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

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Friday, 30 September 2011

Record-breaking late September temperatures

Temperatures in the south of Britain today reached a sweltering 82 degrees f - the hottest end of September temperatures since records began.........

Despite flying south between Whitley Bay (Northumberland) and Whitby (North Yorks) during yesterday, there has been no reports today of Aberdeenshire's adult Sandhill Crane. About 25 observers were lucky to intercept the bird yesterday as it made slow progress, although it did thwart many others by making the wrong turns......

With upwards now of 130 observers on Shetland, rarities being discovered there are increasing on a daily basis. Although the adult Lesser Grey Shrike and an Alpine Swift seen at Laxo have now moved on, and the Great Snipe of last night between North and South Voxter, today still saw the first-winter BLACK-HEADED BUNTING at Belmont House garden on Unst (and Bluethroat at Northdale, Red-backed Shrike at Haroldswick and Barred Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler and Common Rosefinch on the island), 3 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS briefly at Loch of Hixter and a Red-backed Shrike at Sumburgh Head, whilst juvenile PALLID HARRIERS included one on Fetlar near Wick of Gruting and two in the Quendale Burn area. Foula has NORTH AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT and BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, following a three-dayer juvenile YELLOW-BREASTED BUNTING during the week.

Compare this with the 16 or so observers now on Scilly, enjoying 4 juvenile BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS, a juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER and a GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK on the Airfield, the juvenile LESSER YELLOWLEGS on Porthmellon Beach, a juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPER on Lower Moors, a scattering of 4 WRYNECKS and a mobile BLACK KITE on St Mary's. Tresco still has 6 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS.

GLOSSY IBISES are arriving on cue, with singles today on the Ogmore Estuary in Glamorgan on the pond by the Watermill public house and at Priory Marsh, Stanpit, in Christchurch Harbour (Dorset). Two GREAT WHITE EGRETS have also been moving along the South Coast, today flying over Pennington Marshes (Hampshire).

A couple of LITTLE BUNTINGS were trapped and ringed today on Lundy Island (North Devon) and Spurn Point (East Yorks) respectively, with a HOOPOE at Stonebarrow Hill, east of Charmouth (Devon) (SY 384 933) and a RED-BACKED SHRIKE remaining at Lodmoor (Dorset).

A juvenile PALLID HARRIER has been performing well in Somerset for a third day, 3 miles NE of Cheddar at Black Down, west of the trig point at ST 485 572, whilst a BLACK KITE still remains in the Drift Reservoir area (West Cornwall).

Juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS remaining include singles on the Ythan Estuary (Aberdeenshire) (at the north end, near the fishing cabins), Lower Pennington Marshes (Hampshire) (on the Jetty Lagoon) and on the Axe Estuary at Coronation Corner, Seaton (South Devon), with a lingering BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER on the Isle of Sheppey at Elmley Marshes RSPB (North Kent) and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS at Grove Ferry (Kent), Hornsea Mere (East Yorks), Marazion (West Cornwall), Weir Wood Reservoir (Sussex) and Saltholme Pools (Cleveland). Both BUFF-BREAST and PEC are to be found in Cumbria, NE of Arnside on the Kent Estuary at Carr Bank, whilst a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER remains for a second day at Freiston Shore RSPB (Lincs). New in today was a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER on Musselburgh Lagoons (Lothian) and 2 DOTTERELS at Polgigga (West Cornwall)..

The long-staying juvenile AMERICAN BLACK TERN continues to show well for admirers at Covenham Reservoir (North Lincs), with a GREAT WHITE EGRET at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB (Cheshire), a drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK in the Walgrave Arm of Pitsford Reservoir (Northants) and a flock of 28 SPOONBILLS on Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour (Dorset). In Scotland, the drake AMERICAN BLACK SCOTER remains off Blackdog Beach (Aberdeenshire).

In IRELAND, reports today included that of the juvenile SEMIPALMATED PLOVER in Ventry Bay (Co. Kerry), the juvenile LEAST SANDPIPER at Carrahane Strand (Co. Kerry), two adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS on The Mullet at Blacksod (Co. Mayo) on Trawmore Beach and a juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER at Cromane (Co. Kerry) (the latter the latest in over 50 individuals discovered this autumn)



In what has been a record-breaking last two days of September, temperatures today in the south climbed to a sweltering 81 degrees C. Once again, the South Coast was bathed in wall-to-wall sunshine......


