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Friday, 20 February 2009


With temperatures reaching the balmy heights of 14 degrees C in parts of the south today, it was no surprise to see the first trickle of incoming migrants arrive - including the odd SAND MARTIN, BARN SWALLOW and LESSER WHITETHROAT, 6+ SANDWICH TERNS, along with numerous Oystercatchers, Common Redshank, Common Shelduck and Eurasian Curlew overland. A fair few herds of Bewick's Swans departed east out over the North Sea this morning, and Dark-bellied Brent Geese continue to move east along the South Coast.

The first-winter NORTH AMERICAN HERRING GULL was present again at the river mouth at the Otter Estuary NR (South Devon) today, showing from mid-morning to early afternoon.

A first-winter female SNOWY OWL was seen on Shapinsay (Orkney) yesterday, with the Amalveor Downs first-winter in Cornwall also showing for much of this week.

A GREAT WHITE EGRET was new-in this afternoon at Otmoor RSPB (Oxfordshire), favouring the second field from the car park.

The confiding CATTLE EGRET remains on St Mary's (Scilly), favouring the allotments by the dump, with the juvenile Kumlien's Gull, 2 juvenile Iceland Gulls and the 2nd-winter Glaucous Gull still in the same area. On the Isle of Man, another CATTLE EGRET is showing well, present for its third day in the cattle field by the gas storage tanks at SC 205 683 (Port St Mary), best viewed from the Truggan Road, whilst in North Devon, another is at Yelland, along the 'Tarka Trail' in the horse field at Lower Yelland Farm. The Norfolk bird is also still present, once more favouring the cattle field in the NW corner of Barningham Park, near Matlaske, as well as long-staying birds near Drift Reservoir (Cornwall) and at Powderham (South Devon).

Continuing wildfowl included the drake Ring-necked Duck at Foxcote Reservoir (North Bucks) (with a female at Hoveton Little Broad), drake American Green-winged Teals at North Cave Wetlands (on Island Lake) (East Yorks), Eyebrook Reservoir (Leics) and Maxey GP (Cambs), a drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK at Hoveton Little Broad (Norfolk) and the drake LESSER SCAUP at Holme Pierrpont (Notts). Three TUNDRA BEAN GEESE remain on Ivy Lake, Chichester GP (West Sussex), with the adult RED-BREASTED GOOSE still with 1300 Dark-bellied Brent Geese at West Wittering (West Sussex).

Six EURASIAN SPOONBILLS remain on the Taw Estuary at Isley Marsh (North Devon), with 2 at Lodmoor NR (Dorset) and another at Fingringhoe Wick NR (Essex).

Up to 5 HAWFINCHES are showing again in the three Hornbeam trees in the open paddock south of Lynford Arboretum (Norfolk), with another regular bird at Sotterley Church (Suffolk), 6 at Wentworth Castle (South Yorks) and 11 in the churchyard at Oldland, Longwell Green (Bristol), whilst NORTHERN GREY SHRIKES include singles at Roydon Common (Norfolk), Dersingham Bog (Norfolk), Santon Warren (Suffolk), Lakenheath Fen RSPB (Suffolk), Pannel Valley NR (East Sussex), in the setaside field at SP 037 009 east of the A419 at Cirencester (Gloucs), at Foel Fach in the Clocaenog Forest (Clwyd), Beaulieu Road Station (Hants), Dalton Crags (Cumbria) and Chamberlayne's Heath (Dorset).

LONG-EARED OWLS are always a delight to see and this week we have been treated to roosting individuals at Farlington Marsh (Hants) and Splatt Bridge (Gloucs), the latter in the hedgerow at the rear of the reedbed just south of the bridge. PLEASE VIEW THESE BIRDS FROM A REASONABLE DISTANCE.

In SCOTLAND, the adult RING-BILLED GULL is still showing very well by the snackbar on the A85 near Dundee, 250 yards west of the railway bridge, the CACKLING CANADA GOOSE is still with Barnacle Geese at Caerlaverock WWT (D & G)

In IRELAND, the two KING EIDERS (first-winter drake and female) remain in Drumcliffe Bay, Lissadell (Co. Sligo), with the white morph SNOW GEESE at Wexford North Slob (Co. Wexford) and Termoncarragh Loch (Co. Mayo) and several RING-BILLED GULLS (including two adults at Nimmo's Pier, Galway, and an adult at Belmullet, Mayo).