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

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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Today's News Summary

Pete Morris's superb image of a recent first-year COMMON CRANE on the Lancashire border......

Nick Littlewood went one further last night and located an apparent adult drake NORTH AMERICAN BLACK SCOTER in with the 1,200 or so strong scoter raft loafing offshore for the summer off Murcar Links Golf Course, just north of Aberdeen (Aberdeenshire). It was only a matter of time this was going to happen, particularly with a nigra off Bamburgh and Stag Rocks in Northumberland much earlier in the year (and last reported on 16 June). The moulting flock still harbours at least 4 SURF SCOTERS but the first-year drake North American White-winged Scoter has not been seen since Thursday evening (per Nick Littlewood).

Elsewhere in Scotland, we have the drake NORTH AMERICAN BLACK DUCK on the north shore of Loch Sunart, 4 miles to the west of Strontian (Highland), and the gorgeous male COMMON ROSEFINCH still whistling away by the village hall, Spar shop and bowling green in the beautifully picturesque surroundings of Nethy Bridge in Speyside. Both drake RING-NECKED DUCKS are still lingering with Tufted Ducks on Orkney - at Loch of Bosquoy

On the Isles of Scilly, a BLACK KITE is lingering for its third day, commuting widely between the islands and especially liking both Tresco and St Mary's, whilst another WILSON'S STORM PETREL was seen from an offshore pelagic last night, in amongst 20 or so British Storm Petrels about six miles south of Scilly. A single EUROPEAN BEE-EATER also still lingers on St Mary's.

A GLOSSY IBIS was an odd late June arrival at Stodmarsh NNR (Kent) yesterday, where it performed in front of the Marsh Hide until 1955 hours and then flew SE., whilst an ALPINE SWIFT was seen several times about the Spurn Point peninsular (East Yorks).

Otherwise, a list of long-stayers to complete the species on offer at present: the GREAT WHITE EGRET and first-year GLAUCOUS GULL at Dungeness (Kent), the COMMON CRANES at Nosterfield (North Yorks) and Saxby (Lincs) and the juvenile WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE in Lincolnshire 6.5 miles south of Louth and 2.5 miles SW of the A16 near Burwell at Ruckland in trees by Ruckland Ponds.

In IRELAND, the summering adult FORSTER'S TERN is still to be found at Tacumshin Lake (County Wexford).


Paul Baxter and I had the the drake NORTH AMERICAN BLACK SCOTER at low tide this morning, in the same area described by Nick last night south of the Murcar clubhouse. It flew in at 0505 and we watched it for about 15 minutes in amongst the main Common Scoter flock - it really stood out, a smashing bird. The scoter flock then spooked and we hadnt relocated it by the time I left at around 0550 - Nick Littlewood and Chris Gibbins had just arrived on site, although light conditions were becoming more difficult. At least 3 Surf Scoters in the flock too, including the 1s drake, but surprisingly few Velvets this morning and no sign of the deglandi. However there were many more birds further out and to the north (Ian Broadbent)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


A first-summer female RED-FOOTED FALCON was discovered in Derbyshire yesterday morning and is still present today. It was showing well this evening NW of Long Eaton at Breaston.

DIRECTIONS: From Junction 25 of the M1, take Bostocks Lane south, then take a right at the roundabout along Longmoor Lane and take the footpath before the Breaston sign for 400 yards to the first horse field just beyond the stables.

The bird is typically confiding - just look at Tony Davison's magnificent shot above

The image at the very top of the page is Adrian Kettle's of the first-summer male that has spent several weeks in the Horsey and Hickling area of East Norfolk

Today's Rarity Roundup

In Scotland, the first-summer drake NORTH AMERICAN WHITE-WINGED SCOTER remains off Murcar Links Golf Course, just north of Aberdeen (see map above), consorting with 1,200 Common Scoter, 92 Velvet Scoter, 3 drake SURF SCOTERS and 2,000+ Common Eiders offshore. The seaduck form part of an annual moulting flock which generally remain until early September.

Nearby, the drake KING EIDER remains on the Ythan Estuary, generally roosting on the duneslack opposite Inches Point or the Golf Links (see Darren Robson's superb image above).