I decided to return to Pennington Marshes for the second time this week in order to savour the delights of the small peep gracing the pools with its presence. Fortunately, my visit today coincided with high tide and the juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER was feeding with a multitude of other small waders on the ''Jetty Lagoon''. In fact, it was very often the closest bird feeding, favouring the nutrient-rich mud at the west end of the scrape. For much of the time, it fed to within 40 yards of the sea wall, affording brilliant views in the sunlight and allowing all salient features to be noted - including the partial webbing between the toes. It was a particularly pleasing experience.

Other waders present included the juvenile LITTLE STINT still, 2 Common Greenshanks, 124 Dunlin (including one very obvious long-billed alpina), an adult Pied Avocet and the usual selection of commoner waders such as Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Common Redshank and Eurasian Curlew.

A single EURASIAN SPOONBILL was roosting out on the saltmarsh, with Little Egret (7), Great Crested Grebe (13) and the 41-strong COMMON EIDER raft still offshore.

The scrub produced a WHINCHAT, Common Stonechats and a blackberry-feeding flock of 180 Common Starlings, whilst an excellent scattering of late-flying butterflies included up to 10 WALL BROWNS, several PAINTED LADY and a few CLOUDED YELLOWS. An extremely enjoyable afternoon was had (Lee G R Evans)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Those Yank waders keep coming and coming !!

Dan Brown and other members of the so-called ''Punkbirder'' crew fully clinched the identification of a juvenile SEMIPALMATED PLOVER in west IRELAND today 4.5 miles WSW of Dingle (County Kerry) at the south end of Ventry Harbour on the beach just north of the southern stream mouth. The bird was showing very well and was photographed this afternoon by Michael O'Keefe and was also seen by a number of Kerry birders including Maurice Hanafin and Jill Crosher.(information per Ed Carty).

Rare Nearctic waders continue to dominate the IRISH headlines with a bag of juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS still to be seen, including two at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) and two at Blennerville Marsh (Co. Kerry), as well as numerous BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS (4 at Tacumshin still, another 4 between Newbridge and Kildare amongst European Golden Plovers on Curragh Racecourse, Co. Kildare, and 2 at Truska Marsh, Ballyconneelly, Co. Galway), a juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER (and juvenile Dotterel) at Truska Marsh and the HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL still at Mizen Head (Co. Cork). Other highlights include the continuing juvenile PALLID HARRIER at Tacumshin and a female BLUE-WINGED TEAL at Inch Lake on Lough Swilly (Co. Donegal).

On the Isles of Scilly today, the NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH commuted between the St Mary's Dump Clump Project Pool and the main Lower Moors pools in front of the ISBG hide but was always very elusive, whilst the juvenile SOLITARY SANDPIPER remained at the Project Pool, just one BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER on the Airfield, the first-summer WOODCHAT SHRIKE by the Airfield and an ORTOLAN BUNTING there also. The Black-and-White Warbler and Baltimore Oriole departed midweek.

In the far Northwest, on the Outer Hebrides, Barra's RED-EYED VIREO was trapped and ringed today at Brevig.

As well as in Ireland, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS and other Nearctic waders appeared in numbers in Britain today with new juvenile SEMI-P's being discovered in South Devon (on the Axe Estuary north of Seaton at Black Hole Marsh) and in Hampshire (at Pennington Marshes' Shoveler Pond), an adult SPOTTED SANDPIPER on the Herriott's Bridge causeway at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) and a juvenile LESSER YELLOWLEGS ENE of Glasson (Lancs) on the south side of the Lune Estuary at the mouth of the River Conder (at SO 454 562) (both LESSER YELLOWLEGS remained in West Cornwall, at Drift Reservoir and Tresilian River, Truro, respectively, and the juvenile SPOTTED SANDPIPERS at the north end of the Plym Estuary in Plymouth, South Devon, and at Lydney, Gloucs). A sprinkling of BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS included the Thornwick Bay, Flamborough (East Yorks), bird again, whilst an adult AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was to be seen at Uskmouth Lighthouse (Gwent) and a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at Llanrhidian Marsh. Both juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS remain at Baron's Haigh RSPB (Clyde) and Stithians Reservoir (Cornwall) respectively

The deluge of juvenile PALLID HARRIERS continues, breaking all previous records, with a new bird at Cliffe Pools RSPN (North Kent) this afternoon joining at least two different birds on Shetland, a confiding bird at The Loons RSPB (Orkney), another on Mull (Argyll) at Fidden, Moss and the most observed of all still just NNE of Burpham (West Sussex) at The Burgh already on the list.

The light SE winds this afternoon bought in a nice ARCTIC WARBLER to the East Coast - showing well in bushes and scrub ENE of the boardwalk at Burnham Overy Dunes (North Norfolk) - whilst on Shetland, the GREY-CHEEKED THRUSH at West manse garden, Fetlar, replaced the attraction of yesterday's South Mainland Swainson's Thrush on the archipelago.

