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

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Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Both the GREAT WHITE EGRET and GLOSSY IBIS were showing well at their respective sites in West Berkshire until at least mid afternoon (Andy Horscroft, Mike McKee, Roger Stansfield, LGRE, et al). For Roger and I, belated county ticks......

The egret was roosting with three Little Egrets in the snowy sheep field SE of the river (300 yards east of Great Shefford village) whilst the ibis was showing down to 25 yards feeding in shallow water in the stream 100 yards west of the reserve entrance gate at Freemen's Marsh, just west of Hungerford (park in the first layby on the left and follow the footpath west for 250 yards to view)

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Frozen continent forces young SEA EAGLE to move west

A juvenile WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE was discovered at Amberley Wild Brooks SWT in Sussex yesterday afternoon roosting in a distant tree. It remained until dusk and was enjoyed by over 40 local birders throughout the afternoon. It represented the first authenticated record for the county since March 1929 and was presumably a bird forced to move west by the severe wintry conditions being experienced over much of Continental Europe.

After the fog eventually lifted this morning, the bird was once again located in the same roosting tree as yesterday and could be viewed distantly from Rackham Street. It sat there until just after midday when it flew SSW and continued down the Arun Valley; it then drifted west over Arundel WWT at 1215 hours before entering Hampshire airspace and was later intercepted over Southsea, Fareham and Titchfield Haven NR as it entered Southampton Water early to mid afternoon.

In North Norfolk, the juvenile male harrier showing characteristics of the North American form hudsonius has reappeared after being 'lost' for a week or more during the severe weather, showing once more in the Burnham Overy Dunes area late morning. By lunchtime it was back quartering the saltmarsh at Thornham Point and was present in this area on and off all afternoon.

The long-staying juvenile ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD was again viewed from the first layby just west of the cement works at South Ferriby (North Lincs) this afternoon, with the two again hunting Burnham Overy Dunes (North Norfolk) before roosting at East Hills, Wells Harbour.

Berkshire's first-ever twitchable GLOSSY IBIS continues for a fourth day at Freeman's Marsh, just west of Hungerford, the bird showing very well at times as it feeds in the ditches.

A EURASIAN HOOPOE continues to survive at Longham Lakes (Dorset), favouring the scrub and open land to the east of the main lake close to the pumping station. as does a wintering Eastern-type YELLOW WAGTAIL at Colyford Water Treatment Works (South Devon) at SY 254 931 (view through the gap in the hedgerow on the north side of the compound). The bird has not been trapped or sound-recorded but does show a suite of field characters consistent with the eastern clade of flava-type wagtails.

A vagrant DARTFORD WARBLER remains present in the orchard at Evesham (Worcs) (SP 041 450), accessed from the footpath east of the A4184 just north of Collinfield.

The juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was again present in Works Cove at Herbury Gore (Langton Herring) in Dorset this morning but then returned this afternoon to Lodmoor Nature Reserve. Meanwhile, a GREY PHALAROPE first seen on the River Thames (Essex) on Friday was still present today on the foreshore at Grays, opposite the Wharf public house.

An adult drake AMERICAN WIGEON remains for a second day at Rutland Water (Leics) where it has been showing well in front of Deepwater Hide and Swan Hide at Lyndon Nature Reserve, whilst the drake AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL is still on the Whooper Pond at Caerlaverock WWT (D & G) (along with the adult Ross's Snow Goose of presumably captive origin). A further drake of the latter is at Kinneil Lagoon (Forth) whilst the regular returning adult female SURF SCOTER remains in Dawlish Bay visible from just east of the Langstone Rock.

Southern Britain is now experiencing a phenomenal influx of BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS - at least 4,000 in all - and is literally all over, from Kent in the east to West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in the west. many more SMEW have also moved in from the continent and the icy conditions have made EURASIAN BITTERNS very noticeable and easy to locate, some reedbed sites harbouring 6 or more..

The adult RING-BILLED GULLS can still be located at Southend-on-Sea (Essex) and Walpole Park Boating Lake and adjacent Haslar Creek (Hants), with another at Sands Lane GP (West Yorks). The juvenile ICELAND GULL is still present in Hamilton Dock, Lowestoft (Suffolk) with the odd GLAUCOUS GULL appearing inland.

A GREAT WHITE EGRET is still to be found in Nottinghamshire - being noted at Holme Pierrepont GP again this morning - with the other wintering individual still present at Pitsford Reservoir (Northamptonshire).

Rather unseasonal was a gathering of BALEARIC SHEARWATERS in Carbis Bay, St Ives (West Cornwall) in the last few days, peaking at 25 birds.

In terms of displaced birds inland, GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS continue at Carsington Water (Derbyshire) (two birds), Stewartby Lake (Beds) (the juvenile from Brogborough) and Farmoor Reservoir (Oxon). Inland RED-NECKED GREBES remain extremely rare though with one still present with a Black-necked Grebe and female Smew at Sevenoaks WR East Lake (Kent) whilst VELVET SCOTERS continue at Walton Reservoirs (Surrey) and King George VI Reservoir (London) with a new bird at Cliffe Pools RSPB Alpha Pool (North Kent).

