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Friday, 19 February 2010

Drake BAIKAL TEAL in Ireland

In SE IRELAND in County Wexford, the drake BAIKAL TEAL has reappeared, showing well for much of the day in 'Forgotten Corner' at Tacumshin. Nearby, the first-winter GLOSSY IBIS is still present, showing between Forgotten Corner and the East End.

In County Galway, the adult winter FORSTER'S TERN and up to 5 Sandwich Terns remain in Galway Bay, adjacent to the Mutton Island causeway, with 1-2 adult RING-BILLED GULLS at Nimmo's Pier slipway.

Much farther north, in County Donegal, the adult drake DRESSER'S or NORTH AMERICAN EIDER remains with 314 Common Eiders in Glassagh Bay, just SW of Fanad Head.

The best that Britain has to offer this weekend in terms of fresh content is the London/Essex DUSKY WARBLER and a LITTLE BUNTING in Cornwall.

The DUSKY WARBLER is frequenting the scant vegetation at the eastern flank of the Relief Channel to the NE of Lockwood Reservoir as well as the dense scrub at the south end of Tottenham Marshes Common and is best accessed from Ferry Lane in Walthamstow. A permit must be obtained from the Fishermen's Lodge on the south side of the A503 (£1.00 charge) and from opposite the Ferry Boat Inn, cross the road and walk north on the east side of the reservoir to the gate in the NE corner at RQ 356 907 - a 25 minute walk each way.

A LITTLE BUNTING, discovered yesterday, is present in setaside opposite Sconner Farm, off of the A374, east of Polbathic on the River Lynher valley.

And now for a summary of the rest of the news........

At least 5 CATTLE EGRETS remain in Cornwall, with 3 near Truro on the Tresilian River, 1-2 at Brew Farm, near Sennen (SW 371 251) and another on the Camel Estuary at Wadebridge, whilst GREAT WHITE EGRETS continue to be found at Cardiff (Glamorgan) (today at Newport Wetlands NNR, Gwent), on the Harbridge Water Meadows, Ibsley (Hants), at Shapwick Heath NNR (Somerset), on Worth Marshes, Sandwich Bay (East Kent) and at Pitsford Reservoir (Northants).

Three SNOW GEESE are wintering with Pink-footed Geese and Icelandic Greylag Geese in the Cromarty Firth, with the regular adult with Greylag Geese in Argyll and the four adult Lesser Snows with Greylag at Leighton Moss RSPB (Lancs). A further wintering adult Greater Snow is with Pink-footed Geese in the Choseley and Holkham areas of North Norfolk.

Hard packed snow and ice in Scandinavia is forcing many early returning TAIGA BEAN GEESE to make new arrangements, with at least 7 staging in Shetland and 22 in Yorkshire, in fields between Byland and Coxwold. A large number (93+) also remains in the Yare Valley (Norfolk), with 63 still at Slammannan (Forth). TUNDRA BEAN GEESE are also well represented, with several small groups on Shetland, and parties of 19 at Trimley Marshes SWT (Suffolk) and 9 at Keyhaven Marshes along Iley Lane (Hants). The only SMALL CANADA GEESE outside Ireland this winter are 1-2 on Islay (Argyll), with Barnacle Geese in the Loch Gruinart area, with 15 BLACK BRANTS to choose from and the adult RED-BREASTED GOOSE of unknown origin still on the Exe Estuary at Dawlish Warren (South Devon).

The adult drake NORTH AMERICAN BLACK DUCK reappeared this week on Bodmin Moor (Cornwall), showing well with Mallard at the north end on the Loveney Reserve, whilst the drake AMERICAN WIGEON at Caerlaverock WWT has been giving a fine performance on the Whooper Pond (see the excellent images above). A number of drake NORTH AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEALS continue, with performers at Eyebrook Reservoir (Leics) and Budds Farm Sewage Treatment Works (Hants), with the drake LESSER SCAUP at Colliford Lake (Cornwall) and the first-winter female at Eglwys Nunnydd Reservoir (Glamorgan) and RING-NECKED DUCKS at Loch Evelix (Highland), Pugney's CP (West Yorks), Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park (Cleveland), Whitlingham Country Park Great Broad (Norfolk) and Llyn Pencarreg.. Bob Proctor recorded two KING EIDERS in Burghead Bay (Moray) on 18 February, both sub-adults, with SURF SCOTERS including two drakes still in the Sound of Taransay (Harris), two drakes in Largo Bay (Fife), 1-2 drakes in North Wales off Pensarn (Clwyd) and the long-staying adult female off Dawlish Warren (South Devon).

The juvenile BLACK KITE of unknown origin continues to feed with Red Kites at the Gigrin Farm centre, Rhayader (Powys), with 3 wintering juvenile ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS still taking advantage of the bumper surplus of Field Voles on the Suffolk/Norfolk border at Thorpe and Gedgrave Marshes. Sadly, the first-winter male GYRFALCON on Islay (Argyll) died of starvation.

A vagrant adult COMMON CRANE favoured sheep fields in the Lewes Brooks area, commuting between either side of the Ouse river SE of Southease, accessed from the A26 (East Sussex), whilst first-winter LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS remain at Burton Marsh (Cheshire) (since 14 February) and at Maer Lake, Bude Marshes (Cornwall).

White-winged gulls remained remarkably scarce, particularly Iceland Gulls, whilst the adult male SNOWY OWL reappeared on Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 17 February.

Up to 18 SHORE LARKS remain in Holkham Bay (North Norfolk), with 2 more at Snettisham RSPB (Norfolk), with up to 60 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS in the belated influx and larger numbers of BLACK REDSTARTS in winter than usual. The first-winter female BLACK-THROATED THRUSH continues to make frequent visits to the front gardens in Mires Road in Newholm village, just west of Whitby (North Yorks), with a EURASIAN PENDULINE TIT briefly at Rainham Marshes RSPB (London) on 15 February, two days after the ringed female was last reported at Grove Ferry NNR (Kent).

No less than 16 NORTHERN GREY SHRIKES remain on winter territory, including four in Wales, with the first-winter ROSE-COLOURED STARLING still in Kendal (Cumbria) and the wintering LITTLE BUNTING in the private garden in Dunnet (Caithness).