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

Total Pageviews

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Rare Birds over the Festive Period

There has been very little change in recent weeks with many birds now firmly established win winter territories...........

We have two wintering male DESERT WHEATEARS in Britain - one in the vicinity of Beacon Point at Newbiggin-on-Sea (Northumberland) and another by the coastal footpath at Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve in East Yorkshire. A wintering DUSKY WARBLER is on Scilly - at Lower Moors - and HUME'S LEAF WARBLER in Dorset at Littlesea Holiday Camp at Wyke Regis.

Large numbers of BALEARIC SHEARWATERS have been seen off Porthgwarra (Cornwall) in recent days, whilst two different CATTLE EGRETS are wintering along the South Coast (in Hampshire and in Dorset) and no less than 15 wintering GREAT WHITE EGRETS (including up to 7 in Kent).

A GLOSSY IBIS arrived on Scilly yesterday and today was feeding voraciously at Shooter's Pond, Lower Moors, whilst further birds remain in the Stour Valley, Stodmarsh (Kent) (two birds) and at Leighton Moss RSPB (Lancashire) and Fingringhoe Wick EWT (Essex). The largest flock of EURASIAN SPOONBILLS wintering are the 9 in North Devon at Isley Marsh RSPB, Yelland.

Up to three different ROSS'S SNOW GEESE are in Norfolk, with two with Pink-footed Geese in the Yare Valley and Acle Strait and another with Barnacles and Pink-feet in the Cley and Letheringsett areas. The adult LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE of unknown origin has reappeared with TAIGA BEAN GEESE in the Yare Valley at Buckenham Carrs RSPB, the flock of the latter so far peaking at 86 birds. Meanwhile, at the only other regular wintering site for this species in Britain, 262 are in the Slammannan area of Forth District. There are still large numbers of TUNDRA BEAN GEESE around, including 46 on the River Humber (North Lincs) and 3-4 vagrant CANADA GEESE on Islay (Argyll) and a SMALL CANADA GOOSE of the form hutchinsii at Torr Reservoir in Somerset. The only vagrant-type RED-BREASTED GEESE include the adult at Tollesbury Wick Marshes (Essex) and the first-winter at Bowling Green Marsh RSPB in South Devon.

AMERICAN WIGEONS include drakes at Angler's Country Park (West Yorks) and Dawlish Warren (South Devon), a wintering female GARGANEY at Tophill Low (East Yorks), juvenile female BLUE-WINGED TEALS at Porthellick Pool, St Mary's (Scilly) and Longham Lakes (Dorset), LESSER SCAUPS at Cosmeston lakes (Glamorgan), Wimbleball Reservoir (Somerset), Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) and Marden Quarry Pool, Whitley Bay (Northumberland), drake KING EIDER in Burghead Harbour (Moray & Nairn), SURF SCOTERS off Dawlish Warren NNR (South Devon) and in Penzance Bay (Cornwall) and a juvenile female BUFFLEHEAD on the Loe Pool at Helston (Cornwall).

It has been the best winter in over 30 years for HEN HARRIERS whilst over 12 ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS continue to overwinter, including 4 in North Norfolk.

Vagrant waders still lingering on include the first-winter WESTERN SANDPIPER at Cley NWT Reserve (North Norfolk), a TEMMINCK'S STINT at Swithland's Reservoir (Leics), a first-winter PECTORAL SANDPIPER at Barassie in Ayrshire, SPOTTED SANDPIPERS at Chew Valley Lake (Avon), Lyme Regis (Dorset) and on the River Plym in Plymouth (South Devon), the WILSON'S SNIPE at Lower Moors, St Mary's (Scilly) and a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER in South Wales at Kidwelly Quay (Carmarthenshire).

In IRELAND, a long-staying BLUETHROAT remains in County Waterford at Clonea Strand.

Friday, 23 December 2011


GREAT NORTHERN DIVER at a wet and windy Grafham Water late pm, initially fairly close in looking north-east from Valley Creek Hide. Shortly afterwards I got onto it again further out towards the centre of the reservoir in the gloom.

