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

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Saturday, 27 November 2010

DARTFORD WARBLER in Northamptonshire

DARTFORD WARBLER showing well in weedy scrub by small car park with rubbish off Church Lane, East Carlton SP825898 - Mike Alibone

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Severe Weather Warning

The earliest heavy snowfall since 1993 befell Aberdeenshire, the Border, Northumberland and the North Yorkshire Moors overnight, bringing severe disruption to road and rail after depositing five inches of lying snow in some areas. Such harsh conditions have seen part of the 6,000 or so BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS move south from their initial arrival in Scotland to most parts of England, including as far south and west to Hampshire. There has also been a westerly movement of BEWICK'S SWANS in recent days, with 3 TUNDRA BEAN GEESE new in at North Warren RSPB, Aldburgh (Suffolk), with GOOSANDERS moving south in large numbers, and a SNOW BUNTING appearing at Carsington Water (Derbyshire)

In North Norfolk, Robin Chittenden photographed the dark-backed, orange-breasted circus species recently at Holme NOA and his images, along with those taken by John Miller and SJMG at Thornham Harbour, certainly suggest that this bird too is a NORTH AMERICAN HEN HARRIER - the third record perhaps of the Nearctic vagrant this winter. Today the bird - a pale-eyed male presumably - appeared in the Titchwell RSPB and Thornham area several times

The juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER continues to show well at Lodmoor (Dorset), generally favouring the extreme SE corner of the main marsh adjacent to Beachdown Way, whilst a LESSER YELLOWLEGS - perhaps the Port Meadow bird relocating - remains on the main lagoon visible from the visitor centre at Rutland Water Egleton Reserve (Leics).

A GREAT WHITE EGRET is present for a fifth day at Hatchet Pond, east of Beaulieu, in the New Forest (Hants), with the wintering bird at Pitsford Reservoir (Northants), whilst the CATTLE EGRET remains at Dart's Farm at Topsham (South Devon) and the wintering AMERICAN GREEN HERON can still be found at the Lost Gardens of Heligan (Cornwall).

A GREY PHALAROPE remains off the East Beach at Dunbar (Lothian) (at NT 681 788) today, whilst the long-staying first-year DOTTEREL remains with the European Golden Plover flock at The Wig Scar at Loch Ryan (Galloway). A much longer-staying GREY PHALAROPE remains that on the roadside pools at Pett Level (East Sussex)

There has been a major arrival of MEALY REDPOLLS, perhaps representing 10% of all redpoll flocks currently, with reasonable numbers of NORTHERN BULLFINCHES at coastal localities. ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS continue to survive after arriving in Britain in October, with one hunting over the marsh at Tetney (North Lincs) today and another lingering over Holland Haven (Essex), whilst an old favourite has returned to the Isle of Sheppey (North Kent) to Shellness. A mammoth 43 SHORE LARKS have now amassed in Holkham Bay (North Norfolk).

A TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE is with Greylag Geese at Wat Tyler Country Park (Essex) whilst two different Red-breasted Geese, one bearing an orange-red ring initially seen in Hampshire, consort with the wintering Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the Exe Estuary (South Devon).

Reliable adult RING-BILLED GULLS back for the winter period include singles at Westcliff-on-Sea esplanade, Southend (Essex) and at Walpole Boating Lake, Gosport, and adjacent park fields (Hants)

The COMMON CRANE continues at Castlemartin Corse (Pembs), feeding in the stubble field viewable from the Corseside Nursery entrance, with another at the opposite end of the UK at Nigg Bay (Inverness).

GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS inland include juveniles at Astbury Mere CP (Cheshire) and Park Lake, Angler's Country Park (West Yorkshire), with the BLACK-THROATED DIVER still on St Aidan's Lake, New Swillington Ings (West Yorks), with SLAVONIAN GREBES on Brooklands Lake, New Hythe GP (Kent) and LONG-TAILED DUCKS at Balgray Reservoir (Clyde), Blackborough End Tip southern gravel pit (Norfolk) and Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB (Cambs) and the young drake VELVET SCOTER at Filby Broad (Norfolk).

A YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER remains in West Cornwall in the Cot Valley, whilst the first HUME'S LEAF WARBLER of the year was trapped and ringed at Holme NOA (North Norfolk) on Monday. The latter species and last week's DESERT WHEATEAR secure 2010 as the second best year in history in terms of numbers of species recorded.

