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

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Friday, 9 November 2012

PINE GROZZERS still moving south

Denmark today has seen more PINE GROSBEAKS arrive in Skagen suggesting that the southerly exodus is picking up, whilst in North America, large numbers of RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, PINE SISKINS and EVENING GROSBEAKS are irrupting.

Here in Britain, the westerly winds have put paid to arriving vagrants and we are left with a paucity of birds of wider interest.....the total remains at 440 species.....

Highly popular is a first-winter female HOODED MERGANSER in West Sussex, present for just over a week in Pagham Harbour. The bird is favouring the tidal creek by the sluice at the North Wall and is concentrating its efforts at catching Crabs and other crustaceans. An hour either side of high tide should provide the best views, otherwise the bird swims down the creek and is very distant or out of view. Park sensibly at the end of Church Lane and walk 200 yards to the sluice bridge to view. As there is nothing to suggest that this bird is an escape (unringed and fully-winged) and its appearance in November mirrors that of the majority of recent records of this species in the UK, it is considered by the UK400 Club to be most likely a genuine vagrant.

In Kent in the Stour Valley, the PENDULINE TIT flock at Grove Ferry NR (Stodmarsh) increased to four birds first thing this morning, showing well pulling Bulrush heads apart from the David Feast Hide. However, with an increasing westerly wind, they were not seen again despite searching (at least one bird has been present all week).

After several weeks, the EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER continues to survive at Kilminning, Fife Ness (Fife), showing well in Rose bushes close to the green building on the seaward side of the lower car park at NO 631 088. At the same site also is a very long-staying juvenile BARRED WARBLER. Further north on Shetland, no less than 8 HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLLS remain, with 5 in crops around Baltasound School on Unst. Shetland also yielded a late ARCTIC WARBLER in Helendale on Wednesday and Thursday. Also managing to survive and find suitable food is the EUROPEAN BEE-EATER in County Durham, favouring properties and gardens along Dartford Road in Seaham (SR6 8HF for those of you with Sat-nav's)

A RICHARD'S PIPIT remains on the clifftop SE of the church at Covehithe (Suffolk) whilst a late juvenile RED-BACKED SHRIKE was trapped and ringed in Denmark House garden, Weybourne (Norfolk), this afternoon. In Breckland Norfolk, an elusive BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER is frequenting the River Thet in Thetford.

An adult BONAPARTE'S GULL continues in South Devon at Dawlish Warren NNR, ranging along the beach between the Lifeboat lookout and Groyne 1, whilst the influx of CASPIAN GULLS continues with perhaps 45 birds recorded from Derbyshire to Buckinghamshire.

The adult LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER remains with Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) on South Lake, whilst a first-winter was still present yesterday at the Long Nanny Burn in Northumberland. An adult AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER still retaining partial breeding plumage remains for a second day with 850 European Golden Plovers on mudflats at Pickerings Pasture NR (Cheshire).

A fair number of wintering GREAT WHITE EGRETS are to be found, with 4 in the Dungeness Area (Kent), the regularly-reappearing French-ringed adult at Ringwood (Hants), a bird at Willington GP (Derbyshire) (at SK 284 275), the usual bird at Leighton Moss RSPB (Lancs), up to 3 at ham Wall RSPB (Somerset) and 2 at Burton Mere Wetlands (Cheshire). Contrastingly, just one GLOSSY IBIS remains - at Marloes Mere (Pembs).

This time of year always sees a scattering of rare wildfowl with the adult RED-BREASTED GOOSE grazing with Dark-bellied Brent Geese and Canada Geese on The Deeps, Farlington Marsh (Hants), RING-NECKED DUCKS including a female in Ireland Bay, Slapton Ley (South Devon), a drake at Chew Valley Lake (Avon),one on Skomer (Pembs) and a young drake on Alvie Loch, near Aviemore (Speyside), a drake LESSER SCAUP in Villice Bay, Chew Valley Lake (Avon) and the drake AMERICAN WIGEON remaining at Wintersett Reservoir (West Yorks).

There continue to be large numbers of arriving BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS into the UK, from Shetland to Scilly, although individual flock sizes are generally small (less than 25) when compared to recent influxes of the species. A flock of 112 however is to be found in Blaydon (County Durham), 330 in Hull (East Yorks), 200 in Morrison's Car Park in Stirling (Forth) and 150 on Euston Street in Preston (Lancs). At least 150 Waxwings have been colour-ringed in Orkney in recent weeks and if you see any of these birds, please email with details.

The largest flock of BRAMBLING I have heard of so far is of 125 birds in Beech in Screetham Lane, Beeley Moor (Derbyshire)

Just one freshwater GREAT NORTHERN DIVER has been reported (on the Main Pit at Theale, Berkshire), whilst inland LONG-TAILED DUCKS can be found at Stocks Reservoir (Lancs) and at Dungeness RSPB (Kent).

Very little in the way of news from IRELAND but the regularly-reappearing adult SABINE'S GULL is back at the Kennedy Pier in Cobh (County Cork), the adult FORSTER'S TERN is once more at Nimmo's Pier, Galway Harbour (County Galway), a young drake LESSER SCAUP is on Lough Gash and at least 2 RICHARDSON'S SMALL CANADA GEESE are in the Lissadell Area. A party of 5 COMMON CRANES have been present at Tacumshin (County Wexford) in recent days, as have 2 juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS on the Myroe Levels, whilst the regular blue morph LESSER SNOW GOOSE is back at Lower Lough MacNean (County Fermanagh). Highlight though, was news of a BLACKPOLL WARBLER late this afternoon, feeding in a private garden on the Mullet at Blacksod (County Mayo), whilst on Sunday 4 November, this year's only PIED-BILLED GREBE remained near Louisburgh at Lough Baun (County Mayo).

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


The most intense September storm in over 30 years has wreaked havoc in the northern half of Britain as well as bringing in a flood of locustellas and other rare birds to the country.......

PALLAS'S GRASSHOPPER WARBLERS today were discovered at three widely spaced localities on the East Coast following the two days of torrential rain and strong easterly winds that bought serious flooding to Yorkshire and the closing of the A1.

First to be located was a first-winter at Hartlepool Headland in Cleveland (Chris Bell, Tom Francis, Richard Taylor, et al) but which quickly flew to dense cover and was lost. Next off, one was trapped at Whitburn Coastal Park in Tyne & Wear and after being released at 1350, reappeared several times during the afternoon around the smallest mound. The best was then left to last with a very confiding individual in Aberdeenshire, favouring a tiny copse besides the road to Collieston at Whinnyfold.

LANCEOLATED WARBLERS too were caught up in the conditions, with a second individual trapped and ringed on Fair Isle (Shetland) and another on North Ronaldsay (Orkney). Fair Isle also hosts a bag of other goodies including a PADDYFIELD WARBLER, BLYTH'S REED WARBLER, an OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT, 3 LITTLE BUNTINGS, 3 Barred Warblers, Richard's Pipit and up to 27 Yellow-browed Warblers whilst Foula (Shetland) has two different BLYTH'S REED WARBLERS, a long-staying SYKES'S BOOTED WARBLER, OBP, Richard's Pipit and Common Rosefinches (it also hosted a BLTYH'S PIPIT on Monday).

Kenny Buchan watched a FEA'S SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL pass south off Fraserburgh (Aberdeenshire) late morning, whilst Northumberland down to North Lincolnshire shared in the feast of rare waifs that were blown onshore including an ARCTIC WARBLER on Holy Island, GREENISH WARBLERS at Filey NCCP, Old Fall Plantation at Flamborough Head and at Spurn Point, the odd elusive LITTLE BUNTING here and there, numerous RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHERS and two juvenile Red-backed Shrikes, an Icterine Warbler and a bag of Yellow-browed Warblers. Most odd was an adult BAIRD'S SANDPIPER making landfall on Brownsman (the Farne Islands).

At the opposite end of the country on SCILLY, the 35 or so birders now instilled on the islands are starting to reap rewards, with an AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT showing well around the lighthouse rocks on Peninnis Head (St Mary's), a first-winter CITRINE WAGTAIL on the Great Pool (Tresco), a very confiding ORTOLAN in Hugh Town, a BARRED WARBLER & Wryneck by the Airfield and an AQUATIC WARBLER still opposite the Porthloo Duck Pond.

Portland has an ORTOLAN in the field opposite the Observatory, with the juvenile SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER still at Lodmoor (Dorset), the BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER on Davidstow (Cornwall) and Spotted Crake at Marazion Marsh RSPB (Cornwall).

The BOOTED WARBLER remains elusively just south of Gun Hill, Burnham Overy Staithe (Norfolk), where elsewhere along that coastline ROSE-COLOURED STARLING and Red-breasted Flycatcher are at Holme, Richard's Pipit at Sheringham and Yellow-browed Warblers are scattered in various localities.

