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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Topsy-turvy weather conditions

The male BLACK-WINGED STILT that was initially seen in Oxfordshire and then at Rutland Water (Leics) for one day has eventually settled in Lincolnshire, where today it is present for its fourth day at Willow Tree Fen LWT, 4 miles WSW of Spalding. The location is two miles west of Pode Hole and north of the Delph and is accessed off of the Pode Hole/Tongue End road opposite Bank House Farm. Follow the main track from the small car park to view the triangular field on the left at TF 181 213.

Meanwhile, the first BLACK-WINGED STILT to appear in Britain this spring - at Abbotsbury Swannery in the freshwater marsh just north of the reserve - is still present today (occasionally viewed distantly from the lane bordering the reserve just inland).

Yesterday morning, after an absence of several days, the apparent dark juvenile THAYER'S GULL reappeared in North Lincolnshire briefly, once again in the ploughed field with the white tanker remains at TA 043 122, east of Elsham and just over a mile NNE of Junction 5 of the M180. The bird is associating with up to 75 loafing immature Herring Gulls in the area.

In Scotland, long-staying vagrants include the GREATER YELLOWLEGS at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire) (still viewable distantly from the Starnafin Centre) and the PECTORAL SANDPIPER in Ayrshire at Dundonald Camp, whilst WHITE-BILLED DIVERS are being seen in Portsoy Harbour (Aberdeenshire), in Gruinard Bay (Highland) off of Mellon Udrigle and off of Port Skigersta, Butt of Lewis (Outer Hebrides). At Portmahomack (Highland), both drake AMERICAN BLACK SCOTER and SURF SCOTER are offshore.

The ringed male LITTLE BUNTING continues to visit the feeding station by the Water Treatment Works (SX 686 423) at South Milton Ley (South Devon), whilst on the Isles of Scilly, the NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH incredulously continues on Lower Moors, St Mary's.

A few Spanish GLOSSY IBISES are still to be found including an adult in the extreme north on North Uist (Outer Hebrides), at Loch a Roe at Aird an Runair, Balranald RSPB, as well as 3 at Marloes Mere (Pembrokeshire) and singles at Saltholme Pools (Cleveland) and Arnside Flash (Lancs), whilst relatively close to the North Uist bird is a COMMON CRANE on the machair between Bornish and Ormiclate on South Uist. A further COMMON CRANE, an adult, can still be seen from the canal towpath south of Meadow Bridge at Radford Meadows SWT in Staffordshire.

A drake North American Green-winged Teal was new in at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) (visible from the Bernard King Hide) whilst on Herriott's Pool there, the winter-plumaged adult SPOTTED SANDPIPER continues. Not that far away, the two first-winter LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS continue to frequent the drained basin of Meare Heath, 350 yards west of Ashcott Corner car park at Shapwick Heath NNR (Somerset). The long-staying drake RING-NECKED DUCK remains on Stithians Reservoir (Cornwall)

A HOOPOE was seen on Sandwich Bay Estate (Kent), with a WHITE STORK nearby over Grove Ferry NNR, Stodmarsh late evening, whilst a WRYNECK was at Carn (Gloucs).

The topsy-turvy, very blustery and very wet weather conditions have displaced numerous Sandwich Terns, Arctic Terns and Little Gulls and the odd Black Tern, Little Tern and Kittiwake inland. A GREAT NORTHERN DIVER remains inland at Carsington Water (Derbyshire), as does a transitional-plumaged SLAVONIAN GREBE in the SE corner of Stewartby Lake (Beds), whilst RED-NECKED GREBES remain at Alton Water (Suffolk) (from Lemons Hill Bridge) and on Hatfield Moors (South Yorks). The freak conditions also saw huge numbers of PALE-BELLIED BRENT GEESE moving west along the South Coast, including over 100 past West Bexington (Dorset) and Beer (Devon) during the morning..

Little recent news from IRELAND but the long-staying first-summer PURPLE HERON remains Bunmahon in County Waterford.