In IRELAND, Tacumshane Lake (County Wexford) still harbours the juvenile NORTH AMERICAN HEN HARRIER, along with the now resident GLOSSY IBIS, whilst a female RING-NECKED DUCK is on the River Lee, at Lee Fields, near the football pitch in Cork City (County Cork). Cobh town's resident INDIAN HOUSE CROW was seen again today, as was the drake BLUE-WINGED TEAL at Cabragh Wetlands (County Tipperary), whilst the regularly returning female BLUE-WINGED TEAL is present once again in Dublin at North Bull Island. A drake NORTH AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL is at Belfast Lough RSPB (County Antrim)

Sunday, 21 November 2010


A RUSTIC BUNTING has been present all day in North Kent just SW of Whitstable at Lower Island on Seasalter Golf Course. It has been feeding in the vicinity of the 8th tee and has been showing well


North of the A290 Canterbury Road, take the B2205 Oxford Street and then turn left on to Nelson Road. Finally, turn left into Island Wall and park sensibly and courteously at the end.

This bird represents only the SIXTH in Kent following adult males at Shellness, Sheppey, on 9 April 1962 and at Northward Hill RSPB on 2 June 1983, an immature at Shellness on 5-6 October 1984, a first-winter male trapped at Dungeness on 19-20 October 1983, an immature at Port Regis, near Kingsgate, on 25-29 October 1990 and one well inland at Wierton Hill, Maidstone, from 19-28 March 1993.

Friday, 19 November 2010

DESERT WHEATEAR relocates south

What may well be Northumberland's first-winter male DESERT WHEATEAR was discovered in North Yorkshire today, showing well three fields to the north of the seawatching hut at the Long Nab, Burniston, until dusk (at TA 025 947. Please view ONLY from the Cleveland Way and DO NOT access fields in this vicinity.

Meanwhile, in Greater Manchester, the confiding first-winter PIED-BILLED GREBE is still performing well often directly in front of the hide at Hollingworth Lake Country Park - walk 18 minutes SE of the main car park and Visitor Centre to the far SE corner of the lake. See photos above.

At the opposite end of the country in West Cornwall, the Lost Gardens of Heligan still retain their greatest attraction in the form of the confiding first-winter AMERICAN GREEN HERON.

A PALLAS'S LEAF WARBLER was trapped and ringed at Kew Villa, Kilnsea (East Yorks), early morning, with another on Bardsey Island (North Wales) and a further in Horseshoe Plantation, Beachy Head (East Sussex) (and following one recently at Gibraltar Point NNR, Lincs), with a YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER at Caerlaverock WWT (D & G) and a very late WRYNECK in South Devon at Sheldon, east of the A379 in scrub below the car park at Labrador Bay.

The juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was still present at Lodmoor (Dorset) today, commuting between the pools in front of the viewing shelter and those at the east end of the main marsh adjacent to Beachdown Way; a female SMEW was also at the reserve. In East Anglia, the juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER remains in Blakeney Harbour (Norfolk).

The first-ever STONE CURLEW for North Ronaldsay (Orkney) was a surprise find today and typical of the avian gems that any South-easterly blows in. Likewise a WOODLARK on Inner Farne (Northumberland) was exceptional.

The typically confiding GREY PHALAROPE remains for a fourth day on the tiny flash south of the River Aire, at Bradley Ings, close to the footpath at SD 998 469 at Cononley (North Yorks) with another in Lancashire at Walney Island. A SURF SCOTER was in Fishguard Harbour (Pembs) today, lingering between the inner breakwater and the Fishguard Fort

Both the adult and juvenile ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD continue to forage the Burnham Overy Dunes (North Norfolk) with another near Willingham (North Lincs) and at least one on the moorland near Guisborough (Cleveland).

The COMMON CRANE continues at Castlemartin Corse (Pembs), with another at Nigg Bay (Inverness), with GLOSSY IBISES at the River Otter, Budleigh Salterton and at Exminster Marshes RSPB (South Devon) and the GREAT WHITE EGRETS at Pitsford Reservoir (Northants) and Humphrey Head saltmarsh (Cumbria). That at Brancaster Saltmarsh and Titchwell RSPB (North Norfolk) failed to show today whilst yesterday's Starcross CATTLE EGRET relocated to Bowling Green Marsh RSPB (South Devon) today.

