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Thursday, 21 January 2010

Mid-week Review

Recent days have seen some interesting wild geese relocating, many from the close continent, including a flock of 7 TUNDRA BEAN GEESE in Oxfordshire today (in winter wheat in Ham Lane, Aston, at SP 338 025) and 2 at Rainham Marsh RSPB (London) (on Aveley Marsh), some impressive skeins of PINK-FEET (again over Rainham), a major inland influx of DARK-BELLIED BRENT GEESE (including 21 at Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon) and a party of 3 TAIGA BEAN GEESE for a third day in fields by the B1093/Byall Fen Drove junction in Cambs at TL 440 875.

In addition to the above, an apparent TODD'S CANADA GOOSE is at Slimbridge WWT Rushy Pen (Gloucs), 91 TAIGA BEAN GEESE were counted today in the Yare River Valley at Buckenham Marshes RSPB (Norfolk) and the adult white morph GREATER SNOW GOOSE is visiting Holkham Freshmarsh (Norfolk) daily.

Whilst reports come in thick and fast of rare Siberian thrushes in back gardens, the only real contender is our star performer and much visited female BLACK-THROATED THRUSH in North Yorkshire, still enticing and thrilling allcomers in Newholm village, near Whitby (park by the village hall and walk 80 yards to the second road beyond the Beehive Pub to view the front garden of 5 Glen View). Artificially being fed is another garden vagrant - a LITTLE BUNTING - in relatively inaccessible Dunnet Bay (Caithness).

The only other real excitement is that of an adult BONAPARTE'S GULL still showing well in Ligwy Bay, on Anglesey.

GREAT WHITE EGRETS continue in abundance with long-stayers on the River Dee in Aberdeenshire, in Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Reservoir (Northants), in its usual series of ditches east of Pymoor (Cambs) (TL 511 883), at Worth Marshes, Sandwich (Kent), again in the Chess River Valley near Chorleywood (Herts) and on the Harbridge Water Meadows (Hants), with CATTLE EGRETS at Brew Farm, Sennen (West Cornwall) (at SW 371 251) and by the cattle sheds at Park Farm, Chideock (Dorset) (at SV 428 930) and the three surviving first-winter GLOSSY IBISES at Catcott Lows NR (Somerset)

NORTH AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEALS remain at Llyn Padrig (Anglesey) and Brandon Marsh NR (Warks), drake NORTH AMERICAN BLACK DUCK on the Abbey Pool, Tresco (Scilly), with the two first-winter drake VELVET SCOTERS just off the dam at Grafham Water (Cambs) and the female RING-NECKED DUCK still wintering on North Ronaldsay (Orkney).

William Girling Reservoir in London hosts both BLACK-THROATED and 2 GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS, with King George VI Reservoir in West London playing host to no less than 7 juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS - a new record. Meanwhile, Whitlingham Broad near Norwich (Norfolk) is supporting the only inland/freshwater RED-NECKED GREBE and a few Smew.

Wintering SHORE LARKS include the two birds at Snettisham RSPB (Norfolk) and singles at Point of Ayr (Clwyd) and Kessingland North Beach Pools (Suffolk), whilst up to 7 LAPLAND BUNTINGS can be found at Frampton Marsh RSPB (Lincs). A RICHARD'S PIPIT was at Walmsley Sanctuary (Cornwall) on 20th.

A GREY PHALAROPE put in a brief appearance at Gibraltar Point NNR (Lincs) on 20th.

Little change in IRELAND, other than interesting gulls, some perhaps Arctic hybrids of Nearctic origin, but with a good crop of RING-BILLEDS, the usual adult NORTH AMERICAN HERRING and the ever-faithful FORSTER'S TERN, the latter two both sharing Galway Bay in the Nimmo's Pier area.

The adult drake NORTH AMERICAN EIDER was still off Glasagh Bay, Fanad Head (Co. Donegal) this week, with a drake AMERICAN WIGEON at The Gearagh and a LESSER SNOW GOOSE at Loch Swilly. A BONAPARTE'S GULL was east of Cobh at Cuskinny (Co. Cork) on at least 17th.