Over 40 twitchers made the long trip north to Aberdeenshire overnight and were rewarded with early morning views of the adult SANDHILL CRANE at Strathbeg RSPB, the bird continuing to show throughout the day until it decided to fly south at 1613 hours. Not that far away to the south, the adult drake NORTH AMERICAN BLACK SCOTER remained with Common Scoter off Murcar Beach.

The juvenile AMERICAN BLACK TERN continues at Covenham Reservoir in North Lincolnshire, with both juvenile SABINE'S GULLS still lingering at Sturt Pond, Milford-on-Sea (Dorset) (the long-staying adult at Grafham Water, Cambs, departed this morning).

Many Yellow-browed Warblers are now moving through Shetland, along with Common Rosefinches and the odd Barred Warbler, whilst at least 1 AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT and 1 CITRINE WAGTAIL remain on North Ronaldsay (Orkney). A GREAT SNIPE is still lingering on Fair Isle. A juvenile ROSE-COLOURED STARLING is at Land's End (West Cornwall), whilst juvenile RED-BACKED SHRIKES are appearing in small numbers (with singles on Tresco, Scilly, and at Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, Kings Hall at Herne Bay, East Kent and in Dorset) and WRYNECKS with more frequency than in recent weeks.

Bedfordshire's apparent adult AZOREAN ATLANTIC GULL failed to appear in the Stewartby lake roost this evening, perhaps due to the increase in water ski-ing and speedboat racing today.

Also intriguingly, there was no sign of Cobh's INDIAN HOUSE CROW today; Dave Carter found and photographed the first-ever on Cyprus on Thursday !

Friday, 23 September 2011

SANDHILL CRANE present until dusk

As of dusk the adult SANDHILL CRANE was back on Savoch Low Ground at Loch of Strathbeg reserve visible from both the visitor centre and Tower pool Hide; presumably it has come in to roost. The centre will be opened early for those wishing to try and see it at roost tomorrow morning.

For anyone intending to come early tomorrow a little bit of advice. We have had a major arrival of Pink-footed Geese today - some of which may well roost on the pools directly in front of the centre windows. I would recommend that if you are driving down the entrance track please dip your headlights - or even just use your side lights as we have found to our cost that the geese are often flushed by car headlights on the track if they are on full beam - flushing the geese MIGHT flush the crane as well depending upon how many geese get up (currently well over 25,000 on site today). Similarly until you are certain that there are none on the pools don't open the windows in the centre or turn the lights on as this also has a tendancy to flush everything!

Other than that enjoy and keep an eye open for Otter - seen on the centre pools on two of the last three mornings (Dominic Funnell, warden)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011



After the shenanigans of yesterday in Sussex attempting to sort out a mega-rare stint at 600 yards range, today was at the opposite end of the spectrum...........

Although migrating House Martins were very much the order of the day, it was an extremely confiding LAPLAND BUNTING that stole the show


During the course of the morning, over 240 House Martins moved through south, often in large congregations. At the 'Magic Roundabout', the ringed adult female PEREGRINE was roosting on its favoured perch (its third winter at the site)


Just arriving before Adam Hartley, I followed the footpath from the car park and ventured out on to the central causeway. The juvenile LAPLAND BUNTING that has been present for nearly the best part of a week was still surviving on the bank of Farmoor II, eeking out a living on the spartan vegetation growing out of the breaks in the concrete. It was favouring a patch just 40 yards beyond the two huts and was remarkably approachable. It carried on feeding as I stood literally just feet from it on the causeway and as I sat down, it gradually wandered closer to just within a few inches. It was ludicrously tame - totally unaware of the dangers. It was presumably relying on its camouflage - and at times, one could easily walk right past it (as I did initially). It was a cracking experience

A very very distant LONG-TOED STINT in SUSSEX

Pete Johnson came upon a small stint at Weir Wood Reservoir last Thursday and immediately phoned Garry Bagnell, who happened to be out-of-county trying to locate a Long-tailed Skua at Dungeness. As Garry was unable to get there, he contacted Jacob Everitt and Nigel Driver who both travelled down to check it out. The problem of course, as with the recent adult summer Little Stint occurrence there, was the range that this particular bird was feeding - beyond the rafts north out from the car park. After much discussion, it was eventually agreed that the bird was a Temminck's Stint and news to this effect was subsequently broadcast. Jacob however, was not convinced, but a lack of experience with the rarer species it could be meant that it he went 'with the flow'. The bird remained throughout the weekend and into this week but never came close.