Over in the west of Scotland, a drake AMERICAN BLACK DUCK is in residence with Mallards at Sunart Loch, 4 miles west of Strontian and visible from the hide at Garbh Eilean on the north shoreline (Highland Region) (accessed from the A861), whilst much further north at the extremities of Shetland on Unst, a GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK was at Lamba Ness on 21st.

The first-summer male RED-FOOTED FALCON continues a long sojourn in East Norfolk, commuting between the Hickling Reserve and the Nelson's Head track at Horsey, whilst on the Isles of Scilly, a single EUROPEAN BEE-EATER remains on St Agnes in fields below the Parsonage.

ROSE-COLOURED STARLINGS are a regular feature of June and this week has seen the presence of a beautiful male in gardens 3 miles NNW of Barnstaple (North Devon) on the west side of Kingsheanton on the feeder in the front garden of 'The Old Barn House'. Park near the 'Ring O' Bells' public house then walk NE before bearing left (SS 551 372). COMMON ROSEFINCHES too frequently turn up with an immature male yesterday in Northumberland near Druridge Country Park and another at Beacon Lane, Kilnsea (East Yorks).

In what has been the most productive years for many for RED-NECKED PHALAROPES in England, today has seen the arrival of a breeding-plumaged female at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs), where it is showing well from the Zeiss Hide.

In Suffolk, up to 7 Spoonbills have been visiting the main reserve scrape at Minsmere RSPB, where an elusive female FERRUGINOUS DUCK is also present at Island Mere.

The long-staying GREAT WHITE EGRET remains at Denge Marsh, Dungeness RSPB (Kent), with the female BLUE-WINGED TEAL still to be found at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) at Hollow Brook from the Fishermen's Car Park. In much the same vein, the BONAPARTE'S GULL remains on the River Exe at Mudbank Lane, Exmouth (South Devon).

Whilst many of our COMMON CRANES are breeding, loafing first-summers include singles at Nosterfield (North Yorks) east of Lingham Lake in fields viewable from the tarmac road at Ladybridge Farm (SE 290 807) and at Saxby All Saints Carrs (Lincs) in setaside east of the New River Ancholme viewed NE from Saxby All Saints Bridge (SE 975 167).

Not much to report at the Summer Solstice in IRELAND apart from an adult RING-BILLED GULL at Ballycastle Harbour (County Antrim)

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, probable female, on pool with loads of Greylags right in the middle of the Loons. C. HY252237. Skooant (per Paul Higson)

Friday, 17 June 2011

Scotland dominates the headlines

Twitchers will be flocking to Scotland this weekend as two exceptionally rare vagrants continue to keep pulses rating today.........

Firstly, the first-year drake NORTH AMERICAN WHITE-WINGED SCOTER remains offshore at Blackdog, just north of Aberdeen (Aberdeenshire), consorting with 1,200 Common Scoter, 90 Velvet Scoter, at least 2 adult drake SURF SCOTER and upwards of 2,000 Common Eider. Beware of contusion with an assortment of first-year Velvet Scoters and plan to observe the flock in the afternoons, when the light conditions are often more favourable. Park either just east of Blackdog in the designated beach car park and walk up to 1.5 miles to the south along the dune-slack or ask for permission to park by the clubhouse of the Murcar Links Golf Course and carefully negotiate the track to the dunes from there.

Just six miles to the north, the adult drake KING EIDER remains on the Ythan Estuary, where this afternoon a full breeding-plumaged GREY PHALAROPE was present in the ternery. View from the hut just up from the estuary mouth, adjacent to the golf links. Five summering first-year Little Gulls also remain in this vicinity.

Secondly, the gorgeous summer-plumaged adult GREATER SANDPLOVER remains for its fourth day at Dornoch Point, 1.5 miles SSW of Dornoch (Sutherland) - about an hour's drive north out of Inverness. This bird is a real stunner and is cohabiting with a small flock of Sanderling, Dunlin and Ringed Plovers - check out Marcus Conway's outstanding images on my blogs. Please keep away from the tern colony so please park by the aerodrome and follow the tracks through the gress to the dunes - about a mile walk.

On North Ronaldsay (Orkney), a pair of RED-BACKED SHRIKES were new in, with a SHORE LARK also there - and a COMMON NIGHTINGALE trapped and ringed.