The GREATER YELLOWLEGS has reappeared once more at Loch of Starthbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire)

Watch this space - this is just the start........

Friday, 14 September 2012

First RED-EYED VIREO for Shetland

At the extreme north end of the Shetland Islands, the elusive RED-EYED VIREO remains for its third day in the garden at Valyie, Norwick (Unst). This is an incredibly early arrival for this species but one has previously arrived even earlier - on Cape Clear Island (County Cork) on 5 September 2004. But surely the remnants of Tropical Storm Lesley displaced more than one Nearctic passerine.......

Shetland also has a LESSER GREY SHRIKE today at Aithbank (Fetlar), with 2 BARRED WARBLERS on Unst and a scattering of COMMON ROSEFINCHES; also a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER at Esha Ness as usual.

Both juvenile SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS are also still to be found - showing well on the beach by Skirt Island on the SE side of Tresco (Scilly) and at Lodmoor, just east of Weymouth (Dorset). Further Nearctic waders include a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER at the Butt of Lewis (Outer Hebrides), 2 AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS at Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk), Sandwich Bay (Kent), Dungeness (Kent), Seaton Common (Cleveland) and Baker's Fen, Wicken (Cambs).

In Greater London, the juvenile BAILLON'S CRAKE is still to be seen but incredibly elusively (perhaps revealing itself for literally seconds at a time, five times a day). It favours the reedy island and back edge just right of the centre of the Rifle Butts Hide - a 20 minute walk from the reserve centre. Special opening times operate again this weekend thanks to Howard Vaughan, the RSPB reserve staff and local volunteers - from 0500 to 1930 hours. The hide can take up to 125 birders at a time and has special access for wheelchair users, although to be in with a chance of seeing the bird, one needs to be at the right hand end of the hide.

At Landguard NR (Suffolk), the male SPANISH SPARROW is still resident with the local House Sparrows, being best located late afternoon as the pre-roost gathering takes place between 1700 and 1800 hours. Not much else on offer in East Anglia though, but seawatching has been reasonable today with the North Norfolk coast yielding its second GREAT SHEARWATER of the autumn, a lingering juvenile SABINE'S GULL and several LONG-TAILED SKUAS in recent days. Two flocks of GREAT SKUAS entered Cambs from the Wash this afternoon, whilst the Ouse Washes RSPB Reserve (Cambs) has an excellent selection of birds on offer from its first three hides north of the centre, including GLOSSY IBIS, GREAT WHITE EGRET, up to 104 Little Egrets, 50+ Garganey and a superb selection and variety of waders (an adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER has been present until yesterday at least).

A MELODIOUS WARBLER was seen briefly on the Sandwich Bay Estate (Kent), whilst one still remains on Bardsey Island (Gwynedd), with Lundy Island (Devon) attracting another as well as GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK and ORTOLAN BUNTING this past week. Up to 4 ORTOLANS are on Scilly, where also 1-2 first-winter CITRINE WAGTAILS remain. A MONARCH BUTTERFLY continues to show well in Easton, Portland (Dorset).

Lots of nice birds are now being seen and located in IRELAND with that mecca Tacumshin (County Wexford) attracting GLOSSY IBIS, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER and Pectoral Sandpiper, no less than 4 BUFF-BREASTS together at Carrahane Strand (County Kerry) (and a GREY PHALAROPE), another BUFF-BREAST at Reenroe (County Kerry), a juvenile SPOTTED SANDPIPER still in Smerwick Harbour, a juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER at Kilcoole NR on Wevbb's Field (County Wicklow) and a new BLUE-WINGED TEAL at Lough Beg (County Derry).

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


The BAILLON'S CRAKE is again showing intermittently at Rainham Marsh RSPB (London) this morning, visible from the Rifle Butts Hide. In Cambridgeshire, viewing from Kingfisher Hide at the Ouse Washes RSPB may result in the finding of an adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, GLOSSY IBIS and GREAT WHITE EGRET.

In North Norfolk, the juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER remains for a second day on the freshwater lagoon at Titchwell Marsh RSPB, whilst a juvenile RED-BACKED SHRIKE is at Kelling Caravan Site. Just west of Norwich, a WRYNECK is between Bowthorpe and West Earlham at the west end of Wilberforce Road in bushes on rough ground.

Wind in the Northwest

With the wind in the Northwest today, Pendeen Watchpoint has been typically productive, with 2 GREAT SHEARWATERS, a SABINE'S GULL, a LONG-TAILED SKUA, 35 Balearics and 5 Sooty Shearwaters being seen.

Elsewhere in Cornwall, at least 1 juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPER remains at the east end of Copperhouse Creek and a single SPOTTED CRAKE at Marazion Marsh RSPB.

On the Isles of Scilly, a juvenile SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER is still showing well on South Beach, Tresco, with an ORTOLAN BUNTING along Pool Road. A first-winter CITRINE WAGTAIL remains on Porthellick Pool, St Mary's, and 2 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS on the Airfield

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


In Dorset, a juvenile SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER is present for its third day at Lodmoor Reserve, just east of Weymouth. Initially distant and difficult to view, photographic evidence suggested Short-billed and after several hours today, the bird finally showed exceptionally well, wading out in shallow water and feeding at just 70 yards distance. It is generally keeping company with Common Snipe and is favouring a section of dense sedges visible by looking east from the footpath that skirts the western fringe of the reserve. It spends very long periods out of view (up to four hours at a time) and rarely leaves the shelter of the sedges.

Parking is available in the adjacent council car park but is expensive at £1.00 per hour. There are two vantage points overlooking this part of the reserve - 1) the main footpath that flanks west or 2) the higher ground of the former landfill site accessed from by the recycling centre.

It represents the 402nd species of the year and was today admired by just under 160 observers. It is the first to be seen since 1999.

It is really rare waders all the way at the moment with the long-staying adult LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER still on the South Lake at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs), a wave of AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER arrivals today with adults on North Ronaldsay (Orkney), on the Cefni Estuary at malltraeth (Anglesey), SW of Glasson (Lancs) at Cockersands Sands Country Park and on St Mary's (Scilly) and a juvenile at the Butt of Lewis (Outer Hebrides), a juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER for a third day at Seaton Carew, Teesmouth (Cleveland), a juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER in Gott Bay on Tiree (Argyll), a juvenile LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Kingmill Lake (Cornwall), BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS at Marazion Beach (Cornwall) and on St Mary's Airfield (Scilly) (two birds) and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS at Lockwood Reservoir, Walthamstow (Greater London), Burton Mere Wetlands (Cheshire), Gibraltar Point NNR (Lincs) and at New Lambton, Washington (County Durham).

High pressure and very light winds in the south is surprisingly failing to produce many drift migrants but ORTOLAN BUNTINGS were seen at both West Bexington and Hengistbury Head (Dorset), a juvenile RED-BACKED SHRIKE remains at Wembury Point (South Devon), at least 15 WRYNECKS remain but of course are generally shy and retiring, a BARRED WARBLER at Burnham Overy Dunes (North Norfolk) and a COMMON ROSEFINCH on Tiree (Argyll). A ship-assisted male SPANISH SPARROW at landguard Point (Suffolk) has infiltrated the local House Sparrow clan and is to be found at dawn leaving the Custom House Buddleia roost-site.

IRELAND has also been dominated by Nearctic wader arrivals with a WILSON'S PHALAROPE at Kinsale Marsh (Co. Cork), BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS at tacumshin (Wexford), Bridges of Ross (Clare), Kilshannig (Kerry) and Carrahane Strand (Kerry). A FORSTER'S TERN also lingered at Soldier's Point, Dundalk (Louth) until 1st whilst the male SNOWY OWL remains on Arranmore Islands (Mayo).

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Southeasterly winds reaping rewards in the Northern Isles

With strong Southeasterly winds, both Fair Isle and North Ronaldsay have been quids in. The former attracted 2 CITRINE WAGTAILS, a Common Rosefinch and 2 Barred Warblers today whilst the latter scored with an ARCTIC WARBLER, GREENISH WARBLER, CITRINE WAGTAIL, juvenile Red-backed Shrike and 3 Barred Warblers. A number of Pied Flycatchers and Wood Warblers were also seen at both localities, whilst the male BLACK-HEADED BUNTING was still present on North Ron yesterday. The Isle of May in Fife also had Wryneck and Barred Warbler, whilst further south, Barred Warblers reached Low Newton-by-the-Sea (Northumberland) and Spurn Point (East Yorks).

A fair scattering of Pied Flycatchers have been appearing at East and South Coast coastal localities, as well as a number of Wood Warblers, whilst Black and Arctic Terns have been passing through in sizeable numbers.