As I happened to be visiting Sussex for my first-ever Pallid Harrier in that county, I decided to stop off at Weir Wood on my way back home to Buckinghamshire. Initially I failed in my quest to locate the bird - only a flock of 15 Dunlin and 8 Ringed Plovers - but after a prolonged effort, I eventually tracked it down - but at great distance. However, having had experience of reidentifying numerous Temminck's Stints in the UK, especially in autumn, I was not too surprised when I set eyes on this one. This was no Temminck's Stint but something much more interesting........

It was a very tiny stint with a characteristic feeding action - distinctly front-heavy and feeding at a 45 degree angle - much in the same way as a Wilson's Phalarope. It was particularly lethargic and slow-feeding and was closely hugging the mud. It had a nice rufous tint to the crown, a marked gorget of breast-streaking, a prominent eye-stripe (often appearing forked) and no obvious projection beyond the tail. It was too far away to see any critical patterning on the head but was gleaming white below on the lower underparts. Everything pointed towards it being either a LEAST SANDPIPER or LONG-TOED STINT. I immediately contacted Jake, Ian Barnard, Paul Marten, Garry Bagnell and other Sussex birders and within half an hour, eight of them joined me. Frustratingly, the light soon went and the bird wandered into an area of vegetation and became even more difficult to see.

All of the time I was worried about the length of the tibia (noticeably long) and its habit of strangely lifting its head and peering around (giving a long-necked appearance). I was also worried about the lack of primary projection, as well as the apparent dark underwing in flight I also heard it call at one stage as it flushed - a trilling call not that dissimilar to a Pectoral Sandpiper. There was a chance that it was a LONG-TOED STINT. I contacted a very experienced friend for backup and he kindly agreed to visit today.

When the Coopers and other Sussex birders confirmed that the bird was still present this morning, arrangements were made to finally nail the identification. The bird was videoed and the presence of pale greyish-green legs long in the tibia, dark lores, fine breast-side streaking and an isolated cheek/ear covert spot confirmed my suspicions that it was a LONG-TOED STINT after all - the first to be recorded in Sussex. This news was immediately broadcast on Birdline South East and consequently on the pager services. A total of 95 birders connected before nightfall.


This bird can be seen from the main car park and hide at the west end of Weir Wood Reservoir situated about 300 yards along Legsheath Lane from Grinstead Lane at TQ 384 341. There is room for about 20 vehicles here. Parking may also take place on the neighbouring verges but be very careful of hidden ditches. Frustratingly, the bird is only visible at vast range - about 400 yards at the least - so be fully prepared for your worst-ever views of a new British bird if you travel for it. It is also hugging the mud and the short vegetation close to the inlet stream and can be very camouflaged and difficult to find.

THERE IS STRICTLY NO ACCESS TO THE RESERVOIR from this point onwards and anyone doing so will be named and shamed. Information has been released on the proviso that twitching birders are on their best behaviour and local marshals will be on site to watch over proceedings. The reservoir is extremely low at present and hence why the viewing facilities are so poor but if some sort of closer access can be arranged, it will be widely broadcast. Please adhere to these instructions even though you may feel cheated by the views obtained but this is a popular local patch with birders and I wish it to remain that way.

LONG-TOED STINT is a very rare vagrant in Britain and Ireland with very few records - the only really twitchable bird being a very confiding juvenile at Saltholme Pools (Cleveland) from 28 August to 1 September 1982. There is also an additional bird which remained briefly at Ballycotton Marsh (County Cork) on 15-16 June 1996

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

A day spent in SUSSEX - LGRE Diary Notes


Fresh SW winds and light drizzle from time to time - generally overcast and grey


Present for its fifth day, the juvenile PALLID HARRIER was performing as I arrived, hunting a narrow game strip just NE of the village. The gathering of over 40 observers were delighted - Matt Eade and others obtaining some nice flight shots. It disappeared out of view but whilst chatting to John and Liz Lees, I relocated it flying just below the ridge on Perry Hill. It quickly pounced on a small rodent and within no time at all was set upon by a pair of Common Kestrels. It dropped the creature a couple of times but managed to keep with it and sat with it on the ground for the odd minute. It then disappeared out of view south over the ridge.

I decided to walk the footpath leading out of Burpham village towards Perry Hill and after three quarters of a mile, the footpath opened out to give an excellent panoramic view of the area. I was amazed at the number of raptors present in the area, most likely attracted by the large number of game strips set aside and good numbers of small passerines such as Linnets. I saw a beautiful adult male HEN HARRIER, juvenile MARSH HARRIER, Peregrine, Red Kite, HOBBY, several Common Buzzards and Sparrowhawk.

As I walked back to the village at 1350 hours, the PALLID HARRIER reappeared from the north and flew right over my head, affording outstanding views. It then dropped down on to another small rodent in the field immediately adjacent to Lample House and captured it in its talons. At just 40 yards range, it sat on the ground in front of me and proceeded to eat and tear apart its prey. The views were exceptional - and such a handsome bird this is, especially orange-rufous on the underparts and boldly collared.

The bird clearly had a well-rehearsed circuit which it seemed to repeat about once every two hours. It was particularly keen on hunting the narrow game strips. There were two main vantage points close to Burpham village: about 50 yards along the tarmac track towards Burpham High Barn or from the high point further up the main road towards Peppermill Farm. Both locations provided excellent opportunities for connection. There is sufficient parking on the verges for about 20 vehicles.


I joined Roger Charlwood on the windswept beach - he had just lost the juvenile SABINE'S GULL from his view. I scanned the beach for some time but could only locate a first-winter MEDITERRANEAN GULL, juvenile Kittiwake, a nice juvenile ARCTIC TERN, 3 Common Terns and 2 Rock Pipits. I briefly snatched a view of the Sab's before it was blown behind the West Breakwater but as I walked back to the car park, I eventually relocated it in the shelter of the main harbour. It then returned to the shingle of the West Beach, where it afforded views down to just a few feet. In fact it was very easy to walk past as it camouflaged itself on the beach.


My last port of call of the day was at the west end of Weir Wood Reservoir from the car park. Newly arrived were a pack of 15 Dunlin and 8 Ringed Plover, whilst 2 Green Sandpipers and a lone Common Greenshank remained from last week.

Present from last Thursday however was the elusive 'stint' and at 600 yards minimum, it was very difficult to establish its true identity. It blended in with the background of the mud and was ridiculously tiny - always 50 yards or more behind the three rafts and occasionally left of the inlet stream. In my opinion, it was clearly NOT a Temminck's Stint. It had a highly characteristic feeding action, very reminiscent of Wilson's Phalarope. It fed at a 45 degree angle, keeping its rear end high off the ground. The tail and wing-tips also seemed to be identical in length and the greyish-brown breastband was complete and extended on to the flank sides and on to the shoulders. The bill was quite long, with what appeared to be a forking eye-stripe and a heavily contrasting dark crown. It fed very meticulously, keeping close to the ground and in the same area; it was very inactive. The chin and throat were white, as was an area on the forehead, whilst the upperwings and mantle were heavily marked by dark-centred feathers.

It was most likely a LEAST SANDPIPER but the fact that it often appeared quite lanky and the legs sometimes markedly pale, Long-toed Stint could be a possibility. I was also not able to rule out an adult Little Stint in moult, although this did seem unlikely considering its appearance. Hopefully somebody will be able to get some sort of record shot of it. It remained until dusk.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Elusive WATERTHRUSH thwarts visiting twitchers

On the Isles of Scilly, the NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH remains for its fourth day in Lower Moors, St Mary's, favouring the trackside vegetation and Sallows to the east of Shooter's Pool. Please be aware that this bird is highly elusive - for example being seen by just 10 of over 100 twitchers today - and that the track where it is is very muddy and slippery.

Just a few yards away is the much easier and more obliging first-winter female BLACK & WHITE WARBLER (also present for its third day) showing well intermittently in the Sallows and Willows in the vicinity of the second vegetated arch along the Trail from Airport Lane, whilst on the Garrison, the RED-EYED VIREO showed well today in pines and trees on the Lower Broome Platform.

Meanwhile, Newford's juvenile SOLITARY SANDPIPER has relocated to behind the ''Dump Clump'' onto the new ''Project Pool'' (take the pathway between the Incinerator and Carn Gwaval School and at the Clump, walk into the wood where the glove has been placed; turn left at the tree with the polythene wrapped around it and then cross the ditch to the new hide). Two juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPERS continue to commute between Porthellick and Lower Moors, whilst up to 4 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS and a juvenile DOTTEREL are on the Airfield..

There are two different WOODCHAT SHRIKES to be seen on St Mary's: the first-summer not far from the Airport terminal and the juvenile up on the Garrison

An extremely confiding juvenile BLUE-WINGED TEAL is now on Newford Duckpond (replacing the Solitary there) whilst the adult EUROPEAN BEE-EATER is often to be found nearby on the wires by Borough Farm.

An ORTOLAN BUNTING was seen on St Martin's along the coast path south of Lower Town Hotel, with a juvenile RED-BACKED SHRIKE on Tresco.

The juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER remains on Periglis Beach, St Agnes, with up to 3 juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPERS on Tresco Abbey and Great Pools.

In neighbouring CORNWALL today, the selection of Nearctic waders therein continues to attract attention. Both the juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER and juvenile LESSER YELLOWLEGS remain at the west end of Drift Reservoir (with a Curlew Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank also thrown in for good measure) and the adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, juvenile BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER and TEMMINCK'S STINT at Davidstow Airfield. A further WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER has been at Devoran Creek, Truro, on recent high tides and a juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER remains from last Wednesday at the southern Carnmenellis Causeway at Stithians Reservoir.

Another juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER is to be found at Baron's Haugh RSPB Reserve near Motherwell (Clyde), showing well from the Marsh Hide, whilst 2 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS arrived at Saltfleet Haven (North Lincs) in the Samphire beds on the beach and the long-staying juvenile remained on the beach by Traigh Golf Course near Mallaig (Highland Region); a further juvenile remains at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) on the Dumbles.. A PECTORAL SANDPIPER is at Back Saltholme Pool (Cleveland) and at Dungeness ARC Pit (Kent), with another on the 100-Acre Lake at Beddington Sewage Farm (Surrey) and the long-staying juvenile at Neatholme Scrape, Lound Idle Valley NR (Notts) and the two at Minsmere Scrape (Suffolk), whilst the TEMMINCK'S STINT remains distant at the west end of Weir Wood Reservoir (Sussex). An elusive and often very distant SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER is also still present on The Dumbles at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs). The latter county also plays host to a juvenile SPOTTED SANDPIPER at Lydney, frequenting the mud to the south of the harbour at SO 642 011.

The first LEAST SANDPIPER in over 50 years in the Shetland archipelago remains at South Ness on Foula, where also a single BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER is to be seen

West Cornwall still plays host to at least two different BLACK KITES and after the thick fog lifted, both the Polgigga and Trewethy Common birds were seen in flight.

In North Lincolnshire, a juvenile NORTH AMERICAN BLACK TERN is present for a fourth day at Covenham Reservoir, sharing the site with two brightly-billed Red-necked Grebes. The tern is favouring the west bank of the reservoir by the Sailing Club and also commuting to neighbouring ploughed fields to feed. A juvenile Northern Gannet also flew over the reservoir this morning.

It has been an unprecedented past week for SABINE'S GULLS with west Ireland delivering exceptional numbers (see below) and West Cornwall also bagging at least 50 since last Monday. Left over from the displacement by Hurricanes Irene and Katria, the fabulous moulting summer adult continues to show to just 5 feet at the Grafham Water (Cambs) dam (today sharing algae feeding rights with a first-winter GREY PHALAROPE) whilst others remain at Newhaven West Beach (East Sussex) and by Sturt Pond, Milford-on-Sea (Hants). Also inland is a juvenile at Leadenham Tip (Lincs), where it is frequenting the pool viewed from Pottergate Road. Other straggling GREY PHALAROPES include a first-winter east of the Hook-with-Warsash LNR scrape on the Meander Pool (Hants) and another on the River Ribble at Preston (Lancs) visible from the bridge at SD 527 286, as well as at least two lingering in the Chesil Cove, Portland (Dorset). Another remains for its second day on the foreshore pool at West Usk Lighthouse, St Brides Wentlooge (Gwent).

The first wave of YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS is now apparent with at least 16 identified on Shetland and the odd other on Orkney, the Northern Isles also yielding a GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK on Unst at Skaw, a RED-BACKED SHRIKE on Unst and a cluster of Barred Warblers and Common Rosefinches at a number of locations.

Fair Isle trapped and ringed a BLYTH'S REED WARBLER today (where a BLUETHROAT and LITTLE BUNTING were also newly found and both GREAT GREY SHRIKE and GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK were still present, as well as CITRINE WAGTAIL and MELODIOUS WARBLER) whilst another was identified at Balephuil on Tiree (Argyll) and incredibly a third at North Garden, Bixter, on Shetland. Elsewhere, drift migrants are surprisingly few and far between, with a BARRED WARBLER in bushes on the Straight Lonnen, Holy Island (Northumberland)

Following a westward expansion into European Russia and Finland by breeding male PALLID HARRIERS, further apparent juveniles continue to arrive in Britain, with most recent being singles at Colne Point/St Osyth Marshes (Essex) and at The Burgh (West Sussex) following the three or more currently ranging over Shetland. Today saw another probable juvenile fly low north over Barns Ness (Lothian).

Ever-present GREAT WHITE EGRETS include single adults at Meare Heath (Somerset) and Denge Marsh, Dungeness RSPB (Kent) whilst the adult in North Bucks continues to be seen at Linford Nature Reserve. A CATTLE EGRET is at Wall Common Beach (Somerset).

Seawatching in East Anglia at the end of last week yielded two FEA'S SOFT-PLUMAGED PETRELS - one off Lowestoft North Denes (Suffolk) and then Sheringham (Norfolk) followed by another north past Frinton-on-Sea (Essex) - as well as a bumper number of GREAT and CORY'S SHEARWATERS for the North Sea.

On a relatively local basis, the male LAPLAND BUNTING continues to attract admirers and show remarkably well on the main causeway between the two Farmoor Reservoirs (Oxfordshire), whilat a first-year drake AMERICAN WIGEON continues on the main lake at Wellington GP in Herefordshire.

A party of 6 COMMON CRANES remains on arable farmland at Welney WWT (Norfolk)

IRELAND'S birdwatching fraternity have been concentrating on seawatching and wader-finding in recent times with Bridges of Ross (County Clare) breaking all records of SABINE'S GULLS. Not content with daily counts of between 400 and 700 birds for almost a week, one day peaked at an incredulous 859 individuals - the highest number ever recorded. Also associated were exceptional numbers of LONG-TAILED SKUAS at the site, whilst WILSON'S STORM PETRELS have almost been seen daily.

The adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER is still to be found at the eastern end of Lady's Island Lake (Co. Wexford) with another at Boora Lake, Lough Boora Parklands (Co. Offaly). An AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER is at Black Rock Strand (Co. Kerry), with a SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER still on the Muckross Estuary at Clonakilty (Co. Cork) and a WILSON'S PHALAROPE on the Douglas Estuary (Co. Cork). A single COMMON CRANE was on the North Slob (Co. Wexford) today.

Saturday, 17 September 2011


The juvenile PALLID HARRIER at Colne Point was also an Essex tick for me today, as it was for most of the 50 or so other assembled observers. Although mostly distant, the bird did fly up on a few occasions and spent most of its time on the farmland of St Osyth Marsh. I found that the best views were to be had from the raised ground adjacent to Leewick Farm, particularly when it was roosting on the ground. Stephen Allen did very well in obtaining these excellent flight shots above

Colne Point is accessed from the minor road between St Osyth and Point Clear and parking with extreme care can be had just north of the sewage works at TM 104 133. The bird is hunting the fields south and SW of Wigboro Wick Farm

Monday, 12 September 2011

In the aftermath of HURRICANE IRENE

The remnants of Hurricane Irene, now classified as a Tropical Storm or just under, battered Scotland and the north of Ireland with winds up to 93 miles per hour today, bringing down trees and causing some structural damage to properties.......

In its wake, and over the preceding days since Irene swept up the Eastern Seaboard of North America, it has been Nearctic waders being displaced in numbers......

The icing on the cake of these is today's appearance of an adult GREATER YELLOWLEGS on the River Camel at Treravon Meadows, Wadebridge (Cornwall) - still largely in breeding plumage.

A juvenile LESSER YELLOWLEGS also arrived yesterday on Porthkillier Beach, St Agnes (Scilly), where today both it and the nearby juvenile Periglis Beach BAIRD'S SANDPIPER were showing well, whilst a juvenile SPOTTED SANDPIPER remains by the Plym Estuary at Blaxton Meadow (South Devon) and juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) this afternoon.and at Patrington Haven (East Yorks) this evening.

BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS have appeared in the largest numbers since the autumn of 1977, with a flock of 8 juveniles on the airfield at St Mary's (Scilly) and further birds at Davidstow Airfield (Cornwall) and on Brownsea Island (Dorset) - following 8 or more in the past week,

A total of 37 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS had already appeared in Britain prior to this weekend since 1 September but still being seen today were 2 at Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk), 2 on Tresco (Scilly), 2 at Collingham Pits (Notts), 2 at Stithians Reservoir (Cornwall), 2 at Chew Valley lake (Avon), 3 at Drift Reservoir (Cornwall) and singles on Porthellick Pool, St Mary's (Scilly), Pitsford Reservoir (Northants) and Neatholme Scrape, Lound GP (Notts).

Just like during the October 1987 hurricane, large numbers of SABINE'S GULLS have been displaced from the Atlantic, with stranded birds inland at Belvide Reservoir (Staffs) (juvenile) and King George V Reservoir (Essex). An adult has now been present for several days off Heysham Harbour (Lancs) whilst others seen today included a juvenile at Avon Beach, Mudeford (Dorset), two juveniles at Stert Island, Burnham-on-Sea (Somerset), an adult past Felixstowe (Suffolk), a juvenile off Black Rock Sands (Gwynedd), a juvenile at Caerlaverock WWT (D & G), an adult past Sandwich Bay (Kent), a juvenile off Turnberry Point (Ayrshire), off Severn Beach and past Berrow (Somerset) and a juvenile off Mumbles Head, on the Gower (West Glamorgan).

BALEARIC SHEARWATERS have also been displaced into the English Channel with huge numbers recorded off of the coasts of Dorset and South Devon, whilst a WILSON'S STORM PETREL flew west past Pendeen Watchpoint (Cornwall) mid-morning. The latter site also produced the following in strong westerly winds: 7 SABINE'S GULLS, 12 GREAT SHEARWATERS and a LEACH'S PETREL

In what has been a record year for PALLID HARRIERS, both here and in Scandinavia, at least two individuals remain on Shetland, with juveniles still on Unst and in the Hillwell area of South Mainland. Roger Wyatt excelled by photographing a juvenile on the Oxfordshire Downs at Churn last week, whilst an adult male flew across the A1065 in front of observers in north Norfolk during the weekend.

Displaced Seabirds in the south today included up to 7 NORTHERN FULMARS (5 were seen flying upstream at Lydney, Gloucs), several GREAT SKUAS, several NORTHERN GANNETS (including an adult at Draycote Water). GREY PHALAROPES also got swept inland with single first-winters at Ashworth Moor Reservoir (Greater Manchester), Grafham Water (Cambs) and Queen Mother Reservoir (Berkshire) as well as at coastal sites such as Portbury Wharf (Somerset), the Chesil Beach (Dorset), Ferrybridge (Dorset), at South Milton Ley (Devon) and on the Fishtail Lagoon at Keyhaven/Pennington Marshes (Hampshire)

In North Norfolk, a juvenile LITTLE BITTERN has been showing off and on at Titchwell RSPB Reserve since first being sighted on Thursday, favouring the first patch of reeds to the right of the footpath about 200 yards north of the Information Centre. In North Buckinghamshire, the adult GREAT WHITE EGRET remains at Linford Nature Reserve.

Two AQUATIC WARBLERS remain on St Agnes (Scilly), skulking in reeds and poolside vegetation at the Big Pool by Periglis Beach, whilst elsewhere on the archipelago, two WOODCHAT SHRIKES remain on St Mary's - a first-summer close to the airport and a juvenile between the Campsite and Holly Cottage on The Garrison. At the opposite end of the UK, Fetlar (Shetland) hosted a WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER at Legarth today.

For the second autumn running, it looks as though LAPLAND BUNTINGS are in plentiful supply again, with some Northwest-facing locations harbouring 30 birds or more. Particularly confiding has been a juvenile at Abbotsbury Beach (Dorset) and another near Stromness (Orkney)

A HOOPOE remains for a 4th day at Glynde (East Sussex), favouring the grassy bank by the main road, whilst WRYNECKS still remain at Millfield LNR, Old Basing (Hants), Garnlydan Reservoir (Gwent) and South Fambridge (Essex).

A juvenile WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN is still to be found at Farmoor Reservoirs (Oxfordshire), where on Saturday the first CITRINE WAGTAIL for the county was identified. Meanwhile, a WHISKERED TERN appeared briefly at Starnafin Farm, Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire), whilst North Ronaldsay (Orkney) hosted a further first-winter CITRINE WAGTAIL.

IRELAND has been awash with rare waders for over a week now with today producing SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER and 2 GREY PHALAROPES at Ballycotton (Co. Cork), a LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Rosscarbery (Co. Cork), two adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS at Rosslare Backstrand (Co. Wexford), a PECTORAL SANDPIPER at White's Marsh (Co. Cork), a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER in Cross Village (Co. Clare) and an adult AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Lady's Island Lake (Co. Wexford). Up to 8 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS have graced Tacumshin Lakes (Co. Wexford) in the past week, along with a juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, two WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS and both a juvenile PALLID HARRIER and a first-year MONTAGU'S HARRIER.

Seawatching at Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) this afternoon produced an impressive 39 SABINE'S GULLS in just two hours, with a FEA'S SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL offshore this evening.

A long staying GREENISH WARBLER still remains on Cape Clear Island (Co. Cork) whilst a WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER remains for a second day at Torr Pier on Mizen Head (Co. Cork)

Thursday, 8 September 2011


A LEAST SANDPIPER was found on a private part of the Farlington Marsh reserve today by Jason Crook. Access will not be possible to this specific area, but there is a reasonable chance that the bird may show in public areas tomorrow (high tide is at around 1000 hrs).

Please note that there are parking restrictions on the site and ONLY 12 car spaces are available, so you are best advised to park at the Broadmarsh car park (SU702053) or in Farlington town itself and walk from there.

Anything that is known about the bird's location will be posted on the noticeboard at the reserve information centre (SU685047).

There is only one previous record for Hampshire - one spent the day at Farlington Marshes on May 22nd 1977 (Keith Betton, County Recorder)