Follow by Email

Friday, 31 July 2009

CATTLE EGRET on my BERKSHIRE LIST at last

FRIDAY 31 JULY

An extract from LGRE Diary Notes July 2009

A much better day than recently with blue skies, puffy cloud and temperatures reaching 24 degrees C

After a couple of false starts yesterday, I was delighted to get another opportunity to twitch Berkshire's second-ever CATTLE EGRET today. Ken Moore telephoned me at 1320 hours to say that the bird had just reappeared at the main pit west of Padworth Lane, despite the fact that Ken had failed to locate it all morning. I immediately jumped in the car and made my way to the M40 and subsequently the A404 and M4. It was 45 miles in total and at 1430 hours, I eventually arrived and joined Ken, CDRH, Mike McKee and Martin Sell.

Thankfully on my part, it was third time lucky. The CATTLE EGRET was roosting on the shingle ridge just 35 yards west of the working Komatsu caterpillar. I was immediately struck by its plumage - it was in almost full breeding with rich orange-ginger jowel feathers, crown feathers and mantle plumes. Not what I expected for late July and memories of past escaped coromandus came flowing back. The colours were not as intense though, nor reddish or deep chestnut in tone. I checked up with my close friend Keith Vinicombe and he confirmed that the two adults at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) that he had seen yesterday (with a single juvenile) were also equally well-marked. I had only seen one such well-marked individual in late summer and that was by the A1 near Brampton (Cambs) in August 2007. Furthermore, Hancocks 'Herons and Egrets of the World' suggested individual adults varied enormously in their moult strategies and a percentage remained in breeding plumage until early September.

The ginger colouring also extended on to the nape whilst the remainder of the plumage was pure white. The bill was typically orange whilst the legs were pinkish contrasting with darker feet.

It roosted for much of the time, drinking twice before being flushed and flying a couple of times and resettling with Canada Geese on the far tip of the spit. It quickly returned to the shingle ridge and then spent the best part of an hour resting and occasionally preening and largely partly hidden. It then returned to the water to drink and took seven 'sips' before retreating back to the vegetation. During this time, numerous other birders arrived, including Derek Barker, Adam Bassett, Roger Stansfield and Fraser Cottington. Under virtual constant observation from 1430, it was flushed by the pit contractors at 1616 hours and then flew east across the road and landed out of view in a meadow beyond the River Kennet. In flight, it could be seen that it was missing its innermost primary.

Two Sparrowhawks, HOBBY, Common Buzzard, Common Kingfisher, a southerly passage of 16 Sand Martins and a swimming Grass Snake were also recorded at the pit.

It represents only the second record for Berkshire.

After I departed at 1620, Chris Heard relocated the bird shortly later in a field with grazing cattle east of Padworth Lane before it returned once more to the main pit. It flew off east again at 1715 hours. It then did the same again and was relocated 300m east of the pits in a large Oak at the far end of the field with cattle, 250m east along the footpath which starts 100m south of the Kennet. It was also visible from the canal bridge (but not from Kennet bridge) and was present in the Oak until 19:20, when it left the tree and headed west but was not seen to land on the pit (Paul Bright-Thomas)

DETAILED DIRECTIONS

From the M4 at Junction 12, head west along the A4 for about three miles to Padworth village. Just before the roundabout and just after the Total garage turn left into Padworth Lane. Cross the railway then the river and continue for 600 yards to just before the River Kennet and park sensibly on the verge thereabouts (making sure as not to block the farmer's gate). The Cattle Egret is favouring the pit at SU 607 673 easily viewed from the footpath that leads west from the bridge.

Scilly's second-ever MARSH SANDPIPER headlines




























MARSH SANDPIPER on Scilly (Robin Mawer), LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Paull Holme Strays (East Yorks) (3 images - Brett Richards), SLAVONIAN GREBE on the Exe Estuary (Devon) (Gary Thoburn) and BLACK-NECKED GREBE in Avon (Gary Thoburn)

This is the UK400 Club Rare Bird Alert for Friday 31 July, issued at 2200 hours and published in close association with Rare Bird Alert Pagers whilst utilising additional information gleaned from the Regional Birdlines, BirdGuides, local email groups and websites and individual observers.

On the Isles of Scilly, adult MARSH SANDPIPER continues to show very well on Porthellick Pool, wading in the shallow water at either end of the pool. Approach the Sussex Hide with care.

In Norfolk, the adult breeding plumaged PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER remains for its 9th day, keeping to the saltings and adjacent mud of low tide at Breydon Water (Keith Dye et al), whilst an adult summer WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, the first of the year (382), showed well on Buxton Lagoon at Welney WWT Reserve.

After another successful breeding year, a family party of 3 CATTLE EGRETS have spent a second day at Chew Valley Lake (Avon), the juvenile showing well in the cattle field just north of Herons Green Pool, whilst in Berkshire, a further adult in full breeding attire remains for a second day at Padworth Lane GP (2nd county record) (Ken Moore, Roger Stansfield, et al). The long-staying GREAT WHITE EGRETS remain at Minsmere RSPB Island Mere (Suffolk) and Meare Heath (Somerset)

A heavily worn NORTHERN GREY SHRIKE present until at least mid April resurfaced today on wires by the B6277 just south of Alston Moor Golf Club entrance at NY 725 439, at Alston Moor (Cumbria), whilst a male EUROPEAN SERIN was seen briefly in a Holm Oak at Keyhaven Marshes (Hants)

ROSEATE TERNS which bred on Coquet Island and elsewhere are now migrating south down the North Sea coast, with 6 at East Chevington Pools (Northumberland), 7 at Low Newton-by-the-Sea (Northumberland) An adult SABINE'S GULL flew north past Flamborough Head (East Yorks) this morning.

In Fife, Loch Gelly continues to host both an eclipse drake RING-NECKED DUCK and a drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK, where they can both be 'scoped from the steps on the North Bank. An adult PECTORAL SANDPIPER remains at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire), whilst the adult LESSER YELLOWLEGS continues to show well downstream of the wooden bridge at Aberlady bay (Lothian).

A record count of 70 Yellow-legged Gulls roosted at Grafham Water (Cambs) this evening (Mark Hawkes)

Wood Sandpipers include singles at Chelmarsh Reservoir scrape (Shropshire), Priory Marsh, Christchurch Harbour (Dorset) and Grove Ferry (Kent), with 2 at Welney WWT (Norfolk)

The long-staying summer-plumaged adult SLAVONIAN GREBE remains on the Exe Estuary generally offshore of Cockwood (South Devon), whilst the late summer build up of RED-NECKED GREBES in the Firth of Forth includes 19 adults visible from the Ferny Ness car park (Lothian). Two BLACK-NECKED GREBES are at Blithfield Reservoir (Staffs)

Inland, Common Redstarts were displaced overnight, with 4 on the Quainton Hills (Mid-Bucks) and numerous others elsewhere, along with small numbers of Northern Wheatears.