A MARSH SANDPIPER was identified on Rush Hills Scrape, Hickling Broad (Norfolk), being seen up until 1015 hours and then again late evening; 2 Sacred Ibises were also present on the scrape yesterday evening. A SPOTTED CRAKE was this evening at Stanwick GP (Northants) whilst a number of LONG-TAILED SKUA sightings included a lost juvenile at Winteresett Reservoir (South Yorks) briefly yesterday morning. A MELODIOUS WARBLER was a fresh arrival to the Pittisporum hedgerows of Penninis Head, St Mary's (Scilly).

The flock of 4 WHITE STORKS remain in Somerset at Wet Moor, with the near-adult BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON still on Lower Pennington Fishponds (Hants) and GLOSSY IBISES at Marloes Mere (Pembs), Minsmere Levels (Suffolk) and at Barnham Brooks (Sussex). A number of migrant HONEY BUZZARDS have also been appearing, whilst the adult LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER remains at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) and an adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at Beacon Lane Pools, Kilnsea (East Yorks).

There has been no further sign of Saturday's first-summer ELEONORA'S FALCON at St Levan/Porthgwarra (Cornwall), a SPOTTED CRAKE remaining at Marazion Marsh RSPB (Cornwall) and an AQUATIC WARBLER trapped there and at Portland Bill Bird Observatory (Dorset) on 12th.

An adult LEAST SANDPIPER was at Carrahane Strand (County Kerry) on 13th, with an adult BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER at Tacumshin (County Wexford) since 12th and a first-summer female PALLID HARRIER over Movasta (Co. Clare) on 12th. Two WILSON'S PETRELS were seen from a Loop Head pelagic trip on 12th.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


Following exceptional numbers in The Netherlands in May, no less than 9 calling male BAILLON'S CRAKES were located in the UK in June including 3 birds at Malltraeth RSPB in Anglesey, at least 2 on the Nene Washes RSPB in Cambs and singles at a number of fenland localities elsewhere in East Anglia and North Kent


Following exceptional numbers in The Netherlands in May, no less than 9 calling male BAILLON'S CRAKES were located in the UK in June including 3 birds at Malltraeth RSPB in Anglesey, at least 2 on the Nene Washes RSPB in Cambs and singles at a number of fenland localities elsewhere in East Anglia and North Kent

Monday, 30 July 2012

What A Good Year for the ROLLERS.......

As July comes towards a close, we can look back on the summer as being exceptional for EUROPEAN ROLLER occurrences. Not withstanding an extremely popular adult that spent three weeks in East Yorkshire, since 26 July another (or the same) has been frequenting Orkney Mainland in the vicinity of Meddle Hill at Finstown. It was still showing well on fenceposts this evening.

Not that far away, on North Ronaldsay (Orkney), an adult moulting WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER continues in Holland House garden

This past week has also been good for both PURPLE HERON and WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN, with singles of the former involving a juvenile at Coombe Hill Meadows (Gloucs), a long-staying adult at Stodmarsh (Kent) and perhaps the same at Oare Marshes NR, Faversham, and a further bird in Cambridgeshire at Mepal Washes. WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERNS appeared at Staines Reservoirs (Surrey) at dusk on 28 July (departing at dawn next day), Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) on 28 July (moving south to Orfordness) and further adults at Alton Water Dam (Suffolk) and Saltholme RSPB (Cleveland) on 29-230 July.

An adult SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER was discovered in East Lothian on 29 July and was still showing well today - two miles west of Dunbar on the south side of Tyninghame Bay commuting between Sandy Hurst spit and the mouth of the Hedderwick Burn. Meanwhile in Cheshire, an adult BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER continues to visit Frodsham Marsh No 6 Tank and a summer-plumaged adult LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER continues to grace the South Lake at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs). PECTORAL SANDPIPERS are to be found at Bishop Middleham Floods (County Durham) and in the NW corner of Normandy Marsh, SE of Lymington (Hants).

On St Kilda, the adult male SNOWY OWL continues its summer sojourn on the barren and windswept Hirta, whilst a GLOSSY IBIS remains at Walton Hall Marshes, The Naze (Essex).

In Somerset, the male IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF continues to sing and call erratically from Silver Birches at the east end of the Porlock Toll Road, just east of the metal bench and log pile on the first bend west of Porlock

Not much to report from IRELAND apart from the male SNOWY OWL on Arranmore and GLOSSY IBIS and MONTAGU'S HARRIER at tacumshin.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Autumn begins as hot weather replaces rain

21 July in the avian world is traditionally the first day of autumn in UK and Irish birding, although the forecast weather for next week suggest that summer has just arrived.......

As such, a FEA'S SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL past Mizen Head (County Cork) on 16th July represents the 387th species of the year

This past week has been fairly quiet as expected but claiming pole position has been a twitchable 2nd-summer CASPIAN TERN traversing the River Bure, east of Norwich from Tuesday to Thursday. It favoured the pool 150 yards east of the derelict windmill at Buckenham Marshes RSPB (Norfwich) but also visited Strumpshaw Fen, Cantley Beet Factory Pools and Breydon Water during its visit, the latter being utilised as a roosting site late in the day; there was no sign of it today however.

Seabirds have been hitting the headlines most of the week with WILSON'S STORM PETRELS now being easily found in the Western Approaches south and SW of Scilly and a small scattering of GREAT and CORY'S SHEARWATERS, the latter including the odd bird off Porthgwarra (Cornwall) and daily now off SW Ireland. ROSEATE TERNS have been moving south with up to 4 individuals being noted at Minsmere South Scrape and at Lowestoft North Beach (Suffolk).

The male RED-BACKED SHRIKE has delighted a stream of visitors to Lake Farm Country Park, Hayes (Middlesex), showing well in Elder and Hawthorn scrub 100 yards NE of the reserve car park - and still present today - with the first of returning passage Whinchats and Common Redstarts turning up at a variety of locations.

A ROLLER at New Pitsligo in Lovie Quarry (Aberdeenshire) from 13th-15th July was a superb record for Scotland.

Returning adult waders this week have included an adult PECTORAL SANDPIPER at Holland Haven (16th) and Old Hall Marshes (both Essex) on 18th, with another at Cresswell Bay (Northumberland) from 16th-19th and an adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at Wagon Wheel Pits, Grimley (Worcs) (14th only) and at Frmapton Marsh RSPB (North Lincs). A splendid summer-plumaged GREY PHALAROPE graced Martin Mere WWT (Lancs) on 17th, with an adult in near winter plumage at Old Moor RSPB, Barnsley (South Yorks) today (20th), whilst an adult TEMMINCK'S STINT was at Greatham Creek, Teesmouth (Cleveland) throughout the week.
Three WHITE STORKS were on the floodmeadows at Templecombe (Dorset) until Wednesday whilst GLOSSY IBISES continue at Marloes Mere (Pembs), Pagham Harbour (West Sussex) and wandering birds at Holland Haven (Essex) and Grove Ferry NR (Kent) on 17th.

GLOSSY IBISES continue in IRELAND with singles at Timoleague (County Cork), Tacumshin (County Wexford) and Tralee Bay (County Kerry) whilst the female SNOWY OWL on The Mullet (County Mayo) reappeared at Termon Hill and a male was on Arranmore Islands (County Donegal). An adult ROSE-COLOURED STARLING remained in Dungarvan (County Waterford) at Abbeyside, Seapark.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Midsummer doldrums

Little going on it seems, although the weather remains unsettled with continuous localised flash flooding....

In Greater London, a gorgeous adult male RED-BACKED SHRIKE continues for a fourth day north of Heathrow Airport at Lake Farm Country Park just south of Hayes. It is frequenting a small patch of bushes 100 yards NE of the car park in Dawley Road.

Returning rare waders include an adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at Frampton Marsh RSPB (North Lincs) and an adult PECTORAL SANDPIPER at the north end of Cresswell Pond (Northumberland)

In North Norfolk, a GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK remains on Blakeney Point, frequenting the base of the Yankee Ridge area, a 50 minute walk west from Cley Coastguards, whilst in Suffolk, the female EUROPEAN SERIN continues to tease vsitors at Landgaurd Nature Reserve (but generally disappears after 0700 hours).

A great local bird, a male MONTAGU'S HARRIER, is still being regularly seen in Lancashire, where it remains ESE of Slaidburn at Champion Moor.

Minsmere RSPB has a GLOSSY IBIS still present on the South Levels

BALEARIC SHEARWATERS are currently a daily event at Portland Bill (Dorset), whilst at least 3 WILSON'S STORM PETRELS were seen from a Scilly pelagic yesterday evening.
In Ireland, the only recent reports are of at least 1 GLOSSY IBIS still at Tacumshin (County Wexford) and another at Timoleague (County Cork) and a BLACK STORK that flew over Ballyvaughan towards Black Head (County Clare)

Sunday, 8 July 2012


There is an adult SP LonLONG-BILLED DOWITCHER at Ouse Fen. I found the bird yesterday morning in an area with no public access, and with the warden away, there was no way to arrange access to broadcast the news.