Inland LONG-TAILED DUCKS remaining include single immatures at Pugney's Country Park, Wakefield (West Yorks), Rockford Lake, Blashford Lakes HWT (Hants) and at Swavesey Lake, Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB (Cambs), whilst a RED-NECKED GREBE is present for a second day at Cutt Mill House Pond (Surrey) and SLAVONIAN GREBES at Audenshaw Reservoirs (Greater Manchester) and at a number of sites in NW England. At Farmoor Reservoir (Oxon) this afternoon, a GREAT NORTHERN DIVER was new in, whilst the Broadwater Sailing Club Lake (Middlesex) juvenile drake VELVET SCOTER remains, as well as immatures at Filby Broad (Norfolk) and King George VI Reservoir (Surrey). A drake SMEW was on the Motel Pit at Far Ings NR (North Lincs) today, with a redhead on Crookfoot Reservoir (Cleveland) and another off of the dam at Belvide Reservoir (Staffs). Much farther north, a redhead is on Loch of Kinnordy RSPB (Angus/Dundee).

The wintering flock of at least 55 LAPLAND BUNTINGS is still to be found in the winter stubble fields just inland of the coastal footpath at Happisburgh (Norfolk), whilst on the north coast, at least 20 SHORE LARKS are roaming the saltmarsh at Holkham Gap.

The Yare Valley TAIGA BEAN GEESE are very early back this winter, perhaps a precursor of another severe winter to come, with 37 today at Cantley Marshes RSPB (Norfolk). Up to 221 are back in the Slammannan area of Forth District in Central Scotland.

In IRELAND, a first-winter SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER is showing well at Ballycotton (County Cork) but the recent AMERICAN COOT in County Mayo did not get reported today.

A party of 6 BEARDED TITS remains at the Lingstown Reedbed, Tacumshin (County Wexford) where the juvenile NORTH AMERICAN HEN HARRIER can still be found as well as the elusive CETTI'S WARBLER. In neighbouring County Waterford, the three EURASIAN SPOONBILLS were again in Dungarvan.

Also, the INDIAN HOUSE CROW continues at Cobh (County Cork)

Monday, 15 November 2010


Once again IRELAND is really reaping rewards from the recent deep Atlantic depressions. Firstly, an AMERICAN COOT was discovered on The Mullet in the vicinity of the outflow on Termoncarragh Lake (County Mayo) and secondly, two AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPITS are on offer - a new bird just below the car park at the Belderra Strand at Belmullet, on the Mullet Peninsular (County Mayo) and a continuing bird at Clonea Strand at Ballinclamper in County Waterford. This same latter site also hosts a confiding juvenile WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER. Yesterday, the regular returning FORSTER'S TERN appeared at Doorus Pier in Galway.

The AMERICAN COOT represents the 434th species of the year in Britain and Ireland in 2010, equalling that total achieved in 2009.

In Britain today, some interesting late scarce migrants were discovered with an ORTOLAN BUNTING on Skokholm Island (Pembrokeshire) and a first-winter BARRED WARBLER for a second day in the wood by the B5268 Fleetwood Road opposite the Cala Gran Haven Holiday Park in Fleetwood (Lancs). On the Isles of Scilly, a DUSKY WARBLER still remains by the road at Higher Moors, St Mary's.

Meanwhile, there are still two main stars of the show - the first-winter PIED-BILLED GREBE in Greater Manchester and the first-winter AMERICAN ROBIN in South Devon........

The grebe is at Hollingworth Lake Country Park just south of Littleton and not that far north of the M62. It is favouring the extreme SE corner of the lake where it commutes between the bank and the islands and shows very well at times from the small hide. This is a good 15 minute walk from the designated car park by the Visitor Centre, following the footpath round to the right.

The AMERICAN ROBIN is still ranging widely in the hedgerows west of the main access road to the Turf Hotel at Exminster Marshes RSPB, being seen from anything up to 300 yards north of the hotel. It has now become generally elusive, favouring to feed on Hawthorns well back from the lane, and for best results, keep to the raised bank of the canal when searching. It is best to park in the RSPB car park just beyond the railway bridge as strict restrictions are being implemented at the canalside parking bays. Many birders have suffered a very expensive surprise on site!

