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Friday, 11 September 2009

SEPTEMBER SUMMARY - 1-10 SEPTEMBER - Part 1 The Non-passerines

September 2009 has taken off with a bang with the Atlantic jet-stream 800 miles further south than last year culminating in a run of good sightings in England (rather than on the Scottish Northern Isles) and a selection of 'Grade 1 Rarities' including a gorgeous male PALLID HARRIER and a typically invincible and disappearing FAN-TAILED WARBLER. Due to the diversity and volume of sightings in the past 10 days, I have decided to produce a detailed summary of sightings rather than the normal British Birding Association/UK400 Club Rare Bird Alert.



One flew south mid-morning past Hartlepool Headland (Cleveland) on 2 September, followed by four west past Pendeen Watchpoint (Cornwall) by mid-morning on 3rd and a further 2 off Porthgwarra (Cornwall) that day. Further singles flew north past Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 4th, north past Flamborough Head (East Yorks), Newbiggin and Inner Farne (Northumberland) and St Abb's Head (Borders) on 5th, south past Fife Ness (Fife) on 5th, south past Southwold (Suffolk) on 5th and west past Porthgwarra on 6th. 1-2 were seen off Flamborough Head on 6th, with two off Porthgwarra on 7th, whilst another flew west at Sheringham (Norfolk) on 10th.


A total of 251 flew south at Bridges of Ross (County Clare) on 1st September, by far the highest number recorded this autumn. Elsewhere, one flew west past Pendeen Watchpoint (Cornwall) on 3rd, with another off Holme Beach (Norfolk) on 4th and another in Bridlington Bay (East Yorkshire) on 5th.

Ireland also notched up 12 past Kilcummin Head (Co. Mayo) on 4th, with another past Bloody Foreland (Co. Donegal) the same day, whilst in Scotland, one was seen off Labost, Lewis (Outer Hebrides), on 9th.


Following two different birds off Porthgwarra (Cornwall) at the end of August, James McCallum scored a third on 2nd September, flying strongly west late morning.


Strong NW winds saw a number of inland/freshwater occurrences including singles off the Farnborough Bank at Draycote Water (Warks) on 4th, at Hen Reedbed SWT, Blyth Estuary (Suffolk) on 6th, at Farmoor Reservoirs (Oxfordshire) on 6th and taken into care in Pitville Park, Cheltenham (Gloucs) on 6th.


A probable flew west past Pendeen Watchpoint (Cornwall) on 4th September.


One flew west during strong WNW winds at Pendeen Watchpoint (Cornwall) at 0645 on 3rd September, whilst yet another in what has been an unprecedented summer for the species, flew south at Bridges of Ross (County Clare) on 3rd. A further individual was also reported in the River Mersey river mouth (Lancashire) on 5th September, flying offshore of Seaforth LWT from 1145-1155 and then later off neighbouring Crosby Beach early afternoon.


Odd singles were off Cornwall at Pendeen on 1st and Towan Head, Newquay, on 3rd, followed by much larger numbers in the Mersey from 4th, following a period of near gale force NW winds - 7 off New Brighton, 3 past Hilbre Island and singles off Ainsdale (Lancs) and Point of Ayr (Clwyd) on 4th; 13 off Hilbre, 3 past Point of Ayr, 2 past Porth Ysgaden (Gwynedd) and singles past Heysham (Lancs), Burnham-on-Sea (Somerset) and Rubha Ardvule, South Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 5th with 3 off the latter-mentioned location on 7th. A further single passed Rubha Ardvule on 8th, with another past Strumble Head (Pembs) on 9th.


One was present off Pendeen Watchpoint (Cornwall) from 1905-1915 hours on 3rd September, delighting 13 of its 14 observers. For one Cornish observer it was his third individual in two years. The bird was seen reasonably well and excellently sketched by its finder James McCallum, and was also seen by Martin Elliott, Mark Golley, Eddie Myers, Steve Beal, Lee Gregory and Adrian Kettle.


A long-staying bird remained at Keyhaven Marshes (Hants) from 1-10, favouring the cattle field 400 yards along Iley Lane, with another in the Slimbridge (Gloucs) area from 5-9 September.


