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

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Monday, 30 August 2010


This very cofiding juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER has been present at John Muir Country Park, near Dunbar, for several days now (this image taken by John McInnes)
Great views today in the bright sunshine - no wind either. Bird with the Dunlin flock on the flats opposite the Hedderwick Burn bridge.1 Bonxie and 1 Red-throated diver on the sea directly opposite the toilet block (Allan Finlayson)
There was another juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER at Dawlish Warren (South Devon) last week and these two follow hard on the heels of three different moulting adults earlier in the month (in Cumbria, East Yorkshire and in Dorset) (Lee G R Evans)

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Bedfordshire RED-BACKED SHRIKE - second day - DIRECTIONS

I was finally able to get over and see Steve Heath's stupendous find this evening - the adult female RED-BACKED SHRIKE at Biggleswade Common. The bird was showing exceptionally well in the few scattered bushes lining the fence and railway embankment at TL 186 472, about 100 yards NW of the sewage works compound. It fed just once on a large Beetle and then disappeared deep into the bush to digest and eventually choke up a pellet.


From the A1 roundabout in north Biggleswade, turn east along the main A6001 and turn left on to Sun Street and then left again on to St John's Wood Road. Continue over the railway and then turn left on to Furzenhall Road and continue along this narrow metalled road for about a mile to just before the sharp bend and entrance to Furzenhall Farm. Park sensibly in this area on the verge and follow past the gate on the concrete track to the sewage works entrance, bearing right and continuing NW along the perimeter fence. The track peters out at the wire fence (be careful not to cause any damage here, as cows are currently in this field) and after a further 80 yards, the shrike is favouring the slightly raised embankment line of the railway.

Lee G R Evans

Friday, 20 August 2010

This week's rare MARSH TERNS

The juvenile WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN at Hornsea Mere, East Yorkshire (Glyn Sellors)

An exceptionally long-staying WHISKERED TERN - still present at Saltholme Pools RSPB (Cleveland) (Steve Clifton)

The Friday Review - Week 33

After putting on a good show for most of the week, the adult male LESSER GREY SHRIKE was nowhere to be found today in the Kelling Hard vicinity of North Norfolk, denying many an opportunity to see this handsome eastern vagrant this coming weekend. In fact, the region had little to offer today, other than the long-staying adult COMMON CRANE at Cley and a scattering of passage waders, including juvenile Little Stints and both Curlew and Wood Sandpiper.

The record-breaking juvenile WHISKERED TERN continues to linger in Cleveland at Saltholme Pools RSPB, whilst a juvenile WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN spent a second day at Hickling Broad (Norfolk). A wave of predominantly juvenile BLACK TERNS also swept across the southern half of Britain this afternoon.

In North Lincolnshire, a worn adult 'peep' indicative of SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER continues at Alkborough Flats, being seen several times today but mainly at long range, whilst two PECTORAL SANDPIPERS arrived at the scrape at Low Newton (Northumberland) this afternoon. Large numbers of WOOD SANDPIPERS were also scattered around today, along with the first thrust of juvenile LITTLE STINTS and juvenile SPOTTED REDSHANKS.

SPOTTED CRAKES on offer include the showy bird at Shibdon Pond, Blaydon (County Durham) (favouring the muddy bay in the NE corner) and the 1-2 at Grove Ferry NNR (Kent) (from the David Feast Hide).

At Dungeness (Kent), an adult PURPLE HERON remains on Denge Marsh, along with the CATTLE EGRET and GREAT WHITE EGRET, with a further juvenile CATTLE EGRET still in Essex and roosting this evening at Wat Tyler Country Park.

Drift migrants such as BARRED WARBLER have been appearing since last weekend, with two on the Farne Islands (Northumberland) and another on North Ronaldsay (Orkney), with a juvenile RED-BACKED SHRIKE at Saltburn (Cleveland) with the only WRYNECK today at Beacon Lane, Kilnsea (East Yorks). Generally speaking, there has been a major arrival inland of Common Redstart, Whinchat and Spotted Flycatcher, spiced up by the occasional Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler.

After the SYKES'S BOOTED WARBLER on Unst (Shetland) earlier in the week (see Dougie Preston's outstanding images above), Scotland has quietened down since, with the 4 adult drake SURF SCOTERS off Blackdog Beach (Aberdeenshire) and the COMMON CRANE at Montrose Basin (Angus/Dundee) highlighting today, as well as the continuing PECTORAL SANDPIPER on Carden Flood at Vane Farm RSPB (Perth & Kinross).and the eclipse drake RING-NECKED DUCK there.

