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

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Saturday, 31 July 2010

Swamphen Dilemma

A presumed escaped adult GREY-HEADED SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio caspius) continues to show very well today in Clwyd, favouring a roadside vegetated ditch with Moorhens opposite the Morrison's supermarket building site SW of Chester at Saltney just south of the A 5104 (SJ 377 648). It is a very confiding individual and is in pristine plumage condition and has been present in the area for at least a month.

Most recent records of 'Purple Gallinules' in Britain have involved this highly migratory species from Asia, including those in Cumbria and Cambridgeshire. When last investigated, this species was fairly common in captivity, and breeding took place in at least 12 localities.

Nice to see some adult Nearctic waders appearing at last (although we could well struggle for juvenile waders, with Long-tailed Skuas and other Arctic predators having to feed on baby waders following another Lemming crash year - the 14th in succession), with a LESSER YELLOWLEGS (and 3 Wood Sandpipers) at Inner Marsh Farm RSPB (Cheshire) and a SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER for its third day at Port Carlisle (Cumbria), showing well on the shoreline on the ebbing tides off of the layby opposite the caravan park (found yet again by area birding supremo Darren Robson).

Also present and very popular was the beautiful juvenile WHISKERED TERN at Reclamation Pond, Teesmouth (Cleveland), now present in the area for its 5th day, and superbly captured on film by Mark Newsome (see above images). Full juveniles are very rare in this country. The bird later commuted back to Saltholme Pools. Meanwhile, Staffordshire's moulting adult FRANKLIN'S GULL was relocated today, feeding in a ploughed field with Black-headed Gulls opposite the Fishermen's Car Park at Gailey Reservoirs (accessed east of the M6 junction 12).

In South Devon, the first-summer male HOUSE FINCH of ship assisted or captive origin continues to moult in East Prawle village, occasionally perching on the Shippen Cottages roof.

The colour-ringed first-summer GREAT WHITE EGRET of NW French origin continues its summer sojourn at Noah's Lake, Meare Heath (Somerset), with the summering bird at Dungeness Denge Marsh (Kent) and the continuing pair of PURPLE HERONS.

A family party of 9 RUDDY SHELDUCKS has now moved further south from Aberdeenshire to Angus, showing today from the Shelduck Hide at The Lurgies Reserve at Montrose Basin

In North Kent, an adult PECTORAL SANDPIPER is present, along with up to 21 Spotted Redshanks and a EURASIAN SPOONBILL, at Elmley RSPB Reserve (from the Counterwall Hide).

Over 30 EURASIAN SPOONBILLS were counted in East Anglia today, with 17 at Cley Marshes NWT North Scrape (North Norfolk) and 15 on Havergate Island (Suffolk), whilst a HOODED CROW has attracted a great deal of interest, being twitchable in the Kelling and Salthouse area for much of the day. The summering female FERRUGINOUS DUCK remained on Island Mere at Minsmere RSPB Reserve (Suffolk) today, as did the Fulvous Whistling Duck of captive origin at Loompit Lake, Trimley (Suffolk).

Quite a few OSPREYS are now on the move, with several taking up early autumn territories along the South Coast. Likewise, an influx of GARGANEYS is now apparent, and large numbers of juvenile MARSH HARRIERS are now being seen in the south.

A CORY'S SHEARWATER visited Thurlestone Bay (South Devon) briefly this morning, whilst good numbers of Balearic Shearwaters continue to move west off West Cornwall.

The annual northeast coast build up of post-breeding ROSEATE TERNS is now taking place, with up to 15 on Sandhaven Beach at South Shields (County Durham)

In IRELAND, the second-summer LAUGHING GULL continues to grace Ballycastle Marina (County Antrim), with the first-summer NORTH AMERICAN HERRING GULL still showing from the bridge at Blennerville Marsh (County Kerry).

Two EURASIAN SPOONBILLS are in County Waterford at Dungarvan, showing well from the Helvick Road at midday

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

KING EIDER relocates to North Norfolk coast

The immature drake KING EIDER that was first seen by Brett Richards flying past Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire, and later relocated with moulting Common Eiders off Filey Brigg, North Yorkshire (see Dave Mansell's superb images above), has now relocated much farther south in North Norfolk.

