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

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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)

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