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Thursday, 3 June 2010

MEGA - MARMORA'S WARBLER in GWENT

Early June is notoriously good for mega vagrants and so far, it is meeting expectations. This morning, a singing male MARMORA'S WARBLER (Sylvia sarda) was discovered in GWENT, 1.5 miles NE of Blaenavon and just south of Blorenge and about 700 yards ENE of the radio masts at SO 270 109. The bird is a first-summer male and appears to have a territory.

DIRECTIONS: From Blaenavon, take the B4246 north for a mile and turn right. Please view from the car park or road and do not wander out on to the moor where birds are breeding. Also, please refrain from tape-luring this particular vagrant, as such activity could unsettle it prematurely.

Although the majority of Marmora's Warblers are sedentary and remain within their breeding range all year, a population winters in North Africa (from Algeria to Libya) and migrates north in spring to the Mediterranean Basin. Vagrants have reached Spain, Gibraltar, mainland France, mainland Italy and even Greece and this latest Welsh male is the FIFTH to reach Britain (the previous records involving singing males at Midhope Moor, South Yorkshire, from 15 May to 24 July 1982, Spurn Point, East Yorkshire, on 8-9 June 1992 and at St Abb's Head, Borders, from 23-27 May 1993 and what was probably the same individual at Scolt Head Island, Norfolk, from 12-18 May 2001 and at Sizewell Power Station bushes, Suffolk, on 29 May 2001).

Aside from these British records, the only other records in northern Europe are of vagrants in Belgium from 3-12 May 1997 and in Denmark on 12 June 2005.

Also today, a dark morph BOOTED EAGLE flew SE over the Gipping Valley over warehouses in Stowmarket (Suffolk) from 1235-1238 hours (John Walshe) and was then intercepted as it flew low SSE over the same valley at Baylham Pits at 1259 hours (Lee Woods). At this latter site, it was being chased by an army of corvids and was being hounded by noisy Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. The same bird had initially been seen over Pipps Ford GP, Needham Market, briefly early morning on 13 May (Phil Whittaker) and had previously been reported in Essex.

As far north as one can go in Britain, the wandering BLACK STORK has now reached Unst (Shetland) where this evening it is feeding along the shoreline at Burrafirth and showing well. Shetland also yielded an adult drake SURF SCOTER today - in Weisdale Voe

RED-FOOTED FALCONS today included the first-summer male near Over at Ouse Fen (Cambs) and another for its fourth day along Denge Marsh Road (Kent).

The Cley Trumpeter Finch was NOT seen today, nor was the male Red-backed Shrike, but in the Fenland, the long-staying singing male WHITE-SPOTTED BLUETHROAT is still present by Lyle Hide at Welney WWT.

Spurn Point (East Yorks) produced both GOLDEN ORIOLE and female RED-BACKED SHRIKE today, whilst in Derbyshire, the singing male GREAT REED WARBLER remains at Straw Bridges Ponds, Ilkeston.