After initially being seen off Sheringham sewatching shelter mid morning, it has now drifted further east to West Runton, from where it can be currently seen swimming and diving offshore of the pay and display cliff car park

The King Eider is a very rare bird in Norfolk with the following previous records -:

1) An immature drake which was obtained off Hunstanton on 7 January 1888 and is on display at the Castle Museum in Norwich;

2) An immature female was shot off Hunstanton on 3 November 1890, with apparently a second bird - an adult female - also obtained there just a week later on 10 November 1890;

4) An eclipse drake remained with up to 200 moulting Common Eiders between Scolt Head Island and Holkham Bay from 5-15 September 1986;

5) A first-year drake remained off Holkham Bay and Wells Harbour mouth from 19 January until 4 April 2002;

6) A first-winter drake remained off Titchwell Beach from 11 December 2004 until 1 January 2005.

Monday, 26 July 2010


A CATTLE EGRET was found at Vange Marsh yesterday morning, but flew off and was not found throughout the day. Then yesterday evening it was relocated roosting with little egrets at Wat Tyler near the scrape opposite the motorboat museum.

The bird was seen again this morning on Vange Marsh between 06.00 and 08.00 and provided good views. It seems as though the bird is following the little egrets off the roost onto Vange then leaving the marsh early morning to forage elsewhere during day. Wat Tyler closes at 20.00 and Vange Marsh can be accessed along the public footpath from Pitsea Hall Lane opposite Pitsea Railway Station car park (per Marc)

Friday, 23 July 2010

The Friday Review

This is the UK400 Club/British Birding Association Rare Bird Alert for Friday 23 July 2010, issued at 1900 hours, and published in association with Rare Bird Alert Pagers whilst utilising additional information gleaned from BirdGuides, the Regional Birdlines and local email groups.

The WHITE-TAILED PLOVER of recent weeks was last seen on Dungeness ARC PIT (Kent) on Wednesday and has not been seen in Britain since.

Bird of the day was undoubtedly the WILSON'S STORM PETREL that passed west along the North Norfolk coast this morning; initially seen and identified off Sheringham at 0820 hours (Kevin Shepherd), it later flew slowly west at less than half distance past Cley Coastguards from 0905-0911 hours, where it was seen by James McCallum (finder), Richard Millington, Mark Golley, Dave Holman, Christine Stean, Baz Harding and very briefly by Tony Aberdein and Trevor Davies. Reasonable 'scope views were obtained as it flew between the troughs. A fresh NNW wind had blown up overnight, with large numbers of Northern Gannets displaced and a few Manx Shearwaters. It represents the first record for Norfolk.

Much farther north, similar sea and wind conditions produced Sooty Shearwater and 225 Manx Shearwaters off of Whitburn (County Durham)

A first-summer male KING EIDER is summering with Common Eiders in Filey Bay (North Yorks) and can be found at falling or low tide feeding on mussels at the Brigg (see Dave Mansell's excellent images above)

At Dungeness RSPB (Kent), the GREAT WHITE EGRET remains on Denge Marsh, as does the breeding pair of PURPLE HERONS. Two juveniles have apparently now fledged the nest. The female LITTLE BITTERN is still attending to her fledged young at Ham Wall RSPB (Somerset) but remains very elusive and a very confiding GREAT WHITE EGRET has spent the week just downriver of the Ornamental Bridge at Clumber Park (Notts). Up to 15 EURASIAN SPOONBILLS are on Havergate Island (Suffolk) with a further 10 at Cley Marsh NWT (Norfolk).

There is a scattering of WOOD SANDPIPERS around the country including a long-staying juvenile at the RSPB Rye House Marsh Reserve in Hertfordshire (see Phil Bishop's image above) whilst the two Norfolk PECTORAL SANDPIPERS remain, at Titchwell Freshmarsh and Welney WWT respectively.

A few RUDDY SHELDUCK of perhaps continental origin are appearing, including a flock of 9 in Northeast Scotland at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire)

There is also a widespread influx of COMMON CROSSBILLS

In IRELAND, a first-summer NORTH AMERICAN HERRING GULL is at Blennerville (County Kerry), whilst the summering immature GLOSSY IBIS remains at Tacumshin Pools (County Wexford).

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Today's News Summary

In East Kent, the WHITE-TAILED PLOVER remains for a third day at Dungeness RSPB ARC Pit, showing very well on occasions when it visits the mud to the SE of the screen hide at the north end of the pit to feed on the rare and endangered Medicinal Leeches that the site partly acquired SSSI status of. Once fed or disturbed by Oystercatchers, it takes to flying out to the well vegetated islands and can remain out of view for long periods. The reserve is easily accessible from the main coast road south out of Lydd.

Nearby, the pair of PURPLE HERONS seem to have abandoned the nest and no longer appear to be feeding young, whilst a long-staying GREAT WHITE EGRET remains as elusive as ever in the extensive reedbed at Denge Marsh.