Not to be outshone however is the Lost Gardens of Heligan AMERICAN GREEN HERON (looking set to winter on site) and the first-year SQUACCO HERON in Angle Bay (Pembs)

In the north of England, the SQUACCO HERON continues to perform well on the River Wansbeck in Morpeth town (Northumberland), ranging up to 100 yards west of the blue footbridge, with a GREAT WHITE EGRET still frequenting ditches and dykes on the saltmarsh between the railway station and Humphrey Head at Kents Bank (Cumbria). Northamptonshire's long-stayer of the latter continues at Pitsford Reservoir

We are now seeing an arrival of Mealy Redpolls from Scandinavia and with them the odd SCANDINAVIAN ARCTIC REDPOLL, Dan Brown locating one such mixed flock of birds in Strath Brora, well NW of Golspie in Sutherland. He estimated the flock to be in the region of 1,400 birds, moving between Birch scrub. In the same vein, 6,000 or so BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS continue to invade southwards from their initial arrival in Scotland.

The long-staying juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER is still with up to 2,000 European Golden Plover in Blakeney Harbour (North Norfolk), best viewed from the 5-bar gate on the seawall, whilst not that far away at Burnham Overy Dunes, two juvenile ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS are still roaming the farmland and a male TRUMPETER BULLFINCH continues in Holkham Pines.

A further juvenile ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD was still in the South Ferriby (North Lincs) area, with 2-3 still at Sleddale (Cleveland), whilst a 'new' juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER involves a bird for its second day at Trevorian Pool near Sennen (West Cornwall), in fields just west of the pool viewed from the footpath between Trevorian Farm and Trevear Farm 200 yards NE of the school at SW 373 264. In South Devon, after an absence of four days, the first-winter LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER reappeared on the flooded field opposite Axmouth Football Club on Sunday afternoon.

Recent gales have seen an arrival of windblown seabirds, with juvenile Great Northern Divers at Chew Valley Lake (Avon), Angler's Country Park, Wintersett (West Yorks), Astbury Mere CP (Cheshire), Big Mere, Marbury CP (Cheshire), Fleetwood Marine lakes (Lancs) and Carsington Water (Derbyshire), a Slavonian Grebe in Savages Creek at Grafham Water (Cambs) and another on Pine Lake (Lancs) and a first-winter drake Velvet Scoter at Broadwater Sailing Lake (Middlesex).

A first-winter GREY PHALAROPE continues to show very well on the roadside pools at Pett Level (East Sussex), whilst another is present for its third day at Lytham Moss (Lancs), in the flooded field just west of the southern end of North Houses Lane at SD 344 298. A long-stayer is still to be found at Rutland Water (Leics) off of the Green Bank on the Hambleton Peninsula.

The CATTLE EGRET remains at Saltholme RSPB (Cleveland), showing intermittently from the Haverton Viewpoint, with the recent Guyhirn (Cambs) bird relocating to Welney WWT (Norfolk), where the GLOSSY IBIS can still be seen feeding in front of the Lyle Hide. Two further GLOSSY IBIS from the early autumn influx still survive in South Devon - on the west side of the River Otter at Budleigh Salterton and just west of the canalbank car park at Exminster Marshes RSPB.

Kevin Shepherd located a RICHARD'S PIPIT whilst surveying this morning at Lendalfoot (Ayrshire) whilst a couple of late YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS include singles at Caerlaverock WWT (Dumfries & Galloway) and at the Clennon Valley Lakes near Paignton (South Devon).

Suffolk's drake KING EIDER has now moulted into more adult-type plumage and is looking typically dapper and continues to range between Minsmere RSPB beach and Dunwich beach car park, whilst bucking the recent downward trend, wintering SHORE LARK flocks include 15 between Dunwich and Walberswick (Suffolk) and at least 24 in Holkham Bay (Norfolk). Six more were also at Landguard NR (Suffolk) today, with 10 on the saltings at John Muir Country Park at Dunbar (Lothian)..

A juvenile COMMON CRANE is present for a second day at Nigg Bay, Cromarty, favouring a stubble field just beyond the turn off to Nigg village - the field with bales of straw in black plastic. When disturbed it flies down to the bay just in front of the hide (per Bob Swann), with a further vagrant COMMON CRANE at Castlemartin Corse (Pembs), visible from the Corseside Nursery entrance.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

RSPB Strathbeg this morning

A 75 minute seawatch from 8.30am produced 212 Little Auks, a GreyPhalarope, 6 Great Northern Divers, 2 Long-tailed Ducks and 2 Black Guillemots - all moving north, along with good numbers of Guillemots andKittiwakes.