However, the bird has been seen from the public bridalway that runs along the north side of the site, paralleling the river Ouse.

It was last seen flying off high southwest at ca. 13.00 pm this afternoon, with Redshanks. It may well still be in the area, however.

It favours Phase 5 of the site, and has also been associating with the Black-tailed Godwit flock. View FROM BEHIND BARBED WIRE FROM ca. TL378740

To access this, EITHER park at Earith bridge TL392745 and walk west along the public bridalway to where Phase 5 is beyond the barbed wire fence on the left OR approach along Overcote Road on the track that leads to Brownshill Staunch (the bridalway starts under the conveyor belt just before the Staunch, ca. TL370726. From there it's about 20 mins walk to view third pool on right.

ON NO ACCOUNT OR UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES MUST ANYONE APPROACH BY WALKING ALONG THE CONVEYOR BELT FROM THE FEN END ROAD of the site - this is a very important requirement that EVERYONE must adhere to. The conveyor belt is part of a working quarry, even if men are not currently at work.

Richard P

Thursday, 12 April 2012


The male BLACK-WINGED STILT found in Oxfordshire at 1100 hours this morning was still present this evening and showing very well just to the left of the first hide on Pit 60. The bird is at the new reserve at Standlake Common, just west of the A415, accessed on foot from Langley Lane.

Parking is very restricted and is best performed in Shifford Lane nearby. Walk back to the crossroads and back south down the A415 for about 220 yards before walking right into Langley Lane and down there for 500 yards to the hide

It represents only the second county record

Saturday, 24 March 2012

SE winds and temperatures at 72 degrees F

Temperatures reached 72 degrees fahrenheit in southern England today, whilst a SE wind bathed most of the coastline. With exceptionally early migrants in the form of Common Cuckoo, House Martin, Sedge Warbler and Common Whitethroat, the list total for this year surged forward to an incredible 290 species.......

But it was IRELAND that stole the show with a whole host of southern overshoots turning up. Best of all was a very confiding BAILLON'S CRAKE on Great Saltee Island (County Wexford), favouring the ruins to the left of the Rickyard house. Boats to the island leave Kilmore Quay. A WOODCHAT SHRIKE was also discovered, with a twitcahble ALPINE SWIFT at Fanore (County Clare) and a BLACK KITE at Vartry Reservoir, Roundwood (County Wicklow). This follows a PURPLE HERON seen near Kilcoole yesterday.

Incoming migrants here included at least 4 HOOPOES, with two in the vicinity of Higher Bosistow Farm, Polgigga (Cornwall) and further singles on the Garrison, St Mary's (Scilly) and another at Tavistock (Devon). At the extreme NW of Britain, an ALPINE SWIFT flew up and down the gulley just SW of the lighthouse at the Butt of Lewis (Outer Hebrides).

In South Wales, the male COMMON YELLOWTHROAT remains at Rhiwderyn (Gwent), with the adult BONAPARTE'S GULL nearby in Cardiff Bay, the drake LESSER SCAUP at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park and the LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER at Cydweli (Carmarthenshire).

The two first-winter LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS continue to show well on the drained lagoon 500 yards west of the Ashcott Corner car park at Meare Heath (Shapwick Heath NNR, Somerset), with 6 GREAT WHITE EGRETS still in the area and both drake LESSER SCAUP and SPOTTED SANDPIPER still at Chew Valley Lake (Avon).

The LITTLE BUNTING continues at South Milton Ley (South Devon), whilst ROSE-COLOURED STARLINGS are still in residence in Muirhead, Troon (Ayrshire) and in Hordle village (Hants).

A CATTLE EGRET is showing well at Home Farm, Springfield Bottom (Theale, Berkshire), with another at Lydney (Gloucs), whilst GLOSSY IBISES remain at Saltholme Pools (Cleveland), Marloes Mere (Pembs), Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) and near Chelmsford at Baddow Meads Pond, Great Baddow (Essex). Yesterday, a GLOSSY IBIS made it to Aird an Runair on North Uist (Outer Hebrides), whilst elsewhere in Scotland, 3 adult WHITE-BILLED DIVERS remain offshore of Port Nis, Lewis, and the GREATER YELLOWLEGS continues at Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire).

Both the HUME'S LEAF WARBLER and RICHARD'S PIPIT remain at Wyke Regis (Dorset), whilst in IRELAND, a long-staying RICHARD'S PIPIT continues at Killard Point.

Maldon GLOSSY IBIS relocates

I have just found a GLOSSY IBIS at Baddow Meads flood plains near Chelmsford. The bird was frequenting the pond area near the white pub. I presume this is the bird from maldon as it had a white ring on it. Here is alocation map if it works,206425&st=4&ar=y&mapp=map.srf&searchp=ids.srf&dn=773&ax=572411&ay=206425&lm=0

Hadden Turner

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Today's Highlights - LAUGHING GULL and ALPINE SWIFT

The total number of species now recorded in Britain and Ireland this year has risen to 279 with the addition of a first-winter LAUGHING GULL in Cumbria and an ALPINE SWIFT in Cornwall. Present for its second day, the LAUGHING GULL has been frequenting fields south of the A590 near Dalton-in-Furness, about 400 yards NE of the Dalton roundabout. The mobile ALPINE SWIFT was initially seen over Lizard Village (Cornwall) from 1500-1515 and again at 1605 before relocating to Caerthillian and Church Coves briefly at 1728.

Recent days have seen a big increase in migrants arriving with the first main thrust of Northern Wheatears, Common Chiffchaffs, Black Redstarts and Sand Martins, whilst Garganeys, White Wagtails and the odd Ring Ouzel, Willow Warbler, Barn Swallow and Stone Curlew have also been turning up. Associated with this arrival have been several BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS, including up to four different individuals in a landscaped garden pond in Devon at Woolacombe and a long-stayer at the small pool in Polgigga adjacent to the Porthgwarra turning (West Cornwall)

On the Isles of Scilly, the NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH continues to show intermittently in the thick Sallow 'woodland' just beyond the Shooter's Pool viewing screen on Lower Moors, St Mary's. Meanwhile in South Wales, the first-winter male COMMON YELLOWTHROAT continues to infrequent the brambles and scrub at the top of the field just outside of Rhiwderyn, NW of Newport (Gwent) (at ST 259 869).

In West Sussex, the male PADDYFIELD WARBLER continues to linger at Pagham Harbour, favouring the Phragmites and scrub 90 yards west of the Breaches Pool, most often between the 3rd and 4th benches on the North Wall. Please park sensibly at the end of Church Lane and follow the footpath for 500 yards. Not that far away in Hampshire, the adult male SPANISH SPARROW continues to display to House Sparrows in Calshot village.

The first-year GREATER YELLOWLEGS was once again today at the Starnafin Farm Loch of Strathbeg RSPB reserve (Aberdeenshire), after being absent all day yesterday, whilst present for at least its third day was another Nearctic vagrant - female BLUE-WINGED TEAL - at the Walmsley Sanctuary CBWPS Reserve (Cornwall) (viewable from the Tower Hide).

The adult SPOTTED SANDPIPER is once again feeding along the concrete banking of the Herriott's Pool at Chew Valley Lake (Avon), whilst that same reservoir harbours a drake LESSER SCAUP from the Bernard King Hide and a long-staying LONG-TAILED DUCK at the dam. Not that far away in Somerset, a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was with Common Redshanks at Greylake RSPB until 0930 hours.

Many GLOSSY IBISES are still to be found including four birds at Cantley Marshes RSPB showing well from the gate in Station Road, Cantley (Norfolk), the immature at Island Mere, Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk), two still in the first meadow west of the oxbow lakes at Stodmarsh NNR (Kent), two still in the vicinity of the North Hide at Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset), that in flooded fields at Saltholme Pools RSPB (Cleveland) and 3 still at Marloes Mere (Pembs).