Continuing an excellent recent run of records, the following Great White Egrets were recorded -:

1) A long-staying bird at Chard Reservoir (Somerset), favouring the NE end from 1-10;
2) One in the Central Marsh at Brandon Marsh NR (Warks) on 1st, perched in a tree by the River Avon viewed from Teal Pool Hide early afternoon;
3) A long-staying bird at Denge Marsh, Dungeness RSPB (Kent), from 1-10;
4) Most likely the relocating Warwickshire bird at Saddington Reservoir (Leics) opposite the sailing club on 3-9 September;
5) The summering bird yet again at Meare Heath and Shapwick Heath (Somerset) on 6-9;
6) One flew in off the sea at Dungeness (Kent) mid-afternoon on 6th and landed by the ARC Pit briefly;
7-8) Two long-staying birds at Ouse Fen (Cambs) from 1-9, including a colour-ringed juvenile from the colony in NW France;
9) One flew north over Marshside Marsh RSPB (Lancs) and landed on Crossens Marsh on 10th.


A well-watched juvenile has been present ESE of Oswestry (Salop) just NE of Rednal at Pen-yr-Estyn Wetalnd Reserve (at SJ 354 284) since 5 September and was still being seen, mainly in flight, on 10th.


A White Stork of unknown origin appeared at gravel pits at the Point of Ayre (Isle of Man) in late August and was last reported flying east near Port St Mary on 9 September.


A major influx took place in the first week of September, involving at least 25 birds, predominantly juveniles. Four colour-ringed birds were traced back to a reserve on the Coto Donana in southern Spain (see separate feature).


An adult feeding in the shallows at the Anchor Wood bank at Barnstaple (North Devon) on 1 September was presumably a regularly wintering bird on the River Taw, moving up to Pottington on 4-8. That same day an adult showed very well from the Moreton Hide at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) where it remained until

Four sub-adults remain present in Poole Harbour (Dorset), commuting between Brownsea Island NT and the Middlebere reserve, whilst three immigrant birds flew in at Alkborough Flats (North Lincs) on 1st, with one remaining until 8th.

Spoonbills once again graced Simmond's Scrape at Cley NWT reserve (Norfolk) from 2 September, with three birds present on 2nd increasing to six on 4th-9th. Meanwhile in Suffolk, the summering flock (now dwindled to just 17 birds) was still present in isolation on Orford Ness on 5th-6th.

One flew east at Elmley Marshes RSPB (North Kent) on 7th.

Interestingly, a total of 52 Spoonbills in two flocks flew north over Noirmont Point in Jersey (CHANNEL ISLANDS) on 9 September.


Those considered of unknown origin but possibly related to the continental population include single females on the Kent Estuary at Sandside (Cumbria) on 1st, at Kenfig Pool NNR (Glamorgan) on 4th and at Marazion Marsh/Ryan's Field/Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) from 5th-11th, with two on Covehithe Broad (Suffolk) on 5th (later relocated at Bungay, mingling with 12 Egyptian Geese, and then with Barnacle Geese at Minsmere RSPB on 10th). The adult pair present recently in Bedfordshire visited Tyttenhanger GP (Herts) briefly on 6th whilst a flock of four remained in residence at Calvert Landfill Pools (North Bucks) until at least 3rd. An additional three flew north over Flamborough Head (East Yorks) late afternoon on 4th, with two long-staying birds at Alkborough Flats (North Lincs) from 1-10. Another long-staying bird was still in Montrose Basin (Angus/Dundee) on 8 September.


The eclipse drake remained at Loch Gelly (Fife) until at least 1 September, whilst a 'new' drake arrived with Northern Pochard in the Walgrave Arm of Pitsford Reservoir (Northants) on 6th, where it was still present on 8th.


Eclipse drakes remained at Loch Gelly (Fife) and Westport Lake (Staffs) throughout.


An adult drake in full eclipse was identified at the mouth of the River Witham at Cut End (Lincs) on 5 September, viewable from the Cut End Hide. Next morning at high tide, it showed well just off of the sea wall at Freiston Shore RSPB before returning on the ebbing tide to Cut End. It followed this same pattern of occurrence until at least 9 September. The Cut End Hide is at TF 380 390.


