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Friday, 12 March 2010

As Week 10 comes towards a close, the first OSPREY makes 263










The exceptionally confiding drake LESSER SCAUP at Hogganfield Loch (Mike Thrower)





The bird of the moment - drake BUFFLEHEAD on The Fleet (Dorset) (Alan Lewis)






The best Norfolk has to offer at present: ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD, juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL and SHORE LARKS (Adam Hartley)













A total of 263 species has now been recorded in Britain and Ireland this year, with a trickle of incoming spring migrant additions (Northern Wheatear, European Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, White Wagtail, Willow Warbler, Little Ringed Plover and Common Tern), an Atlantic Puffin at Portland Bill, an early Osprey at Hornsea Mere and the Dorset BUFFLEHEAD and Lincolnshire AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER.

The star attraction of the past week has been the beautiful drake BUFFLEHEAD on The Fleet off Langton Herring (Dorset). The bird is associating with Red-breasted Mergansers and after first being seen at West Bexington and Abbotsbury last Sunday, has spent all of its time on The Fleet between Herbury Gore and the end of Lighthouse Road south of Langton Herring. It represents the 10th considered 'genuine vagrant' Bufflehead in Britain since 1950. It is the first record for Dorset.

An adult winter BONAPARTE'S GULL has also been a crowd-puller, returning for a second successive spring to the River Taff in Cardiff (Glamorgan), showing very well opposite the slipway of the Cardiff Bay Water Activity Centre in Jim Driscoll Way. Two wintering LESSER SCAUPS are nearby, with an adult drake on the Eastern Lake of Cosmeston Lakes Country Park, south of Penarth, and a female at the south end of Eglwys Nunnydd Reservoir.

In Somerset, a CATTLE EGRET remains in Sharpham Park, with up to 3 GREAT WHITE EGRETS in the Shapwick Heath area, the 3 first-winter GLOSSY IBISES at Ham Wall RSPB, with the drake LESSER SCAUP still on Bodmin Moor at Dozmary Pool (Cornwall) and an adult drake RING-NECKED DUCK on Roadford Reservoir (Devon). A drake LESSER SCAUP visited Chew Valley Lake (Avon) on Sunday and Monday, whilst the juvenile PALLID HARRIER reappeared at Mulfra Hill, Zennor, on 9th (Roy Phillips).

One of last autumn's bumper crop of LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS has reappeared at Banks Marsh (Lancs), favouring the pool opposite Old Hollow Farm (view from the seawall)

In North Norfolk, a juvenile GLAUCOUS GULL has been favouring Sheringham seafront throughout most of the past week, often roosting on the beach breakwater groynes, with 50+ Snow Buntings still in Salthouse Beach car park, 40 Twite at Titchwell RSPB and 3 adult Black Brants at Wells Harbour. A lone ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD is still present on Thorpe Marshes, between Haddiscoe and St Olaves

In North Wales, the three drake SURF SCOTERS were located offshore today at Old Colwyn (Conwy) (best viewed from the A55 Rainbow Footbridge at SH 877 786), with the long-staying SHORE LARK nearby between the Point of Ayr and Gronant Beach (Clwyd). In Mid Wales, the juvenile BLACK KITE of unknown origin is still visiting Gigrin Farm Feeding Station, Rhayader (Powys), along with 175 Red Kites, 45+ Common Ravens and 70 Common Buzzards.

A TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE remains with Pink-footed Geese on Cockerham Moss (Lancs), with 2 along Plex Moss Lane (Lancs), with the drake AMERICAN WIGEON again at Martin Mere WWT (from the Ron Barker Hide).

A few BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS linger, including the Finchley (London) first-winter, six in Plover Road, Ipswich (Suffolk), the four opposite the health centre by the Shelton Street/Hockley Road roundabout in Wilnecote, Tamworth (Staffs), four in Panton Street, Cambridge (Cambs) and several small flocks in Scotland.

NORTHERN GREY SHRIKES remain on territory in the Clocaenog Forest, at Dalton Crags (Cumbria), at Waddington Fell (Lancs) (SD 716 459), near Usk Reservoir (Powys), on Teifi Marshes NR (Pembs), near Welbourn (Lincs) and in the New Forest at Burley (Hants) (Burbush Hill car park).

In Scotland, an adult drake AMERICAN WIGEON continues to afford exceptional views on the Whooper Pond at Caerlaverock WWT (Dumfries & Galloway), as does a drake LESSER SCAUP at Hogganfield Loch, Glasgow (Clyde), the 3 SNOW GEESE remain with Pink-footed and Greylag Geese at the NE end of Nigg Bay (Highland), adult RING-BILLED GULL at Dingwall Leisure Centre, an adult BONAPARTE'S GULL at Thurso River Mouth (Caithness) and drake KING EIDER off Roseisle car park (Moray). Meanwhile, the LITTLE BUNTING is still visiting the feeding station in Dunnet (Caithness)

On the Outer Hebrides, the resident male SNOWY OWL was showing well today at Borve, Lewis, sheltering by the pine plantation north of the A857 at NB 426 579.

Migrants today include perhaps 8 Northern Wheatears, a few Little Ringed Plovers, a trickle of Sandwich Terns, the odd Garganey, numerous Black Redstarts and Firecrests, a European Barn Swallow at Wroot (Lincs), Red Kites and the first OSPREY of the year, at Hornsea Mere (East Yorks)

Both Hooded Mergansers of unknown origin remain, with the adult drake at Radipole Lake (Dorset) and a first-winter drake at Saltholme Pools RSPB (Cleveland), whilst a Golden Eagle roams Luccombe Down on the Isle of Wight for a second day.

A drake RING-NECKED DUCK remains at Lough Gara (Co. Sligo), with 1-2 SMALL CANADA GEESE (hutchinsii) with Barnacle Geese at Ballintemple/Raghley (Co. Sligo), a vagrant CANADA GOOSE (parvipes) at Trawbega Bay (Co. Donegal), a female Ruddy Shelduck still at Culleenemore Strand, Sligo Harbour (Co. Sligo) and the drake NORTH AMERICAN BLACK DUCK at Sruhill Lough (Co. Mayo). Up to 3 RING-BILLED GULLS remain in Cork at Cuskinny Marsh, with the adult FORSTER'S TERN at Mutton Island Causeway, Galway Harbour. The Lough Atedaun (Co. Clare) PIED-BILLED GREBE was present until at least Wednesday.

There has been no sign of the Clare PACIFIC DIVER this week despite searching, although up to 86 Black-throated Divers were located offshore, several Red-throated and several hundred Great Northerns.