paxton Pits
Red-crested Pochards, 27 (groups of 14, 10, 3) - new county record.
Smew, 10-12 (2 drks), various areas
Velvet Scoter, immature male still from dam
Great Northern Diver, 4 together off Mander CP this evening
Greater Scaup, 2 (1 drk)
Northern Pintail 2 (drks)
Goosander, c.20
Little Egret 1
Dunlin 9 at north end of dam
Peregrine, one around dam
Yellow-legged Gull 2 (3rd & 2nd cal yrs)
Wigeon 500+ (many arriving from the east during the day)
Pochard 350+
Tufted Duck 1600+
Woodpigeon, 2000+ around east end of reservoir

(Mark Hawkes)

Also, 4 Black-necked Grebes breifly at Hill Farm this morning, but they flew off west - and no further sign by dusk (Colin Addington). Access to Hill Farm car park with caution. Due to the gradient to get out again - it is only just do-able in a 2x wheel drive.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Britain's Deep Freeze continues

Last night, the overnight temperature in Altnaharra in Sutherland reached an alarming minus 22.3 degrees - the coldest night for many a decade. This extreme winter weather has already cost the lives of many thousands of starving birds and with it expecting to continue until 10 February, this could well lead to one of the biggest catastrophies to ever besiege the birdlife of Britain and Ireland. Most of Britain is blanketed by snow and ice, making access to many sites hazardous and very difficult.

As we enter the weekend, I provide below the latest Rare Bird Alert from the UK400 Club.......

A LITTLE BUNTING that has been present in a birder's garden for several weeks was still being attracted to grain this morning in the largely snowbound hamlet of Dunnet (Caithness) whilst a female BLACK-THROATED THRUSH was in the SE corner of the 'Nitten Field' in the Mewslade Valley at Middleton on the Gower Peninsular (West Glamorgan) briefly this morning. One EUROPEAN SERIN continues to survive at the west end of the seawall at Rainham Marsh RSPB (London)

An apparent juvenile ASIATIC BLACK-EARED KITE of unknown origin continues to join upwards of 420 Red Kites at the Gigrin Farm Feeding Station near Rhyader (Powys), visiting daily in the afternoon from around 1300 hours (beware of very dangerous driving conditions in this area of Central Wales)

Two CATTLE EGRETS have survived the freeze in Somerset, showing well at Shapwick Heath NNR this morning, with a GREAT WHITE EGRET hanging on at Lawford Heath Lane (Warks).

On the Isles of Scilly, the drake NORTH AMERICAN BLACK DUCK visited St Mary's briefly this morning with Mallards, whilst the Lancashire drake RING-NECKED DUCK was today on Fleetwood Marine Lake. In Berkshire, the first-winter female FERRUGINOUS DUCK remained for a second day on the only ice-free patch of water on the British Airways Pit at Wraysbury (it flew off south early afternoon) whilst large numbers of RED-CRESTED POCHARDS have been displaced from the frozen Midlands and have appeared all along the South Coast, from Sussex west to Dorset (including 11 in Christchurch Harbour), as well as at Stewartby Lake (up to 30) and Grafham Water (up to 23), the latter site still hosting a first-winter drake VELVET SCOTER. Single drake SURF SCOTERS are off Ruddon's Point, Largo Bay (Fife) and Llandullas (North Wales), with the returning adult female off Dawlish Warren (South Devon), with a drake AMERICAN WIGEON briefly on the Crouch Estuary at North Fambridge (Essex) on 4 January.

Following yet another poor breeding season in the Arctic, ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS are at a premium, with one yesterday over Graemeshall (Orkney Mainland) and wintering birds at Coveney (Cambs) and at Chedgrave/Haddiscoe Levels (Suffolk/Norfolk border), whilst Orkney's grey morph juvenile GYRFALCON was seen again near Stromness on 6 January. A male SNOWY OWL was again on Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 5 January.

Rare waders include the SPOTTED SANDPIPER on the Exe Estuary at Topsham (South Devon), the BAIRD'S SANDPIPER at White Sands Bay, Dunbar (Lothian) and a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER again at Loch Gruinart RSPB, Islay (Argyll).

Smew are in evidence around the country but with small water bodies now frozen over, becoming harder to locate, whilst Eurasian Bitterns are very prominent as they skid about the ice at many locations throughout the country, including as many as four together. The weather has also seen a sudden upsurge in BOHEMIAN WAXWING reports, with 40 seen during the week and two today in Warsett Crescent, Skelton (Cleveland).

IRELAND has been fairly uneventful in recent weeks but a drake BAIKAL TEAL of unknown origin was seen at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on 6 January (with the long-staying first-winter GLOSSY IBIS still there that day), with the female BLUE-WINGED TEAL at North Bull Island (Co. Dublin) and the adult winter FORSTER'S TERN at Nimmo's Pier, Galway Harbour (Co. Galway). A blue morph LESSER SNOW GOOSE was at Lough Swilly (Co. Donegal), CATTLE EGRET at Great Island (Co. Cork) and a host of lingering RING-BILLED GULLS, including 3 at Sandymount Strand, Dublin. An apparent NORTH AMERICAN EIDER was again off Fanad Head in Glasagh Bay on 2 January.

BAIRD'S still - but roads and access treacherous in deep snow and ice

The Lothian BAIRD'S SANDPIPER and Water Pipit still present as previously reported. Baird's down at water's edge (it was low tide) and not obvious for some time. Top of beach covered with snow right down to high water line. Even some seaweed under frost.

14 other species of wader in area including 3 Woodcock.

Water Pipit with up to 3 Rock & 1 Meadow Pipit c150 m south of lighthouse amongst snow covered rocks near top of beach. Mobile and often hidden.

2 Pintail (pair) in Whitesands bay until flushed by Peregrine. Also m Sparrowhawk, Buzzard & Kestrel about. Stonechat & 1 m Chaffinch on beach. At least 3 Song Thrushes. Altogether quite superb in bright light but very cold! Access ok in a 4x4 (a friend took me) but that was the first vehicle to the lighthouse so care needed in a normal car (Mark Holling)

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Whitlingham Broad, Norwich (Norfolk)

Whitlingham Broad largely frozen today, but the reduced birdlife still included the juvenile Great Northern Diver, redhead Smew, redhead Goosander and a female Ruddy Duck. 3 Black-headed Gulls and a Great Crested Grebe have reached summer plumage already! 130 + Lapwing were standing in the snow on Thorpe Broad, and a mixed flock of Siskin and Goldfinch were in the alders by the Little Broad.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Orkney grey morph GYR again

Presumably the same Grey GYRFALCON has re-appeared North of Stromness this afternoon beating seven shades out of two Ravens around and about Mousland HY225127 - watched for over ten minutes.

Rainham today in these harsh conditions

Another great day with heaps of birds around.

11 Grey Plover, 2 Jack Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, 20 Dunlin, adult (new bird also missing a foot like one of yesterdays 1st yrs), 1w Caspian Gull, 9 Yellow-legged gull, 22 Rock Pipit, 40 Meadow Pipit, 7 Song Thrush, 117 Moorhen, 4 Water Pipit, 196 Skylark (north) 150 Fieldfare, 80 Redwing, 3000 Starling, Great Crested Grebe, 4 Water Rail, 7 Cetti's warblers, Chiffchaff, Grey Wagtail, f Merlin, m Sparrowhawk, Short-eared Owl, Common Sandpiper, 65 Snipe, 1000 Lapwing, 200 Golden Plover, Little Egret, f Peregrine, Red-legged Partridge, 16 Pheasant, 7 Stonechat, f Blackcap, f Marsh Harrier, f Goldeneye, 3 Tufted Duck, Woodcock

Four new ones today puts the site list on a very healthy 102 already. Lots of Skylarks on the move low and north but despite looking we could not find any woodlarks as there have been two recently across the Thames at Dartford Marsh (Howard Vaughan)

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Grafham Water today

Productive 90-minute visit this morning. Could only find one GREAT NORTHERN DIVER (distantly from Mander) but met 2 observers who had seen two more midway along the northern shore. 3 Goosanders at Mander and the VELVET SCOTER from the dam - where the find of the morning was a juvenile EURASIAN SHAG between the tower and the north shore. Then at Hill Farm a super drake SMEW in with the Tufted Ducks.

Other birds included an adult Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Redshanks and a Grey Wagtail.....Mike Everett

Monday, 4 January 2010

Large flock of CORN BUNTINGS reported in Bedfordshire

A large flock of possibly as many as 700 CORN BUNTINGS is apparently wintering south of Stotfold in Bedfordshire. They are present north of the Arlesey Road in stubble and setaside fields especially around the wet area surrounded by bushes and tall grass in the middle of the field in TL 2036. Large numbers of Skylark are also present, up to 500 birds.

Rainham Marshes this morning - twitchable GLAUCOUS GULL

juv GLAUCOUS GULL showing well on Aveley pools till 1105 at least.

Also SERIN still at west end, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine and Yellowhammer seen so far today (Howard Vaughan)

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A Bedfordshire record - 3 BITTERNS at Brogborough Lake

Late afternoon Neil and Paul Wright had three BITTERNS around BrogboroughLake - presumably the most ever recorded in the county at once? Also here were five GREATER SCAUP (4f, 1 imm m), two Red-crested Pochards, but just one (calling!) GREAT NORTHERN DIVER.

The other GND was relocated by Martin Green on Stewartby Lake. In the fairly reasonable gull roost on the ice was an adult Yellow-legged Gull and also an adult Caspian Gull.

The EURASIAN WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was showing well on the main lake at Willington GP mid-afternoon. Presumably this is the bird that has been seen at Newport Pagnell in recent days, before relocating to MVCP yesterdayafternoon, and Willington GP today (per Steve Blain).

GREAT WHITE EGRETS both still at Pitsford

The two unringed GREAT WHITE EGRETS present for several weeks were still showing well from the causeway at Pitsford Reservoir (Northants) today, both individuals being photographed and depicted above (by kind courtesy of Mick Tiffany, Northants Birds)


Whitesands Bay, Dunbar
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER still present (images, Colin Davison, above)
135 Skylark
2500 Pink footed geese flew over
2 male 3 female Stonechat
1 Snipe
4 Golden Plover
2 lapwing
1 Grey Plover
4 Redwing
1 Water Pipit
14 Purple Sandpiper
1 Golden Plover


NORTHERN GREY SHRIKE present today on Fenns Moss at 13.45 at SJ478362, which is the path near the old works which runs to the canal. Later it was still on Fenns in the more central area.

Three Pintail (2m,1f) on the canal floods with 6 Wigeon, c75Teal and c75 Mallard (Howard)


Grafham Water: VELVET SCOTER still from dam (various observers)

Common Greenshank in Dudney Creek (the first I have ever had here in winter)
Green Sandpiper 1
Great Northern Diver 2 from Mander CP
Goosander 6

Mark Hawkes

Bedfordshire Birding Today

Now 2 COMMON BITTERNS at Brogborough Lake, but elusive in the reedbeds.

Also the 2 juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS, 2 female-type Greater Scaup and 2 female Red-crested Pochards still present (Steve Blain)

At Broom GP, the adult WHOOPER SWAN is still present, whilst the adult EURASIAN WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE previously in Newport Pagnell (North Bucks) and at Marston Vale yesterday (Martin Green) was relocated at Willington GP this morning (Martin Palmer)

Rare ducks at Pugney's Country Park, West Yorkshire

Here are a few images of the drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK and first-winter drake RING-NECKED DUCK at Pugney's/Calder wetlands yesterday, the RND spending most of its time asleep at a fair distance. The Ferruginous showed well, but into the light, on a wet grey day. Good start to the new year though (Mark Stirland).
Both birds were again present today.