Numerous GREAT WHITE EGRETS remain, including singles at Campfield Marsh RSPB (Cumbria) (at NY 201 606), on the Harty Marshes, Sheppey (North Kent), at Crossens Outer Marsh (Lancs), at Llanrhidian Marsh, on the Gower (Glamrgan) and up to four in the Somerset Levels area, whilst CATTLE EGRETS today include singles at Redhill House on Watery Lane in Lydney (Gloucs) (at SO 625 030) and that in the cattle field at SY 719 914 at Kingston Maurward, Dorchester (Dorset)

Wintering YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS still to be found include one of the four at Carnon Downs Sewage Works, Truro (Cornwall) and that in the dense evergreen shrubs by the entrance to the Paraxel building on Worthing High Street (West Sussex) as well as the more recent migrant in bushes along the cycleway between Berkeley Way and Skipton Crescent in Warndon, Worcester (Worcs) at SO 884 570. whilst all 3 wintering ROSE-COLOURED STARLINGS are to be found, with that in Holyhead (Anglesey) and singles in Muirhead, Troon (Ayrshire) (most frequently in Bruce Kerr's garden with the Scottish flag opposite the Activity Centre) and in Hordle village (Hants) (generally in the vicinity of the memorial, just down from the village post office). A flock of 4 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS still remains on berries by the roundabout at the south end of Asda's car park in Blyth (Northumberland)

Lots of GREAT GREY SHRIKES are still to be found including popular singles near Fakenham (Norfolk) parallel to the A148, one in the middle-of-nowhere near the Craig Bron-banog aerial mast in Clocaenog Forest (at SJ 018 520), the singing male near the footpath to Doles Farm at Lower Layham (Suffolk), the long-stayer near the sentry box on Prestwick Carrs (Northumberland), one in the clearing opposite the hide in Montreathmont Forest (Angus/Dundee), that present for its third day between Green House Farm and Twelve Acre Farm at South Leigh (Oxfordshire), that long-stayer in the hedgerows near Hinton Organic Farm at Queen Charlton (Somerset), at Ibsley Common and at Pig Bush in the New Forest (Hants), in hedgerows opposite ElyRailway Station in Little Thetford (Cambs), on the slope west of the car park at World's End (Clwyd), in the central clearfell in Cross Inn Forest (Ceredigion), along the Ackling Dyke at Sixpenny Handley (Dorset) still, two still on Thursley Common (Surrey), in the clearfell at Langridge Fell (SD 660 404) (Lancs) a kilometre along the main forestry track off of the old Clitheroe road and still near the loch at Old Kinord (Aberdeenshire).

In North Wales, a build-up in scoter numbers has resulted in the finding of no less than four SURF SCOTERS (3 adult drakes) offshore amongst the estimated 25,000 Common Scoters at Old Colwyn (Conwy), with another drake in Largo Bay off Ruddon's Point (Fife).

Other rare wildfowl lingering include drake AMERICAN WIGEONS on the central lagoon at Exminster Marshes RSPB (South Devon) and at Angler's Country Park, WakefIeld (South Yorks), the drake RING-NECKED DUCK still on the Par Beach Pool, St Austell (Cornwall) with another at Fleetwood Marsh Nature Park (Lancs), and the drake GREEN-WINGED TEAL on the River Chelmer in Maldon (Essex) and that on Dorman's Pool, Teesmouth (Cleveland). Two 'new' drake RING-NECKED DUCKS were discovered on Loch Davan (Aberdeenshire) this evening.

Meanwhile, a white morph SNOW GOOSE remains with Greylag Geese in fields left of the Douglas Water junction in Clyde and the RED-BREASTED GOOSE with Dark-bellied Brent Geese at Old Hall Marshes (Essex)..

Nottinghamshire had an interesting overland wader passage today, involving both Red Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit but more interestingly a PURPLE SANDPIPER at Kilvington West Lake; also at least 6 Black-legged Kittiwakes through..

One of the two LITTLE AUKS remained in Scapa Flow off of Scapa Pier (Orkney) today.

Not much news from IRELAND today but the female RING-NECKED DUCK remains at Cross Lough, Killadoon (County Mayo), the female SIBERIAN STONECHAT continues on the South Slob NR (County Wexford), a GLOSSY IBIS for its second day at Mullaghmore Lake (County Galway), both first-winter LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS at The Cull (County Wexford), drake GREEN-WINGED TEAL at Tacumshin (County Wexford) and the first Swallows and Willow Warblers of the year

Rare Bird Alerts

The daily bird news feed has now reverted to the Members Area of the UK400 Club website at where members can benefit from all of the latest and breaking news on Rare Birds in Britain and Ireland

Thursday, 15 March 2012

HAMPSHIRE'S finest all still there

The male SPANISH SPARROW at Calshot is now singing away for 3 hours or so at a time, obviously trying to attract a mate, close to Calshot Close. Excellent for photography, has no qualms about showing itself on the ground or on top of the bushes just a few feet away from photographers, posing for the pictures. Amongst the other charities, Viv and Bruce have contributed to HOS as they were so pleased with the way Simon, Keith and others handled everything. The money will go to something special (hic).

The Hawkhill Inclosure DARK-EYED JUNCO is still showing in the New Forest, but the inevitable 'discussions' arise between the photographers and the others, as to how close to go to the seeds. It has been no more than friendly banter, but it did seem that when those closest left, the birds came down to feed. The Junco seems to remain quite timid, although others dispute this.

The ROSE-COLURED STARLING in Hordle village continues to show well. It is easy to distinguish when with other starlings. It can be anywhere in the vicinity during the day. The best time to be sure of seeing and hearing it is about 3.30 onwards. It arrives at Holes Close to roost well before dusk (the first house on the right hand side as you enter, the bird roosts at the far end every night inside this thorny bush), and can be heard trying to attract other starlings to join its roost, always unsuccessfully. It will show itself on and off; t is well used to people, and also fly around the close before returning to the bush, trying to get the other starlings to join it. The residents of the house, Eileen and Tony, are thrilled to have the bird here (they have named it Reggie), and also thrilled to have the birdwatchers who have been 'exemplary and brilliant'. They are considering following the example of Calshot and having a collection bucket, money going towards a charity and something for the close. They said they are so pleased they are willing to invite birdwatchers into their garden.

Ian Julian

Sunday, 11 March 2012

SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER arrives as the temperature increase to 61 degrees F

Following on from a few early OSPREYS and the first wave of GARGANEYS, temperatures of up to 64 degrees fahrenheit today induced a vagrant SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER into East Kent at Samphire Hoe Country Park - the 275th species of the year in combined Britain and Ireland. Found shortly after midday, the bird remained on view until late afternoon, generally favouring the Birches and small plantations alongside the railway, up to 300 yards away from the Information Centre. Simon Knight managed a few record shots, published above.

Otherwise, it was very much the same as it has been - the showstoppers all still in situ

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT still moving about the hedgerows adjacent to Rhiwderyn village in Gwent (South Wales) (but much more difficult now to locate due to the small number of people now visiting the site), the male SPANISH SPARROW in Calshot village (Hants) (Bruce Gwynn still putting in a sterling effort and allowing access to his girlfriend's house to view the feeders - please note though that Bruce will soon be away for 6 weeks), the male DARK-EYED JUNCO in the clearing NW of the car park at Hawkhill Inclosure, New Forest, west of Beaulieu and the singing male PADDYFIELD WARBLER in phragmites in the vicinity of the third bench west of the Breaches Pool at Pagham harbour's North Wall.

And now for the rest.......

Still numerous GREAT WHITE EGRETS to see, including up to 5 in the Shapwick Heath NNR area (Somerset) but no recent reports of the Kirkby-on-Bain Landfill Site (Lincs) White Stork of unknown origin.

GLOSSY IBISES continue to make headlines and one must now ponder on why several flocks are migrating/dispersing even further north in spring; up to 5 remain on the island of Eigg (Highland) with 3 in the Gibraltar Point area (Lincs), the long-stayer at Leighton Moss RSPB (Lancs), 4 together at Reedham (Norfolk Yare Valley), the singleton at Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk), 8J9 in Essex at Lofts Farm GP, Maldon, 2 at Stodmarsh/Grove Ferry NNR (Kent) and the 3 still at Marloes Mere (Pembs).

Rare wildfowl include a SNOW GOOSE with Greylag Geese at Douglas Water (Clyde) (most wintering Ross's Snow Geese have now departed NNW with Pinkfeet), up to 10 singleton vagrant GREENLAND WHITE-FRONTED GEESE remain at various sites from Hampshire to Suffolk, several TUNDRA BEAN GEESE flocks including 15 at Maidens Hall Lake, Red Row and 3 RED-BREASTED GEESE of probably genuine origin: a first-winter with Barnacles in Dumfries at Southerness Point, a first-winter with Brents at Needs Ore Point (Hants) and an adult with Brents at Kirton Creek, north of Felixstowe (Suffolk).

The drake AMERICAN WIGEON remains at Angler's Country Park (West Yorks), as does the drake at Exminster Marshes RSPB (South Devon) but there was no sign today of the drake at Marlingford Mill, Norwich (Norfolk) that has been present the past week. No less than 12 NORTH AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEALS are to be found, with the first-year drake BLUE-WINGED TEAL on Lower Moors, St Mary's (Scilly), drake LESSER SCAUPS at Cosmeston Lakes CP, Cardiff (Glamorgan) and St John's Loch (Caithness), drake RING-NECKED DUCKS at both Par Beach Pool and College Reservoir in Cornwall and SURF SCOTERS at several sites, including the long-stayers at Penzance (Cornwall) and in West Wales. The juvenile female BUFFLEHEAD from Helston Loe Pool (Cornwall) seems to have moved on, whilst there ha sbeen no further sign of the adult female Hooded Merganser of unknown origin in Kent since 5th March.