Highlights from this morning's WeBS count included the reserve's third record of Mandarin Duck along with 2 Slavonian Grebes, Barn Owl, 941 Whooper Swans and around 16,000 Pink-footed Geese (Dominic)

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Massive Redpoll flock in Sutherland

Intrepid explorer and survey-worker Dan Brown has located a huge flock of 1,400 redpolls today in Strath Brora, 8 miles NW of Golspie (Sutherland). The flock comprises many pale birds within its ranks, all feeding in Silver Birch scrub 3 miles west of the Windfarm access road, some of which are considered to be exilipes (Scandinavian Arctics). Many Mealy-type birds are also present in the flock (at least 250).

This would be an ideal opportunity to try and locate a Hornemann's Redpoll amongst them, considering this autumn's influx on the Northern Isles, although of course these are very much ground-feeders rather than tree feeders.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

PIED-BILLED GREBE in Greater Manchester

A Little Grebe out of character at Hollingworth Lake Country Park since last Wednesday was reidentified today as a PIED-BILLED GREBE - and continued to show until dusk, being visible from the main footpath just before the hide.

The Country Park is just south of Littleborough, just north of the M62. It is signposted from the B6225 and the bird is favouring the inaccessible SE corner. Park at the Visitor Centre and walk SE along Rakewood Road before taking the path to the hide (SD 940 150)

It is almost a decade since the last Pied-billed Grebe in Britain but Ireland was treated to two separate occurrences earlier this year, with singles in County Clare and Galway.

What may have been yesterday's Lodmoor/Radipole LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER appeared today at Axmouth (South Devon) north of Boshill Cross in the marshy field opposite Axmouth Football Ground.

There have also been several PALLAS'S LEAF WARBLERS located today in the NE wind, as well as a large displacement of LITTLE AUKS (including 1,731 south past the Farne Islands and a similar number off Dunbar)

In IRELAND, a juvenile WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER remains at Clonea Strand, Ballinclimper (County Waterford), with a CETTI'S WARBLER at Lingstown Reedbed, Tacumshin (County Wexford)

ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD in the West Midlands

At c2pm today I saw a juvenile ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD at Marsh Lane NR. It was only present for a few minutes and wasn't seen again, as far as I know. It seems it may have flown off towards Meriden, but I didn't actually see it depart! Hopefully it will turn up again tomorrow (John Oates)

Seawatching in Lothian today

A juv GREY PHALAROPE between the tide line and 20mts out, at Thorntonloch at noon today. Also well over 1,000 Little Auks past Torness Walkway, we stopped counting at 1,000. Short/Long eared owl in off the sea, 2 G.N.Divers, Sandwich Tern, 2 R.T.Divers (Mike Thrower).

CETTI'S WARBLER at Tacumshin

The CETTI'S WARBLER at Lingstown yesterday

Having noticed, around 3pm yesterday that it had become perfectly still, Idecided to visit Lingstown, Tacumshin in the hope of hearing the Cetti'sWarbler that was discovered there early last Saturday morning by Richard Bonser, Alan Clewes and Lee Gregory, while they were looking for the North American Hen Harrier. Instead of going to the car park at Lingstown, where Saturday's bird had been heard, I stopped a couple of hundred metres before the end of the road (just beyond the prominent white 'Parks and Heritage'sign on the right) where there are several big willow bushes at the edge of the reedbed. This has always struck me as an ideal spot for Cetti's Warbler and it can be a good place to look for Chiffchaff in the winter months.

Within about a minute of getting out of the car (at 15.50 hrs), I heard a single distinctive "stipp" call of a Cetti's Warbler coming from the reedbed/willows quite close to me. I waited quietly until it called again, a minute or so later. I then phoned some local birders, two of whom were not too far away and indicated they would come directly. The bird continued to call every minute or two, which enabled me to follow its movements, but apart from one glimpse of it in flight, very low, it did not emerge into view.

Tony Murray was the first to arrive and he didn't have to wait long for some calls. I was curious to know if playing a recording would attract the bird into the open, but in case it worked only the once I thought it best not to try it until Dave Daly arrived, about twenty minutes later. I played the call first; there was no obvious response, and apart from a split-second view it did not show. A few minutes later I played a snatch of song. Still no visual or vocal response, though at least it did not stop calling! When we walked twenty yards further along the road the bird suddenly flew out and promptly disappeared into the centre of a willow. A few seconds later it emerged, but the view was fleeting. Still, any view of a Cetti's is a bonus! The light was almost gone now, but the bird continued to call occasionally.