In Somerset, the pair of LITTLE BITTERNS continue to visit their reedbed vegetation nest and can be encountered flying in and out low over the Phragmites at Shapwick Heath NNR Loxton Marsh site, whilst CATTLE EGRETS remain nearby and EURASIAN BITTERNS have bred in record numbers. A first-summer colour-ringed GREAT WHITE EGRET (from France) is still present on the Noah's Lake, visible from the hide on the east shore.

On the wader front, WOOD SANDPIPERS are now returning southwards, as well as ICELANDIC BLACK-TAILED GODWITS, GREEN SANDPIPERS and COMMON SANDPIPERS, with the summer-plumaged adult BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER still gracing the Freshwater Lagoon at Titchwell Marsh RSPB (North Norfolk). A party of 8 EURASIAN SPOONBILLS remains at Cley Marsh NWT (Norfolk).

In IRELAND, the TEREK SANDPIPER is still present at Blennerville (County Kerry), just west of the bridge, with the second-summer LAUGHING GULL still in County Antrim. A single EURASIAN SPOONBILL is at Tacumshin Lagoons (Co. Wexford).

Monday, 12 July 2010

An afternoon spent in East Kent - LGRE


A belt of showery rain moved west from the continent overnight and reached as far west as Buckinghamshire before petering out. It barely wet the ground and after the front had moved through, the heat returned and afternoon temperatures quickly climbed once more to 25 degrees C. I had reserved the afternoon for a visit to east Kent, where the wide-ranging WHITE-TAILED PLOVER of late had chosen Dungeness ARC Pit as its latest reside.........

Whilst driving SE along the M20, an adult summer MEDITERRANEAN GULL flew south over the motorway about 5 miles east of Ashford.


I arrived on site early afternoon and was very pleased to see the WHITE-TAILED PLOVER showing very well in shallow water in a marshy area of the reserve at the north end of the ARC Pit. It was feeding on Medicinal Leeches which it was retrieving from the mud and these were huge and an ample meal - the plover looked as though it was really enjoying them and eventually swallowed them whole.

After one such meal and a hasty drink, it was chased by two of three Oystercatchers and flew out over the pool and went further south. Its flight at times was somewhat reminiscent of the delayed flapping of Common Sandpiper and as it flew away and across the hide view, superb views were obtained of its very distinctive upperwing profile and white tail. Both Dave Walker and Mike McKee were taking photographs, DW obtaining some excellent flight shots. It eventually landed on the well vegetated islands some 3-400 yards out and then remained there for the next couple of hours or more, often out of view for long periods of time.

The ARC Pit also yielded Little Egret, 82 Mute Swans, 28 Northern Pochard, 2 Gadwall, Little Ringed Plover, 7 Oystercatchers, Green Sandpiper and singing Sedge Warbler.

I then spent from 1500-1800 hours at Denge Marsh, where in quite strong SW winds, 1-2 HOBBIES were showing well (mainly flycatching over the marsh but also perching on fenceposts), a male Sparrowhawk flew by, Yellow Wagtails and Reed Buntings were on view continuously and Marsh Harriers included at least one recently fledged juvenile. The Great White Egret was extremely elusive but the newsbreaking PURPLE HERONS put on a reasonably good display. In all, I saw the two adults on six occasions, one bird still in relatively good plumage condition and the other heavily worn with flight feathers missing. The behaviour though suggested to me that the nesting attempt had failed as there was no active feeding going on at the nest (unless of course the young have fledged). On at least one occasion, both adults were put up by a female Marsh Harrier quartering low over the reedbed.


The wide-ranging WHITE-TAILED PLOVER is now present in East Kent. It arrived there from its last haunt at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) during yesterday and is still present this morning, showing very well from the screen hide at the north end of the ARC Pit at Dungeness RSPB

Friday, 9 July 2010


There are a staggering 18 EURASIAN SPOONBILLS at Cley NWT Reserve this evening....

Meanwhile, both the Titchwell BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER and Thorpe Marsh RIVER WARBLER remain, the latter having the benefit of special visitor access again early morning and evening Saturday...

WHITE-TAILED PLOVER relocates to Gloucestershire

The fabulous WHITE-TAILED PLOVER that spent all day at Rainham Marsh Aveley Lagoons (Essex/London) on Wednesday (7 July) (see Matt Dean's image above)relocated today to Gloucestershire, where it moved from the Dumbles to the Top New Piece and showed well from the Zeiss Hide for much of the afternoon. Access to this WWT reserve is free to members but £9.25 to non-members so join tomorrow if visiting.