Also: juvenile Shag roosting in its usual spot, 13 Goosander (4 adult males), adult Yellow-legged Gull, drake Pintail (Mark Ward)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

HEN HARRIER roosting nightly at Fowlmere RSPB

The 2CY female HEN HARRIER roosted again at Fowlmere NR for its 9th night, being first seen at 3.35pm and giving good views in flight and perched before settling down.

An adult male merlin hurtled past Reedbed Hide twice (3.45 and 4.15), and a peregrine flew over at 15.45 (Doug Radford)

Monday, 19 December 2011

Christmas Birding as we near the end of 2011

Well, I would just like to wish every one of you a very Happy and Healthy Christmas and hopefully another bird-filled and enriching, captivating New Year........

Although not quite over, 2011 has proven to be a record-breaking year in terms of species diversity in Britain and Ireland with an exceptional 451 species recorded - perhaps championed by the spectacular Siberian Rubythroat in Shetland in October and White-throated Robin in Hartlepool in May, as well as by the most unexpected and way off course vagrants such as the Stejneger's Scoter and the Slaty-backed Gull

As we enter this Christmas Week, the finest we have on offer at the moment are the following......

With last week's unsettled weather, involving heavy snowfall and localised flooding, one of our rarest birds has moved to pastures new......the juvenile SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER was finally flooded out of Blagdon Lake (Somerset) last Wednesday and has not been seen since

Meanwhile, Northumberland's GREATER YELLOWLEGS was blown nearly 200 miles NW to Skelbo (Sutherland), where it has graced a roadside field for five days just SE of Loch Fleet adjacent to the entrance to Coul Farm. In North Norfolk, the first-winter WESTERN SANDPIPER seems set on wintering at Cley NWT Reserve with the Dunlin and although highly mobile and somewhat elusive, is still visiting Pat's Pool and Simmond's Scrape daily, and the first-winter SPOTTED SANDPIPER can still be found at the north end of the River Plym near Marsh Mills Roundabout, Plymouth (South Devon). Exceptionally late is a confiding juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPER in shallow pools just north of Barassie (Ayrshire) between Dundonald Camp and the smallholdings (at NS 331 344).

Although recent females in Shetland and Salop have now moved on, as well as a male in East Yorks, a first-winter male DESERT WHEATEAR still survives in Northumberland at Newbiggin-on-Sea, showing well on the beach midway between Beacon Point and Church Point.

In Hampshire, a CATTLE EGRET is by Church Lane, Warblington, favouring a field with cattle viewable from the gate by the church car park at SU 728 053 whilst GLOSSY IBISES include two at Stodmarsh NNR (Kent) and singles at Leighton Moss RSPB (Lancs) and Fingringhoe Wick (Essex)..

Many ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS remain on wintering territories in Britain with singles at Burpham (West Sussex), North Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Nickoll's Quarry, near Hythe (East Kent) and Elmley Marshes (North Kent), with up to 7 in Norfolk (including 3 in the East Hills, Wells, area) and 3 in Suffolk.

Norfolk has at least 3 ROSS'S SNOW GEESE wintering, with one with Pink-footed Geese in the Weybourne area and two returning birds along the Acle Straits and Berney Marshes area, whilst TUNDRA BEAN GEESE left over from the huge influx still number well over 100 birds and TAIGA BEAN GEESE in the Norfolk Yare Valley have only climbed thus far to 16 individuals. Islay (Argyll) has its normal scattering of up to 4 vagrant Canada Geese and the only likely wild RED-BREASTED GEESE are singles in Essex and in South Devon (at Topsham). The most reliable wintering drake AMERICAN WIGEONS include singles at Angler's Country Park on Wintersett Reservoir (West Yorks) and at Dawlish Warren NNR (South Devon) whilst Ranworth Broad in Broadland Norfolk has both the regular female RING-NECKED DUCK wintering and the drake Ferruginous Duck of unknown origin. A couple of SURF SCOTERS were discovered last week, including the regularly wintering female off Dawlish Warren (South Devon) and a young drake in with 50 Common Scoter offshore of Penzance Jubilee Pool (Cornwall) in Mount's Bay. Not far from the latter is the long-staying juvenile female BUFFLEHEAD on the Loe Pool at Helston (Cornwall). The only KING EIDER on offer is that restricted to Burghead Harbour in Moray & Nairn district.

