Tonight's Gallery: Plates 1-4: the juvenile THAYER'S GULL on Ross Beach, County Galway, photographed by the finder Dermot Breen; Plates 5, 6-7 and 8 taken by Tristan Reid at Nimmo's Pier, Galway Harbour, of adeult Ring-billed Gull in flight, the adult winter FORSTER'S TERN and the regularly reappearing NORTH AMERICAN HERRING GULL, Plates 9-10 of Newholm's female BLACK-THROATED THRUSH (Gareth Picton) and then five shots of the juvenile BLACK KITE-type at Gigrin Farm, Rhayader (Powys) (plates 11-12 taken by Alex Bevan, 13-14 by John Carter and perched by Gary Thoburn
The rarest bird of January continues to be the juvenile THAYER'S GULL in County Galway, commuting between Ross Beach and the offshore fish cages. The bird is highly mobile and very erratic in its appearances and is often difficult to locate, this weekend's twitchers only locating it with half an hour of daylight to spare. Galway also boasts its regular wintering adult winter FORSTER'S TERN off Mutton Island causeway, with the erratic adult NORTH AMERICAN HERRING GULL nearby at Nimmo's Pier, and 3 very showy and photogenic adult RING-BILLED GULLS.
In County Cork, an adult BONAPARTE'S GULL has been showing well today between the North pier and the old boatyard in Baltimore Harbour, whilst the first apparent PACIFIC DIVER for Ireland was photographed off the Galway Sailing Club, Oranmore, at Rinville Point (Co. Galway) on Sunday (Michael Davis et al, see images at http://www.irishbirding.com/birds/web/Display/sighting/20117/Red_Alert.html. A female RUDDY SHELDUCK of unknown origin was at Gibraltar Point, Cummeen Strand (Co. Sligo) this morning
In Britain, the first-winter female BLACK-THROATED THRUSH continues to be the star attraction and performer, frequently visiting the front gardens of Mires Road in Newholm, just west of Whitby (North Yorks), for its daily fill of apples and other fruits. It favours mostly the gardens of Danesfield and Glen View (numbers 3 and 5 respectively) and appears perhaps once every hour to feed. PARK ONLY in the village hall car park and do not act in a way to bring birders into disrepute at this highly suburban location.
In Cumbria, the juvenile ROSE-COLOURED STARLING has been relocated in Kendal, showing well on and off in the front garden of 8 Rusland Park (please respect the privacy of residents), whilst the other wintering bird in Forest Hill, just east of Oxford (Oxon), continues to favour the chimney stack and back garden of 21 Mickle Way. The only LITTLE BUNTING this winter remains that in Caithness, still visiting seed in a back garden in Dunnet (please contact LGRE direct for visiting instructions).
The majestic white morph GYRFALCON is still visiting its favoured plucking and roosting perch on Mackenzie Island, Poertnahavern on Islay (Argyll), whilst the only KING EIDER seemingly around is that off Burghead (Moray). In Powys, the juvenile BLACK KITE-type of unknown origin is continuing to visit the Gigrin Farm Red Kite feeding session in the afternoons.
Whitlingham Country Park just south of Norwich (Norfolk) continues to host a female RING-NECKED DUCK on Great Broad, along with a RED-NECKED GREBE, juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER, redhead Smew and first-winter drake Greater Scaup, whilst a scattering of TUNDRA BEAN GEESE include a party of 6 at Lackford Lakes SWT (Suffolk) and 7 with Pink-footed Geese by the A149/B1152 junction at Rollesby (Norfolk). Another is at Welney Refuge (Norfolk). Up to 3 ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS have been appearing at Chedgrave Marshes on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, best located from the raised bank west of Forest Lodge inside Waveney Forest at TG 461 012
In Cornwall, the drake LESSER SCAUP has relocated from Dozmary Pool to the Loveney Reserve at Colliford Lake on Bodmin Moor
A Great Bustard from the reintroduction scheme (marked yellow tag 22) remains on Tealham Moor (Somerset) (see Gary Thoburn's image above)
A trio of CATTLE EGRETS continue west of the Tresillian River, Truro (Cornwall), this afternoon, easily viewable from the footpath south of Tresemple Pond (SW 852 442), with two more around Brew Farm near Sennen (West Cornwall)
It has possibly been one of the best ever winters for seeing EURASIAN BITTERNS in Britain, with well over 80 birds recorded in total, and with ice forming again on many inland waters, birds are reappearing at many sites, including 4 at Amwell NR (Herts) and on 70 Acres Lake, Lea Valley CP (Essex) and at least 5 at Marazion Marsh RSPB (Cornwall). The cold weather has also finally spurned on many SMEW to disperse west to Britain, with up to 100 now present.
The adult female SURF SCOTER is still to be found off Dawlish Warren (South Devon), whilst two adult drakes discovered this weekend have been showing distantly offshore 100 yards west of the cafe on Pensarn Promenade (Clwyd). Drake RING-NECKED DUCKS remain at Pugney's Country Park, Wakefield (West Yorks) and Foxcote Reservoir, Buckingham (North Bucks), with a female for a second day on the South Lake at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs)
Freshwater BLACK-THROATED DIVERS include singles on Lake Lothing, Lowestoft (Suffolk), Swanton Morley GP (Norfolk) (on Holkham lake at TG 015 193), with BLACK-NECKED GREBES on Crosby Marine Lake (Lancs), Levington Marina Lake (Suffolk), Broom GP (Beds), Staines Reservoirs (Middlesex), Wraysbury Reservoir (Berks), Walton Reservoir (Surrey) and Cheddar Reservoir (Somerset) and SLAVONIAN GREBES at Rutland Water (Leics) and Wraysbury Reservoir (Berks) and GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS including 7 juveniles on King George VI Reservoir (Surrey), 2 on William Girling Reservoir (London) and singles on Carsington Water (Derbyshire), Draycote Water (Warks), Pitsford Reservoir (Northants), Brogborough Lake & Stewartby Lake (Beds). The only other freshwater RED-NECKED GREBE is on the Railway Pit at Hoveringham GP (Notts).
Up to 16 NORTHERN GREY SHRIKES are on winter territories in Britain, including a bird with a larder in the hedgerow lying parallel with the B4015 just west of Chislehampton village (Oxfordshire) (at SU 582 988; please be very careful when parking on this road at the blind bend)
Three TWITE remain for a 6th day at Diddington Pit, Paxton Pits LNR (Cambs), whilst wintering SHORE LARK can still be found at Saltfleetby NNR (North Lincs) (6), the Point of Ayr (Clwyd), Snettisham RSPB (Norfolk) (2), Kessingland North Beach (Suffolk) and at Cliffe Pools RSPB (North Kent) (3). Well inland, one continues on the spoil heap at Middle Hulton (Greater Manchester) but all access has now been denied after birder's activities upset the site owners.
Inland RED KNOT include 5-7 still on Port Meadow Floods, Oxford, and a single at Belvide Reservoir (Staffs)