Several ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS remain on winter territories, the easiest to see being the juvenile at Burpham (West Sussex), whilst 2 COMMON CRANES on Worth Marshes, Sandwich (East Kent) are likely continental migrants.

On the wader front, Scotland's first-year GREATER YELLOWLEGS is now at Starnafin Farm, Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire) (since 7th) with the long-staying LESSER YELLOWLEGS in West Cornwall near Saltash. Avon's adult SPOTTED SANDPIPER is now showing again at Chew Valley Lake, with sporadic appearances of both the LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS in Wigtown Bay (Galloway) and Lodmoor CP (Dorset). The wintering PECTORAL SANDPIPER also remains in Ayrshire.

The adult BONAPARTE'S GULL continues to be seen in Cardiff Bay (Glamorgan) with further birds at Stornoway, Lewis (Outer Hebrides) and Dunnet Bay (Caithness), with up to 6 different CASPIAN GULLS gracing Minsmere RSPB East Scrape (Suffolk). Martin Scott's record flock of ICELAND GULLS in Stornoway Harbour (Lewis) reached a staggering 88 birds on 9th.

Surprisingly, despite the temperatures, no Hoopoes have yet been found on the South Coast of Britain, but Sand Martins are now starting to arrive in numbers as well as the odd Barn Swallow. An incredible 37 WATER PIPITS are gathered at the water meadows beside the Stour river at Stodmarsh (Kent) with Black Redstarts arriving in good numbers and dribs and drabs of Northern Wheatears. I expect the first White-spotted Bluethroat any day now.

At least 6 YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS remain from the winter with perhaps a migratory bird at the Paraxel buildings in Worthing (West Sussex) for two weeks now. Three different ROSE-COLOURED STARLINGS have proved popular with singles in Holyhead, Muirtown (Ayrshire) and Hordle village (Hampshire)

Friday, 2 March 2012

ROSY STARLING in Hampshire (belated report)

I have just been contacted by a member of the public with photos of an adult ROSE-COLURED STARLING that has visited a garden several times each day for about three weeks - but not since 29 February. The bird was visiting a back garden (not viewable from the road) towards the north end of Everton Road, Hordle (not far from the Post Office), so it would be worth checking any Starling flocks around there (Keith Betton).

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

More news

As my review was posted prematurely, a few more details....

The LESSER YELLOWLEGS I spoke of was the bird showing well from the second hide near Kingsmill Lake, north of Saltash (Cornwall) (at SX 427 608) - and now present for its 92nd day.

The Kent Hooded Merganser is unringed and reasonably wary and present at Whetsted GP, 3.5 miles east of Tonbridge; park in Five Oak Green and foolow the footpath from Moat Farm to TQ 642 467.

On Scilly, the first-winter WILSON'S SNIPE reappeared at Lower Moors on 25th

End of February Review

With some early spring migrants appearing such as the likes of Stone Curlew, Little Ringed Plover, White Wagtail and Northern Wheatear, the total number of species now recorded in Britain and Ireland in 2012 stands at an impressive 268 species.

However, it is the rare passerines that continue to steal the show....

In South Wales, the eleventh COMMON YELLOWTHROAT for Britain continues to thrill allcomers in Rhiwderyn, 3 miles west of Newport (Gwent). Park in Caerphilly Close before entering the farmland by the stile.

Meanwhile, on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, the overwintering NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH continues to parade around Shooter's Pool on Lower Moors, far and away the longest-staying example of a North American 'warbler'.

Hampshire on the other hand, still harbours the first-winter male DARK-EYED JUNCO in the New Forest at Hawkhill Inclosure, 1.5 miles NNW of Beaulieu (in the vicinity of the fallen pines in the main clearing NNW of the car park), with the male SPANISH SPARROW cheeping and chirping in Calshot Close, Calshot village (follow on-site instructions and refrain from visiting prior to 0800 hours; always park 500 yards away at the main car park).

The other main attraction is Pagham Harbour's PADDYFIELD WARBLER in West Sussex. Wintering by itself, this bird has once again reverted to frequenting the grass inside of the North Wall as well as the Phragmites west of the Breach Pool and has been performing very well at times (park at the end of Church Lane in Pagham village and walk west for 400 yards to view)

Now for the rest.......

The most reliable RED-NECKED GREBE in recent days has been that at Alton Water (Suffolk), viewable from Lemon's Hill Bridge in Tattingstone, whilst a plethora of GREAT WHITE EGRETS remain far and wide (including no less than 8 in the Somerset Levels) and the WHITE STORK of unknown origin at Kirkby-on-Bain Landfill Site (Lincs).

GLOSSY IBISES remain in very good numbers with 5 on the island of Eigg (Highland), the first-winter at Leighton Moss (Cumbria), several in the Marloes Mere area of Pembrokeshire, 4 in the Yare and Bure Valleys in Norfolk and the first-winter at Eastbridge/Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk).

Up to 3 different ROSS'S SNOW GEESE remain in Norfolk, with another adult of unknown origin in the Caerlaverock WWT area (D & G), with large numbers of TUNDRA BEAN GEESE still present throughout the country and a number of vagrant GREENLAND WHITE-FRONTED GEESE (including two different birds in Suffolk). The first-winter SMALL CANADA GOOSE remains at Torr Reservoir, East Cranmore (Somerset), with RED-BREASTED GEESE perhaps of continental origin in Dumfries & Galloway, Suffolk, Essex and in Hampshire.

Drake FERRUGINOUS DUCKS continue at Bray GP, Maidenhead (Berks) and Ivy Lake, Blashford HWT (Hants) but are both intermittent in their appearances, with LESSER SCAUPS at St John's Loch (Caithness), Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) and Cosmeston Lakes CP (Glamorgan) and SURF SCOTERS at Dawlish Warren NNR (South Devon), Mount's Bay, Penzance (Cornwall) and in Wales at

The first-winter female BUFFLEHEAD is still to be found at the north end of the Loe Pool, Helston (Cornwall) whilst a female-type Hooded Merganser of unknown origin remains for a third week at Whetstead GP, Tonbridge (Kent)

The 2nd-winter WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE appears to have departed back to the Continent, having not been reported from Kent for over a week now, whilst the only (GREENLAND) GYRFALCON of the New Year being a formidable and most majestic white morph juvenile on North Uist at Grenitote (Outer Hebrides)

A LESSER YELLOWLEGS continues to show well from the second hide

whilst the SPOTTED SANDPIPER is still to be seen at Stanpit Marsh, Christchurch Harbour (Dorset). A LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER continues to feed with Common Redshanks on the low tide of the Cydweli Quay (Carmarthenshire).

Huge numbers of ICELAND-TYPE gulls remain in Scotland and elsewhere, including a record count of 75 in Stornoway Harbour on Lewis (Outer Hebrides), with perhaps 4% being KUMLIENI in appearance. GLAUCOUS GULLS, on the other hand, remain few and far between, perhaps indicative of the source of the influx.

The four SHORE LARKS remain in Holkham Bay (Norfolk), ranging up to 400 yards east of the Gap, with WATER PIPITS more numerous than of late (with 35 in the Stour Valley at Stodmarsh, Kent) and the first wave of Continental WHITE WAGTAILS arriving.

A male PENDULINE TIT remains elusively in the reedbeds close to the Hanson Hide, Dungeness ARC Pit (Kent), with a superb adult ROSE-COLOURED STARLING visiting gardens in Muirhead, Troon (Ayrshire) and a more dowdy first-winter in Holyhead (Anglesey). A single first-winter SCANDINAVIAN ARCTIC REDPOLL remains at Titchwell Marsh RSPB (Norfolk).

In IRELAND today, an immature BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS was seen at sea a staggering 184 miles SW of Mizen Head (County Cork), with the adult BONAPARTE'S GULL still at ballygally, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER at The Cull (County Wexford), juvenile PALLID HARRIER at Lough Corrib (County Galway), the adult FORSTER'S TERN at Traught Beach, Galway Bay (County Galway)and CATTLE EGRET at Hillsborough Lake (Co. Down).

Friday, 17 February 2012

The COMMON YELLOWTHROAT in Gwent - 8th British record

Darryl Spittle obtained the excellent images above - see his superb Gwent Birding website

I was one of at least 400 people today twitching the Gwent first-year male COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and first of all, I must congratulate the finder on an outstanding discovery and secondly, say a massive thank you to Darryl Spittle and other local observers involved in the crucial organisation of parking facilities. A truly top job and very much appreciated by all those that visited.

The bird itself is pretty difficult, fast-moving and generally elusive. It is ranging widely over an area of farmland and without large numbers of observers, could well prove hard to locate. I have marked on the map above the circuit is was following this morning (marked in red). These are the hedgerows it was frequenting.

After the initial panic had subsided, and many observers actually had a 'tickable' view rather than just a fleeting flight view, the bird was watched feeding in the grass for over 20 minutes, affording some excellent views. In fact, it seemed to favour the grassy edges of the hedgerows, eeking out tiny grubs in the damp soil and grass blades. At very close range, its weak 'tacc' call-note could be heard.


Leave the M4 at Junction 28 and then head NNW on the Caerphilly road (the A 4072). Continue towards Caerphilly on the next two roundabouts and after less than a mile on the A 468, turn left in Rhiwderyn at the Ruperra Arms. Take this Pentre Porth Road SW for just over a mile and then turn right onto the very narrow, single track road adjacent to the brown 'Farmer's Daughter Restaurant' signs. Drive very carefully and slowly down this road to just beyond the Bryphedydd Farm and park in the field on the left (please note that the car park opens at 0700 hours). The field is at SO 258 868 and the bird is in the valley to the east of the road.

This morning, the bird first appeared at 0825 hours.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Putative 'Parrot-type' Crossbill in West Sussex

This apparent female ''PARROT'' CROSSBILL has been present for the best part of two weeks at Black Down, in West Sussex. Tony Wells took this photograph showing its similarities to Common Crossbill. There is no denying the bulk of its lower mandible.


An adult WHITE-BILLED DIVER - probably Barrie's bird from the other week - is back between South Ronaldsay and Burray. It is somewhere between the end of the Cara Road and the big bungalow at the end of No 4 Barrier. Moving and diving at speed. Couple of images uploaded (Paul Higson).

Thursday, 2 February 2012


Mangerton is the general location but the bird was near Stoompa (650metres) and requires 6-7 hr round hike in very difficult conditions.The bird flew down the gully and not seen again so there is no point in climbing up for it as I would think it's more likely in some garden nearer Killarney with Thrush flock.....Ed Carty

It was found by Peter McDermott

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Birding rares in Avon, Somerset, Devon and Dorset

Just in case any of you are considering twitching any of the many rarities on offer in the south at the moment, here are a few tips following my own recent experiences......

On a tour of several sites today, I enjoyed great views of the first-winter LESSER YELLOWLEGS in Somerset, the two first-winter drake RING-NECKED DUCKS at Chard Junction and the juvenile SPOTTED SANDPIPER in Dorset at Lyme Regis

The Yellowlegs is favouring the two pools immediately west of the mouth of the Brue Estuary and is very territorial towards the Common Redshanks there. Drive as far as you can go south along the Beach Road at Burnham-on-Sea and then walk 300 yards south along the sea wall to view. Great views - and a very vocal individual

The two RING-NECKED DUCKS are with 11 Tufted Ducks on the recently landscaped lake at the east end of Chard Junction GP and afford excellent views - easily visible from the quarry track adjacent (the site is a mile east of the railway crossing)

The SPOTTED SANDPIPER is back at Herriott's Bridge Pool today at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) and on the south coast at Lyme Regis, the long-staying juvenile there was showing exceptionally well today. In recent times it has been favouring the EAST BEACH, particularly at low tide, and seems to like the company of the 16 wintering Purple Sandpipers thereabouts. Park in the myriad of parking spaces near the seafront (close to the museum), then walk east along the promenade for 200 yards to the East Beach lookout. At high tide, the bird has been getting on the rocks either side of the river mouth

Also in Dorset, both the wintering Richard's Pipit and Hume's Leaf Warbler remain at Wyke Regis. The latter is extremely difficult and best located either at dawn (up to 0915 hours) or at dusk (after 1615 hours) as it becomes quite vocal at these times of roosting.

Park in Camp Road, Wyke Regis, in the dip, before walking to the entrance to the Bridging Camp on your right (west of the road) and take the public footpath just before the gate. Follow the barracks fence around for 350 yards (checking inside for the pair of Common Stonechats, young male Black Redstart and Richard's Pipit which is often with them on the short grass inside the compound) before it comes out into an open grass field. This field is where the Richard's Pipit mostly favours and it is usually in the lower section of the field about 50 yards in from the middle track.

For the warbler, continue across the middle of the field, cross the stile, then continue to the next stile. Turn right and follow this wide track along for another 90 yards before dropping down the steps towards the caravan park. This brings you out to an open clearing where you will see a number of dog litter containers. These are numbered and between 13 and the caravan park below is an area of thick scrub. This is where the Humei is now feeding and if one is lucky, it can be seen from the road that runs around the back of the caravan park. Very infrequently now, it returns to the Sallows by the ringing ride where it was first found (in the area of very thick scrub behind Post 13 - on the slope)

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


A total of 82 birdwatchers gathered from dawn at Calshot this morning, gradually swelling to just 110 by mid-morning - a far smaller turnout than I had envisaged for a vagrant that has not been twitchable in Britain since 1998. As expected, the bird appeared in the hedgerow opposite the cul-de-sac just after 0800 hours and then spent an hour moving between the two hedgerows either side of the road and the larger Hawthorn. It afforded outstanding views and many photographs were taken. Everyone was impeccably behaved and adhered to on-site instructions. Local birder Bruce Gwynn acted as management and did a sterling job, eventually escorting small parties down the private road once the sparrows started feeding. Certainly whilst I was there, everyone parked where they were supposed to.

The bird typically became elusive after 0900 hours - primarily visiting the chicken coup and feeding out of view. Occasionally, he returned to the roadside hedgerow but these visits were few and far between. From 1000 hours, he generally retired from view and some observers had over three hours wait before they got a glimpse. As I stated in a previous posting, to be sure of seeing this bird well, plan to arrive early and give yourself a 0800-0900 hours time slot.

DIRECTIONS: Follow the B 3053 SE to as far as it goes into Calshot village, 5 miles SE of Hythe. Continue into the one-way system and take advantage of up to 200 free car parking spaces in this vicinity. Walk back 500 yards to the junction with the private MOD cul-de-sac, clearly marked with ''Police No Parking'' cones and observe from the verges. The bird is favouring the thick hedgerows either side of the main road, particularly that section adjacent to the boat with flowers.

Not that far away, at Hawkhill Inclosure in the New Forest, the first-winter male DARK-EYED JUNCO was showing at regular intervals, moving between 3 or 4 fallen pines and perching readily out in the open. The clearing is just 100 yards NW of the parking area.

This site is also very good for COMMON CROSSBILLS and a male WOODLARK was singing there today.

Elsewhere in the New Forest, the regular wintering GREAT GREY SHRIKE was showing well today at Beaulieu Road Station at Bishop's Dyke, in birches and scrub 400 yards beyond the bridge south of Shatterford car park. This forest area also yielded both DARTFORD WARBLERS and WOODLARKS and a number of early Small Tortoiseshell butterflies

At HARBRIDGE WATER MEADOWS, the EGYPTIAN GEESE pair were on the main flood and both the adult WHOOPER SWAN and the 3 BEWICK'S SWANS were with the 203 Mute Swans in the first field beyond the church.

Ibsley Water held 11 GOOSANDER, 7 PINTAIL and the continuing BLACK-TAILED GODWIT, whilst the juvenile female BLUE-WINGED TEAL and redhead SMEW remained on the south lake at LONGHAM LAKES

Monday, 9 January 2012


Well with 2011 now nine days hence, a plethora of mega-rares from Hampshire has seen that year's list total rise from 452 to 455........

Firstly, we had news of the Old Winchester Hill WHITE-THROATED SPARROW surviving in its favoured car park until at least July 2011 being released by the warden, then news of a first-winter male DARK-EYED JUNCO that was wintering close to a car parking area at Hawkhill Inclosure in the New Forest, first photographed on 24 December 2011 and still present and showing today.........

Now, news has reached county birders of an adult male SPANISH SPARROW that has been living in Calshot village, in the south of the county, for some considerable time, probably at least since last spring (although the finder only made a mental note of it from early December 2011).

The latter is favouring suburban gardens in a quiet cul-de-sac and arrangements have been made for visitor access from Wednesday morning of this week. All on-site instructions will have to be adhered to, including the designated parking areas, and a period of about two weeks will initially be on offer to cater for those that wish to see the bird. I will release access instructions tomorrow evening.

The bird is moving between a roosting hedgerow and some peanut feeders/bird tables and is very reliable, showing at frequent intervals. There will be no panic requirement to rush to see it if you want to save a day's holiday from work. The presence of at least one hybrid bird suggest it has been present for at least one breeding season and it is likely it was initially a ship-assisted vagrant, like the other two species mentioned above

Thursday, 5 January 2012

A windy day spent birding in HAMPSHIRE - LGRE DIARY NOTES


The period of stormy weather continued its trail of destruction today with winds gusting up to 77 mph in the south of England and over 100 mph in Scotland (Isle of Bute). Although mainly dry and clear, temperatures struggled to reach 9 degrees C in the brisk westerly - and often felt much colder.

