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Saturday, 16 January 2010

BLACK-THROATED THRUSH remains star attraction






A female BLACK-THROATED THRUSH in North Yorkshire continues to be the lead attraction as the snow starts to melt across the country as milder southerly winds briefly move in. The bird is performing admirably in gardens in Newholm village, not far from Whitby, within walking distance of the Beehive public house. The superb images above were obtained by Ron Marshall.

And now for the supporting cast - in chronological order....a total of 242 species already having been recorded in Britain and Ireland thus far in 2010.

The only freshwater BLACK-THROATED DIVER is that still present on Oulton Broad, Lowestoft (Suffolk), whilst long-staying GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS inland include singles at Rutland Water (in Whitwell Creek) (Leics), Whitlingham Broad, Norwich (Norfolk), Pitsford Reservoir (Northants), Stewartby Lake (Beds), Brogborough Lake (Beds) and Cheddar Reservoir (Somerset).

Four BALEARIC SHEARWATERS moved west off Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 14 January, indicating wintering of this species surprisingly north in the Atlantic, whilst EURASIAN BITTERNS involve at least 63 surviving birds and CATTLE EGRETS at Brew Farm, near Sennen (SW 371 252) (West Cornwall) (2 birds) and another flying south along the A487 at Llanfain (Ceredigion) today. The long-staying GREAT WHITE EGRET of French origin was showing well on Rockford Lake, Blashford (Hants) today, with another present for a fifth day near the dam at West Hythe (East Kent). The three first-winter GLOSSY IBISES in Somerset at Catcott Lows NR have survived the worst of the weather, whilst wintering EURASIAN SPOONBILLS include at least 9 in Poole Harbour (Dorset), up to 6 in Cornwall and singles on the River Axe, Axmouth (South Devon) and in Pagham Harbour (West Sussex).

On the wildfowl front, a white morph SNOW GOOSE is with Greylag Geese near Craob Haven (Argyll) (in fields at NM 805 085), at least 15 TAIGA BEAN GEESE remain in the River Yare at Cantley Marshes (Norfolk), two vagrant CANADA GEESE remain with Barnacle Geese on Islay (Argyll), a displaced flock of 19 BARNACLE GEESE is near Chypraze Farm, Morvah (at SW 387 358) (West Cornwall), BLACK BRANTS are at Wells Harbour (Norfolk), Reculver Marshes (North Kent), HMS Sultan Fields, Gosport (Hants) and on The Fleet (Dorset) and the adult RED-BREASTED GOOSE of perhaps feral origin on the Exe Estuary (South Devon).

Drake NORTH AMERICAN GEEN-WINGED TEALS remain at Tain (Inverness-shire), on Loch Leven (Fife), Eyebrook Reservoir (Leics) and off Hayling Island Oyster Beds (Hants), 270 displaced Red-crested Pochards at a variety of sites, FERRUGINOUS DUCKS of unknown origin at Brookley's Park (Staffs), Barton Broad (Norfolk) and on the flooded diggings west of Rosebud Farm at Westhay Moor NNR (Somerset), the drake LESSER SCAUP at Cardiff Bay Wetlands (Glamorgan), the drake RING-NECKED DUCK at Pugney's Country Park (West Yorks) and a drake KING EIDER off the end of Bath Street in Burghead (Moray). At least one VELVET SCOTER is inland off of the dam at Grafham Water (Cambs), with an adult drake SURF SCOTER off Ruddon's Point in Largo Bay (Fife) and an adult female off Dawlish Warren (South Devon). Presumed escape Hooded Mergansers continue at Radipole Lake (Dorset) and on the Petroplus Pools at Saltholme Pools (Cleveland). The cold weather has forced 70 or more SMEW into Britain, with an impressive flock of 97 GOOSANDER at Old Moor RSPB (South Yorks).

The juvenile BLACK or ASIATIC BLACK-EARED KITE of suspect origin continues to show very well at feeding times with up to 420 Red Kites at the Gigrin Farm feeding station near Rhayader (Powys), with a juvenile PALLID HARRIER in West Cornwall (highly elusive and only occasionally seen during daylight hours) and just one twitchable ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD on the Haddiscoe Levels (Norfolk/Suffolk border). A beautiful white morph GYRFALCON is present for a second day on the island of Eilean Mhic Connich (NR 163 523) at Portnahavern, Islay (Argyll).

A COMMON CRANE visited Penhill Marsh on the Taw Estuary (North Devon) on 15 January, with the long-staying and only second-ever wintering BAIRD'S SANDPIPER at White Sands Bay, Dunbar (Lothian), the SPOTTED SANDPIPER on the Exe Estuary (South Devon) and a GREY PHALAROPE today off of the wooden pier of the Lunar Fish Factory in Aberdeen.

An adult BONAPARTE'S GULL remains for a third day on the sea in Ligwy Bay on Anglesey, with the only regular RING-BILLED GULLS being the old adults at Westcliff-on-Sea (Essex) and Walpole Park Sailing Lake, Gosport (Hants).

A flock of 12 WOODLARK was an unusual find in Penrhyn Bay (Clwyd) (at SH 805 798), with further birds in South Wales, with SHORE LARKS at the Point of Ayr (Clwyd), Snettisham (Norfolk) (2), Kessingland (Suffolk) and at the NW end of the Flamingo Pool at Cliffe Pools RSPB (North Kent) at TQ 713 773. Just 1 BOHEMIAN WAXWING is twitchable at present - an adult in Norwich (Norfolk) favouring an apple tree in Lower Clarence Road.

The first RING OUZELS of the year visited gardens in Charlbury (Oxon) and in Poldhu Cove, Lizard (Cornwall), with a single very elusive and erratic PENDULINE TIT in the Dungeness area (Kent), a single continuing EUROPEAN SERIN at Rainham Marsh RSPB (Essex) and NORTHERN GREY SHRIKES at just six wintering locations.