Linlithgow Loch SMEW

Andy Forrester obtained this superb image of the adult female SMEW affording excellent views in the ice-free part of Linlithgow Loch in Lothian

Abberton today

The SPOTTED SANDPIPER was by the dam until early afternoon but then disappeared, whilst 1-2 SPOONBILLS flew off as usual mid-morning. The GREAT NORTHERN DIVER, 3 drake SMEW and adult WHOOPER SWAN were all still present

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Abberton today

Abberton today

Dam Area: SPOTTED SANDPIPER showing exceptionally well

Green Sandpiper 1
Goosander 2
Grey Wagtail 1

Layer Breton Causeway :

Smew 3 drakes and redhead
Goosander 10+
Whooper Swan 1

Merlin 1 across road between the causeways

Surrey Shrikes

The Ash Ranges NORTHERN GREY SHRIKE showed well if somewhat distantly between 2pm and 3pm today. First located about 1 km from Mytchett Gate at SU 915541. Nearby by the path junction were c6 Common Crossbills.

The Shrike appeared to be ranging widely and quickly moved down the path towards the car park in the Spur Hill and Bridge Hill area. It disappeared towards Hangman's Hill.

At Frensham Little Pond yesterday afternoon the RED-THROATED DIVER had pulled itself onto the grassy area in front of the Warden's Cottage. Also 1 Kingfisher. The diver died overnight.

Meanwhile, the BROWN SHRIKE continues at Staines Moor, showing this morning; 7 WATER PIPITS there too, with 6 juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS still on adjacent KGVI Reservoir (permit access only)

Paxton Pits today

Highlights from this morning:

Smew, 6; 4 redheads Pumphouse Pit, 2 redheads Heronry North
Bearded Tit, 2, male and female at Rudd Pit still (2nd male presumably still nearby also)Peregrine, 1, Pumphouse Pit
Woodcock, 3; 2 PHP, 1 Island Pit
Barn Owl, 1, Island Pit
Redpoll, 5; 3 Sailing Lake, 2 nr Hayden Hide (Heronry South)
Siskin, 4, Sailing Lake
Marsh Tit, 1, Hayden Hide

(Martin Davis, Jamie Wells)

Friday, 1 January 2010

Today at Chelmarsh (Salop)

Today at Chelmarsh: 3 Yellow-legged Gulls in the roost. an impressive 45 Goosanders. 89 Tufted Ducks. 51 Teal. 22 Snipe flushed from Baxter's, but not Jack. 2 Water Rails. (Steve Haycox)

Rainham Marshes RSPB - the flagship reserve

A very good start to the year at Rainham Marshes RSPB Reserve with everything hanging on from yesterday inluding the juvenile GREAT SKUA (pictured above), EUROPEAN SERIN (photographed superbly above by James Hunter), Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Ruff and usual smaller stuff. All in all about 80 or so species seen. Mike Dent had two BITTERNS fly in near dusk which has got all us locals jealous! We will be looking harder in the next few days!
I will open up at 0800 on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd (Howard Vaughan)

Staines Moor BROWN SHRIKE survives the freeze


The cold weather of the last two weeks continued today with a hard frost overnight and temperatures by day struggling to just 1 degree. It was clear and dry though throughout and very pleasant. Having finally got to bed at 0500 hours, I shamefully failed to get out today before midday.

The surprise of the day was the relocation of the Middlesex BROWN SHRIKE - after last being seen prior to the cold snap on 18 December 2009. As a result, Staines Moor was my first port of call.......

My first species of 2010 was Common Buzzard - a pair soaring over the M25 just south of Junction 17.


The ASIATIC BROWN SHRIKE was proving typically popular and arriving just after 1210 hours, I met Lester Mulford and his sister (sadly his mum of 105 years of age passed away just recently), Ron & Simon King, Steve Webb, John Dixon, Franko & Oliver, Dave Morris, Ian & Chris Williams, Gary Howard & family and Peter Alfrey amongst others.

The footpath down from Hithermoor Road is still incredibly muddy, despite the ice, and it remains a challenge to get to the boardwalk without getting totally caked in mud. I did finally make it relatively unscathed and for about five minutes enjoyed good views of the long-staying Asiatic vagrant as it moved along the Hawthorns bordering the east side of the river. It had been feeding on earthworms on the ground in the sparsely vegetated area on the left just after the boardwalk and showing very well but after being the centre of attraction for several hours, decided to revert back to its skulking nature and disappeared at about 1300 hours (and failing to reappear in the next two hours).