GREAT SHEARWATER passage has also been experienced in West Cornwall today with 1-3 seen (Porthgwarra and Lizard Point) and another 2 off Start Point (South Devon).

Seawatching in western Ireland today yielded a WILSON'S STORM PETREL and 2 GREAT SHEARWATERS off Galley Head (County Cork), the latter species also passing the Bridges of Ross (County Clare), along with 2 adult SABINE'S GULLS, as well as off Cape Clear (County Cork)


This is the new address for the NORTHERN IRELAND BIRDING email group

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

First LESSER GREY SHRIKE of the year

The first LESSER GREY SHRIKE of the year - an adult - was discovered at Kelling Hard (North Norfolk) yesterday afternoon and was still present today and showing well. Chris Morgan obtained the excellent shots.

Monday, 16 August 2010


A SYKES'S BOOTED WARBLER (rama) is present in Northumberland for a second day and showing well. The bird was discovered yesterday afternoon and was eventually seen by about 45 local observers before dusk. Duncan Watson obtained an excellent series of shots of the bird.

Duncan also kindly supplied these directional details. ''The bird is in bushes in the dunes, east of Druridge Bay Country Park. Best access is via the minor road to Hadston Carrs, off the A1068 about 1km north of the country park entrance. Turn right at the end and follow this south for about 750m. Approx grid reference is NU274002''

Sykes's Booted Warblers are a very rare vagrant in Britain with few confirmed records; they are also a trzky id and some occurrences have been left unrecorded.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Tonight's news and a summary of Week 32

The remarkable long-staying juvenile WHISKERED TERN on Teesmouth (Steven Clifton)

This is the UK400 Club Rare Bird Alert for Friday 13 August 2010 issued at 2100 hours and published in close association with Rare Bird Alert Pagers, whilst utilising additional information gleaned from the Regional Birdlines, BirdGuides, Birdnet, local email groups and websites and individual observers.

A touch of North-easterly wind this afternoon saw both a WRYNECK and an ICTERINE WARBLER appear on the East Coast - at Hartlepool Headland (Cleveland) and Blakeney Point (North Norfolk) respectively.

A sub-adult GLOSSY BIS first discovered in Christchurch Harbour (Dorset) yesterday left its roost-site with Little Egrets at dawn and visited Parky Mead Rail Marshes early morning at Stanpit. It remained until mid-morning but then disappeared.

The first 'twitchable' SPOTTED CRAKE of the year continues to show well at Grove Ferry NNR (Kent), favouring the narrow muddy reedbed margin to the far left of the David Feast Hide, with 10 or more GARGANEY in the area and a long-staying WOOD SANDPIPER.

An adult BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER was seen at Snettisham RSPB (Norfolk) today, on the beach just south of the beach huts (Titchwell individual perhaps?)

In Cleveland, the long-staying juvenile WHISKERED TERN continues to show well at Saltholme Pools RSPB, gracing the causeway and pools either side of the main coast road, with the adult Black-necked Grebe still there and large numbers of ROSEATE TERNS along the coast, best observed either at South Shields and Whitburn Steel (both County Durham sites) or on Bran Sands, South Gare.

In Cambridgeshire, a juvenile CATTLE EGRET continues, by day feeding NE of Earith on the Ouse Washes NE of the Industrial Estate in one of the cattle fields at TL 393 755 (please park carefully and courteously on Short Drive). A different juvenile CATTLE EGRET also remains at Dungeness (Kent), still commuting between the north end of ARC Pit and the sheep field at Boulderwall Farm, whilst the ever-present GREAT WHITE EGRET continues at Denge Marsh. The nesting Purple Herons seem to have moved on.

There are still quite a few passage WOOD SANDPIPERS lingering on, whilst ICELANDIC BLACK-TAILED GODWITS inland include a healthy number of juveniles.

A BLACK GUILLEMOT flew west past Sheringham and Blakeney Point (Norfolk) this morning, whilst an impressive watch off Flamborough Head (East Yorks) yielded two adult SABINE'S GULLS and a Long-tailed Skua amongst an excellent selection

Scotland continues its quiet run although the moulting adult PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER remains on South Uist at Loch Bornish, Ormiclate. The eclipse drake RING-NECKED DUCK continues at Angle Park GP in Fife (NO 293 113) whilst up to 4 adult drake SURF SCOTERS are loafing off Blackdog Beach (Aberdeenshire).

In IRELAND, a EURASIAN SPOONBILL is still present on the Shannon Airport Lagoons (County Clare), whilst a GREAT WHITE EGRET was showing well on Lady's Island Lake (County Wexford) (first seen at Ring Marsh on 11 August). The LAUGHING GULL continues to show very well at Ballycastle Marina (County Antrim) as does the first-summer NORTH AMERICAN HERRING GULL at Blennerville (County Kerry). The first-summer GLOSSY IBIS remains at Tacumshin (County Wexford).

