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

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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