Where the bird was yesterday evening is around 3-400 yards from where Saturday's bird was heard. In all probability it is the same individual, but given BO'M's account of Cetti's Warblers at Fleetwood, Lincolnshire, it is quite possible more than one bird is present in the area. (Killian Mullarney)

Monday, 8 November 2010

Some Weekend Excitement on the Home Front as Marsh Hawk continues to take top billing

The MARSH HAWK (or NORTH AMERICAN HEN HARRIER) continues its residency in the Tacumshane and Tomhaggart Lake area in County Wexford, roosting overnight in the extensive reedbed at the Lingstown end of the reserve. It seems to have a well rehearsed pattern of roosting overnight with the 7-9 Hen Harriers in the area and then spending the day roaming the locale, visiting both the East End and the Forgotten Corner area.

DIRECTIONS: If twitching from Rosslare Harbour, continue on the N25 for about 3 miles and then take the SECOND turning left in Tagoat - the R736. Continue west along this road towards Tomhaggart and after 4 miles turn left on to the L7113. This brings you down to a crossroads where you turn right for the roost-site or left to the main Tacumshane Lake proper. Turn right (west) and after 0.6 miles, there is a left turning opposite a 5-bar metal gate. This is the narrow lane that takes you down to the extensive reedbed and park after 0.8 miles at the end of the lane (there is an old trailer with a few wooden stakes on it on the other side of the electric fence here). There is a slight rising to the ground here where the reedbed can be overviewed. The Marsh Hawk tends to hang around this area from 0800-1000 hours and return again just after 1600 hours and is the most reliable location in which to see it.

At other times, it may be seen from the East End car park or Forgotten Corner. For access to both of these sites, drive back to the road from the Lingstown reedbed and turn right. You are aiming for Tacumshane Castle which is just three miles to the east. Continue along this road until it eventually merges with another road from the left and after driving through the small hamlet, look out for a turning on the right marked 'cul-de-sac'. From here, you will see the ruined castle on your right. Forgotten Corner is at the end of the road that goes straight down whilst the track off to your left (east) leads down after about a mile to the East End car park. The Marsh Hawk is frequently seen from both locations. A long-staying GLOSSY IBIS favours a dyke close to the East End car park.

Marsh Hawk is an exceptionally rare bird on this side of the Atlantic with the only previously photographed juvenile being recorded on St Mary's (Scilly) from 22 October 1982 until 7 June 1983. There are a number of other records purporting to be of this form, the most convincing of these being the juvenile that spent a day touring St Mary's (Scilly) on 16 October 1979.

Elsewhere in the Republic of Ireland, the second-year INDIAN HOUSE CROW remains in residence in Cobh Town Centre (County Cork), showing well in the vicinity of the monument and the Papa John's restaurant. The regularly returning adult SABINE'S GULL is also a major attraction, often to be located on Cobh Harbour quayside.

Well the weekend saw a spice of activity in the UK, with the Walmsley Sanctuary (Cornwall) first-winter AMERICAN BITTERN doing an unpredicted bunk overnight on Saturday (after showing exceedingly well from the Tower Hide since the middle of last week) and yet another late autumn SQUACCO HERON making an appearance - this time in Northumberland at Morpeth town centre (residing on the river upstream of the old mill accessed from the Whorral Bank and ranging between the library and the blue footbridge at Low Stanners - NZ 204 862). The other bird remains present in Angle Harbour in Pembrokeshire, often showing down to a few yards.

Another big surprise on Sunday following the switch to NW winds was the discovery of yet another first-winter ASIATIC BROWN SHRIKE in Britain - and the second for Yorkshire. It spent the afternoon frequenting scrub skirting the golf course, about 800 yards north of the clifftop car park. It disappeared overnight following very cold, clear conditions in the first half of the night.

Another star bird was yet another RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL - this time in East Kent and at Denge Marsh Road for most of Saturday - the 30th to be recorded this autumn. A PALLAS'S LEAF WARBLER was trapped and ringed at Kew Villa, Kilnsea (East Yorks), today, with another seen briefly at Titchwell Marsh RSPB (Norfolk)

Also fresh in was a juvenile/first-winter LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER at Lodmoor NR (Dorset) - which moved today to the North Pools at Radipole Lake RSPB, whilst other Nearctic waders include the first-winter LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Port Meadow, Oxford (Oxon) and juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS at Blakeney Harbour/Cley NWT (North Norfolk) and on the Exe Estuary, just south of the Turf Hotel near Exminster (South Devon).

Another milestone discovery was an adult THAYER'S GULL at Pitsea Landfill in Essex, where gull enthusiast Steve Arlow chanced upon and photographed this bird whilst sifting through many thousands of feeding birds on Saturday morning. The Landfill is strictly private with no access outside of the North Thames Gull Ringing Group.

