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Wednesday, 19 August 2009


The wonderful adult female SNOWY OWL at Termon Hill (Co Mayo) (Dermot Breen)
Juvenile ROSEATE TERN, juvenile adult COMMON TERN at South Shields, Tyneside (Glyn Sellors)
The adult LESSER YELLOWLEGS on Porthellick Pool, St Mary's (Scilly) (Robin Mawer), with Cambridgeshire's two GREAT WHITE EGRETS at Ouse Fen (Richard Thomas)
Finally, drake FERRUGINOUS DUCKS at Lochgelly Loch (Fife) (Willie McBay) and at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) (Gary Thoburn), the lower image depicting it with a Red-crested Pochard and Canvasback hybrid.
The first SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER of 2009 involves a moulting adult present for its third day on the beach opposite Cresswell Pond NWT Reserve (Northumberland). It has also been commuting to the causeway on the reserve (nearby, at least 5 Roseate Terns at Druridge Bay CP)

Hot weather from the south has resulted in another boom in GREAT WHITE EGRET sightings, with further birds from the breeding site in Brittany, NW France. Cambridgeshire was treated to another two, including a multi-ringed individual - see Richard Thomas' images above), both birds favouring Phase 3 at Ouse Fen (part of the Over Fen complex), viewable with patience from the end of the track to Brownshill Staunch accessed from Overcote Road (Richard Patient et al). Three more were present at Dolydd Hafren MWT (Powys) on at least 11 August

A further individual has taken up territory at Chard Reservoir (Somerset) since 13 August, with another at Denge Marsh RSPB, Dungeness (Kent) (since 15), whilst a close relative - CATTLE EGRET - was on Iley Lake, on the north bank of Keyhaven Marshes (Hants) from early afternoon (at SZ 313 933) (a further CATTLE EGRET was also seen at Elmley RSPB, Kent, on 14 August)..

On the Isles of Scilly, the moulting adult LESSER YELLOWLEGS continues to show very well on Porthellick Pool, St Mary's, where it first arrived on 12 August. It is often in company with a juvenile Wood Sandpiper and juvenile Ruff on the pool and has been captured excellently on film by local photographer Robin Mawer (see above). The archipelago is also blessed by the occurrence of a once frequent visitor from North America - an adult BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER. This bird, an adult, has been visiting the airfield runway and short grass since Sunday 16 August.

In South Yorkshire, a typically elusive SPOTTED CRAKE is skulking in the Dearne Valley at Edderthorpe Flash (2nd day), where it can be viewed from the bench not far from the layby on the west side of the A6195, following a bird at Upton Warren (Worcs) on 15 August.

In a relatively lean year for the species, Hickling Broad hosted a first-summer male RED-FOOTED FALCON on 18 August, after it roosted nearby at Rush Hills at dusk on 17 August.

It has been an excellent year for breeding MONTAGU'S HARRIERS in Britain (with 23 pairs raising at least 36 young) with post-breeding birds now being seen at Gibraltar Point (Lincs) and Elmley Marshes RSPB (North Kent) and a juvenile at Orford Ness (Suffolk), whilst EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS have had favourable results, up to four birds of which have been showing from the Raptor Viewpoint at Great Ryburgh (Norfolk) and two more from the Welbeck Raptor Viewpoint (Notts).

The old faithful adult RING-BILLED GULL has returned for its 11th consecutive season at Westcliff-on-Sea, favouring the promenade, street lamps and beach adjacent to or near Rossi's Ice Cream Parlour, with another on the River Thames on the Isle of Dogs (London) favouring the mud of low tide just east of Glen Affric Avenue slipway. An adult SABINE'S GULL was off Hartlepool Headland (Cleveland) mid-morning

In Scotland, the eclipse drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK and eclipse drake RING-NECKED DUCK continue their summer sojourn at Loch Gelly, 2.5 miles NE of Cowdenbeath (Fife) (please view from the steps at the north end) whilst an additional drake RING-NECKED DUCK is present at Kilconquhar Loch (Fife). The long-staying adult LESSER YELLOWLEGS continues at Aberlady Bay (Lothian)

Drift migrants typically appear from mid-August and this year is no exception. A GREENISH WARBLER was at Theddlethorpe Dunes (North Lincs) on 12 August, with another on Fair Isle (Shetland) on at least 17-18 August. An ICTERINE WARBLER was seen at the seaward end of Hope Gap, Seaford (East Sussex) briefly early morning on 18 August, whilst exceptionally one was trapped and ringed this morning at ''The Marsh'' at Longbridge Deverill (Wiltshire). A juvenile ORTOLAN BUNTING was reported from Mersea Island (Essex) at 0900 hours, with a MELODIOUS WARBLER at Hengistbury Head Wick Fields (Dorset) on 18 and a long-stayer in Pittisporum in Porth Minnick, St Mary's (Scilly), from 11-18 August at least, a COMMON ROSEFINCH on Whalsay (Shetland) on 18 and RED-BACKED SHRIKES involving an adult female at Halling (Kent) on 13-14, a juvenile at Hindon (Wilts) (at ST 902 331) on 14-16 and a juvenile on Hayling Island (Hants) on 18 August. The only WRYNECK so far this autumn is a juvenile at Baltasound, Unst (Shetland), on 15 August, whilst BARRED WARBLERS were at Kilnsea (East Yorks) on 9 and Noss (Shetland) on 15 August. A BLUETHROAT was trapped and ringed at West Bexington (Dorset) on 15 August.

An adult summer WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER visited Elmley RSPB Floods (North Kent) on the high tide overnight of 13-14 August, with an adult PECTORAL SANDPIPER SE of Dounby (Orkney) at 'The Shunan' on 14-15 August.

In IRELAND, the summering adult RING-BILLED GULL remains at Nimmo's Pier, Galway Harbour (Co. Galway) with a first-year on the boulder beach between Lurge Point and Lough Donnell in County Clare and another at Sandymount Strand (Co. Dublin). This latter site has seen the annual gathering of over 190 ROSEATE TERNS.

The seawatching season has begun at Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) with WILSON'S PETRELS becoming a daily occurrence, regardless of weather, with another today, along with frequent SABINE'S GULL sightings and a scattering of CORY'S and GREAT SHEARWATERS. Cape Clear island has also seen a moderate passage of GREAT SHEARWATERS in recent days.

An adult BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) from 9-12 August

The long-staying adult female SNOWY OWL (depicted above) remains a formidable attraction on The Mullet (Co. Mayo), favouring the bleak and windswept Termon Hill SW of Belmullet.