The only wintering YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER is a bird present alongside both Common and Siberian Chiffchaffs in Clennon Valley, Paignton (South Devon)

In IRELAND in County Kerry, a young female KING EIDER is present by the Reen Pier at Ballinskelligs and showing well (with a LITTLE AUK also in the same general area)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Thorney Island CATTLE EGRET relocated

Kevin Stouse phoned me at 10am today to say that there were two CATTLE EGRETS feeding with cattle on the Warblington Farm field at SU 728 053 (Field Q on my Warblington map at ) and as I have dipped five times on what was probably the same bird at Thornham Marshes on Thorney Island I dashed down there to see them.

When I got there I had close views from the field gate where Church Lane turns into the church carpark but of the two birds I saw one had a short stubby yellow bill and the other (though smaller than a Little Egret which was also present) had the thin pointed greyish black bill of a juvenile Little Egret (other features agreed with this).

There were many other birds present including a big flock of Brent in the next field north and as the cattle were clustered round a hay feeder eating avidly I guess the Egret will remain there for some time. Many thanks to Kevin (Ralph Hollins)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Incredibly late Scottish PECTORAL SANDPIPER at Barassie - 2nd day

A juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPER is present for a second day on the small pool at the back of the large pool in the field just north of Dundonald Camp.You can drive through the housing and come to a wide area of tarmac where you can park. Then you can walk over the fields (crossing 2 sets of fencing) to view the pools. The duck will fly, but the Pec won't spook easily (per Angus Murray, Gordon M, Bruce Kerr and others). Robert Lambie obtained the images above.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

More info on GREATER YELLOWLEGS at Loch Fleet - Dave Tanner

You've probably seen Al McNee's email re the Greater Yellowlegs found today by Dean MacAskill. I got the call from Bob Swann at at 12:15 hrs, unfortunately, Mary and I were on our way back from Liverpool and were just at Pitlochry. So we thought we'd get there about 15:00 hrs. Dean had sent me the OS Ref so we went directly to the spot. I first checked the next field which held a Greenshank, not knowing if the bird had moved from it's original location. I shouldn't have worried. As I pulled up at 15:05 beside the next field there it was about 50 ft away. By now the light was starting to go. I quickly took a few record digi shots and then enjoyed the bird with Bob & Liz Wilson who had just arrived. The bird was very confiding approaching us to within 20 ft, just the other side of the fence.

For those that are not familiar with the area the exact location of the pool is NH 79995-94680. The pool has a pile of logs on the road side. The is a very convenient passing place directly adjacent to the pool (Dave tanner)

Local Mega: GREATER YELLOWLEGS in Sutherland

Dean MacAskill found a first-winter GREATER YELLOWLEGS this morning on the south side of Loch Fleet. Leave the A9 north of the turn-off for Dornoch, taking the minor road to the right at NH783929, opposite the Trentham Hotel, and drive for 2km until a large flooded field is viewable on the right-hand side and just before the crossroads - grid ref NH796941. The bird is showing very well, mainly on the far side of the flood, but getting as close as 50-100m. One Redshank and a few Oyks are the only other birds present on the flood with a nearby flock of c500 finches including quite a few Bramblings (per Alastair McNee).

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Wintering ARCTIC TERN in north of Scotland

This ARCTIC TERN has probably been present since the 11 November when it was seen in the background of a news item on Scottish TV News featuring the Nigg Yard, Cromary Firth. A few days later an Arctic Tern was reported from Dornoch, and I first saw this bird on the 29/11. It has been present on and off at Portmahomack ever since (Dave Tanner)