Now, back to the other rares perhaps on offer this weekend.....

A summer-plumaged SPOTTED SANDPIPER appeared at Thorpe Lake at Whisby Nature Park, SW of Lincoln (Lincs) this morning close to the visitor centre and showed for the rest of the day, whilst not that far away, the juvenile WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE remains at Ruckland Ponds

Dungeness RSPB (Kent) continues with its double-heron offering, with both SQUACCO HERON and GREAT WHITE EGRET on the bill. The regular GWE favours the reed-fringed Denge Marsh to feed whilst the SQUACCO is commuting between there and Hooker's Pit.

In East Anglia, the first-summer male RED-FOOTED FALCON continues to attract a steady stream of admirers at Horsey (East Norfolk) where it is favouring fence posts to the far end of the Nelson's Head track. Meanwhile, a male RED-BACKED SHRIKE was seen briefly in this area this morning. In Suffolk, a drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK is showing occasionally from Island Mere hide at Minsmere RSPB. At dusk, a CASPIAN TERN roosted in Thornham Harbour (North Norfolk).

In the South-west of England, Chew Valley lake (Avon) harbours a female BLUE-WINGED TEAL and at least 3 drake Garganeys - all best observed from the Fishermen's Car Park at Hollow Brook. Nearby, the drake RING-NECKED DUCK and several Garganey remain at Walton Heath, Ham Wall RSPB (Somerset)

The breeding-plumaged SLAVONIAN GREBE remains in the Walgrave Arm of Pitsford Reservoir (Northants), with another remaining on the Exe Estuary, off Starcross (South Devon). At this latter site, the first-summer BONAPARTE'S GULL remains.

The South Coast has seen some unusual seabird movements today, with 3 SOOTY SHEARWATERS past Portland Bill (Dorset) and 56 BALEARIC SHEARWATERS and 11 SOOTIES past Berry Head, Brixham (South Devon)

Thursday, 16 June 2011


Attached are my very poor 'digi images ' of the GREATER SANDPLOVER at Dornoch Beach today. Originally I, along with Dean MacAskill, Bob Swann and Al McNee believed that this bird was found by Dean MacAskill, who I believe independently discovered the bird today, Dornoch Point being his local patch. However, I now understand that it was seen last night by Chris Chapman, a visiting birder from East Sussex, although not identified. The bird showed very well today at Dornoch Point NH 80750-87325 between 11:00 hrs and 16:00 hrs. It mainly fed on its own but was loosely associated with Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Dunlin.

Dave Tanner - Portmahomack

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Some nice June surprises

June is always a month of surprises and this year has been no exception. Despite many of our breeding species either attending fledged young or busy sitting, a number of more northern latitude species are still turning up and some very rare birds are being identified......

Of most interest at present to twitchers is Britain's first photographed NORTH AMERICAN WHITE-WINGED SCOTER (form deglandi), loafing with over 1,200 Common Scoters, just over 90 Velvet Scoters, at least 3, perhaps 4 drake SURF SCOTERS and over 2,000 Common Eiders at the traditional moulting site offshore of Murcar Links Golf Course and Blackdog Rocks, just north of Aberdeen (Aberdeenshire). The bird, a first-year drake, was outstandingly first found by local observers Chris Gibbins, Paul Baxter and Hywel Maggs on Saturday (11 June) and later confirmed by images sent on to Martin Garner.

The bird is best looked for in the afternoons when light conditions are more favourable. Leave the A90 dual carriageway about two miles north of the outer Aberdeen ring road to the right, signposted 'Blackdog'. This is a narrow lane taking you down to a small car park and cottage after a few hundred yards. Park here, ensuring to avoid destroying the vergeside crop of Northern Marsh Orchids on the left, and walk around the gate and down towards the shore. Cross the wooden bridge over the stream and then continue walking south along the dunes for between one and 1.25 miles - in the vicinity of the black pole in the dunes. The bird seems to be best located from here or up to 500 yards walk further south.

Please note that the difficulty in locating this bird cannot be underestimated - print off images of the bird from the internet and be well aware of several first-year Velvet Scoters only marginally different in plumage, especially at long range.

Other birds within close proximity include the drake KING EIDER on the Ythan Estuary (usually roosting on the dunes opposite Inches Road/Point or wandering as far east as the estuary mouth) and a drake AMERICAN WIGEON at Starnafin Farm, Strathbeg RSPB.