In Cornwall, the first-winter AMERICAN GREEN HERON continues to attract admirers with its continued residency at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, often favouring the pool overlooked by the hide (for full directions, ask at the entrance kiosk and obtain a detailed map).

In Southwest Norfolk, the long-staying and very confiding GLOSSY IBIS remains at Welney, frequenting the tiny decoy pool just north of the power lines. From Welney village, drive north for a mile to the first sharp right hand bend and then follow the track alongside the Hundred Foot Drain for a further mile to view. Not that far away, in Cambridgeshire, the CATTLE EGRET continues at the fields adjacent to Red Gate Farm at Guyhirn. Other CATTLE EGRETS include a long-staying bird by Withybush Airfield at Poyston (Pembs) and that in the cattle field opposite the parking place next to the yellow half-mile car park sign at Donna Nook (North Lincs).

The BOHEMIAN WAXWING invasion continues unabated, with the Inverness area of Northern Scotland harbouring 2,500 or more birds. The total number involved far exceeds 6,000 and as the weeks progress and berries run out, many flocks will drop further south and west.

RED-NECKED GREBES are hard to come by these days and at present the only bird inland is that at Cheddar Reservoir (Somerset). Meanwhile, Suffolk's major attraction throughout the autumn - the drake KING EIDER now moulting into its second-winter plumage - continues to get seen daily offshore, generally between Minsmere Sluice and Dunwich Beach car park.

A few rare wildfowl are on offer including single drake North American Green-winged Teals at Caerlaverock WWT (Dumfries & Galloway) and Cley NWT Reserve (Norfolk), the pair of SURF SCOTER off Ynyslas car park (Ceredigion) and both FERRUGINOUS and RING-NECKED DUCK at Chew Valley Lake Stratford Bay (Avon). A female NORTH AMERICAN WOOD DUCK of unknown provenance was with a large number of Mallard and Common Teal on the sewage works pool and adjacent Pwll Penarth NR pool (Powys) this morning, whilst the adult RUDDY SHELDUCK which arrived with Dark-bellied Brent Geese in Langstone Harbour (Hants) is now consorting with Eurasian Wigeon at Farlington Marshes HWT.

A GREY PHALAROPE still remains on the West Scrape at Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) today, with the two first-winters still at Cley NWT (Norfolk).

A RICHARD'S PIPIT continues for a second day at Sleddale (Cleveland), frequenting fields by Sleddale Farm, whilst gathering for winter perhaps are the 24 SHORE LARKS in Holkham Bay (North Norfolk).

A few ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS are still surviving in Norfolk, including one near Abbey Farm, Flitcham, and another in the Burnham Overy Dunes area, whilst northerly winds produced some heavy movements of LITTLE AUKS in the North Sea, with 147 in just over an hour south past Girdle Ness (Aberdeenshire) and 800 past Fife Ness (Fife)..

In NORTHERN IRELAND, a drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK was at Corbet Lough (County Down) today.

CRESTED TIT on the Isle of Skye

Over the last 6 weeks, a Nuthatch has been on feeders at Carr Brae, Loch Duich.

Another Nuthatch has been seen well in Arisaig over the last few days.

A Crested Tit has been showing well on feeders at Fasach, Glendale, Skye. A very unusual occurrence.

Link -

More predictably, about 35 Waxwings were still present today at Muirtown Primary School.

Alastair McNee

Monday, 1 November 2010

Nearctic Harrier in SW Ireland

A juvenile NORTH AMERICAN HEN HARRIER (Circus hudsonius) (also known as Northern Harrier or Marsh Hawk) is present for a third day in County Wexford frequenting Tacumshin Lakes and its environs. Killian Mullarney has photographed the bird first highlighted by Tom Kilbane and a selection of his images can be browsed at The identification of this form has always been very complicated but images of this bird clearly show a bird with a contrastingly dark hood and the diagnostic underwing patterning that we have come to rely on more recently.

Interestingly, of the 7 records of this form I listed in 1990 (Evans, Rare Birds in Britain 1800-1990, page 103), only ONE now remains as acceptable - a juvenile that wintered on the Isles of Scilly from 22 October 1982 to 7 June 1983. As such, this is one real mega in terms of European appearances.

Next off, the AMERICAN BITTERN present at Trewey Common Pools, Zennor (West Cornwall), since at least last Monday failed to put in an appearance this morning, leaving 70 or more observers disgruntled. It had been seen by 430 observers since news of its presence was released on Thursday.

That other Nearctic heron, the AMERICAN GREEN HERON, continues its stay unabated though, showing well once again to allcomers at the Lost Gardens of Heligan SE of St Austell (Cornwall).

In North Norfolk, the two first-winter GREY PHALAROPES remain on North Scrape at Cley NWT Reserve, along with the drake North American Green-winged Teal at Daukes Hide and at least 7 SHORE LARKS on the shingle ridge between Salthouse and Kelling Hard and 3 more by Cley North Hide. Further south and close to the border with Cambs, the very confiding GLOSSY IBIS continues in the field just SE of Welney village not far from the cattle pens just west of the Hundred Foot Drain, whilst the juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER reappeared at Cley Marshes NWT this afternoon on Pat's Pool. In neighbouring Suffolk, the 2nd-winter KING EIDER remains off Dunwich Cliffs.

PALLAS'S LEAF WARBLERS are now appearing again with one in the Long Bank Hedge, Beacon Ponds (East Yorks) yesterday afternoon followed by two together this morning in the wood at Berry Head (South Devon), another at the west end of Holkham Pines (Norfolk) and one still present in the Observatory garden at Portland Bill (Dorset).

The Isles of Scilly season is now drawing to a close with the last of the 600 or so of this autumn's birdwatchers now departing; avian remnants from last week's half-term being the DUSKY WARBLER in the Higher Moors clump area of St Mary's and the odd YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER.

In terms of this autumn's irruptions, that of the BOHEMIAN WAXWING remains in full swing, with somewhere in the region of 6,000 birds displaced in Scotland and more and more now dispersing further south. It really is going to be a nightmare for Bird Information Service operatives ! Some single flocks were noted at the weekend as containing over 2,000 birds - incredible numbers - and today flocks of over 1,000 are still being recorded in Aberdeenshire..

Several juvenile ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS are still being seen, with up to 4 in the Sleddale area (Cleveland/North York Moors), two still in the Burnham Overy Dunes area (North Norfolk) and the one in the Holland Haven (Essex) area.

LAPLAND BUNTINGS too remain in abundance, with at least 60 in winter stubble between Chare Ends and the quarry at Holy Island (Northumberland), 12 in fields between Mwnt and Aberporth (Ceredigion) and 5 far west in stubble opposite Tehidy CP (Cornwall).

BEARDED TITS are also in irruptive mood, with 2 at Flamborough Head (East Yorks), 7 at Otmoor RSPB (Oxfordshire), at least 9 at Broom GP (Beds), 3 at Amwell NR (Herts) and a male at Carsington Water (Derbyshire).

A YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER at Alexandra Park (London) was an excellent local record, the bird moving within a tit flock at the western edge of the reservoir as well as in the Conservation Area by the pool.

A female VELVET SCOTER remains inland on Filby Broad (Norfolk) whilst other scarce wildfowl include a drake AMERICAN WIGEON from the Swantail Hide at Wheldrake Ings YWT (North Yorks) and up to 3 FERRUGINOUS DUCKS at Chew Valley Lake (Avon).

In Scotland, a LITTLE EGRET is still showing well on the Starnafin Farm Pools at Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire), with a late GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) and another on the tarmac road at Halligarth, Unst (Shetland).

A very long-staying CATTLE EGRET in Cambridgeshire was today in fields south of the A47 between Guyhirn and Thorney Toll, whilst equally long-staying are GREAT WHITE EGRETS at the Idle Valley NR (Notts) and at Blashford Lakes HWT (Hants). Another CATTLE EGRET is still present today close to the Stonebridge car park at Donna Nook (North Lincs) in the cattle field by Marsh Lane.

A GREY PHALAROPE also continues inland at Rutland Water (Leics), frequenting the shoreline 500 yards west of Normanton Church, whilst the very long-staying first-winter LESSER YELLOWLEGS can still be located on the extensive flood meadows at Port Meadow, Oxford (Oxon). In North Lincolnshire, an AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER is showing well for a second day at Freiston Shore RSPB, with the juvenile in South Devon reappearing on the ebbing tide at the north end of the Exe Estuary 200 yards south of the Turf Hotel on the west shore once again.

Not much in the way of Rare Bird News other than the harrier coming out of IRELAND today but at least 1 GLOSSY IBIS remains at Tacumshin East End Pools (County Wexford). A YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER was noted at Hook Head (County Wexford).