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Monday, 5 July 2010

RIVER WARBLER in Norfolk

The big breaking news of the weekend was of a singing male RIVER WARBLER in Broadland Norfolk. It had first been heard singing on Tuesday of last week (29 June) and then confirmed by Chris and Alison Allan on Friday (2 July) but was on private land. The couple then informed the owner of the adjacent field (one of their neighbours) and planned an 'opening night' for the public on Sunday, after he very kindly agreed to allow birders to park in the field.

The bird was singing from an area of reeds and sedges on Thorpe Marshes and with this typical crepuscular species, sang most strongly and persistently towards dusk. It had shown well on the Saturday evening but on the Sunday, kept quite low down in the reeds in the windier conditions. Fortunately, however, all of the 320 or so visitors managed to obtain 'scope views of the bird.

ACCESS INSTRUCTIONS: The parking field is located at TM 435 985, adjacent to North End Road, in Thorpe-next-Haddiscoe village, and is best approached via Crab Apple Lane, a minor road running north from the B1136, 4 miles east of Hales. At the T-junction turn left on to North End Road, and then follow the well-marked white 'River Warbler' signs to the designated field. There will be another viewing session from 1900 hours this evening where special access has again been kindly granted. As the bird sings into darkness and begins showing best from about 2100/2130 hours, PLEASE DO NOT ARRIVE BEFORE 1900 HOURS, as there is no room on North End Road to park and any incidents will jeopardise further viewing of this bird and perhaps influence of further news releases.

I would like to thank the many birders who visited and behaved impeccably last night, particularly those that went well out of their way to direct others on to the difficult bird and to kindly share their 'scopes when it was out on view. I would particularly like to thank the farmer for his granted access to the field, as well as Chris and Alison, Dick Filby and Denise for their sterling work in management. At least £600 was raised for charitable purposes.

THE REST OF THE WEEKEND'S NEWS

A very elusive adult BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER is present on the main freshwater scrape at Titchwell RSPB (North Norfolk), feeding on its own amongst the emergent vegetation flanking the north side of the lagoon. It is showing perhaps once or twice a day and is present for its third day but is generally exceptionally elusive and hard to detect. A fabulous flock of summer-plumaged SPOTTED REDSHANKS are also present on the marsh, a massive flock of RED KNOT at high tides, 27 or so adult male RUFFS, a few LITTLE GULLS and an excellent array and selection of commoner marshland species.

In Somerset, the adult male LITTLE BITTERN was seen several times flying over the reedbed at Loxton Marsh at Ham Walls RSPB reserve (accessed by walking half a mile east of Ashcott Corner car park - ST 460 395) (the GREAT WHITE EGRET remains on the opposite side of the road and drove at Noah's Lake, Shapwick Heath), whilst in South Devon, one of the two GULL-BILLED TERNS remained at Bowling Green Marsh RSPB, Topsham, at the north end of the Exe Estuary (high tide best).

Also in South Devon, the MEXICAN HOUSE FINCH of unknown origin or provenance continues in East Prawle village (South Devon), favouring the feeders in the garden of the Old Cider House and the vicinity of the Piggery Stores (please respect the privacy of residents)

In East Kent, the pair of PURPLE HERONS continue to feed the young in the nest at Denge Marsh and can be best viewed from Denge Marsh Road nearside Brick Wall Farm

Up to 4 adult drake SURF SCOTERS are summering with the massive Common Scoter raft 4 miles NNE of Aberdeen off Blackdog Rocks, whilst the drake BLUE-WINGED TEAL bearing a metal ring is still present at Berry Fen, SW of Earith (Cambs).

In IRELAND, an adult BONAPARTE'S GULL was present west of the bridge at Blennerville (Co. Kerry) and the first-summer GLOSSY IBIS remains in residence at the east end of Tacumshin (Co. Wexford)