Looking back over Week 32 (9-12 August), the adult BAIRD'S SANDPIPER remained at Lound Chainbridge Scrape (Notts) until 10th, an adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER was at Bran Sands, South Gare (Cleveland), on 9-10, a juvenile KENTISH PLOVER was seen at Seaslater (Kent) on 9th and an adult LESSER YELLOWLEGS spent four days on the Big Pool, St Agnes (Scilly) from 9th (see Robin Mawer's images above). The Inner Marsh Farm RSPB (Cheshire) LESSER YELLOWLEGS remained present all week but was typically elusive visiting the new reserve scrapes far from view.

The 9 August saw a GREAT SHEARWATER fly west past Porthgwarra (West Cornwall) (scarce so far this autumn with no more than singles seen) and the most recent WILSON'S STORM PETREL seen around Scilly, with a GREAT WHITE EGRET at Drift Reservoir (Cornwall) (to 10th) and a MELODIOUS WARBLER trapped and ringed at Portland Bill Bird Observatory (Dorset). ICTERINE WARBLERS appeared on Out Skerries (Shetland) on 11th and Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory (Kent) on 12th, whilst a GREENISH WARBLER was at Queenamidda (Orkney) for a few days and another was at Sumburgh Hotel (Shetland) on 11th.

A couple of adult PECTORAL SANDPIPERS appeared on 11 August (at Cley NWT and East Chevington Pools, Northumberland, respectively), with an adult DOTTEREL with European Golden Plovers in the Aldbrough area (East Yorks).

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Coastal Birding in Essex today

Old Hall Marshes (8.45am-11.15pm): Spoonbill - 3 immatures on Abbott's Hall managed retreat; Bar-tailed Godwit - 37 on Tollesbury saltings with 2 Red Knot & 11 Turnstones; Little Ringed Plover - 6 (5 Bale, 1 Irongate); Northern Wheatear - 2 along the seawall;

Abberton Reservoir (6.30am-8.30am & 11.30pm-2.30pm): Ruff- 16 (11 hide bay, 5 Layer Breton); Black-tailed Godwit - 390 (of which 315 were in hide bay); Spotted Redshank - 8, including 2 juveniles and Little Gull - 2 on the island (Daryl Rhymes)

Nottinghamshire BAIRD'S SANDPIPER - work planned for this week

The adult BAIRD'S SANDPIPER is still present on Chainbridge Scrape area of the Idle Valley NR for it's 4th day at least. It represents the second record for Nottinghamshire and the Idle Valley Nature Reserve.

NB: Anyone not yet been to see this bird should do so ASAP. Essential management work which was due to take place on the Chainbridge Scrape area of the IVNR, was immediately postponed last week when the Baird's Sandpiper was located. Unfortunately it may have to take place as early as Tuesday next. 10th August 2010, as the contractor has other commitments for using the equipment required to do this important management work. The work area is some distance from the favoured area of the Baird's Sandpiper but the work will involve/create some noise but hopefully little or no disturbance.

Regards, Derick Evans - Head Warden, Idle Valley Nature Reserve, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust,

Juvenile CATTLE EGRET now in Cambridgeshire

Richard Thomas has found a CATTLE EGRET roosting in the egret roost at Needingworth Pits (present at 7.20pm and roosted). It is on the pit at TL366733, however it is best viewed from the footpath alongside River Ouse, accessed from Brownshill Staunch or Berry Fen.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Birds of the week

Steve Clifton obtained these excellent images of the Cleveland WHISKERED TERN

Moulting adult SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS in early autumn are always a finders nightmare and this August has been no exception. Darren Robson's bird in the North West of England at Port Carlisle (Cumbria) still remains this afternoon whilst another adult, this one present for its third day, was at Lodmoor (Dorset) until mid-morning, when it was flushed and flew strongly east. Martin Cade managed to obtain a selection of images of the bird before it flew off and these can be browsed on the Portland Bird Observatory website. Both individuals are very similar in plumage but note how attenuated this species can look from certain angles. The Dorset bird is a paler individual.

In Cheshire, the adult LESSER YELLOWLEGS remains for a 5th day at Inner Marsh Farm RSPB Pools (intermittently showing well from the main hide), whilst on the opposite coast, the very long-staying juvenile WHISKERED TERN continues to grace Saltholme Pools RSPB (Cleveland).

