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Wednesday, 1 October 2008

1 OCTOBER 2008

First-winter CITRINE WAGTAIL, Aird an Runair, Balranald, North Uist, Outer Hebrides, October 1st 2008 (Steve Duffield)
Juvenile STILT SANDPIPER, Campfield Marsh RSPB, Cumbria, October 1st 2008 (Darren Robson)
Great White Egret, Minsmere RSPB, Suffolk, October 1st 2008 (Matthew Deans)
Adult GLOSSY IBIS, Sutton Gault Flash, Cambs, September 2008 (Lee G R Evans)
Strong to gale force WNW winds battered the northern half of the country, culminating in large numbers of Leach's Petrels being displaced, particularly in the River Mersey and off the NW coast. Also associated were large numbers of Great Skuas, several Pomarine Skuas, numerous Grey Phalaropes, a few Sabine's Gulls and the odd juvenile Long-tailed Skua. Token counts included 107+ Leach's Petrels past Seaforth LWT (Merseyside), 120+ past Hilbre Island (Wirral) and 96 past New Brighton (Merseyside).

It was in the Northern Isles that once again all the action occurred with a Fair Isle WHITE'S THRUSH being the latest gem to arrive on the golden isle. This bird showed well by the wind generator intermittently during the afternoon. Earlier in the day, a PALLAS'S GRASSHOPPER WARBLER had been seen, along with a Common Rosefinch and 2 Bluethroats. The strong winds blasting down from the north produced three 'snowballed' HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLLS - one at the north end of Unst at Norwick, one on Fair Isle and another on Foula. A RUSTIC BUNTING was newly found at Voe Plantation (Shetland), whilst the MARSH WARBLER remains in Quendale Mill Burn. Foula today recorded a juvenile RING-NECKED DUCK, with the BLYTH'S REED WARBLER and Greater Short-toed Lark still present.

On North Uist (Outer Hebrides), a first-winter CITRINE WAGTAIL remains for a 5th day at Balranald, on the beach at Aird an Runair, whilst on Tiree (Argyll), an adult GULL-BILLED TERN (potentially of the Nearctic form aranea) remains for a 5th day at Crossapol (Mike McKee).

The juvenile STILT SANDPIPER continues to attract admirers to Campfield Marsh RSPB scrape, 2 miles WSW of Bowness-on-Solway (Cumbria) at NY 192 612, whilst further SW in the same county, the RUSTIC BUNTING continues to visit the seeded footpath at South Walney NR.

Elsewhere, an adult GLOSSY IBIS remains for an 11th day at Sutton Gault (Cambs) on the small flash 500 yards SW of The Anchor pub (take the west side of the easternmost drain and walk south along the track for 320 yards to view). It later flew to roost at Fen Drayton GP, dropping down in trees on Ferry Lagoon at 1840 - a great piece of detective work by local birders.

In Worcestershire, a juvenile NORTHERN GREY SHRIKE remains 3.5 miles east of Worcester (Worcs) and 0.5 miles WNW of Bredicot east of the A4538 favouring the hedgerows north of the minor road at SO 901 553. Equally as rare locally is another at Brent Reservoir (London), favouring the scrub at the dam end on the North bank (access from Birchen Grove).

In East Yorkshire, three juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPERS remain at Swine Moor, just NE of Beverley, with another at Caerlaverock WWT (Dumfries & Galloway) and further juveniles at Pulborough North Brooks (West Sussex), Llangorse Lake (Powys) (two birds) and on Fair Isle (two birds).

The long-staying first-summer male RED-FOOTED FALCON remains at Tophill Low NR (East Yorks) - a rare straggler to Britain in autumn.

In Staffordshire, a GREAT WHITE EGRET is at Elford GP: view from the footpath adjacent to the lake and park carefully and sensibly at SK 180 096. Two more are at Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk), including a colour-ringed bird from NW France, with the regular bird at Ivy Lake, Blashford (Hants).

The drake Hooded Merganser remains at Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset), ranging widely between the Gurkha Restaurant bridge and the reserve 'concrete bridge', whilst a RICHARDSON'S CANADA GOOSE and COMMON CRANE are with 164 newly returned Barnacle Geese at Caerlaverock WWT.

In IRELAND, a juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER is south of Leam Lough (Co. Mayo) on the beach, with 4 Sabine's Gulls, 124 Grey Phalaropes, 13 Leach's Petrels, 112 Great Skuas and 81 Sooty Shearwaters off Kilcummin Head today (100 Pomarine Skuas flew past yesterday) and 2 Long-tailed Skuas, 10 Pomarine Skuas, 21 Leach's Petrels and 112 Great Skuas off Melmore Head (Co. Donegal). Also in Mayo, the female SNOWY OWL remains on The Mullet at Termon Hill.