Andrew Moon had managed to get these superb images of the bird just prior to its disappearance on 18 December and shows how much buff on the underparts the bird now has acquired.

New Years Day in LOTHIAN

Barns Ness: The WATER PIPIT was showing well in amongst a large mixed flock of Rock and Meadow pipits. Also good numbers of Dunlin, Sanderling, Knot, Turnstone and a single Grey Plover to name but a few.

Whitesands Bay: wintering BAIRD'S SANDPIPER showing very well after it seperated from the large wader flock mostly made up of Dunlin and Sanderling. There were a lot of people out walking on the beach today and this made tracking the bird down a lot harder as the waders flushed every time someone went near them. I eventualy got the place to myself and tracked the bird down.

Aberlady Bay: 4 Short-eared Owls hunting in the dunes out towards the point this afternoon. Fieldfares were absolutely everywhere. Still no sign of the Yellowlegs after a good search (Dennis Morrison)


Managed 77 species in Lothian today (cf. 87 in 2009) Bitterly cold at Whitesands Bay where the BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was very cooperative (Frank Hamilton)

A New Years Day List in the Gosport area - Hampshire

Carried out our usual New Years Day list in the Gosport and Fareham area today. 89 species were recorded (including 4 which were heard only). This was much reduced on the last couple of years but still an enjoyable day in lovely conditions and with some good birds seen. One Hampshire crew accrued an impressive 115 species today.

Highlights as follows: Walpole Park: Sparrowhawk, the adult winter RING-BILLED GULL, 1 Mediterranean Gull 1

Anglesea Lake, Alverstoke: Goldeneye 3; Red-breasted Merganser 1

Hillhead/Titchfield Haven from seafront: Avocet 3; Golden Plover c90 - landed on scrapes; Snipe; Kingfisher; Rock Pipit; BLACK REDSTART by harbour bridge; Cetti's Warbler 1

Hook Links and Valley: GREAT NORTHERN DIVER offshore, Grey Plover, Goldcrest 1 (the only one seen today), Nuthatch 2, Coal tit 1

Upper Titchfield canal path: Pintail 3, Stock Dove 1, Redwing 24, Common Chiffchaff 2.

Curbridge: Common Sandpiper 1, Raven (Rolfe & Dan Houghton)


Port Carlisle New Years Day

Railings Area: Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit

Port: LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER still (pictured above); A huge number of Dunlin and Redshank and 1 Little Egret

Craig Shaw

Grafham Water today - VELVET SCOTER still

VELVET SCOTER, immature male still from dam this afternoon
Common Scoter, 3 immatures at Savages creek
GREAT NORTHERN DIVER 4-5, but mobile
Greater Scaup 2 (1 drk) in Savages creek
Red-crested Pochard 2 drakes in Savages creek
Goosander 8+
Little Egret 2
Pochard 277+ and probably 1500+ Tufted Ducks
Little Grebe 20+
Aythya hybrids, 2 drakes in Savages creek

Marsh Tit 3 (including a tail-less bird)
Siskin 1 over
Grey Wagtail 1

No sign of Red-necked Grebe the last two days

(Mark Hawkes, Mark Piercey)

WATER PIPIT in Ayrshire

An Ayrshire walk along the shore from Seamill Hydro to the pond area behind the Pump houses produced a WATER PIPIT which showed well - NS 200 470, also a Common Greenshank. A single Jack Snipe along with 6 Common Snipe flew up from around the pond (Vallerie Firminger)

Oiled RED-THROATED DIVER survives the night

This oiled RED-THROATED DIVER was still present at Frensham Little Pond (Surrey) today (photographs taken by Kevin Guest)


The returning adult ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD was still from the road between A142 and Coveney this morning, seen hovering at one point. Also, a few parties of Whooper Swans between Coveney and Ely, one containing at least one family of Bewick Swans (2 ad, 2 imm).