At Dingle Marshes, Walberswick NNR (Suffolk), the shingle pools north of Dunwich car park continue to harbour wintering flocks of 80 Twite, 90 Snow Bunting and 18 SHORE LARKS, whilst the fields by the South Wall of Breydon Water (Norfolk/Suffolk border) are hosting up to 35 wintering LAPLAND BUNTINGS.

IRELAND continues its run of rare Nearctic birds with yet another PIED-BILLED GREBE - present for its second day in the channel at Little Island (County Cork) (park at Garganey Pond and walk north along the shoreline to view from the golf course). This bird falls hard on the heels of last winter's two individuals. The AMERICAN COOT is also still present on Termoncarragh Lake (Co. Mayo), as well as the drake AMERICAN BLACK DUCK. The adult winter FORSTER'S TERN too can be counted on, appearing just before the high tide on the rocks just east of the Mutton Island causeway near Nimmo's Pier in Galway Harbour (Co. Galway).

WAXWINGS in Ireland today included 1 in Dungarvon (Co. Waterford) and 4 at Knocknacarra (Co. Galway)

A herd of 4 BEWICK'S SWANS at Ballymacoda (Co. Cork) is a noteworthy occurrence, whilst one of the two regular SMALL CANADA GOOSE is again with 1,500 Barnacle Geese in the Raghley area (Co. Sligo). The female SURF SCOTER near Cobh (Co. Cork) was again off Marloag Point this afternoon.

Monday, 6 December 2010

ORKNEY today - a roundup from Alan Leitch

Firth Bird Crop very busy these days with the snow. However, in amongst the usual suspects were 15+ Common Redpolls. Usual suspects are 6 Brambling, 50+ Twite, 35+ Chaffinch, 90+ Linnet, and 15+ Greenfinch.

Finstown Ouse - At the weekend
Whooper Swan pair with brood of four cygnets, 17 Shoveler, 3 Little Grebe and out in the Bay of Firth, the Bearded Seal enjoying the Arctic conditions, 19 Coot and a couple of Scaup.

Jack Snipe - 2 at The Loons, 1 near Loch of Skail, 2 at Peedie Sea on Sat evening along with a 2nd winter Iceland Gull that has been around for a few weeks now.

Lesser Scaup - Imm female at St Mary's Loch/ Ayre loch late on.

Greylags - It'll be interesting to see if all this snow has sent some of our wintering Greylags sooth. Already I have had reports of some collared birds back in East Anglia.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

A great day out in Essex

Highlights from today, walking the circuit from woodrolfe car park, around the Tollesbury Wick and back through the village.

Kingfisher: One at Woodup Pool sluice
Lapland Bunting: One at Shingle Head Point
Great Northern Diver: One flew up river at 10:40
Barn Owl: Male quartering the rough grazing
Peregrine: Male and Female over Mell Creek
Velvet Scoter: Male just off the second pill box
Red-necked Grebe: One mid river on outgoing tide
Slavonian Grebe: Six on outgoing tide
Red-breasted Merganser: Three groups totalling Twenty birds (many males displaying)
Marsh Harrier: One Male mid river joined Peregrines
Eider: Four imm. mid river
Common Scoter: Two flew up river
Avocet: Twenty in tight flock on South shore Of the River, in flight.
Corn Bunting: Six between the two pill boxes

Finally, in Poplars opposite the Car Park at 13:30hrs,Waxwing: 18-20, dropping down onto Hawthorns before flying off South. There is a huge Hawthorn hedge laden with berries between the car park and the hump in the road going back towards the village, looks a good place to check for these birds.

Andy Cook and Julian Torino.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Southern Britain sees a thaw

The snow stopped falling in Britain today for the first time in a week whilst the temperatures recovered to between 5 and 9 degrees C in the south giving rise to a slight thaw. In the north though, the vast snowfields remain, and temperatures there struggled to get above freezing. The weekend saw more birders in the field and a consequent rise in sighting reports but neither Ivory or Ross's Gull was found, nor the hoped-for Pine Grosbeak. Finland attracted another BLACK-THROATED ACCENTOR though - this bird near Pori representing their 8th occurrence.

A single PENDULINE TIT has survived the freeze at Dungeness RSPB (Kent), feeding at the tops of reedmace close to the Hanson Hide on the ARC Pit this morning, but a HUME'S LEAF WARBLER present in Wells Woods (North Norfolk) on both Thursday and Friday and showing well could not be located today. Not that far away, a single CONTINENTAL WHITE-HEADED LONG-TAILED TIT was with 10 or more British Long-tailed Tits at the Sculthorpe Fen Nature Reserve near Fakenham

The juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER remains at Lodmoor CP (Dorset) whilst in neighbouring South Devon, a probable EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL has been showing well at the water treatment works at Colyford today. A COMMON CRANE flew west along the Hampshire coastline this morning, crossing Langstone Harbour and then Swaythling, Southampton, and was most likely the bird later seen at Ham Wall RSPB (Somerset).