Chris Holt and I decided on a day out today and targeted Hampshire as our destination. Despite the weather, we were fairly pleased with our results........


We arrived in Church Lane at 1020 hours, at the same time as some heavy rain. Fortunately, the CATTLE EGRET and 2 Little Egrets were readily visible from the metal gate on the right just yards from the church and we were able to obtain views from the comfort and shelter of the car. This is the bird previously present for many months on Thorney Island and was in full winter plumage.


A short way away was Bedhampton but with seriously strong winds hampering viewing and the tide high, our visit was brief. A total of 6 BLACK-NECKED GREBES was located, along with 2 Little Grebes, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 100+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 12 Common Shelduck, 8 Eurasian Wigeon, a pair of Pintail, several Oystercatchers and a few Eurasian Curlews


Our main reason for choosing Hampshire as an excursion was the continued presence of a wintering DARK-EYED JUNCO, first photographed by novice birdwatchers on 26 & 30 December 2011. The bird, initially seen in the car parking area, had relocated to an open clearing just 80 yards NW of the main parking area and pines, and with the subsequent seeding of an area by helpful local birders, was frequenting where several pine trees had fallen in the last two days.

Despite the horrendously windy conditions, the gathered crowd of 35 were able to eventually enjoy quality and substantial 'scope views as the bird perched up in one of the fallen pines for no less than 9 minutes. Prior to this occasion (at around 1300 hours), sightings had been very brief and basically in flight, as the bird moved with up to 10 Reed Buntings and a single male Chaffinch the 90 yards between the two fallen pines in the clearing. It appeared to be a fairly drab first-winter bird.

The car park is situated just north of the B3055 at SU 350 020 and has ample space. Unless seed is scattered in a more open area, the bird is likely to remain extremely elusive. After we left at 1315 hours, the bird was not seen again today - the grass and understorey where it is feeding not being generally visible. I suspect, like most New World Sparrows and Juncos in Britain, it is a ship-assisted vagrant and will remain until the spring.

Other than the main target bird, the pinewood at Hawkhill Inclosure produced nothing more than a Common Treecreeper and 7 COMMON CROSSBILLS.


Viewing from the South Hide, the drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK was present with 48 Northern Pochard just west of one of the north bank hides, mainly sleeping. Other wildfowl present included an impressive 130 Gadwall, 400 Wigeon, 13 Shoveler and 25 Tufted Duck.

Neighbouring ROCKFORD LAKE held 33 Mute Swans

There was no sign of the colour-ringed adult Great White Egret in the area - not at Spinnaker, Roach, Rockford or Mockbeggar Lakes


It was barely possible to birdwatch at Ibsley Water as the wind was so fierce. Consequently, we failed in our quest to find either the redhead Smew, 86 Goosander, Black-tailed Godwit, Caspian Gull or Yellow-legged Gulls. Of note were 1,027 Coot, 303 Wigeon, 23 Shoveler, 6 PINTAILS and 144 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.


Alas, no sign of the wintering party of 5 Bewick's Swans just one herd of 103 Mute Swans and an additional 6 birds nearby.


Birded here from 1530-1610 hours and managed the tail-end of the evergreen HAWFINCH roost. Five birds came in, a couple conveniently perching at the tops of the trees before diving into thick canopy cover and out of view. Fortunately, they were typically vocal, announcing each arrival with a loud ''tick''. Marcus assured me of some outstanding winter numbers, peaking at 44 in December 2011 and 28 early January - the highest numbers of roosting Hawfinches anywhere in the UK.

In addition to one really 'beautiful' bird that happened to pass by, other species noted included a BRAMBLING, MARSH TIT, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit, 9 Chaffinches and an extremely confiding European Robin that took biscuit crumbs from my hand

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


The GREATER YELLOWLEGS is still present Wednesday morning, just south of Loch Fleet on the big flooded pool at the start of the track to Coul Farm, side-by-side with a Greenshank - NH 801946. Also a wintering Black-tailed Godwit in the bay at Loch Fleet NH 797950 (Alastair McNee)

Monday, 2 January 2012

Plenty to keep oneself occupied as a New Year is unleashed.........

Well with two days into 2012, a total of 235 species has been recorded in Britain and Ireland with numerous long-staying vagrants keeping New Year visitors busy......

In addition to the DARK-EYED JUNCO in the New Forest at Hawksley Inclosure, two first-winter male DESERT WHEATEARS remain at Beacon Point, Newbiggin-on-Sea (Northumberland) and Bempton Cliffs RSPB (East Yorks) Staple Neuk Viewpoint respectively.

A good list of waders includes the first-winter GREATER YELLOWLEGS still at Skelbo, near Loch Fleet (Sutherland) (on flooded fields opposite the entrance to Coul Farm) and a first-winter LESSER YELLOWLEGS with a Spotted Redshank at Burnham-on-Sea (Somerset). Last year's Somerset LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS are now both together at Lodmoor Country Park (Dorset), whilst another is in South Wales at Kidwelly Quay (Carmarthenshire) and the first-ever wintering PECTORAL SANDPIPER remains at Dundonald Camp, Barassie (Ayrshire). Three SPOTTED SANDPIPERS are to be found, with the adult at Chew Valley Lake Herriott's Bridge causeway (Avon) and juveniles at Lyme Regis West Cobb (Dorset) and at the north end of the River Plym at Plymouth (South Devon). Perhaps best of all, the first-winter WESTERN SANDPIPER continues at Cley NWT (Norfolk).

Of the remaining ''good birds'' on offer, the CATTLE EGRET remains at Warblington (Hampshire), no less than 21 GREAT WHITE EGRETS at widely scattered localities, GLOSSY IBISES on the Isles of Scilly at Lower Moors, at Exminster Marshes RSPB (South Devon), at Stodmarsh NNR water meadows (Kent), at Fingringhoe Wick NR (Essex) and at Leighton Moss RSPB (Lancs).

Rare geese include the continuing RICHARDSON'S CANADA GOOSE with local Canadas at Torr Reservoir (Somerset), the adult LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE of unknown origin with the Taiga Bean Geese at Buckenham Carrs RSPB in the Yare Valley (Norfolk) and first-winter RED-BREASTED GEESE at Tollesbury Wick (Essex) and Exminster Marshes RSPB (South Devon), whilst rare wildfowl are represented by at least 4 AMERICAN WIGEONS (the easiest being drakes at Kirk Loch, Lochmaben, Dumfries & Galloway and at Wintersett Reservoir, West Yorks), 12+ AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEALS, a juvenile female BLUE-WINGED TEAL at Longham Lakes (Dorset), an adult drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK on Ivy Lake, Blashford Lakes HWT (Hants), SURF SCOTERS at Dawlish Warren NNR (South Devon) and in Penzance Harbour (Cornwall), the juvenile female BUFFLEHEAD on the Loe Pool at Helston (Cornwall) and the ever-present drake Hooded Merganser at Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset).

East Anglia maintains its stranglehold on ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD occurrences with at least 6 birds being regularly seen (others remain on Shetland and in North Yorkshire) whilst Orkney enjoyed a very brief visit from a glorious white morph GYRFALCON just before 2011 ended.

A HOOPOE has brightened up the Lake Lothing area of Lowestoft (Suffolk) with its appearance whilst that same county continues to harbour virtually all of the nation's wintering crop of BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS (about 100 birds in total, mainly frequenting Ipswich Hospital and Martlesham Heath. Four SHORELARKS are at Holkham Gap saltings (North Norfolk) with a RICHARD'S PIPIT wintering at Wyke Regis (Dorset) and the HUME'S LEAF WARBLER at the same locality.

In IRELAND, the rarest offerings are the regular wintering adult FORSTER'S TERN in County Galway at Kinvara, 1-2 NORTH AMERICAN HERRING GULLS, a drake LESSER SCAUP at Lough Gill and the surviving HOUSE CROW at Cobh (County Cork). A LONG-BUILLED DOWITCHER is at North Slob WWR (County Wexford) and a RICHARD'S PIPIT was located Killard Nature Reserve in County Down

DARK-EYED JUNCO in the New Forest

On Boxing Day 2011, non-birdwatchers noticed and photographed an odd 'chaffinch' feeding with other birds in the car parking area of Hawkhill Inclosure, 2.5 miles west of Beaulieu, in the New Forest (Hampshire) at about SU 350 020. They saw the bird again on 30 December and then notified Keith Betton by sending him images of the bird. It turned out to be a first-winter male DARK-EYED JUNCO and consequently the 453rd species to be recorded in that record year.

Although not seen on New Years Day, an enthusiastic attempt was made at seeding an area of the car park and this quickly did the trick - the bird showing well today on a number of occasions, feeding alongside Dunnocks, Robins, Reed Buntings and Chaffinches.