In Broadland Norfolk, the singing male RIVER WARBLER remains on territory at Thorpe Marshes, where special access restrictions operate for this evening and over the weekend (for full details of these, visit the Rare Bird Alert Pagers site at The car park field is situated to the NE of North End Road at TM 435 985 - £2 per person admittance.

In Somerset, the LITTLE BITTERNS continue to show frequently, flying in and out of the reedbed every 20 minutes or so. Park at Ashcott Corner car park at Shapwick Heath NNR, then walk east for 0.7 miles to the gate and viewpoint overlooking Loxton's Marsh. Nearby, on the opposite side of the main road, the long-staying GREAT WHITE EGRET remains on Noah's Lake, often viewable from the hide.

In South Devon, one of the adult-type GULL-BILLED TERNS remains about the Exe Estuary, roosting on a sandbar viewable from Mudbank Lane in Exmouth early morning and then later off Exton Railway Station.. Throughout the week, it has made repeat visits at high tide to Bowling Green Marsh RSPB, Topsham. In the same area, the very long-staying adult summer-plumaged SLAVONIAN GREBE can be found on the estuary off of Cockwood.

The BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER continues its summer sojourn at Titchwell Marsh RSPB (North Norfolk), favouring the well vegetated northern part of the Freshwater Lagoon. Every now and again it ventures out in to the open and feeds with the Ruff, Spotted Redshanks and other waders on the mud to the north of the Island Hide. A single SPOONBILL visited the pool today, with 6 nearby at Pat's Pool, Cley NWT.

An adult TEMMINCK'S STINT remains at Saltholme Pools RSPB (Cleveland) whilst in neighbouring County Durham, a female DOTTEREL is still present at Crimdon Dene beach. Meanwhile, in Kent, the PURPLE HERONS are still nesting and feeding young and a GREAT WHITE EGRET is present at Denge Marsh.

A KING EIDER in eclipse plumage was discovered amongst loafing Common Eiders this afternoon at Filey Brigg (North Yorkshire) and is presumably that which passed Flamborough Head to the north last weekend.

Three RUDDY SHELDUCK and a Black Tern were noted at Egleton Reserve, Rutland Water (Leics), today.

Scotland remains relatively quiet, with between 2 and 4 drake SURF SCOTERS off Blackdog Rocks, north of Aberdeen, and a PECTORAL SANDPIPER and 3 Green Sandpipers at Rossie Bog (NO 273 115), 2 miles east of Auchtermuchty, in Fife. The eclipse drake RING-NECKED DUCK remains one mile NW of Ladybank (Fife) at Angle Park GP.

The first LAUGHING GULL in Britain and Ireland this year concerns a second-summer individual present for a second day at Ballycastle (County Antrim) (see photographs above).

Monday, 5 July 2010

First FEA'S on cue

A FEA'S SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL flew west past Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra, at 0940 hours this morning. Recent days at the site have also seen 2 SOOTY SHEARWATERS recorded, with BALEARICS now daily, a few Storm Petrels and the odd Atlantic Puffin

East Prawle MEXICAN HOUSE FINCH - access restrictions

I have been contacted by East Prawle residents who, after a week or so of visiting birders, have now tired of the excitement the bird has created. The Old Cider House gardens are now COMPLETELY OUT OF BOUNDS and access will no longer be forthcoming.

This has consequently had a knock-on affect for viewing and obviously means that the bird will be much more difficult to see and will require many hours of diligent watching of the grey roof behind the Piglet Stores by the village green.

Singing RIVER WARBLER in Norfolk

The big breaking news of the weekend was of a singing male RIVER WARBLER in Broadland Norfolk. It had first been heard singing on Tuesday of last week (29 June) and then confirmed by Chris and Alison Allan on Friday (2 July) but was on private land. The couple then informed the owner of the adjacent field (one of their neighbours) and planned an 'opening night' for the public on Sunday, after he very kindly agreed to allow birders to park in the field.

The bird was singing from an area of reeds and sedges on Thorpe Marshes and with this typical crepuscular species, sang most strongly and persistently towards dusk. It had shown well on the Saturday evening but on the Sunday, kept quite low down in the reeds in the windier conditions. Fortunately, however, all of the 320 or so visitors managed to obtain 'scope views of the bird.

ACCESS INSTRUCTIONS: The parking field is located at TM 435 985, adjacent to North End Road, in Thorpe-next-Haddiscoe village, and is best approached via Crab Apple Lane, a minor road running north from the B1136, 4 miles east of Hales. At the T-junction turn left on to North End Road, and then follow the well-marked white 'River Warbler' signs to the designated field. There will be another viewing session from 1900 hours this evening where special access has again been kindly granted. As the bird sings into darkness and begins showing best from about 2100/2130 hours, PLEASE DO NOT ARRIVE BEFORE 1900 HOURS, as there is no room on North End Road to park and any incidents will jeopardise further viewing of this bird and perhaps influence of further news releases.