A female-type commuted between various pools and ditches in Teesmouth (Cleveland) from at least 1-10 September.


In Cornwall, one appeared over Marazion Marsh mid-morning on 9 September. It drifted slowly west and was later seen in the Crowlas area. Next day (10th), it flew SE between Ardensawah Farm and Raftra Farm, Polgigga, at midday.


A fabulous near-adult male seen previously during survey work in June was relocated in the Haddenham/Aldreth Fen area on 6 September (Simon Stirrup) where it performed well over arable fields close to the junction of Long Drove and Dam Bank Drove in central Cambridgeshire.

Next morning and throughout the afternoon and evening, the bird showed well on occasions, delighting the 100 or so observers that visited. It eventually took up temporary residence in a stubble field much closer to Haddenham and the adjacent A1123 and sat there, digesting the two Meadow Pipits it had earlier chased and killed, for over four hours.

There was no sign of it for most of Tuesday 8 September but at 1635 it flew over fields east of Willingham village at the end of Meadow Drove (TL 437 709) and could still be seen looking south from the Aldreth riverbank in the evening. On 9 September, it was seen just briefly early morning, flying south towards Willingham.

The first record for Cambridgeshire of this truly delightful and very graceful harrier.


A vagrant juvenile remained in the Beeley Moor area of Derbyshire until at least 5 September.


So far this autumn, observers have been spoilt for choice for 'showing' Spotted Crakes, with a fair selection on offer -:

1) A particularly confiding individual at Greylake RSPB reserve in Somerset from 1-11 September. It favours the NW corner of the reserve, accessed from the car park off of the adjacent A361. Take the boardwalk past the pool, then the footpath towards the hide before veering off on the tractor track and turning right to view the back of the pool.

2-4) Up to three birds trapped and ringed in the Lower Derwent Valley at Bank Island, Wheldrake Ings (North Yorks), on 1 September.

5) One at Levenmouth Pools, Loch Leven (Kinross) on 2 September;

6) An elusive individual in the NW corner of the Lagoons at the south side of Grafham Water (Cambs) on 3-5 September;

7-8) 1-2 birds showing well intermittently at the end of the sanctuary fence at Marazion Marsh (Cornwall) from at least 1-11 September;

9) A fairly elusive individual on the ARC Pit at Dungeness (Kent) viewable from the Hanson Hide from 6-11 September;

10) One present in a private area of Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) on 7th;

11) One at Edderthorpe Flash in the Dearne Valley (South Yorks) on 8-10 September;

12) One was present at Walmsley Sanctuary (Cornwall) on at least 7-9 September;

13) An elusive individual at the private Bradiford Water reserve (Devon) on at least 10 September.


The Broadlands Norfolk flock have re-grouped after their summer recess and returned to Horsey to roost, with at least 33 counted from Stubb Mill on 7 September

Elsewhere, the single Pensthorpe-ringed adult male continues to range along the North Norfolk coast, visiting Stiffkey Fen most recently, and further singles were seen at Leiston Abbey (Suffolk) and near Earith (Cambs) on 9th.


An extremely confiding juvenile remained on the shingle beach at Sandwich Bay (Kent) on 1-2 September, with further juveniles on Shipman Head Down, Bryher (Scilly) until 1st, in the SE corner of Hatfield Moors (South Yorks) until 1st and on Blakeney Point (Norfolk) on 6th.


An adult remained on Tiree (Argyll) at Loch a'Phuill until 1 September.


On the Outer Hebrides, an adult was discovered in the SW corner of Loch Bee, South Uist, on 4th-5th, with another on the machair at Bornish, South Uist, from at least 5-10. One of these was then at West Gerenish, South Uist, on 9 September.

In County Londonderry (IRELAND), an adult was in fields between Ballykelly and Myroe along the Broighter Link Road from 5-10 September.


September is the classic month for vagrant inland Purple Sandpipers and this year is no exception with one showing well along the east bank of Covenham Reservoir (North Lincs) on 6 September.