THE STORY SO FAR - TOTAL NOW 382

The Story So Far…………2009

So, by the end of 2009 Week 30, a total of 382 species has been recorded in Britain and Ireland

Week 30: 382 species

1) Red-throated Diver
2) Black-throated Diver
3) Great Northern Diver
4) WHITE-BILLED DIVER (8)
5) Slavonian Grebe
6) Black-necked Grebe
7) Little Grebe
8) Great Crested Grebe
9) Red-necked Grebe
10) Northern Fulmar
11) Cory’s Shearwater
12) Great Shearwater
13) Manx Shearwater
14) Balearic Shearwater
15) Sooty Shearwater
16) European Storm Petrel
17) WILSON’S STORM PETREL (7+)
18) Leach’s Storm Petrel
19) Northern Gannet
20) BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS (1)
21) Atlantic Great Cormorant (including Sinensis)
22) European Shag
23) Eurasian Bittern
24) LITTLE BITTERN (2)
25) BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON (5)
26) CATTLE EGRET (67+)
27) SQUACCO HERON (1)
28) Little Egret
29) GREAT WHITE EGRET (30+)
30) Grey Heron
31) PURPLE HERON (7)
32) WHITE STORK (2+)
33) BLACK STORK (1+)
34) GLOSSY IBIS (1)
35) Eurasian Spoonbill
36) Mute Swan
37) Whooper Swan
38) Bewick’s Swan
39) ROSS’S SNOW GOOSE (1)
40) SNOW GOOSE (5)
41) Eurasian White-fronted Goose
42) Greenland White-fronted Goose
43) Taiga Bean Goose (240)
44) Tundra Bean Goose (22)
45) Pink-footed Goose
46) Greylag Goose
47) Atlantic Canada Goose (including Todd’s)
48) SMALL CANADA GOOSE (including Richardson’s, Taverner’s & Cackling)
49) Barnacle Goose
50) Dark-bellied Brent Goose
51) Pale-bellied Brent Goose
52) BLACK BRANT
53) RED-BREASTED GOOSE (1 – 8 feral not countable)
54) Common Shelduck
55) EUDDY SHELDUCK (3+ - continental immigrants from self-supporting populations)
56) Egyptian Goose
57) Mandarin Duck
58) NORTH AMERICAN WOOD DUCK (1)
59) Mallard
60) Gadwall
61) Pintail
62) NORTH AMERICAN BLACK DUCK (4)
63) Northern Shoveler
64) Eurasian Wigeon
65) AMERICAN WIGEON (8)
66) Common Teal
67) American Green-winged Teal
68) Garganey
69) BLUE-WINGED TEAL (1)
70) Northern Pochard
71) Red-crested Pochard
72) FERRUGINOUS DUCK (6)
73) Greater Scaup
74) LESSER SCAUP (9)
75) Tufted Duck
76) RING-NECKED DUCK (9)
77) Common Eider
78) KING EIDER (5)
79) Common Scoter
80) Velvet Scoter
81) SURF SCOTER
82) Long-tailed Duck
83) Common Goldeneye
84) Smew
85) Goosander
86) Red-breasted Merganser
87) Ruddy Duck
88) White-tailed Sea Eagle
89) Osprey
90) Golden Eagle
91) Red Kite
92) BLACK KITE (8+)
93) Marsh Harrier
94) Hen Harrier
95) Montagu’s Harrier
96) PALLID HARRIER (1)
97) ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD
98) Common Buzzard
99) European Honey Buzzard
100) Eurasian Sparrowhawk
101) Northern Goshawk
102) Common Kestrel
103) RED-FOOTED FALCON (1+)
104) Hobby
105) Peregrine
106) Merlin
107) GYRFALCON (2)
108) Red Grouse
109) Ptarmigan
110) Capercaillie
111) Black Grouse
112) Red-legged Partridge
113) Grey Partridge
114) COMMON QUAIL
115) CORNCRAKE
116) Common Pheasant
117) LADY AMHERST’S PHEASANT (3)
118) Golden Pheasant (43)
119) Water Rail
120) SPOTTED CRAKE (3)
121) Moorhen
122) Eurasian Coot
123) COMMON CRANE (50+)
124) Oystercatcher
125) Pied Avocet
126) BLACK-WINGED STILT (1)
127) Stone Curlew
128) COLLARED PRATINCOLE (2)
129) BLACK-WINGED PRATINCOLE (1)
130) ORIENTAL PRATINCOLE (1)
131) Little Ringed Plover
132) Ringed Plover
133) KILLDEER (1)
134) KENTISH PLOVER (8)
135) Grey Plover
136) Dotterel
137) European Golden Plover
138) PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER (2)
139) AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER (5)
140) Lapwing
141) Red Knot
142) Sanderling
143) Purple Sandpiper
144) Turnstone
145) Dunlin
146) Curlew Sandpiper
147) Temminck’s Stint
148) Little Stint
149) Wood Sandpiper
150) Green Sandpiper
151) Common Sandpiper
152) SPOTTED SANDPIPER (1)
153) TEREK SANDPIPER (3)
154) Common Redshank
155) Spotted Redshank
156) Common Greenshank
157) MARSH SANDPIPER (1)
158) Black-tailed Godwit (both islandica and limosa)
159) Bar-tailed Godwit
160) Eurasian Curlew
161) Whimbrel
162) Woodcock
163) Common Snipe
164) Jack Snipe
165) GREY PHALAROPE
166) Red-necked Phalarope
167) BAIRD’S SANDPIPER (1)
168) WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER (1)
169) WESTERN SANDPIPER (1)
170) Ruff
171) BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER (4)
172) PECTORAL SANDPIPER (15+)
173) LESSER YELLOWLEGS (5)
174) SOLITARY SANDPIPER (1)
175) STILT SANDPIPER (2)
176) LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (IRELAND only)
177) Great Skua
178) Pomarine Skua
179) Arctic Skua
180) Long-tailed Skua
181) Black-headed Gull
182) BONAPARTE’S GULL (4)
183) Common Gull
184) RING-BILLED GULL
185) Mediterranean Gull
186) Herring Gull (Argenteus & Argentatus)
187) NORTH AMERICAN HERRING GULL (IRELAND only)
188) Yellow-legged Gull
189) Caspian Gull
190) GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL (1)
191) Lesser Black-backed Gull
192) Great Black-backed Gull
193) Little Gull
194) Kittiwake
195) SABINE’S GULL
196) GLAUCOUS GULL
197) ICELAND GULL (including Kumlien’s)
198) IVORY GULL (2)
199) LAUGHING GULL (4)
200) FRANKLIN’S GULL (3)
201) Little Tern
202) Sandwich Tern
203) GULL-BILLED TERN (2)
204) Common Tern
205) Arctic Tern
206) Roseate Tern
207) CASPIAN TERN (3)
208) AFRICAN ROYAL TERN (1)
209) FORSTER’S TERN (1, IRELAND only)
210) Black Tern
211) WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN (10+)
212) WHISKERED TERN (10+)
213) Little Auk
214) Atlantic Puffin
215) Black Guillemot
216) Common Guillemot
217) Razorbill
218) Rock Dove
219) Stock Dove
220) Woodpigeon
221) Eurasian Collared Dove
222) European Turtle Dove
223) Common Cuckoo
224) GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO (2)
225) Tawny Owl
226) Eurasian Eagle Owl
227) SNOWY OWL (4)
228) Long-eared Owl
229) Short-eared Owl
230) Barn Owl
231) Little Owl
232) European Nightjar
233) Common Swift
234) PALLID SWIFT (2)
235) ALPINE SWIFT (6+)
236) EURASIAN HOOPOE (35+)
237) Common Kingfisher
238) EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (30+)
239) BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER (2)
240) Ring-necked Parakeet
241) Green Woodpecker
242) Great Spotted Woodpecker
243) Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
244) WRYNECK
245) Skylark
246) CRESTED LARK (1)
247) Woodlark
248) GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK (8)
249) SHORE LARK (1)
250) Sand Martin
251) Barn Swallow
252) RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (40+)
253) House Martin
254) TAWNY PIPIT (1)
255) RICHARD’S PIPIT (6)
256) Water Pipit
257) Rock Pipit (including Scandinavian)
258) Meadow Pipit
259) Tree Pipit
260) RED-THROATED PIPIT (1)
261) White Wagtail
262) Pied Wagtail
263) Yellow Wagtail
264) EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (1)
265) BLACK-HEADED WAGTAIL (2)
266) CITRINE WAGTAIL (2)
267) Grey Wagtail
268) Wren
269) Dipper
270) Dunnock
271) BOHEMIAN WAXWING
272) European Robin
273) Common Nightingale
274) THRUSH NIGHTINGALE (4)
275) BLUETHROAT (18)
276) Common Redstart
277) Black Redstart
278) Northern Wheatear
279) BLACK-EARED WHEATEAR (1)
280) Whinchat
281) Common Stonechat
282) Song Thrush
283) Redwing
284) Mistle Thrush
285) Fieldfare
286) Common Blackbird
287) Ring Ouzel
288) WHITE’S THRUSH (1)
289) Garden Warbler
290) Blackcap
291) Lesser Whitethroat
292) Common Whitethroat
293) WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER (including Moltoni’s)(15)
294) EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER (3)
295) Dartford Warbler
296) Sedge Warbler
297) FAN-TAILED WARBLER (1)
298) Grasshopper Warbler
299) RIVER WARBLER (2)
300) SAVI’S WARBLER (3)
301) Cetti’s Warbler
302) Western Reed Warbler
303) MARSH WARBLER (29+)
304) BLYTH’S REED WARBLER (1)
305) PADDYFIELD WARBLER (1)
306) GREAT REED WARBLER (4)
307) ICTERINE WARBLER (56)
308) MELODIOUS WARBLER (17)
309) EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER (1)
310) Willow Warbler
311) Wood Warbler
312) EASTERN BONELLI’S WARBLER (1)
313) Common Chiffchaff
314) Siberian Chiffchaff
315) IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF (1)
316) GREENISH WARBLER (2)
317) Yellow-browed Warbler
318) HUME’S LEAF WARBLER (1)
319) Goldcrest
320) Firecrest
321) Spotted Flycatcher
322) RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (1)
323) Pied Flycatcher
324) WHITE-COLLARED FLYCATCHER (2)
325) Great Tit
326) Blue Tit
327) Coal Tit
328) Crested Tit
329) Marsh Tit
330) Willow Tit
331) Long-tailed Tit
332) Bearded Tit
333) PENDULINE TIT (9)
334) Nuthatch
335) Common Treecreeper
336) RED-BACKED SHRIKE (44)
337) WOODCHAT SHRIKE (18)
338) NORTHERN GREY SHRIKE
339) LESSER GREY SHRIKE (2)
340) Magpie
341) Jay
342) Jackdaw
343) Red-billed Chough
344) Rook
345) Carrion Crow
346) Hooded Crow
347) Common Raven
348) Common Starling
349) ROSE-COLOURED STARLING (4)
350) GOLDEN ORIOLE
351) House Sparrow
352) Tree Sparrow
353) Chaffinch
354) Brambling
355) Linnet
356) Twite
357) Lesser Redpoll
358) Mealy Redpoll
359) Greenland Redpoll (including Icelandic)
360) SCANDINAVIAN ARCTIC REDPOLL
361) Goldfinch
362) Greenfinch
363) Siskin
364) EUROPEAN SERIN
365) Bullfinch
366) Hawfinch
367) Common Crossbill
368) Scottish Parrot Crossbill
369) TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL (1)
370) COMMON ROSEFINCH (7)
371) WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (1)
372) Reed Bunting
373) LITTLE BUNTING (5)
374) Snow Bunting
375) Lapland Bunting
376) RUSTIC BUNTING (1)
377) ORTOLAN BUNTING (9)
378) Yellowhammer
379) Cirl Bunting
380) Corn Bunting
381) BLACK-HEADED BUNTING (1)
382) BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD (4)

Also under consideration – Australian Black Swan (Category C) and Canvasback (female from Argyll)

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

LOCAL MEGA - MARSH SANDPIPER on the ISLES OF SCILLY

A MARSH SANDPIPER was discovered this evening on Porthellick Pool, St Mary's, feeding in front of the Stephen Sussex Hide. First seen at about 2030 hours, it was present until dusk. It represents the second archipealgo record following a juvenile present on Tresco Great Pool from 22nd-25th July (MSS et al). It also represents the first record in Britain in 2009 - species number 380.

WILSON'S STORM PETREL seen and photographed from shark fishing boat out of Newquay, Cornwall







WILSON'S STORM PETREL, 'At Sea' NW of Padstow, Cornwall, 26 July 2009 (James Hanlon)
Since 2005 Richard Pierce of the Shark Trust and the Shark Conservation Society has been running cage-diving trips off North Cornwall to allow close-up views and interaction with Blue Sharks. These trips have been successful and very popular with shark enthusiasts.

I went on my first trip with them on 27th July 2008 when we steamed some 11 miles NW of Padstow for chumming. Though no Blue Sharks appeared I did locate 2 WILSON'S PETRELS among the 100+ European Storm Petrels coming to chum and excellent views were obtained down to around 25 m. Another trip later in the week turned up similar numbers of 'stormies' but no Wilson's.

This year our chumming area was nearby, some 5 miles SW of the area I had seen the Wilson's last year and roughly 7 miles WNW of Trevose Head. Conditions were very choppy but eventually a single WILSON'S PETREL materialised amongst the Stormies though it remained relatively distant and could never be seen well. Though almost impossible to observe through binoculars I did manage to obtain some images and close cropping has revealed the full suite of characters which could not be picked up in the field (most observation was with the naked eye) (see images above). The bird came into view several times throughout a 25 minute period.

I have yet to encounter another birder on any of these trips, though apparently there have been 1 or 2, their highlights including Grey Phalarope, Sabine's Gull and one other Wilson's petrel.

Anyone wishing to participate should contact Shark Cornwall via the Shark Conservation Society website. Trips run during the summer months from Padstow and/or Bude and cost around £95 for a full day but you should book early as they are very popular. The price includes hire of wetsuits etc should you wish to jump in with the sharks. With three Wilson's seen over three trips it appears they could be as regular off mainland Cornwall as they are off of Scilly. You just have to go and find them (James Hanlon)

Monday, 27 July 2009

PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER at Breydon Water







Adult summer PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER just beginning to moult, Breydon Water, Norfolk, 24 July 2009 (James Kennerley)
I had the good fortune of seeing this bird 'in the flesh' today at Breydon Water (initially along the NE shore from 0928-0951 and then in the muddy bay viewable from within the hide at 1135) and also the good fortune of seeing Andrew Grieve there. .
I struggle to see that this bird is in 'rapid moult' as has been suggested but merely that one flank is more moulted than the other, revealing much more white on one side (as in the Dutch bird). It does appear to have moulted some undertail coverts, but more white on the sides of the undertail is typical of fulva anyhow.
To my eye, this bird is an obvious PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER with little attenuation at the rear end, little primary extension beyond the tail, obviously longer tertials and remarkably long tibia. The overall structure is different from last week's adult at Cley and it has a pale base to the bill and a more pointed, thicker-based bill (the Cley bird has a typical short, small bill). It is a horizontal-poised, front-end feeder with a pot belly unlike the sleek, attenuated and long-primaried bird at Cley. It has a broad white eye-stripe and paler mantle definition, with more noticeable spangling.It is moulting but not particularly fast and still retains a majority of black underpart feathering. Adult summer AGP's moult later and most retain much of their black underpart feathers until October wheareas any PGP will be almost fully moulted by the first week in September.
Andrew gave me some very good information regarding the spring bird and it is clear he has put an awful amount of time and energy into investigating this occurrence. Much of what he says I agree with, particularly about the structure of the bill and the reasoning behind much of the genetic make-up of fulva. However, I still stand by a commitment to that bird being a dominica, particularly on the primary/tertial ratio and extension, but I do agree that the ageing of that particular bird is a bone of contention and will continue to be so. I still have it down as a first-summer. Andrew's investigations suggest it may have been a second-summer.
Going back to the current bird, I believe it IS the same individual as that in Holland on 21 July

Sunday, 26 July 2009

A red-letter day - BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS glides past Porthgwarra and a FAN-TAILED WARBLER zits along North Kent coastline

SUNDAY 26 JULY

Excerpt from Steve Rogers

''As predicted, the seawatch today at Porthgwarra (West Cornwall) was truly superb. A strong south-westerly wind in front of an advancing Atlantic low depression is a locally known signal that some good seawatching could be on the agenda. Perhaps surprisingly then, only 14 birders showed up. Sadly no one had any cameras with them....I'm hopping mad with myself but considering the rain and normal distance of birds at Pg, no one thought a camera would be needed ! Until 8.30 am that is.Fourteen of us saw the first or second year BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS today at 0824 hours. Brian Mellow first found the bird, with myself, Royston Wilkins, Linton Proctor, Mark Warren, Mark Wallace, Daniel Eva, Chris Craig and remaining visitor birders from up the line. Russell Wynn, the Seawatch Southwest co-ordinator, independently saw it from lower down the cliffs and kept it in view from 0831-0834 as it glided slowly west towards the Longship Lighthouse.It appeared from the extreme left of the coastline as it lazily progressed round the coast, hugging the cliffs no more than a couple hundred yards off-shore. The views were exceptional and it even circled a couple times directly in front of us. The complete fly past lasted about three or four minutes. The slow, meandering flight was similar to a Cory's Shearwater and it seemed to be on view for ages.

The bird was aged as immature, first or at most second calendar year. The underwing was generally dark with a narrow pale underwing bar, barely noticeable unless you looked for it. The bill was a horn grey colour with a darker tip. I saw no hint of pink or yellow which would be associated with an older bird. The head was white, contrasting against a grey nape and collar extending down the side of the neck. The upper tail showed a dark lateral band. Undertail white. The upperwing was blackish brown, slightly browner on the mantle and back''.

Previous Cornish records of Black-browed Albatross
There are surprisingly just two accepted records of Black-browed Albatross from mainland Cornwall:

1982: St Ives Island. 5th Oct.
1988: Porthgwarra. 30th Aug.1999:

At sea. Outside of the two mile maritime boundary, 10 miles offshore. This record is not included in the totals as it is outside of the Cornish mainland area two mile limit.

It was another good day for Balearic Shearwaters passing Porthgwarra, with a single GREAT SHEARWATER too. Two Pomarine Skuas also flew west.

At the opposite end of the UK coastline, Andy Malone witnessed a 'zitting' FAN-TAILED WARBLER flying west over West Beach, Whitstable (North Kent) at 1130 - almost in the same location as a briefly-staying bird last year.

In East Norfolk, a moulting adult PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER remains for a fifth day at the east end of Breydon Water, favouring the mud in the NE corner opposite the tern platforms and showing well. This bird was previously misidentified as an American Golden Plover but is NOT the adult AGP recently present at Cley on 16-17 July. It flew off just after 1100 hours but returned this evening at 1920.

A PECTORAL SANDPIPER was briefly at the River Almond mouth, Cramond (Lothian) on the ebbing tide, whilst in the same county, the adult LESSER YELLOWLEGS continues to attract admirers feeding just downstream of the bridge adjacent to the Aberlady Bay car park. The adult LESSER YELLOWLEGS was also seen again at on the penultimate lagoon at Paull Holme Strays (East Yorks) whilst another PECTORAL SANDPIPER was at Saltholme Pools RSPB (Cleveland).

The GREAT WHITE EGRET remains at Island Mere, Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) with another at Meare Heath (Somerset), with a juvenile CATTLE EGRET near Seaton (South Devon) at Colyford Common LNR.

HONEY BUZZARDS are showing well from the Raptor Viewpoint near Swanton Novers (Norfolk), with four birds in the air today.

A drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK was present at Loch Gelly (Fife) this morning, presumably the same bird seen at Skinflats Lagoon (Forth) yesterday afternoon.

An incredible 647 Whimbrels roosted yesterday over the high tide at Freiston Shore RSPB (Lincs), whilst also impressive, was a gathering of 186 Mediterranean Gulls along Southend-on-Sea seafront (Essex).

In Dorset, one of the Salisbury Plain introduction Great Bustards (wing-tagged 28) was at Chard Junction Gravel Workings, whilst the presumed escape Hooded Merganser remains at Radipole Lake.

Friday, 24 July 2009







The moulting adult COLLARED PRATINCOLE at High Eske NR, near Beverley, East Yorkshire, this week (Graham Catley)
This is the UK400 Club Rare Bird Alert for Friday 24 July 2009, issued at midnight, published in association with Rare Bird Alert Pagers whilst utilising information gleaned from the Regional Birdlines, local email groups and websites, BirdGuides and individual observers.

In North Norfolk, a fairly worn adult-type GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO was seen again this morning, commuting between the bramble patch on Gramborough Hill and the hedgerow bordering the Kelling Quags track. At around 0900 hours it flew to a tall Sycamore and rested in the sunlight for over an hour but then flew strongly east at 1100 hours and was not seen again during the day, despite extensive searching. Frustratingly, the bird was relocated this evening, in bushes just NW of Kelling Water Meadows.

Nearby, an adult PECTORAL SANDPIPER landed briefly on Simmond's Scrape, Cley NWT, early morning, whilst up to 11 EURASIAN SPOONBILLS graced Pat's Pool with their presence.

In East Norfolk, the spanking breeding-plumaged adult AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER remains for a third day at Breydon Water, being best seen over the high tide period or on an incoming tide (it disappeared at 1000 hours today).

An adult LESSER YELLOWLEGS was feeding on the middle lagoon at Paull Holme Strays (East Yorkshire) early morning, whilst another was still showing well just upstream of the bridge by the car park at Aberlady Bay (Lothian). Also in East Yorkshire, the moulting adult COLLARED PRATINCOLE (pictured above) was relocated at Tophill Low NR late afternoon, hawking over and roosting on South Marsh East. It showed well until 1920 but then flew north (access to reserve is by permit only obtained from reception centre priced £2.50 per person).

The 'barking' male LITTLE BITTERN continues its summer residency at Loxton Marsh, Walton Heath (Somerset), with the GREAT WHITE EGRET adjacent on the drained lagoon and reedbed close to the Meare Heath hide. Two WHITE STORKS flew north over the M5 close to the Avonmouth Bridge (Avon) at 0903.

In the Western Approaches, a feeding group of 4-5 WILSON'S STORM PETRELS remains with 100+ European Storm Petrels south of the Isles of Scilly, with a few GREAT SHEARWATERS being seen.

A total of 6 Leach's and 38 European Storm Petrels were trapped and ringed overnight on North Ronaldsay (Orkney), whilst an adult summer-plumaged SABINE'S GULL was seen from a Hebridean Whale Cruise vessel on the Rona Bank between the Isle of Skye and Gairloch (Highland) for a second day. The near adult FRANKLIN'S GULL in heavy wing moult continues to consort with 20 Common Gulls in fields along the Cornqouy Road at Graemeshall (HY 503 015), whilst an adult PECTORAL SANDPIPER remains for a 6th day on North Ronaldsay.

The COMMON CROSSBILL invasion continues unabated with some exceptional counts, including 390+ at Westworth Wood, Guisborough (Cleveland) and over 250 SW of Crawley (West Sussex) in St Leonard's Forest near Colgate.

Up to a billion PAINTED LADY butterflies set to emerge in coming weeks

It has been an exceptional year for butterflies in Britain, with incredible numbers of LARGE WHITES in recent weeks. Now, after perhaps the largest invasion ever, up to a billion PAINTED LADIES are about to emerge, following up to 200 eggs being laid per female earlier in the summer.

Long-staying FRANKLIN'S GULL still present this evening

On ORKNEY MAINLAND, the near-adult FRANKLIN'S GULL is still present this evening, but has moved with the gull flock slightly further west. It is now about 100yds west of the Cornquoy turning, back towards Graemeshall.

Again, just find the small flock of Common Gulls in the area and the Franklins should be in with them (Paul Higson)

Bleaching of BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATERS




Hi Lee, Interesting record & photos.
In east Saudi Arabia, autumn Blue-cheeked Bee-eater passage is typically October into November. The birds are not as green, nor bright, contrasty & irridescent as in spring/breeding plumage (April/May): they are more faded, even the "blue cheek".
However, I have never seen anything quite like your "bleached" adult example. The attached resized autumn image (lower image, taken 12-10-06) shows you can still clearly differentiate the remaining blue cheek (e.g. supercilum) from the green crown/upperparts etc.
Comparison with an adult spring (top image, taken 12-5-08) shows the much drabber autumn plumage. However, both autumn & spring adults do show some blueish in the rump area, that is more extensive on the autumn birds. On the autumn birds, this blueing also extends onto the secondaries, leading edges of the primaries & tail, suggesting that the worn, sun-affected areas do tend to turn to a bluer/turquoise shade.
Could this be an extreme effect of the much higher temperatures experienced in the breeding range this year, since there have reportedly been summer heatwaves all across Europe/West Asia? (Dr. Graham R. Lobley)

Norfolk GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO still present


A fairly worn adult-type GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO is still showing well this morning - resting in the sun in a tall Sycamore immediately due south of Gramborough Hill inland of the Quags track and visible distantly from the A149. It is not a juvenile as I previously reported - Dave Appleton's fine image above confirming this.

Last night, it frequently commuted between the Hawthorns on Gramborough Hill and the hedgerow adjacent to Meadow Lane, and represents only the third record for the Cley Recording Area, following a juvenile along East Bank on 21 October 1977 and a further juvenile briefly over the West Bank near Coastguards on 7 July 1992.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Aberlady Bay, LOTHIAN







This breeding-plumaged adult LESSER YELLOWLEGS was discovered yesterday by Dave Allan feeding in the shallow burn by the reserve car park with Common Redshanks at Aberlady Bay (Lothian). It was still showing well in the same spot just downstream of the bridge this evening and has been well captured on film by Willie McBay (see above images)

The Kent BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER




















Tony Morris really did make the right choice of moving from London to St Margaret's-at-Cliffe as yesterday's events proved. His delightful images above show the true beauty the majority of us missed.

With claims from Suffolk of the BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER being at Sizewell Power Station perimeter fencing on 12 July and then flying high south over Landguard NR a few days later, yesterday's sighting at Bockhill Farm, St Margaret's (East Kent), can be put into perspective.

It is just three weeks since an adult BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER was photographed at Needs Ore Point in Hampshire. This bird at the time was a fairly straight forward bird in typical plumage, with rich green upperparts.

The fabulous selection of photographs obtained by Tony Morris of the Kent bird present for just under four hours yesterday clearly show an extremely bleached bird, with turquoise-blue rather than rich green upperparts. This is fairly typical of a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater living in Turkey or Iran - the feathers becoming extremely bleached by wear and bright hot sunshine. This would indicate that this is a new arrival rather than a relocating bird previously wandering the South Coast of Britain.

First TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL of the autumn reaches Fair Isle

Bang on cue, the first TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL of what is likely to be an invasion of the species has arrived - making landfall on Fair Isle this afternoon.

At the opposite end of the country, in the Western Approaches, the first wave of WILSON'S STORM PETRELS is being seen from the frequent boat trips being organised out of Scilly. At least five birds were recorded on today's trip, along with just under 100 European Storm Petrels, 2 GREAT SHEARWATERS and an adult summer SABINE'S GULL

BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER one day - GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO the next

Just over an hour ago at around 1620 hours, John Furse discovered a juvenile GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO at Gramborough Hill, just east of Salthouse car park. It was being mobbed by Meadow Pipits and Linnets and as John walked along to study it closer, it flushed and flew across the field to the hedgerows on Meadow Lane.

News was immediately broadcast but over the next half hour the bird could not be relocated. Then, just as John walked back towards where he had first found it, he flushed it again and it whizzed straight back across the field to where 40 or so local birders had gathered.

A short while ago the bird had moved into dense foliage further along the hedgerow bordering the main coastal A149 and was still being looked for by latecomers....

An excellent record. An update will be announced later

BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER in Kent



Photo: Tony Morris

Jack Chantler stumbled upon a BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER on his regular check-round of Bockhill Farm and its environs, St Margaret'a-at-Cliffe (East Kent), at 0950 hours this morning. The bird was sitting on a hedgerow about 300 yards north of the Bockhill Farm paddocks and was showing well. Jack quickly alerted his son and St Margaret's blogger Tony Morris and within a short while, all three observers were witnessing a spectacular event and a massively rare bird in Britain.

For around twenty minutes the bird sat in the bush but then took to the air and started hawking up and down the valley. It soon disappeared out of view but was heard calling on at least three occasions over the next half hour but not seen.

The news was quickly dissipated on to the Kent grapevyne and to Birdline South East and within a short while, other observers arrived. Just after 1130, the bird was relocated in the bottom hedgerow and was again showing well - perched on top of one of the bushes 60 yards west of the footpath. It continued to sit there for some time, taking flight on one occasion for a few minutes hawking for insects.

More and more birders then arrived so that by 1230, some 40 or so had gathered, including several of Kent's highest county listers. The bird was showing incredibly well and was a real 'scorcher' but at 1250 it suddenly took flight and went up high over the valley. It flew strongly northeastwards and appeared as if it was trying to head out to sea. Once over the cliff-edge, it followed the line of the coast path and was soon lost to view.

Thirteen minutes later it returned exactly to the same bush from whence it had flown and again showed well. Latecomers such as Dave Walker and the Dungeness crowd were enthralled as the bird once again 'wowed' its audience. This was some 'blocker', particularly as the previous Kent bird was a brief flyover in July 1989. Over the next half an hour, 20 or so more observers arrived (including Andrew Lawson) and just as Garry Bagnell and Gary Howard got there, it took flight again at 1338 and tagged on to a migrating party of Sand Martins and Barn Swallows.

Despite a strong SSW headwind, the hirundine passage continued uunabated (particularly of Sand Martins) and sadly the Bee-eater took this fourth opportunity to continue its wanderings and duly disappeared. Richard Bonser, James Hunter and I arrived shortly later, followed by many others including a surprising number of Kent stalwarts (Martin Coath, Johnny Tilbrook, Ray Turley, Paul Trodd, Marcus Lawson included) but despite desperately searching, the lost waif failed to reappear.

Tony Morris obtained an excellent selection of images (see his blog at http://stmargaretsphotodiary.blogspot.com/ ) and from these the bird can be seen to be an adult, heavily bleached in plumage and a peculiar blue shade.

Obviously one can speculate whether this is the same individual as recorded previously this year at Needs Ore Point (Hampshire) on 23 June and subsequently at Braunton Burrows (North Devon) on 30 June.

In addition to the previous Kent record at Church Hougham on 18 July 1989 (British Birds 83: 471), there have been just seven occurrences of this exotic species which occurs

1) An adult shot on St Mary's (Scilly) on 13 July 1921 (Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Chub 92: 57-59; Ibis 114: 446 & 145: 178-183)

2) An adult on St Agnes (Scilly) on 22 June 1951 (British Birds 45: 225-227; Cornwall Bird Report 1951: 41-42)

3) An adult in Peterborough (Cambs) on 17 September 1982 (British Birds 78: 564)

4) On the Otter Estuary at Buddleigh Salterton (South Devon) from 30 June to 2 July 1987 (British Birds 82: 535).

5) On wires at Kennack Sands and Cadgwith (Cornwall) on 1 June 1989 (British Birds 83: 471)

6) An adult on wires at Cowden (East Yorks) from 8-10 July 1989 which was successfully twitched by over 1,500 observers (British Birds 83: 471; Birding World 2: 242-243) and then seen flying south over Leverton Marsh on 12 July (British Birds 83: 471) and over East Kent on 18 July.

7) In the Bressay, Asta, Tingwall Valley and Lerwick area of Shetland from 20 June to 3 July 1997 (Birding World 10: 220-221; British Birds 91: 497, plate 128; Birding Scotland 2: plate 36; 6: plate 69 & 8: plate 109)

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

NEGA - BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER in East Kent

A BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER was present on the north side of St Margaret's at Cliffe over the paddock at Bockhill Farm at the north end of Granville Road from 1010-1020 hours. It was then heard briefly again at 1030 but not seen.

For a personal account and an excellent selection of images, browse

http://stmargaretsphotodiary.blogspot.com/

WADERS rule - rare shorebirds dominate the headlines













Adult summer AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER, Cley Sea Pool, Norfolk, July 2009 (Dave Curtis, top two; Christine Stean, bottom two)


During the last few days (20-21 July), a COLLARED PRATINCOLE has been present at Pulfin Bog/High Eske NR, 2.5 miles north of Beverley and just east of Arram (East Yorkshire).

DIRECTIONS: Park sensibly and courteously on the road close to the Crown and Anchor public house in Tickton village then walk north along the river and under the road bridge for 1.5 miles to view the reclaimed gravel workings. This area is also good for OTTERS.

This morning, an adult LESSER YELLOWLEGS appeared 8 miles SE of York (North Yorks) at Wheldrake Ings YWT showing from the reserve's Pool Hide (yesterday a LESSER YELLOWLEGS was on the Eden Estuary, Fife, at Edenside at high tide briefly with Common Redshanks). Nearby, the two adult COMMON CRANES remain south of Goole (East Yorks) in fields south of Moorfields Farm.

In Norfolk, last week's Cley summer-plumaged adult AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was relocated this morning at the east end of Breydon Water, where it was still showing at 0800 hours, whilst an adult PECTORAL SANDPIPER remains for a 5th day at Dungeness ARC Pit (Kent).

Other than rare waders, recent highlights include the continuing near-adult FRANKLIN'S GULL on Orkney Mainland at Holm at Howes Wick in fields near the old church (HY 510 008) and the GREAT WHITE EGRET in Suffolk - moving between Hen Reedbeds SWT reserve, Southwold, and Minsmere RSPB Island Mere. A GREAT WHITE EGRET, presumably the regularly returning colour-ringed adult, was at Mockbeggar Lake (Hants) yesterday.

One of this year's fledgling CATTLE EGRETS was recently at Colyford Common LNR (South Devon) and perhaps the same at Lodmoor RSPB (Dorset) on 21 July

Up to 18 EURASIAN SPOONBILLS have recently been at Cley NWT Reserve (North Norfolk), generally feeding on Pat's Pool. The reserve has also hosted at least 2 Continental Black-tailed Godwits, an adult Curlew Sandpiper, an adult Little Stint, 12 Marsh Harriers, numerous Bearded Tits, 3 Little Gulls and 10+ Yellow-legged Gulls.

Seawatching at Porthgwarra (Cornwall) has got off to a good start, with BALEARIC SHEARWATERS being seen daily (up to 36), large numbers of Manx Shearwaters, a few early SOOTY SHEARWATERS, some 15 CORY'S SHEARWATERS, the first GREAT SHEARWATER of the autumn (on 20 July), small numbers of European Storm Petrels, Atlantic Puffins (up to 11) and the odd POMARINE SKUA.

A fabulous pale morph adult POMARINE SKUA was an excellent find for a local patch-worker at Bill Oddie's old stomping ground of Bartley Reservoir near Frankley (West Midlands) - the bird showing well before being hounded by Lesser Black-backed Gulls from 0800-1250 hours when it flew off strongly SE.

On the passerine front, a couple of female RED-BACKED SHRIKES have straggled to Orkney - on North Ronaldsay and at Deerness respectively - and COMMON CROSSBILLS continue to penetrate in large flocks right the way across the country.

Recent news from IRELAND has been rather spartan but includes a first-summer RING-BILLED GULL at Sandymount Strand, Dublin, and up to 77 Mediterranean Gulls there, and a GREAT SHEARWATER off of the Old Head of Kinsale (Co. Cork).

Monday, 20 July 2009

BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS offshore/'At Sea'

Lee, not sure if you are aware of this, or of its relevance, but I thought I'd relate it anyway. I used to do a lot of pelagic trips off the coast of California. In autumn, juvenile BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS were not infrequently seen out at sea, probably more often than any other non-pelagic species. They were the most likely species to come aboard the boat, sometimes staying on board for hours. They were often very tame. Different ocean, time of year, and age group, but at least shows a propensity for this species to fly out to sea and to land on boats. I was never more than a few tens of miles offshore, by the way (Chris Corben, corben@hoarybat.com, www.hoarybat.com)

Reasons for this year's unprecedented BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD arrivals in Britain

Bill Sheehan of Woodland, Maine (NE USA) amongst others, has very kindly responded to my plea for more information on BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS this year and has provided this additional information which clearly has a direct link to the 4-5 occurrencies in Britain this spring/summer.

''Northeastern North America experienced at least two large waves ofmigrant overshoots in April 2009. These events were apparently caused by massive, powerful but extremely slow moving fronts that extended from Florida and the Gulf of Mexico northwards along the entire Eastern Seaboard up into Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. The consequent avian results were dramatic and substantial fallouts of large numbers of migrants of southern species that do not typically stray this far north in North America. These included large numbers of Moorhens, egrets, Indigo Buntings, Summer Tanagers, Blue Grosbeaks, White-eyed Vireos, Prothonotary, Hooded and Kentucky Warblers etc.

Bill lives in northernmost Maine, US, near the New Brunswick, Canadaborder and experienced only a fraction of this fallout, but this did include unusualnumbers of INDIGO BUNTINGS and BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS.

Cowbirds are fairly common in this area but they were particularlyabundant at this time. It appears that easternmost coastal Maine,southern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were directly under the weathersystem that was pumping the migrants north and had the most profoundbird fallouts. It was certainly best documented in NS as they havemany more active birders than ME or NB. Check the Nova Scotia RareBird alert archive for April to see the full effect.

Bill further comments

''Regarding the British stray cowbirds, the species was definitely a significantcomponent of the spring overshoots that we saw, but I am guessing thesewere overshadowed by the abundance of "real" rarities and less likelyto be remarked upon by most North American birders during the event.I only noticed them because I was on the periphery. My hypothesis (guess) is that a large number of these overshootBrown-headed Cowbirds ended up either well north of their range or outover the Atlantic during these weather events. These were among thehardiest of the species that were involved and I assume the survivorswere what ended up crossing the Atlantic.

As Alex Lees has commented, BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS would most likely struggle to cross the Atlantic unaided and it seems likely that a percentage of birds that found themselves out over the sea perhaps 'hitched a lift' on an ocean-going vessel and in turn appeared in western Europe. It is likely however that the Fair Isle bird made a direct crossing, after overshooting North America.

I am further grateful to the following commentators who very kindly responded to my cowbird request - including Julian Hough (CT, USA), Greg Hanisek and David Sonne (Anchorage, Alaska)

Saturday, 18 July 2009

MEGA - BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD in PEMBROKESHIRE 13-15 JULY



On Friday 17th July I was sent a series of photographs from the RSPB Cymru office in Cardiff. These showed a BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD which had been in a private south Pembrokeshire garden from July 13th-15th. The home owners had correctly identified the bird from searching the internet. They they sent the images to RSPB on the evening of 16th.

I spoke to the home owners yesterday evening who requested that information on the location of the bird was not released.


The bird was looked for today but not found. It has not been seen since the evening of 15th. If accepted, this will be the first record for Wales and potentially the 5th for Britain (there are currently 3 other records pending, all from 2009).

Thanks to the finders for sharing this extremely exciting information with us and for supplying the images. The home owners have been extremely co-operative but understandably do not want further details of the location to be released and I intend to fully respect their wishes.

Greg Morgan (RSPB Ramsey Island)

Friday, 17 July 2009

AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER in NORTH NORFOLK - a fabulous selection of images obtained by John Miller





























A spanking summer-plumaged adult AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Cley NWT Reserve (North Norfolk).
Initially located on Pat's Pool mid-afternoon on 16 July, this bird quickly flew to North Scrape before moving west into Blakeney Harbour. It was watched distantly feeding on the mudflats of low tide and remained present until mid-evening.
This morning it was relocated on Arnold's Marsh and by 0900 hours, it had moved slightly further east to Pope's Marsh and the west end of the Sea Pool. At the latter location, it afforded some outstanding views, and was constantly kept under observation by a constant trickle of admirers. At about 1530 hours, two European Golden Plover flew over and the lost waif flew up to join them and continued west towards Blakeney Harbour.

Arctic Plover causes some controversy

This is the UK400 Club Rare Bird Alert issued at 2100 hours on Friday 17 July 2009

A spanking full breeding-plumaged AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER remains for a second day in the vicinity of Cley Marshes NWT (Norfolk) favouring the west end of Pope's Marsh and the Sea Pool (just east of Arnold's Marsh) throughout much of the day. It flew up and joined two adult European Golden Plovers late afternoon and flew strongly west. John Miller obtained an outstanding selection of images of this bird (see his website) as it afforded observers views down to 75 yards.

The NWT Reserve also continued to host up to 7 EURASIAN SPOONBILLS, a Little Stint, an impressive 36 Common Greenshanks, whilst offshore, a surprise movement of 92 Manx Shearwaters took place this afternoon and evening.

At the opposite end of the country in Orkney, the near adult FRANKLIN'S GULL continues to moult at Howes Wick just west of the old church, with the long-staying GREAT WHITE EGRET still resident on Graemeshall Loch. In Aberdeenshire, a 'winter-plumaged' GREY PHALAROPE was present on the Starnafin Farm Visitor Centre Pools early afternoon, with an adult ROSEATE TERN still lingering on the Ythan Estuary.

In Somerset, the summering male LITTLE BITTERN continues at Loxton Marsh on Walton Heath, with the GREAT WHITE EGRET nearby on the second lagoon at Shapwick Heath NNR. A further GREAT WHITE EGRET remains at Hen Reedbeds SWT (Suffolk) with up to 4 ROSEATE TERNS at nearby Minsmere scrape

Inland, a 3rd-summer NORTHERN GANNET remained for a second day at Foremark Reservoir (Derbyshire), constituting the 34th occurrence for that county and performing well from the main visitor's car park, whilst the COMMON CROSSBILL invasion continues in earnest.

Adult CURLEW SANDPIPERS began to appear today, with 3 at Oare Marshes NR (North Kent) and a few at scattered sites in North Norfolk, with a handful of WOOD SANDPIPERS scattered throughout the country. An adult PECTORAL SANDPIPER was a new arrival at Dungeness ARC Pit (Kent) this afternoon

In Norfolk, an adult and three 2nd-summer CASPIAN GULLS was present at Blackborough End Landfill Site.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Immature NORTHERN GANNET inland in Derbyshire



















Steve Dunn kindly emailed me these images of a third-summer NORTHERN GANNET present today at Foremark Reservoir in Derbyshire.


The Applecross RIVER WARBLER - superbly captured on film by John Carter




Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The adult summer STILT SANDPIPER at Strathbeg RSPB - images - taken by Willie McBay





























STILT SANDPIPER OCCURRENCES IN BRITAIN Micropalama himantopus 28 Occurrences
(Breeds on tundra from NE Alaska to Hudson Bay. Migrates through interior and E USA to winter in C South America, from E Bolivia and S Brazil to NE Argentina. Occasionally winters north to Mexico, the Caribbean and southern USA)

1954 East Yorkshire Kilnsea, adult, 31st August to 4th September (British Birds 48: 18-20; Ibis 98: 155; Mather, 1986).
1962 West Sussex Chichester Gravel-pits, adult, 1st to 7th September (British Birds 56: 64-66, 401).
1963 Lincolnshire/Norfolk/Cambridgeshire Wisbech Sewage-farm and River Nene, adult, 19th July to 7th August, trapped 19th, released 20th (British Birds 57: 125-126, 270).
1963 West Sussex Manhood End, Chichester Harbour, adult, 7th to 13th August (British Birds 57: 126-127, 270).
1965 Lincolnshire/Norfolk Wisbech Sewage-farm, adult, 12th to 26th August (British Birds 59: 289).
1967 Lancashire Hundred End, Southport, juvenile, 27th September to 8th October (British Birds 61: 340).
1969 Suffolk Minsmere, adult, 27th to 29th July (British Birds 63: 276).
1970 Highland Dornoch Point, Sutherland, adult, 18th April (British Birds 64: 350; Scottish Birds 6: 280-281; Scottish Bird Report 1970: 372).
1972 West Sussex Sidlesham Ferry Pool, adult,14th July (British Birds 66: 340).
1973 Essex Walton on the Naze, adult, 2nd September (British Birds 67: 321).
1976 Shetland Garth's Loch, Scatness, adult, 11th to 18th September (British Birds 70: 421; Scottish Bird Report 1976: 93; Scottish Birds 10: plate 9c).
1984 Cheshire Frodsham area, first-summer, 16th April to 3rd October (British Birds 77: 336, plates 128-129; 78: 549).
1985 Kent Dungeness, adult, 22nd August (British Birds 79: 547).
1985 Suffolk Minsmere, adult, 4th to 10th May (British Birds 79: 547).
1987 Kent Cliffe Pools, adult, 18th to 25th August (British Birds 81: 558; Twitching 1: 222-223).
1989 East Yorkshire Flamborough Head, adult, 2nd July; same, Sandfield Pond, Catwick, 3rd to 4th (British Birds 83: 463).
1990 Kent Cliffe Pools, adult, 11th to 22nd July, trapped 12th (British Birds 85: 526; 86: 480).
1990 Suffolk Trimley St Mary, adult, 7th to 19th August, also in Kent (British Birds 84: 471, 489, plate 260).
1997 Suffolk Minsmere, moulting adult, 7th to 13th September (British Birds 91: 476, 486; Rare Birds 3: 285-286).
2002 Hampshire Pennigton Marshes, adult, 21st July to 3rd August (British Birds 95: plate 278; 96: plate 350; British Birds 96: 569)
2002 Shetland Norwick, Unst, juvenile, 5th-7th November (British Birds 96: 569-570, plate 351)
2005 Norfolk Burnham Norton, adult, 10th-17th May, same, Titchwell RSPB, 11th-12th May (British Birds 100: 41)
2006 Caernarfonshire Conwy RSPB Reserve, first-summer, 11th-13th July (British Birds 100: 713; Welsh Birds 5: 113-114) FIRST FOR WALES
2006 Dorset Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, adult, 12th-21st August (British Birds 100: 713)
2008 Leicestershire Rutland Water Egleton Reserve Lagoon 1, adult summer, 27th May (flew off high west)
2008 Gloucestershire Coombe Hill Meadows, moulting adult, 15th-21st August
2008 Outer Hebrides Rubha Ardvule, South Uist, juvenile, 14th-15th September
2008 Isle of Man Glascoe Dubh, juvenile, 17th September (probably same as South Uist individual)
2008 Cumbria Campfield Marsh RSPB NY 192 612, juvenile, 22nd September to 1st October (probably same as South Uist individual)
2009 Aberdeenshire Loch of Strathbeg RSPB, adult, 9th-11th July

IRELAND
13 occurrences
1968 Kerry Akeragh Lough, 6th to 7th October (Irish BR 1968: 31-32; British Birds 62: 468; 64: 16).
1979 Cork Ballycotton, 14th to 17th July (Irish Birds 1: 545-548, 564; British Birds 73: 507).
1983 Wexford Tacumshin, 1st August (Irish Birds 2: 559; British Birds 77: 523).
1988 Cork Ballycotton, adult, 6th to 7th August. Kinsale Marsh, adult, 14th to 18th August (Irish Birds 4: 93, 94, plate 12; British Birds 81: 665, plate 352; 82: 525).
1988 Wexford Lady's Island Lake, adult, 1st to 3rd August (Irish Birds 4: 94; British Birds 82: 525).
1989 Kerry Akeragh Lough, adult, 4th to 9th September (Irish Birds 4: 588; British Birds 86: 480).
1989 Wexford Tacumshin, juvenile, 22nd-29th October (Irish Birds 6: 393) FIRST DESCRIBED JUVENILE FOR THE WESTERN P
1991 Cork Rosscarbery, juvenile, 19th to 20th September, same, Inchydoney, 20th to 21st (Irish Birds 4: 588; 5: 220; British Birds 85: 526; 86: 480).
2001 Londonderry Lough Beg, juvenile, 12th-14th September (Birding World 14: 376-377; Irish Birds 7: 224)
2003 Cork Ringaskiddy Birdwatch Ireland NR, Lough Beg, adult summer, 6th-10th August (Irish Birds 7: 559).
2003 Kerry Burnhamwood Lagoon, Dingle Harbour, juvenile, 14th-25th September (Irish Birds 7: 559, plate 134; Birding World 16: 357)
2009 Wexford Blackstone/Seafield, The Cull, adult summer, 23rd-24th June, same, Tacumshin, 25th-27th June and again on 3rd July