Perhaps relating to the topsy-turvy June weather involving some very warm conditions in the SE of England in recent days, a SQUACCO HERON appeared in East Kent today - spending much of its time in Hooker's Marsh, viewed from the observation ramp on the reserve path - it later moved to Denge Marsh. That very same reserve still continues to host the regular summering GREAT WHITE EGRET - also on Denge Marsh -

Another unexpected find was of a male RED-SPOTTED BLUETHROAT at West Runton (North Norfolk) - initially in the ditch by the clifftop car park and shelter before moving into an adjacent weedy field and then barley. Norfolk has also hosted two RED-FOOTED FALCONS in the past week with a first-summer male again today feeding over fields 600 yards north of the 'Nelson Arms' footpath, often to be found perching on fenceposts between the track and the Horsey Corner car park

It has been an excellent spring for EUROPEAN BEE-EATERS on the archipelago of the Islands of Scilly, with a party of 3 birds lingering this week, perhaps one of which flew from St Martin's to Tresco today.

Two drake RING-NECKED DUCKS were an unexpected turn up on Orkney Mainland last night - at the Loch of Bosquoy - whilst in Avon, a female BLUE-WINGED TEAL is to be found in the same vicinity as 2 Garganey at Hollow Brook, Chew Valley Lake, where they are best viewed from the Fishermen's Car Park.

A suspected longipennis form of Common Tern was seen in the Breydon Water (Norfolk) roost this morning, most likely the bird Sean Nixon photographed at Minsmere scrape (Suffolk) last month.

Although no sign today, a female RED-NECKED PHALAROPE has bizarrely been repeatedly returning to Upton Warren Flashes (Worcs) this summer - one of two birds originally present !

The summering first-year BONAPARTE'S GULL is still being seen on the Exe Estuary (South Devon) (off Starcross again today), where also the beautiful adult Slavonian Grebe can be seen mid-channel. Lodmoor RSPB (Dorset) has an adult ROSEATE TERN roosting in between fishing visits to Portland Harbour still, whilst the first-summer CASPIAN GULL is still being seen at Lower Test Marshes (Hants) at Redbridge Wharf..

A number of EURASIAN SPOONBILLS are to be found, including 3 long-stayers on Saltholme West (Cleveland), 2 at Blackoft Sands RSPB (East Yorks), 6 on Jackson's Marsh, Gibraltar Point NNR (Lincs) and a single in SW Wales at the National Wetlands Centre in Camarthen. The long-staying COMMON CRANE remains in its favoured setaside field at Saxby All Saints (Lincs)

There was no sign today of the GREAT WHITE EGRET that had spent a few days at Carr Vale NR, Bolsober (Derbyshire) (see Tony Davison's images above), whilst Monday's EUROPEAN ROLLER stayed just one day at Upper Hollesley Common in Suffolk.

Many unseasonal PALE-BELLIED BRENT GEESE have been seen around our coastlines of late, whilst BALEARIC SHEARWATERS have been appearing in numbers along the South Coast, particularly off Portland Bill (Dorset). Unusual was a breeding plumaged adult lingering for a second day at Beacon Ponds, Kilnsea (East Yorks).

In IRELAND, a drake DRESSER'S or NORTH AMERICAN EIDER (form dresseri) has been attracting some interest, showing very well with Common Eiders offshore of Carrickabraghy Castle in County Donegal (see the outstanding set of images taken by Aidan Kelly above)

Saturday, 11 June 2011


On RSPB Vange Marsh this morning, the adult female RED-BACKED SHRIKE was showing well at times. The bird is in the scrub along the eastern boundary of the reserve towards the Saline lagoon. Two Spoonbills were on the freshmarsh, with one flying off high south at 08.20, one remains. Two drake Garganey showing well in the north-east corner of marsh.