The adult female SURF SCOTER has returned once more to her wintering site at Dawlish Warren (South Devon) whilst a female LESSER SCAUP on Orkney is now present for a seventh day at Ayre Loch, St Mary's and the drake BLUE-WINGED TEAL remains west of Castle Douglas (D & G) and off of the A75 at Threave Castle NT on the River Dee from the Lamb Isalnd Hide (NX 746 606).

Two long-staying GREY PHALAROPES continue: at Dunbar East Beach (Lothian) and in the South Arm from Gadwall Hide at Rutland Water Egleton Reserve (Leics).whilst a short-staying bird visited Rainham Marshes RSPB (Essex) on the adjacent River Thames at the Mar Dyke mouth mid-morning.

A flock of 7 SHORE LARKS ranged between Glyne Gap and the eastern end of the beach at Bulverhythe (East Sussex), whilst the fourth-ever for Ayrshire involved one on the shoreline on the SW side of West Kilbride on the south side of the point at Seamill close to the Scottish Water buildings (NS 204 461). Meanwhile, 19 are at Gibraltar Point NNR (Lincs) and at least 15 in Holkham Bay (Norfolk).

The 6,000 or so BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS that arrived in Scotland at the end of October are now scattered wide and far throughout Britain, with birds now west as far as South Wales, South Devon and in County Galway and County Antrim in Ireland. The other invasive species of the autumn - MEALY REDPOLL - is also penetrating Lesser Redpoll flocks well inland, with over 50 reported in the Birch scrub at The Lodge, Sandy RSPB (Beds) today.. Two ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS remain in the Burnham Overy Dunes (Norfolk) .

There has been a distinct arrival of SMEW in the last couple of weeks with at least 50 scattered around the country whilst the icy conditions and easterly winds saw an influx of TUNDRA BEAN GEESE, with four still today in winter wheat west of the Shell garage south of the A12 at Boreham (Essex) and a further 10 at Holland Haven (Essex). In the Yare Valley (Norfolk), TAIGA BEAN GEESE numbers increased to 106 this week

Also, as a direct result of the cold weather, ICELAND GULLS include a juvenile in Lowestoft's Hamilton Dock (Suffolk) and another in Preston Dock (Lancs) with immature GLAUCOUS GULLS at Salthouse Beach (North Norfolk), Dungeness Beach (Kent) and at Appleford Pit, Didcot (Oxon). Peterhead Harbour, in NE Scotland (Aberdeenshire) has both species present, as does Swillington Ings (West Yorks), with the usual adult ICELAND GULL in Ayr (Ayrshire).

The SLAVONIAN GREBE is still to be found on Brooklands Lake, New Hythe GP (Kent), as is the female VELVET SCOTER at Walton Reservoir (Surrey) with juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS at Eyebrook Reservoir (Leics) and Brogborough Lake (Beds) The LONG-TAILED DUCK is still on the Ferry Lagoon at Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB (Cambs), whilst two NORTHERN EIDERS on the Jubilee River at Dorney Wetlands (Berks) was an exceptional record. One drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK remains at Chew Valley Lake (Avon).

A wintering EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE is in a private garden at Goonhavern Downs (West Cornwall) whilst a RED-BILLED CHOUGH is exceptional on the Isle of Wight frequenting fields at Headon Warren today.

In IRELAND, the INDIAN HOUSE CROW can still be found in Cobh Town (County Cork), with a RED-NECKED GREBE off Ballintubbrid (Cork) and adult female BLUE-WINGED TEAL south of the causeway at North Bull Island (Co. Dublin). The adult winter FORSTER'S TERN is again at Claddagh Beach, Galway Harbour (Galway) and the AMERICAN COOT continues its residence on The Mullet at Termoncurragh Lake (Co. Mayo).

Local mega - pair of NORTHERN EIDER at Dorney

Peter Hutchins has discovered an immature drake and female-type NORTHERN EIDER at Dorney Wetlands this evening - 200 yards west of the weir. They were in amongst a large group of mixed diving ducks in the centre of the river. Also, 3 BEARDED TITS in the same area.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


A female LESSER SCAUP is on Orkney at Ayre Loch, St Mary's at Holm.

I found the bird on 28th November, when I first suspected it was a Lesser Scaup. It has taken five days and numerous visits to confirm it since then. During that time I have picked out all the salient points, including the diagnostic wing-bars (I saw the bird on two occasions fly low around the loch with a female Tufted - a huge stroke of luck and very useful for comparison).

It was aged/sexed as a first-year female on a combination of characters including bare-part colouration and plumage.

Tips for anyone not familiar with the species:-Slightly smaller than Tufted; more uniform paler brown; no crest - not even a small one; bill, dull grey throughout with darker nail; white at bill-base confined to a neat oval patch at each side; high dome-shaped crown gives the bird a quaint appearance and is the most distinctive feature of the bird on the water; the 'clinching' feature is the 'two-toned' wing bar (white on secondaries contrasting abruptly with smoky brown on the primaries - difficult to see unless the bird flies or 'wing-flaps')

Keith Hague