A juvenile was a very surprise find in County Kerry on 10 September, showing very well in the channel from the humpback bridge in Barrow Harbour.


A good crop of records of this North American migrant wader.

In Cornwall, juveniles were present on Davidstow Airfield and Marazion Beach from 3rd September, both still present and showing well a week later, whilst on Anglesey, a juvenile showed well with 5 Curlew Sandpipers on the saltmarsh viewed across the stream from the car park at Traeth Dulas from 4th-8th. A further juvenile was then at Loch Paible, North Uist (Outer Hebrides), on 7th and on the south side of Rubha Ardvule beach, South Uist, on 10th.

In IRELAND, a juvenile was at Carrahane Strand (County Kerry) on 1st-4th, with another at Black Rock Strand (Co. Kerry) from 2nd-10th


.Single juveniles were discovered in IRELAND at Inchydoney Bay (Co. Cork) on 1st-2nd, near Baille an Reannaigh (Co. Kerry) on at least 2nd-8th and at White's Marsh (Co. Cork) on 3rd.


On the Outer Hebrides, singles were at Griminish Point, North Uist, on 7th, at the Butt of Lewis on 8th-10th and at Bornish, South Uist, on 9th, whilst elsewheere in Scotland, additional birds visited Sandaig, Tiree (Argyll) on 9th and Kettla Ness, West Burra (Shetland), on 9th-10th.

On the Isles of Scilly, two juveniles were on St Mary's Golf Course on 9th-10th, with two more on the West Cornwall mainland in fields near Ardensawah Farm, Polgigga, on 9th-10th.

In IRELAND, two were at Black Rock Strand (Co. Kerry) on 31 August with further juveniles at Smerwick Harbour (Co. Kerry) until 3rd and at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on 10th.


A fairly poor showing with perhaps no more than 12 individuals recorded.

One remained at Maer Lake, Bude (Cornwall) on 1st September, with a juvenile at Freiston Shore RSPB (Lincs) on 5th and further singles at Hatfield Moors (South Yorks) on 6th, Cley NWT Reserve (Norfolk) on 8th-9th, on Tresco Abbey Pool (Scilly) on 8th-9th, at Old Moor RSPB (South Yorks) on 9th, on Porthellick Pool, St Mary's (Scilly) on 10th, at Dale Airfield (Pembs) on 10th-11th and at Back Saltholme Pool (Cleveland) on 10th.

Two juveniles were on pools close to the lighthouse at Butt of Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 6th (one remaining to 7th), with another at Loch Paible, North Uist, on 7th and at Rubha Ardvule, South Uist, on 10th.

In IRELAND, 3 were at Murloch, Ballyconneelly (Co Galway) on 2nd September, with another on the Rogerstown Estuary (Co. Dublin) on 3rd.


A long-staying adult remains at Aberlady Bay (Lothian) until at least 9 September.


A very confiding juvenile remained at Nethertown (County Wexford) from 7-9 September.


In IRELAND, a juvenile was on the Skivileen River at Doonbeg (Co. Clare) on 7 September.


With gale force winds in the west country at the beginning of the month, large numbers congregated off west Cornwall. Storm-driven birds inland or on coastal lagoons included a sick individual at Farlington Deeps Pool (Hants) on 1st, a first-winter on Blenheim Park Lake (Oxfordshire) on 3rd, a first-winter on Longham Lakes (Dorset) on 3rd, one on the UV Pools at Weston-super-Mare (Somerset) on 4th and a juvenile briefly at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) on 4th.


Surprisingly few records with single juveniles at Heswall Shore (Cheshire) on 2nd September, at New Alresford Pond (Hants) on 3rd and at Bawdsey East Lane Lagoons (Suffolk) on 9th.


In South Devon, a highly mobile first-winter visited the main lagoon at Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham, on 2-3 September before relocating to the roadside pools alongside the entrance track to Exminster Marshes RSPB on 4-5 and 7 September.


The near-adult reappeared on Orkney on 10 September when it flew north over the road at Deerness.


The Farmoor Reservoir (Oxon) juvenile remained until dusk on 2 September.


The Farmoor Reservoir (Oxon) juvenile remained until dusk on 2 September.