At Wat Tyler Country Park on the main scrape are at least 7 adult Mediterranean Gulls, at least two family groups of Bearded Tits in the reedbeds. There are also at least two Cuckoos still calling in the park along with Cetti's Warblers (Alan Shearman, South Essex Lead Community Officer)

Friday, 10 June 2011

Rare ROBIN still hanging-in there

Hartlepool Headland's news-hugging first-summer WHITE-THROATED ROBIN is still present this morning despite going missing after late morning yesterday. It is back commuting between the two bowling greens this morning, showing well particularly on the seaward side of the outer green. The bird has been seen by well over 2,500 people now, perhaps influenced by the mass-media reporting this particular lost waif has enjoyed. Lee Woods took the three shots above.

Back to yesterday (Thursday 7 June) and the avian highlights were as follows -:

Fairly typical early June stragglers involved ROSE-COLOURED STARLINGS at Lochearnhead (Forth) (in gardens between the A84 and the top end of Kendrum Road) and RED-FOOTED FALCONS at Ledbury (Herefordshire) (on the SW side just north of the A417 Leedon Way and just east of the B4216 New Street on Ledbury Cricket Ground viewable from the disused Full Pitcher pub car park - flew off late morning and not subsequently relocated) and briefly near Dorking at Ranmore Common (Surrey) at TQ 145 515 (first-summer female and adult male respectively). An ORTOLAN BUNTING was noted at the Canal Zone bank at Spurn Point (East Yorks) in the evening, whilst a EUROPEAN BEE-EATER spent a short time on wires just south of Woodnesborough before flying south. A scattering of RED-SPOTTED BLUETHROATS included a bird on Fair Isle and another briefly at Seaton Snook (Cleveland), whilst Fair Isle also yielded the first GREENISH WARBLER of the year and two new ICTERINE WARBLERS. On Tuesday, a BLYTH'S REED WARBLER was trapped and ringed at the Calf of Man Bird Observatory (Isle of Man). COMMON ROSEFINCHES included a singing young male at Balephuil on Tiree (Argyll), another at Scatness (Shetland) and the long-staying male on Anglesey

A first-summer BONAPARTE'S GULL reached Berneray (Outer Hebrides), perhaps the long-staying Lewis bird, whilst the similarly aged South Devon individual continued to range widely in the Exe Estuary area.

At Inner Marsh Farm RSPB (Cheshire), the PECTORAL SANDPIPER was still performing well on No.2 lagoon at Inner Marsh Farm RSPB.

The adult drake KING EIDER remains on the Ythan (Aberdeenshire), with two summering adult drake SURF SCOTERS nearby - off Murcar Golf Course and an adult drake AMERICAN WIGEON from Starnafin Farm at Strathbeg RSPB.

Other summer 'residents' included the GREAT WHITE EGRET at Denge Marsh, Dungeness RSPB (Kent).

Most confiding vagrant of the week must be Shetland's first SQUACCO HERON - feeding at ludicrous close range on roadside pools at Urafirth for two days at the beginning of the week (see Jim Nicholson's outstanding images).

In IRELAND, the first SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER of the year involved a bird at Black Rock Strand (County Kerry) yesterday, with two RED-NECKED PHALAROPES at Tacumshin (County Wexford).

First SQUACCO HERON for Shetland

Jim Nicolson took these fabulous shots of this beautiful breeding plumaged adult SQUACCO HERON that appeared at Urafirth, on roadside pools, on Shetland Mainland this week. It represented the first island record disregarding a ship-assisted individual

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


The full summer plumaged WHITE-BILLED DIVER showed well off the Broch of Gurness this evening, still present 21.30 - best viewd from the north edge of the Broch car park looking north-east into Eynhallow Sound. It does take a bit of searching for as it was not especially close and was very actively fishing, spending a lot of time under water.

Also there: about 300 Arctic Terns off the south end of Rousay and another 120 or so towards Eynhallow, at least four broods of Eider, good numbers of Tystie and Red b Merg and just one pale phase Arctic Skua (per Alastair)

Mega rare chat continues to woo the crowds

White-throated Robin (Steve Clifton)

In Cleveland, the first-summer WHITE-THROATED ROBIN trapped and ringed at Hartlepool Headland yesterday morning remains for a second day. Unlike Monday when it repeatedly visited the inner bowling green by Olive Street, today it restricted its movements predominantly to the flowerbeds and shrubs of the Doctor's Garden in Durham Street. The garden is generally strictly private and out-of-bounds but thanks to the generosity of Dr Reece and his associates, it was opened up today for allcomers.

