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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

A premature end to the Autumn perhaps?

Since my last update in early October, the total number of species recorded in a combined Britain and Ireland has risen to 424 - with the addition of AMERICAN GREEN HERON, SOLITARY SANDPIPER (a long-staying juvenile at Seaton Black Hole Marsh, South Devon), COMMON NIGHTHAWK (a juvenile present all day at a private site in County Durham), ISABELLINE WHEATEAR (a very fresh first-year at Lowestoft North Denes, Suffolk, for just one day), HERMIT THRUSH (two arrivals simultaneously in the Outer Hebrides), PALLAS'S LEAF WARBLER (a widespread influx), SAXAUL GREY SHRIKE (a typically confiding first-winter with tail damage at Strathbeg RSPB, Aberdeenshire, for a few days), RED-EYED VIREO (at least 5 arrivals) and a YELLOW-BREASTED BUNTING in West Ireland seen briefly.

Back to now and with cold NW winds blasting virtually all of the Recording Area, little in the way of new rarities are now being located.....

RED-FLANKED BLUETAILS are now up to 29 this autumn and the latest of these to appear - a first-winter in Hampshire at Sandy Point Nature Reserve on Hayling Island - performed well prior to 1030 hours but then promptly disappeared (and only reappeared just briefly mid-afternoon). This latter bird is present for its third day but present for its fifth is an even more elusive individual - that at Arnold's Walk in north Lowestoft (Suffolk). Another was also still present today on Scilly.

There was no sign of the GREY-CHEEKED THRUSH seen just briefly late yesterday afternoon on St Martin's (Scilly) today, although the MELODIOUS WARBLER and RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL on that same island were both performing well and a late ICTERINE WARBLER was still to be seen on Bryher. St Mary's offered a SUBALPINE WARBLER at Mount Todden Farm, a LITTLE BUNTING along the footpath to Content Farm and a few Lapland Buntings and Hawfinches

The very confiding juvenile AMERICAN GREEN HERON continues its stay at the tourist hotspot of the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, favouring the upper pond along the Jungle Trail; access £10 per person from 1000 hours. Meanwhile in South West Wales in Pembrokeshire, the very confiding juvenile SQUACCO HERON remains in Angle Harbour, frequenting the creek downstream of the stone bridge just behind the church. Not that far away at Poyston, a CATTLE EGRET continues to be seen at Withybush Airfield. Another CATTLE EGRET is present in North Lincolnshire, frequenting cattle fields along Marsh lane close to the Stonebridge Car Park at Donna Nook.

A juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was picked out amongst European Golden Plovers in the Eye Field at Cley NWT (Norfolk) early morning before flying west but was then fortuitously relocated between Langham and Morston early afternoon and later by Cockthorpe Airfield in the potato field at TF 988 419..

Cley Reserve still hosts a first-winter GREY PHALAROPE (today on Arnold's Marsh) whilst the shingle ridge between Coastguards and Sea Pool has up to 14 wide-ranging SHORE LARKS. At Holkham Pines, the two ivy-clad tall Pine trees just south of the main track 200 yards west of Lady Anne's Drive continues to harbour a first-winter RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER and two Yellow-browed Warblers (a PALLAS'S LEAF WARBLER was also with them on 18-19 October).

Late PECTORAL SANDPIPERS include singles at Welney WWT (Norfolk) and briefly at Arlington Reservoir (East Sussex) whilst the long-staying juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER continues at Holland Haven scrape in Essex. In Oxford, the long-staying juvenile LESSER YELLOWLEGS continues to show well on the Port Meadow Flood Meadows, accessed west of the A4414 Woodstock road along Aristotle Lane (please respect resident's parking). Culminating a superb autumn for the species, one BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER remains in West Cornwall frequenting fields opposite Trevedra Farm at Sennen

ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS appear to have had an excellent breeding season in Siberia (perhaps due to an over-abundance of Field Voles) with large numbers of juveniles appearing down the East Coast following some exceptional southward migrations off of Falsterbo, SW Sweden. Two were this morning showing well in Suffolk hunting between Potter's Bridge and Easton Broad, whilst others were seen in flight over Pegwell Bay (Kent), over Crathorne, Kirklevington (Cleveland), at Sleddale Moor (Cleveland) and north over Snipe Dales LWT (North Lincs).

There are still large numbers of LAPLAND BUNTINGS scattered about the country, perhaps involving several thousand individuals, with particularly popular birds in Buckinghamshire and Surrey, but the dearth in large pipits continues, with RICHARD'S PIPITS today just singles at Pegwell Bay (Kent), at Telegraph, St Mary's, and at Higher Town Bay, St Martin's (Scilly).

Of excellent local value is a BARRED WARBLER in Elders by the Cop Hole Pool at Shotwick Boating Lake (Clwyd), accessed off of the A548 at the Paper Mill roundabout at SJ 298 722. Meanwhile, a RADDE'S WARBLER was seen and heard in scrub in the vicinity of the last house at the bottom end of Cot Valley (Cornwall).

A few more BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS arrived today, along with several herds of freshly-arrived Whooper Swans. In East Sussex, the single SHORE LARK remains on the west side of the river mouth at Cuckmere Haven, whilst on Fair Isle, a single HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL remains..

A juvenile ROSE-COLOURED STARLING was in conifers and bushes at the west end of the row of houses by the western car park in Lepe (Hants) mid-morning, whilst for the past week or more, a gorgeous adult has been present in hawthorns and scrub at Newhaven Heights (East Sussex).

A few GLOSSY IBISES left over from the Iberian post-breeding dispersal in August and September include singles at Exminster Marshes RSPB (South Devon) and at Valley lakes RSPB (Anglesey) (located a mile SE of Llyn Trafwll at the rear of the damp cattle field on the south side of the minor road at SH 338 753), whilst GREAT WHITE EGRETS include singles at Pitsford Reservoir Walgrave Arm (Northants), Minsmere RSPB Island Mere (Suffolk) and at Grainthorpe Haven (North Lincs)

A drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK remains at Calder Wetlands at Pugney's Country Park (West Yorks), with three more at Chew Valley Lake (Avon). The latter site also plays host to a long-staying drake RING-NECKED DUCK with the regular Foxcote Reservoir individual of North Bucks reappearing today. The first-summer drake KING EIDER is still to be found between Minsmere Sluice and Dunwich Cliffs (Suffolk)

The adult Ross's Snow Goose which summered at Loch Leven RSPB (Tayside) remains with Barnacle Geese at Rockcliffe Marsh (Cumbria) whilst the adult Red-breasted Goose bearing the orange-red plastic ring remains with Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the Exe Estuary (South Devon).

The adult RED-NECKED GREBE remains near the Axbridge Tower at Cheddar Reservoir (Somerset) whilst further south in the county, a late SPOTTED CRAKE can still be seen from the hide at Greylake RSPB Reserve. A first-winter RED-NECKED GREBE is also still to be found at Bawdsey East Lane Lagoons (Suffolk)

In IRELAND, an AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT continues to show very well on the seaweed at Clonea Strand, Ballinclamper, in County Waterford, whilst not that far away, a juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER is at The Cunnigar Pools. A LITTLE BUNTING was on Cape Clear Island (County Cork) this morning, with the BARRED WARBLER and Yellow-browed Warbler still at Mizen Head (County Cork). In Cobh Harbour (County Cork), the adult SABINE'S GULL is along the harbour front again and the 2nd-winter INDIAN HOUSE CROW continues its residency in the town square.