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Sunday, 2 May 2010

WHITE-THROATED SPARROW in Cornwall and an influx of RED-RUMPED SWALLOWS















RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Marc Heath) and the Cornish BLACK-HEADED WAGTAIL and WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (Brian Field)
This is the UK400 Club Rare Bird Alert for Sunday 2 May 2010, issued at 2100 hours and published in association with RARE BIRD ALERT PAGERS whilst utilising additional information yielded from the Regional Birdlines, Birdguides and an array of websites and blogsites.

A charming singing male WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was located in a birder's garden at Boscastle (Cornwall) yesterday morning and remained present all day today, delighting over 100 observers sighting their first ever in the county. The bird is frequenting the grounds of Welltown Manor, where the owner has very kindly agreed to allow access, provided a donation is made to the Cornwall Bird & Preservation Society. A field has been made available just off of the B 3263 at SX 093 905 and from here walk along the road to the public footpath on the right, with the sparrow in the garden on the left. Please ensure to respect the privacy of residents and do not obstruct any access or footpaths.

Apart from the Nearctic sparrow above, it has been RED-RUMPED SWALLOWS that have made all of the headlines today with an incredible 8 birds located amongst the many hundreds of thousands of hirundines grounded by today's Arctic winds and torrential rain. Suffolk attracted four birds at just one site - the Loompit Lake at Levington Marina - whilst further singles were discovered at Wilstone Reservoir, Tring (Herts) (present from just 0600-0900 hours only), a bird for its second day at Gunwade Lake, Ferry Meadows Country Park (Cambs), one briefly over the Aveley Lagoons at Rainham Marshes RSPB (Essex) mid-afternoon and another at Brading Marshes RSPB (Isle of Wight).

In Kent, the very bright singing male IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF remains in Walderslade Woods (North Kent), showing very well as it displays in its small territory of wood between tow male colybitta Common Chiffchaffs. Half way along Chestnut Avenue in Walderslade, just north of the M2, park by the entrance to the woodlands and as you appear from the opposite side of the small plantation after 200 yards, the bird is moving between the edge of the wood and some smaller trees adjacent.

EURASIAN HOOPOES are also in vogue with one showing well yesterday in Kent just north of the M20 at Lenham Heath sheep fields and one still today in the West Midlands at Clayhanger Marsh in the field opposite the sewage works just west of Ford Brook. One still remains well to the north on Fair Isle as well. The long-staying male (WHITE-SPOTTED) BLUETHROAT was still singing by the Lyle Hide at Welney WWT (Norfolk) this morning (access £6.80 to non-members) whilst the first-summer male WOODCHAT SHRIKE continues for a fourth day at Winterton South Dunes (Norfolk), favouring the gorse bushes in the central valley 650 yards south of the car park, and the female is still at Bass Point (Cornwall). There was no news today on the first-summer male BLACK-HEADED WAGTAIL present for several days on the Trinity Pool at Sennen (West Cornwall).

In London, a breeding-plumaged Pluvialis plover, either PACIFIC or AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER, staged at Beddington Sewage Farm until 0830 and then at Barnes Wetlands WWT from 0900, before being flushed off by territorial Lapwings at 1037. It had been showing well on the long shingle island visible from the Peter Scott hide.

An elusive BLACK STORK, present in the West Country for over a week, was seen again this morning, NE of Shaugh Priory by the Cadover Bridge at SX 555 646 (South Devon).

Two PECTORAL SANDPIPERS remained for a second day at North Cave Wetlands (East Yorks), favouring the SE corner of the island as viewed from the reserve's Turret Hide, whilst DOTTERELS today as we approach the peak of their spring migration through Britain included a pair on the Long Mynd (Salop) by the entrance gate to the Midland Gliding Club, a trip of 8 over Annesley Pit Top (Notts), two on the Cefn Cadlan, Llwyn-on Reservoir (Glamorgan) and two at Abbeystead (Lancs). A migrant STONE CURLEW visited Holy Island (Northumberland) today (in the cereal field at Chare Ends), whilst WOOD SANDPIPER numbers have slackened off with the change to NE winds although singles were noted at Lamesley Water Meadows (Co. Durham), Marshside RSPB (Lancs), Manby Flashes (Lincs), Nosterfield Pits (North Yorks), Old Moor RSPB (South Yorks) and Walmsley Sanctuary (Cornwall) today and a flock of 6 on Rush Hills Scrape at Hickling Broad (Norfolk) and party of 4 at Tealham Moor (Somerset). The first few TEMMINCK'S STINTS of May are arriving, with 3 together at Swaffham Prior Fen (Cambs) and further singles at Cley NWT (Norfolk) (on 1st) and Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk).

Two COMMON CRANES arrived at Otmoor RSPB (Oxfordshire) this morning and showed well throughout much of the day whilst the two beautiful adult summer PURPLE HERONS continue to display and gather nest material on the Denge Marsh at Dungeness RSPB (Kent), with another adult nearby at New Downs Scrape, Sandwich Bay. A GREAT WHITE EGRET was present at Berry Fen (Cambs) today, along with the long-stayer at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire), with another COMMON CRANE in fields east of Lady Anne's Drive, Holkham (Norfolk)

An adult drake BLUE-WINGED TEAL, perhaps the Cleveland bird, was discovered at Pepper Arden Bottoms (North Yorks) this morning.

In Northern Scotland, 1-2 adult WHITE-BILLED DIVERS remain off Burghead Maltings (Moray) and the usual adult off Kirkabister in South Nesting Bay (Shetland), with a lingering adult SNOW GOOSE with Pink-footed Geese at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire) and a SNOWY OWL on Unst (Shetland) at Baltasound. A drake BLUE-WINGED TEAL was a nice find on Mull (Argyll) (at Loch na Keal) whilst the drake KING EIDER was seen again on the Aberdeenshire coast, again at Old Slains.

The two early ROSEATE TERNS at Dawlish Warren (South Devon) were still present today, with a pale morph ARCTIC SKUA briefly inland at King George V Reservoir (London) late morning.

The Home Counties have had a good day passage-wise with huge numbers of ARCTIC TERNS displaced, several BLACK TERNS, a few LITTLE TERNS and the odd SANDWICH TERN, along with OSPREYS and MARSH HARRIERS

The bad weather conditions displaced many northbound-migrating waders inland, particularly Whimbrels, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Turnstone, Red Knot and Dunlin, along with a few Pied Avocets (two at Audenshaw Reservoirs, Greater Manchester)

Large numbers of WHINCHATS are now passing through, along with the main push of GREENLAND WHEATEARS, whilst several late RING OUZELS are still to be found. The first SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS are now arriving

In IRELAND, a GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK remains present on the beach in front of the car park at Ballynamona (Co. Cork) whilst a HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL appeared again very briefly close to the pier on Dursey Island (Co. Cork). An elusive male presumed WESTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER was present at Knockadoon Head (Co. Cork) and a WOODCHAT SHRIKE on Dursey Island.

A PACIIFIC DIVER was offshore at Finvarra Point (Co. Clare) this afternoon

The male DOTTEREL remains on the summit of the Djouce Mountain (Co. Wicklow), whilst two EURASIAN SPOONBILLS were roosting on the saltmarsh at Timoleague (Co. Cork) this afternoon.