The bird showed intermittently throughout the day, often at just yards range, posing in bright sunshine on the compost heap and parading about the lawn. Thus far, some 1,700 visitors have enjoyed this spectacle, this waif constituting the third of its kind ever to have made landfall in the British Isles.

DIRECTIONS: The Headland is well signposted from the town centre and ring road and Durham Street and its environs are just 300 yards shy of the extreme far end of the peninsula. Please park sensibly and courteously in the side streets and official car parks. Access to the Doctor's Garden was sanctioned for TODAY only and is not accessible on Wednesday.

Away from Cleveland where incidentally the migrant RED-BACKED SHRIKES all departed overnight, most vagrant action is on Shetland today, where perhaps one may expect it during the first week of June. Most exceptional is a SQUACCO HERON at Urafirth, favouring roadside pools at HU 300 787 (present for second day) and a singing male GREAT REED WARBLER in gardens opposite Vidlin Plantation, with the singing male EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER still frequenting the southern end of Kergord Plantation and the usual adult LONG-TAILED SKUA at East Burra, NW of the Mill Pond. A few COMMON ROSEFINCHES are to be found, with a male at Scatness

Not far away on Orkney, North Ronaldsay hosted both BLYTH'S REED and MARSH WARBLER today (the former trapped and ringed), as well as a lingering TAIGA BEAN GOOSE, with a breeding-plumaged WHITE-BILLED DIVER off Evie (in the Broch of Gurness). whilst on Mainland Scotland, the PIED AVOCET remains at Skinflats Lagoon North Pool (Forth), the GREAT WHITE EGRET at Loch of Kinnordy RSPB (Angus/Dundee) and the adult drake SURF SCOTER offshore of Musselburgh Lagoons (Lothian)

A reeling male SAVI'S WARBLER was an unexpected find at Rutland Water (Leics) yesterday evening (reeling from the reedbed by Lagoon III) but could not be seen or heard this morning

In Lincolnshire, the juvenile WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE refuses to leave Ruckland, preferring to take carrion food being purposefully placed out for it rather than return to Continental Europe, whilst a first-summer COMMON CRANE showed well in set-aside at Saxby All Saints Carrs, east of the New River at Ancholme, viewed from the bridge at SE 975 167.

The BLACK-THROATED DIVER is still to be seen from the Sheepwash Hide at Carsington Water (Derbyshire) today, whilst relatively close to was a RED-RUMPED SWALLOW over Ogston Reservoir west bank car park for a short while this morning. Further north and west in Cheshire, a PECTORAL SANDPIPER remains on No.2 Pool at Inner Marsh Farm RSPB, whilst further north still, a first-summer COMMON CRANE was at White Moss, near Stocks Reservoir (Lancs)

The ROSEATE TERN is still at Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) (favouring the main scrape) as is the reedbed-loving PURPLE HERON, whilst elsewhere in East Anglia, WOOD SANDPIPER at Cley NWT is perhaps the highlight.

A female GOLDEN ORIOLE was seen briefly at Farley Mount Country Park (Hampshire) (SU 403 290) this afternoon, whilst of interest was Jersey's first singing male CIRL BUNTING for seven years - a species once resident on the island

Post-breeding Common Crossbills are currently 'irrupting' in large numbers, with flocks coasting and penetrating far inland

Little in the way of news coming out of IRELAND this week although the regularly returning adult FORSTER'S TERN is at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) and an adult RING-BILLED GULL at Gortnor Abbey Pier, Crossmolina (Co. Mayo)


Found by Kevin Waite, a ROSE-COLOURED STARLING was present 5 June at Hunterston, on the power station approach road near the marsh, yesterday afternoon. This is only the 7th record of this irruptive species for the county and, for the birders gathered there on Sunday, much appreciated! - Angus Hogg


Sunday, 5 June 2011

BLYTH'S REED WARBLER trapped and ringed on The Wirral

A BLYTH'S REED WARBLER was trapped and ringed on Hilbre Island this morning. Upon release, it flew to bracken at the south end (Phil Woolen, Jane Turner, et al)


In addition to the 3 MARSH WARBLERS, the thick Buckthorn scrub at the point also yielded a single ICTERINE WARBLER

BONAPARTE'S GULL still in South Devon

The first-summer BONAPARTE'S GULL remained off Mudbank Lane, Exmouth, this morning

RED-BACKED SHRIKES in short supply

A male RED-BACKED SHRIKE was in the dell at the top end of Hoddy Cows Lane at Buckton (East Yorks) this morning - a species that has been few and far between so far in Britain this spring

Singing ROSEFINCH on territory in Anglesey

For the past week or more now, a male COMMON ROSEFINCH has been singing from scrub just SE of Amwlch at Carrig-man, adjacent to the A5025, about 200 yards south of the turning to Point Lynas

PEC SAND at Inner Marsh Farm

A PECTORAL SANDPIPER is at Inner Marsh Farm RSPB (Cheshire) this afternoon, showing well from the main hide overlooking the scrape


What may well be the regular returning GREAT WHITE EGRET at Dungeness was still present on the Denge Marsh today.....

Nice fall in light easterlies at Spurn Point

Spurn Point this morning yielded three singing male MARSH WARBLERS (one still singing at 4pm just south of the VTS Tower on the seaward side of the Buckthorn), as well as a COMMON ROSEFINCH

And drake SURF SCOTER remains off Durham coastline

The adult drake SURF SCOTER continues to consort with 90 or so Common Scoters off Blackhall Rocks, 3 miles SE of Peterlee

Summering SURF SCOTER returns off Murcar

Just south of Murcar (Aberdeenshire), a drake SURF SCOTER this afternoon - presumably one of the regular returning adult drakes. Just to the north, the adult drake KING EIDER remains at the Ythan river mouth

EASTERN SUBALP still on Shetland

The singing male EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER is still on Shetland Mainland today at Kergord just south of Kergord House

Thursday, 2 June 2011

KENT sightings today

At Dungeness Beach, the juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL that has been resident all year was by the fishing boats this morning, whilst an incoming EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD drifted slowly north over Hookers Pit from 0940-0950 hours. The GREAT WHITE EGRET remained on the Denge Marsh and 3 GARGANEY (two drakes) were still present on the Restharrow Scrape at Sandwich Bay.

Last night, a breeding-plumaged BLACK-NECKED GREBE was on the small reservoir at Northward Hill RSPB reserve

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Local Mega - CASPIAN GULL in Hampshire

A first-summer CASPIAN GULL was discovered at Lower Test Marshes HWT this morning and was still present this afternoon, visibl;e from the Redwharf road bridge overlooking both sides of the marsh and roosting gull flock.

The first day of JUNE

Well, the total number of species recorded in Britain and Ireland this year has now climbed to 366 - perhaps a tad lower than in recent years at this point. Apart from a TRUMPETER FINCH in North Devon and a few WHITE-COLLARED FLYCATCHERS, May was relatively uneventful in terms of major attractions.

Early June can often change that and is often the period when unpredictable vagrants turn up on Fair Isle, the Northern Isles and elsewhere in Scotland and on islands; intrepid pioneering birders are already in place on such far-flung localities but all to be found today, despite winds being light and occasionally south-easterly, were 2 Common Rosefinches on the Out Skerries and the very long-staying male EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER on Fair Isle. Somewhat oddly, a male BLACK-HEADED BUNTING continues to visit garden feeders for a second day on the south side of Mallaig (Highland Region) near Annies Brae at 'Fank Brae' - the bird is in excellent condition and intermittent in its appearances but like many previous records of this species, its origin could perhaps be questioned.

At the opposite end of the country, the best the Isles of Scilly has to offer at the start of a new month is a COMMON ROSEFINCH at Salakee Farm on St Mary's. A further migrant COMMON ROSEFINCH remained for a second day on the Isle of Man today, being trapped and ringed at the Calf of Man Bird Observatory.

The BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER remains with the migrant Dunlins at Breydon Water (East Norfolk) today, this morning on the rising hide showing reasonably well from the seawall and hide and then visible from the South Wall this afternoon and evening (best viewed from the seawall 300 yards beyond Humberstone Farm). Also in East Norfolk, a BLACK STORK flew slowly north along the coastline over Waxham Sands Holiday Camp at 0814 hours (incidentally, Northamptonshire's long-staying but elusive adult was seen again on Tuesday, just by Junction 15A of the M1)
A KENTISH PLOVER was a very good find at Bowness-on-Solway (Cumbria) - feeding with Dunlin and Ringed Plovers on the falling tide just east of the railings car park early afternoon at least. There has been an unusual displacement of RED-NECKED PHALAROPES this past week, involving over 8 birds and including Bedfordshire's first-ever twitchable individual at Rookery Pit on Monday. Upton Warren Flashes in Worcestershire has played host to two birds, with the female still present there today (use the Sailing Club overspill car park and follow the signposts around the main watersports lake to the reserve; admission £3.00 to non-WMBC members). A further female RED-NECKED PHALAROPE is present at Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve on the Humber Estuary (East Yorks) this afternoon, favouring the Marshland Lagoon.

Whilst the regular adult drake SURF SCOTER loafs with Velvet Scoters in the Firth of Forth and can be 'scoped distantly off Musselburgh wader scrapes (Lothian), a 'new' adult drake consorting with 50 Common Scoters is to be found for a second day off Blackhall Rocks in County Durham. Meanwhile, the summering adult drake KING EIDER continues to moult at the mouth of the Ythan Estuary in Aberdeenshire.and the drake RING-NECKED DUCK continues at Ham Wall RSPB (Somerset). Also, an apparent pair of AMERICAN WIGEONS is at Tophill Low Reservoir (East Yorks) with a drake on Foula (Shetland).

PURPLE HERONS include a lingering bird at Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) and a first-summer last night that visited Gordon's Mere at Woodwalton Fen NNR (Cambs) for at least half an hour whilst a GREAT WHITE EGRET arrived at Dungeness RSPB reserve (Kent) this morning, quickly moving from the New Excavations to the Denge Marsh lagoons (this species has now become annual at the reserve in the summer months).

The juvenile WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE that wintered in Hampshire and then moved east and NNE to Lincolnshire in late March is still lingering in NE England - it flew west over Manby Flashes in North Lincolnshire yesterday afternoon. Will it ever return to Continental Europe this spring? HONEY BUZZARDS are now starting to return to their summer territories in the UK and as such, migrants are being noted at numerous coastal localities as well as at inland sites. In fact, two birds from the Wykeham Forest (North Yorks) breeding population are already back on territory and showing from the Raptor Viewpoint.

In Dorset, a reeling male SAVI'S WARBLER continues to attract admirers as it sings from the reedbed and shrubs at the north end of the Breachdown Way central footpath at Lodmoor RSPB, whilst in West Cornwall this morning, a EUROPEAN BEE-EATER flew SW over the lighthouse at Lizard Point at 0910 hours. Only the second MARSH WARBLER of the year thus far involves a singing male by the Hooker's Pit ramp at Dungeness this morning

In Norfolk Fenland and for the second year running, a male WHITE-SPOTTED BLUETHROAT has taken up residence at Welney WWT reserve, still singing occasionally early mornings and evenings and often out on the track leading to the Lyle Hide.

COMMON QUAIL are now appearing in reasonable numbers with 5 calling males in Gloucestershire between Down Road and Shirehill Road in Marshfield

EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVES are very scarce visitors to Scotland so a garden feeding bird at Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire) has been particularly popular amongst local watchers. Equally popular (and rare) is a single PIED AVOCET at nearby Rigifa Pool in Aberdeenshire.

The wide-ranging summer-plumaged SLAVONIAN GREBE that has done the rounds since leaving its winter quarters at Staines Reservoirs (Surrey) in late May is now present at Pitsford Reservoir in Northamptonshire. Another odd summering SLAVONIAN GREBE is that regular bird on the Exe Estuary in South Devon (usually to be found by looking across from Mudbank Lane in Exmouth or Starcross, depending on what side of the Exe you are) whilst that same estuary continues to harbour the first-year BONAPARTE'S GULL (wide-ranging bird that can be anywhere between the Otter Estuary and Bowling Green Marsh !).

Although no sign today (it actually flew off north yesterday evening), a LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Uttoxeter Quarry (Staffs) was an exceptional local county record, frequenting the pools there for two days.

In IRELAND, top billing goes to a long-staying adult AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford). In fact, Tacumshin has been the most productive location in Ireland for rares this spring with an impressive tally of late including a spring BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER