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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Week 6 - A review

An outstanding series of shots taken of the Gigrin Farm BLACK KITE by Gary Thoburn

The Kendal first-winter ROSE-COLOURED STARLING (Tristan Reid)

The west of IRELAND continues to offer an excellent variety of scarcities, headlining with a juvenile THAYER'S GULL at Ross Beach, 5 kms east of Cleggan (County Galway). This bird is favouring the two sets of fish cages in Ballygakill Harbour, the closest of which is 400 yards offshore of Ross Beach, but also frequently visits the beach adjacent to the inlet stream, where superb views can be afforded.

DIRECTIONS: Leaving the N59 north of Clifden at Moyard, turn right at the T-junction at the extreme east end of Ballynakill Lough. Follow signs marked for the 'Judo Club' and after passing the bay to the right, continue NW along the narrow lane to its end.

In County Donegal, a drake NORTH AMERICAN EIDER is consorting with 314 Common Eiders at the east end of Glassagh Bay, 2.5 kms SW of Fanad Head. The flock also has at least 5 Northern-type Eiders within its ranks, and the flock frequently breaks up into 5 or 6 smaller groups. Calm sea conditions are required, and visits are best coinciding with an incoming tide.

Galway Bay continues to harbour the wintering adult FORSTER'S TERN off Mutton Island causeway, whilst nearby at Nimmo's Pier slipway, 3 adult RING-BILLED GULLS remain, along with a very elusive and intermittent adult NORTH AMERICAN HERRING GULL.

A single RICHARDSON'S CANADA GOOSE remains in the Ballintemple/Lissadell area of County Mayo, but the adult winter Bonaparte's Gull at Baltimore (Co. Cork) seems to have disappeared this week. Two juvenile EURASIAN SPOONBILLS remain at Courtmacsherry (Co. Cork).

A fresh wave of bitter NE winds and snow showers has heralded a belated arrival of BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS in Britain, with 4-5 in Orkney at Stromness Primary School, 3 in Northfield Farm Avenue, Edinburgh (Lothian), 2 at Scotstoun Leisure Centre, Glasgow (Clyde) (at NS 537 675), 2 showing well near the Retirement home along Top Street, Stretham (Cambs), 2 at Holme NOA (Norfolk), with singles at Houghton-le-Spring (Durham), on Violet Road, Norwich (Norfolk), Ingoldisthorpe (Norfolk) and at Snape (Suffolk).

A PENDULINE TIT was seen briefly at Grove Ferry NNR (Kent) this morning (in bullrushes by the Feast Hide), with the LITTLE BUNTING still in the private garden at Dunnet (Caithness) and the first-winter female BLACK-THROATED THRUSH still present in Newholm, just west of Whitby (North Yorks), at the weekend.

Up to 3 ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS are frequenting the extensive grazing marshes on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, with regular birds at Thorpe Marshes north of the A143 between Haddiscoe and St Olaves and at Gedgrave Marshes nearby, accessed through Waveney Forest. A further wintering male is in the Coveney area (Cambs).

Hampshire has been rewarding birders with some quality birding in recent days, with a party of 9 TUNDRA BEAN GEESE taking top billing, showing distantly with 3 Eurasian White-fronted Geese in grassy fields along Iley Lane, Keyhaven, 800m north of the lower balancing pond, with 19 Black-necked Grebes and a Velvet Scoter off Hayling Oyster Beds,.with 3 Velvet Scoters still off Hill Head, Titchfield Haven, and the redhead Smew still on Rockford Lake, Blashford. The drake NORTH AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL remains at Budds Farm Sewage Works.

NORTH AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEALS have also included single drakes at Graemeshall Loch (Orkney Mainland), Holme NOA (Norfolk) and at Eyebrook Reservoir (Leics), with female RING-NECKED DUCKS on North Tonaldsay (Orkney) and at Pencarreg Lake (Carmarthenshire).

The singing male NORTHERN GREY SHRIKE continues to show well on the wires crossing Holmsley Inclosure, in the New Forest (Hants) (SU 222 018), with just seven others reported in the past week.

Wintering SHORE LARKS include 16 at the east end of Holkham Gap (Norfolk), 4 at Cliffe Marshes RSPB (North Kent), 3 at Coalhouse Fort, East Tilbury (Essex), 2 at Snettisham RSPB (Norfolk) and a single at Kessingland North Beach (Suffolk), whilst 3 TWITE remain inland at Diddington Pit, Paxton Pits NR (Cambs).

In East Kent, a TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE remains by the River Stour at Chilham (viewable from the A28 at TR 087 544, with a party of 6 just west of Rollesby (Norfolk) south of the A149 at TG 435 165.

A drake LESSER SCAUP is the best offering in the West Country, showing well on Dozmary Pool, Bodmin (Cornwall) at SX 194 744, with the three first-winter GLOSSY IBISES still at Catcott Lows NR (Somerset) and 5 CATTLE EGRETS at two sites - Tresemple Pool (SW 852 442) and Brew Pool, Sennen - in Cornwall.

In South Wales, the GREAT WHITE EGRET continues to frequent ditches at Castleton Court, St Mellons, near Cardiff (Glamorgan), with the juvenile BLACK KITE still showing very well from mid-afternoon at the Red Kite Feeding Station at Gigrin Farm, Rhyader (Powys) (see Gary Thoburn's stunning shots above).

Scotland has had a relatively lean period of late, with the BLACK-THROATED DIVER still on Forfar Loch (Dundee) this morning, at least 74 Taiga Bean Geese still at Slamannan (Forth), the white morph SNOW GOOSE in stubble by the River Carron near Skinflats Lagoon (Forth)

The two wintering Sandwich Terns in Chichester Harbour were present off Selsey Bill (West Sussex) this morning, with two more in Galway Bay with the Forster's Tern.

Grafham Water (Cambs) still has 3 wintering GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS and the two young drake VELVET SCOTERS, whilst a SLAVONIAN GREBE remains for a second day on Welton Water watersports pit (East Yorks).