I would like to thank the many birders who visited and behaved impeccably last night, particularly those that went well out of their way to direct others on to the difficult bird and to kindly share their 'scopes when it was out on view. I would particularly like to thank the farmer for his granted access to the field, as well as Chris and Alison, Dick Filby and Denise for their sterling work in management. At least £600 was raised for charitable purposes.


A very elusive adult BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER is present on the main freshwater scrape at Titchwell RSPB (North Norfolk), feeding on its own amongst the emergent vegetation flanking the north side of the lagoon. It is showing perhaps once or twice a day and is present for its third day but is generally exceptionally elusive and hard to detect. A fabulous flock of summer-plumaged SPOTTED REDSHANKS are also present on the marsh, a massive flock of RED KNOT at high tides, 27 or so adult male RUFFS, a few LITTLE GULLS and an excellent array and selection of commoner marshland species.

In Somerset, the adult male LITTLE BITTERN was seen several times flying over the reedbed at Loxton Marsh at Ham Walls RSPB reserve (accessed by walking half a mile east of Ashcott Corner car park - ST 460 395) (the GREAT WHITE EGRET remains on the opposite side of the road and drove at Noah's Lake, Shapwick Heath), whilst in South Devon, one of the two GULL-BILLED TERNS remained at Bowling Green Marsh RSPB, Topsham, at the north end of the Exe Estuary (high tide best).

Also in South Devon, the MEXICAN HOUSE FINCH of unknown origin or provenance continues in East Prawle village (South Devon), favouring the feeders in the garden of the Old Cider House and the vicinity of the Piggery Stores (please respect the privacy of residents)

In East Kent, the pair of PURPLE HERONS continue to feed the young in the nest at Denge Marsh and can be best viewed from Denge Marsh Road nearside Brick Wall Farm

Up to 4 adult drake SURF SCOTERS are summering with the massive Common Scoter raft 4 miles NNE of Aberdeen off Blackdog Rocks, whilst the drake BLUE-WINGED TEAL bearing a metal ring is still present at Berry Fen, SW of Earith (Cambs).

In IRELAND, an adult BONAPARTE'S GULL was present west of the bridge at Blennerville (Co. Kerry) and the first-summer GLOSSY IBIS remains in residence at the east end of Tacumshin (Co. Wexford)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

New CORNWALL BIRDING email group - all welcome

Click here to join this new group

LOTHIAN Bird News Summary - June 2010

June 2010 Summary -An exceptionally quiet June was prevented by being a completely rarity free month only by a brief BLACK STORK over the A1 (between Haddington & Macmerry) on the morning of the 22nd. What was probably the same bird went high NE over Redcoll (south of Longniddry) that afternoon, but unfortunately there was no further sign and hopes of the bird being relocated are all but gone. This will be only the 3rd Lothian record, the last being in June 1983.

A singing male Western Reed Warbler at Seafield Pond (Dunbar) remaining from May was the highlight for most local birders, this scarce Spring migrant was present until at least the 7th, another was by the toilet block at JMCP (Tyninghame) on the 5th but proved to be much more elusive.

Waders were thin on the ground in comparison with an excellent May, bests were at least one Little Stint at Tyninghame between the 2nd - 10th (possibly a long stayer from May), a brief Wood Sandpiper at Seafield Pond (Dunbar) on the 8th, a Little Ringed Plover again at Musselburgh on the 3rd and 5 Black-tailed Godwits there on the 24th.

Raptors included a Hobby at Skateraw on the 7th, a report of a Red Kite near Haddington on the 3rd and Marsh Harriers at Musselburgh on the 2nd and Fenton Barns on the 28th. At least 3 Mediterranean Gulls were at Musselburgh from the 23rd including 2 on the 25th & 29th, a single Little Gull was at the same site from the 23rd and a Little Tern was at Tyninghame on th e 5th.

Other notable sightings included a singing Quail by Harlaw Reservoir (Pentlands) on the 22nd, a Red-necked Grebe off Ferny Ness on the 3rd & 4th at least, a total of 41 Manx Shearwaters including 22 off Musselburgh on the 6th and 11 off Barns Ness on the 10th, Great Skuas also off Barns Ness on the 10th & 19th and a single Arctic Skua which showed well by the wooden footbridge at Aberlady on the 20th.June

Images -

Kris Gibb,