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Sunday, 27 September 2009

Megas left, right and centre

This is the UK400 Club Rare Bird Alert for Sunday 27 September 2009, issued at 2200 hours and published in association with Rare Bird Alert Pagers (see and utilising additional information gleaned from the Regional Birdlines, local email groups and websites, individual observers and BirdGuides.

The latter half of September 2009 has been an exceptionally busy one rare birdwise with some outstanding occurrencies, mainly with a bias towards Nearctic origin. Pride of place goes to the second-winter or adult SANDHILL CRANE - the third record for Britain - which now enters a third week on Orkney after being finally identified last Tuesday. It has now got into a well-rehearsed routine of roosting on the lochan and feeding by day in stubble to the NE of Flaws at Windwick. South Ronaldsay is easily accessed from John O'Groats in Caithness via the foot passenger ferry departing 0900 hours and returning 1730 (£28.00 return ticket) whilst alternatively you may travel by car on the neighbouring Gills Bay ferry (0945 departure and 1700 return) (£26 return per passenger plus £140 car return).

It has now been seen and twitched by at least 363 observers. Meanwhile, a party of 3 COMMON CRANES are present for their fourth day SE of Tain (Highland) at Hilton of Cadboll in fields at NH 867 773.

On Friday 25 September, a first-winter YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO showed well from mid-afternoon until dusk on the east side of Deerness (Orkney Mainland) in ditches in the quarry at The Gloup enabling 15 delighted observers to connect. It had presumably arrived in association with the strong westerly airflow.

At the opposite end of the country, rare shrikes have been the order of the day. The very first SAXAUL GREY SHRIKE for the Isles of Scilly - a first-winter - made landfall on St Martin's on Friday 25 before relocating to Higher Moors, St Mary's, on Saturday, whilst a very elusive and heavily skulking first-winter BROWN SHRIKE was located by Tony Blunden on The Lizard (Cornwall) on Saturday 26 and seen again today (in scrub west of the A3083 and north of the road midway between Lizard village and Kynance Cove). West Cornwall today also harboured a single GLOSSY IBIS at Marazion Marsh RSPB (Cornwall), an elusive juvenile WOODCHAT SHRIKE at the seaward end of Nanquidno Valley, a MELODIOUS WARBLER at Land's End and a juvenile ROSE-COLOURED STARLING at Treen (with 1-2 also on St Agnes, Scilly). A RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER was on St Martin's (Scilly).

A first-winter TAIGA FLYCATCHER is present for a fifth day on Shetland in the Manse Garden at Tresta on Fetlar (please view only from the road), constituting only the third record for Britain.

Although the FAN-TAILED WARBLER (initially seen flying along the River Stour at TR 343 583 by Dylan Wrathall on 25 July, 64 days ago) was not seen today, it performed excellently on Saturday morning flitting between Saltgrass 85 yards east of the Pegwell Bay car park (Kent) and the small reedbed adjacent to the coastal footpath. The bird is a moulting adult and perhaps the first sign of colonisation by this Mediterranean species as it expands northwards in range.

News of an AQUATIC WARBLER in the West Midlands finally reached a wider audience early evening after being watched by a number of observers throughout the day at Salford Priors GP, west of Broom (Warks) - it was present in the field beyond the pond until dusk (location between the public footpath at Marsh Farm and the embankment west of the A46).

There are now two juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS on No.2 Lagoon at Inner Marsh Farm RSPB (Cheshire) (showing well from the hide) whilst the confiding bird at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) continues to feed on the ever-increasing exposed mud just to the north of Herriott's Bridge. A further juvenile remains on Tresco (Scilly) where it continues to commute (often with a juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPER) between the Abbey Pool and Pentle Bay.

In the best year ever for GLOSSY IBIS occurrencies, a first-winter remains for a second day at Bell's Pond and environs, Cresswell Pond NWT (Northumberland) with a rare Scottish appearance of a juvenile at Tayrallach (Argyll) on 25 September relocated at Loch Sween on 26 and still present today. The three individuals, including a ringed bird previously seen in Carmarthenshire, that were ranging the Stoke Holy Cross area south of Norwich (Norfolk) until 23rd have now split up with one visiting Colney GP this morning and another Breydon Water at Burgh Castle Marshes. One flew north over Ogston Reservoir (Derbyshire) at 1115 and may well have been the bird present earlier at Langford Lowfields RSPB (Notts) and that seen later in flight at New South Moor, Hatfield Moors (South Yorks), whilst the five juveniles continue to roam between the ARC Pit and Boulderwall Farm Pools at Dungeness RSPB (Kent). There are still three juveniles frequenting the pool north of the track east of Banters Barn Farm at Boyton Marshes RSPB (Suffolk) with a further bird in Somerset at Ham Wall RSPB.