A CATTLE EGRET spent a couple of days with Little Egrets at Eyebrook Reservoir (Leics) this week (3rd-4th) with another still present in the Dungeness are (Kent). Dungeness RSPB also still harbours the GREAT WHITE EGRET and 3 PURPLE HERONS (the two adults and one of their juvenile offspring), whilst in Somerset, at least 3 LITTLE BITTERNS remain at Ham Walls RSPB on Loxton Marsh.

The moulting male HOUSE FINCH of ship-assisted or captive origin continues in East Prawle village (South Devon), favouring the gardens behind the Shippen and the Piglet Stores

A COMMON CRANE has been intermittently visiting fields by the Railway Pit at Hoveringham GP (Notts) in recent days, with another at Cley NWT Reserve (North Norfolk) today, favouring stubble fields NE of Walsey Hills and south-east of the Serpentine Meadows. Nearby, the adult HOODED CROW remains close to the Eye Field.

It is all set to be a bumper autumn for EURASIAN SPOONBILLS with the Norfolk colony flourishing but for now 14 birds still remain at Cley Marsh.

The passage of WOOD SANDPIPERS is now increasing, whilst OSPREYS are reaching the South Coast in numbers, including four in the Poole Harbour area (Dorset). Return migration too of common warblers, Yellow Wagtails, Tree Pipits, Whinchats, Common Redstarts and Pied & Spotted Flycatchers is now underway, with good numbers at South Coast coastal locations.

In Orkney, a long-staying ALPINE SWIFT continues to linger on South Ronaldsay, flying to and fro over Burn Farm and environs close to the Tomb of the Eagles at Burwick. Much longer staying is the BEARDED SEAL near Bibb's Pier at Finstown.

On Shetland, an adult drake SURF SCOTER remains at Trondra, whilst in the Outer Hebrides, a moulting adult PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER was seen.

After reports of its recapture on Sunday afternoon, it transpires that the adult Grey-headed Swamphen is still in the roadside ditch at Saltney (Clwyd) and was today the victim of children throwing stones at it. The National Media have also shown a great deal of interest in the bird.

In IRELAND, the first-summer NORTH AMERICAN HERRING GULL remains at Blennerville (County Kerry), the LAUGHING GULL at Ballycastle (County Antrim) and the first-year GLOSSY IBIS at Tacumshin (County Wexford).

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Keyhaven (Hampshire) this morning

At Keyhaven Marshes this morning 1 Northern Wheatear, 4 Sandwich Terns, 2 Common Terns; on Keyhaven Lagoon 3 Greenshank,1 Mediterranean Gull and on Fishtail Lagoon, the Little Gull, Garganey, Wood Sandpiper and a brief view of a Water Rail, another Greenshank and 3 Common Swifts (Jackie Hull,

ALPINE SWIFT on South Ronaldsay, Orkney

I managed to see the bird between 10.45 and 10.55 this morning. From Burwick I had walked up the Cleat Road to about 200 or 300 metres beyond the entrance track to the Tomb of the Eagles. I scanned the area behind the Tomb of the Eagles visitor centre and fairly quickly picked up the ALPINE SWIFT. It was an impressive bird, particularly when I was able to see it in flight with a Common Swift in the same view. I managed to get views of the bird in the scope but thought better and closer views could be had from behind the Tomb of the Eagles visitor centre, so walked back to Burwick, picked up the car and 20 minutes later was at the back of the visitor centre. However I looked for about 25 minutes without success. I couldn't see the 2 Common Swifts that I had also seen earlier either.I'm sure the bird is still around, so for those going to see it, a drive up the Cleat road (the road up to the Tomb of the Eagles) to beyond the entrance of the Centre might be a good first step. You are much higher here than the visitor centre and get a good view of the surrounding area (Barrie Hamill)

Monday, 2 August 2010

Recent Dungeness Sightings

Wigeon – three on 28th July. Pintail – six on 28th. Garganey – two at the ARC site on 1st August. Bittern – one near Makepeace hide this morning. Cattle egret – one found in field by the access track on 1st and seen near Makepeace hide this morning. Great white egret – one at Denge Marsh, daily. Purple heron – one or two seen daily in the Denge Marsh area. Common buzzard – one flew over on 28th July. Hobby – one seen on 1st August. Whimbrel – two near the access track on 1st. Greenshank – one at the ARC site on 27th. Green sandpiper – up to three all week at the ARC site. Common sandpiper – up to three all week at the ARC site. Turnstone – one on 28th. Garden warbler – two at the ARC site on 1st. Willow warbler – several at the ARC site on 1st.

Christine Hawkins Visitor Centre Manager, RSPB Dungeness