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

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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).