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Thursday, 31 December 2009

Just 429 species logged in 2009

A grand total of 429 species was recorded in Britain and Ireland in 2009, well short of the 2008 record total of 445 species, and as the year comes to a close, this last week has been particularly quiet, despite the onset of severe wintry weather throughout.

The wintering LITTLE BUNTING is still present in the private garden at Dunnet Bay (Caithness), as is the RICHARD'S PIPIT at Crows-an-Wra (West Cornwall) and EUROPEAN SERIN at Rainham Marshes RSPB (Essex). Wintering YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS remain at St Andrews Road, Par (Cornwall) and at Gunwalloe Marsh (Cornwall).

In Worcestershire. the first-winter GLOSSY IBIS remains at Holt Fleet on the east bank of the River Severn at SO 832 632 (park by the A4133 and walk south to view from the end of the first large field), with another three still in Somerset at Catcott Lows NR. Also, in Lancashire the drake RING-NECKED DUCK remains at Preesall Salt Pit with 8 Pochard and 12 Tufted Ducks, viewed by looking west from Back Lane (the B5377 at SD 363 469). Further north, the drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK and first-winter drake RING-NECKED DUCK have moved back to Pugney's Country Park Boating Lake (West Yorks), with another drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK on Brookley's Lake (Staffs) and another first-winter drake RING-NECKED DUCK at Cheddar Reservoir (Somerset) and a female at Cwm Rheidol Reservoir (Ceredigion). The regular drake is also still at Foxcote Reservoir (North Bucks).

The first-winter SPOTTED SANDPIPER, newly photographed by Sean Nixon above, remains in Peldon Bay at Abberton Reservoir (Essex) (please note that access to this area ceases on 4 January 2010) with the first-winter LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (photographed above by Craig Shaw) continues in Port Carlisle Harbour (Cumbria). The wintering BAIRD'S SANDPIPER remains on White Sands Bay beach, Dunbar (Lothian) but the Aberlady Bay Lesser Yellowlegs has been forced out by cold weather.

East Anglia is surprisingly quiet, with the adult GREATER SNOW GOOSE intermittently visiting Holkham Freshmarsh (North Norfolk), a returning ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD in the Coveney area (Cambs) and SHORE LARKS at Snettisham RSPB (2) and in Holkham Bay (3-8).

The adult Red-breasted Goose of unknown origin remains with the Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the Exe Estuary (South Devon), with the adult female SURF SCOTER in Dawlish Bay nearby. On the Isles of Scilly, the drake NORTH AMERICAN BLACK DUCK remains on Tresco Great Pool.

An unseasonal GREAT SKUA remains for a third day on the River Thames viewable from the sea wall at Rainham Marshes RSPB (Essex), whilst the displacement of LITTLE GULLS continues with perhaps 30 or more still in the Southeast

NORTHERN GREY SHRIKES are in very short supply this winter with maybe only eight individuals, including that showing well on Ash Ranges (Surrey) today and just one in the New Forest (Hants).

There are still a number of GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS lingering inland, including singles on Whitlingham CP Great Broad, Norwich (Norfolk) (a Black-necked Grebe on here also), Stewartby Lake (Beds), Brogborough Lake (Beds) and Grafham Water (Cambs), whilst VELVET SCOTERS inland include single immature drakes at Barrow Lodge Lower Reservoir (Lancs) and Grafham Water (Cambs). An oiled RED-THROATED DIVER is a rare find at Frensham Little Pond (Surrey).

On a local level, there are good numbers of wintering EURASIAN BITTERNS inland, reasonable numbers of wintering WATER PIPITS and up to 9 LAPLAND BUNTINGS in the horse field between High Newton-by-the-Sea village and 'Football Hole' at NU 238 256 (Northumberland). Up to 20 LAPLAND BUNTINGS are at Frampton Marsh (North Lincs)