The juvenile BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER is still present with 5 juvenile Ruff in short grass to the east of the Back Saltholme Pool RSPB (Cleveland) (view either from the layby or from the reserve hide), whilst nearby, the presumed returning adult drake BLUE-WINGED TEAL is still present with Shoveler on the Allotment Pools in the SW corner of the reserve. The adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER (incidentally ringed and most likely the adult trapped at Montrose Basin LNR, Angus, in August of this year) continues to show well at Abberton Reservoir (Essex) favouring the extensive mud to the east of the Layer Breton causeway. An excellent crop of AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS includes two moulting adults at the Grindigar Crossroads on Deerness (Orkney), another on Skaw, Unst (Shetland) and another at Sandaig, Tiree (Argyll). A juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER spent the day (on Saturday 26) on the River Severn viewable from the raised seabank at New Passage (Gloucs) with a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER with Golden Plovers showing well at Ringasta, Quendale (Shetland).

The first COMMON ROSEFINCH for Leicestershire - a juvenile - remains for a second day in Thornton village, visiting the birdtable and feeders in the back garden of 283 Main Street, where it was trapped and ringed at 0930 hours on Saturday morning. The bird is feeding with Greenfinches and shows regularly, often devouring Elder berries in the well vegetated gardens. It can be seen from the adjacent back garden of 281 Main Street, where a resident birder has very kindly allowed access this past weekend (please note that there is no access during the week).

Shetland saw its first HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL of the autumn arrive today with a first-winter on Foula, with a scattering of Common Rosefinches and Yellow-browed Warblers on the archipelago. The long-staying ARCTIC WARBLER was still present in the large wooded garden along Lovers Lane at Scalloway.

RICHARD'S PIPITS have appeared early this autumn, despite the westerly dominance in the weather, with 1-2 lingering in fields between Land's End and Porthgwarra (Cornwall), 1-2 on St Mary's/St Agnes (Scilly), flying west at Sheringham (Norfolk) at 0745 then Stiffkey Fen at 1035 and one flying west with Meadow Pipits at Barton-on-Sea Golf Course (Hants) early morning.

A GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK was discovered near St David's Airfield (Pembs) today on the south side of the Whitchurch/St David's Road junction near Nine Wells

A long-staying BARRED WARBLER remains in thick Buckthorn at The Warren, Spurn Point (East Yorks), with 1-2 Lapland Buntings at the Point, with further BARRED WARBLERS on Harris at Tarbert (Outer Hebrides) RED-BACKED SHRIKES include juveniles at Dorman's Pool (Cleveland) whilst WRYNECKS continue to be in short supply with just two reported - at Durlston CP (Dorset) and at West Bexington (Dorset). A EURASIAN HOOPOE was a nice find as it fed on the grass verge by Broughton Towers school and housing estate, Broughton-in-Furness (Cumbria) this morning

A very confiding SPOTTED CRAKE has been thrilling admirers to Bishop Hide, Cley NWT (Norfolk) with another from the Dulverton Hide on the north side of the main lake at London Wetland Centre WWT, Barnes (London) and a more elusive individual at Ladywalk NR (Warks) (permit access only).

The very long-staying GREAT WHITE EGRET remains at Chard Reservoir (Somerset) with an even longer-staying individual at Meare Heath (Somerset) with additional birds at Humphrey Head (Cumbria), Leighton Moss RSPB (Lancs) and at Island Mere, Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) and the returning colour-ringed adult at Blashford Lakes HWT (Hants).

A juvenile DOTTEREL is present for its 6th day in a ploughed field east of the car park at Bolberry Down (South Devon), with 2 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS on Meare Heath (Somerset) and at Wigtown Harbour Pools (Dumfries & Galloway) and further singles on the Pool of Virkie (Shetland), on the Visitor Centre Pools at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire), Filey Dams YNT (North Yorks), Pennington Marshes Butts Lagoon (Hants) and a very confiding bird at Hayling Oyster Beds (Hants). The long-staying adult LESSER YELLOWLEGS continues to consort with up to 44 Common Redshanks either side of the wooden bridge on the estuary inlet at Aberlady bay NNR (Lothian)

An adult BONAPARTE'S GULL was seen briefly at Traeth Dulas (Anglesey) whilst the very confiding and long-staying juvenile SABINE'S GULL continues by the bridge at the west end of Blenheim Park Lake (Oxfordshire).

The female Hooded Merganser of unknown origin returned to the main Satltolme Pools RSPB (Cleveland) today, with 3 RUDDY SHELDUCK at Radipole Lake RSPB North Hide (Dorset)


An adult female BLUE-WINGED TEAL remains south of the causeway on North Bull Island (Co. Dublin), whilst a first-winter CITRINE WAGTAIL continues for a second day at Abbeyside, Dungarvan (Co. Waterford). A single juvenile GLOSSY IBIS was showing well today at the Forgotten Corner at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) with a juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER on mud at Muckross, Inchydoney Bay (Co. Cork), two more at The Spit at Ballykelly, Lough Foyle (Co. Londonderry) and another at Clonea Strand at Ballinclampoer (Co. Waterford). A BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER is still present on the Myroe Levels Lawn Fields (Co. Londonderry), with three juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPERS at Kinsale Marsh (Co. Cork). An eclipse pair of AMERICAN WIGEON are on The Gearagh (Co. Cork).

Mizen Head (Co. Cork) yielded a single EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE and YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER