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Monday, 15 November 2010

AMERICAN COOT on The Mullet - COUNTY MAYO

Once again IRELAND is really reaping rewards from the recent deep Atlantic depressions. Firstly, an AMERICAN COOT was discovered on The Mullet in the vicinity of the outflow on Termoncarragh Lake (County Mayo) and secondly, two AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPITS are on offer - a new bird just below the car park at the Belderra Strand at Belmullet, on the Mullet Peninsular (County Mayo) and a continuing bird at Clonea Strand at Ballinclamper in County Waterford. This same latter site also hosts a confiding juvenile WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER. Yesterday, the regular returning FORSTER'S TERN appeared at Doorus Pier in Galway.

The AMERICAN COOT represents the 434th species of the year in Britain and Ireland in 2010, equalling that total achieved in 2009.

In Britain today, some interesting late scarce migrants were discovered with an ORTOLAN BUNTING on Skokholm Island (Pembrokeshire) and a first-winter BARRED WARBLER for a second day in the wood by the B5268 Fleetwood Road opposite the Cala Gran Haven Holiday Park in Fleetwood (Lancs). On the Isles of Scilly, a DUSKY WARBLER still remains by the road at Higher Moors, St Mary's.

Meanwhile, there are still two main stars of the show - the first-winter PIED-BILLED GREBE in Greater Manchester and the first-winter AMERICAN ROBIN in South Devon........

The grebe is at Hollingworth Lake Country Park just south of Littleton and not that far north of the M62. It is favouring the extreme SE corner of the lake where it commutes between the bank and the islands and shows very well at times from the small hide. This is a good 15 minute walk from the designated car park by the Visitor Centre, following the footpath round to the right.

The AMERICAN ROBIN is still ranging widely in the hedgerows west of the main access road to the Turf Hotel at Exminster Marshes RSPB, being seen from anything up to 300 yards north of the hotel. It has now become generally elusive, favouring to feed on Hawthorns well back from the lane, and for best results, keep to the raised bank of the canal when searching. It is best to park in the RSPB car park just beyond the railway bridge as strict restrictions are being implemented at the canalside parking bays. Many birders have suffered a very expensive surprise on site!

Not to be outshone however is the Lost Gardens of Heligan AMERICAN GREEN HERON (looking set to winter on site) and the first-year SQUACCO HERON in Angle Bay (Pembs)

In the north of England, the SQUACCO HERON continues to perform well on the River Wansbeck in Morpeth town (Northumberland), ranging up to 100 yards west of the blue footbridge, with a GREAT WHITE EGRET still frequenting ditches and dykes on the saltmarsh between the railway station and Humphrey Head at Kents Bank (Cumbria). Northamptonshire's long-stayer of the latter continues at Pitsford Reservoir

We are now seeing an arrival of Mealy Redpolls from Scandinavia and with them the odd SCANDINAVIAN ARCTIC REDPOLL, Dan Brown locating one such mixed flock of birds in Strath Brora, well NW of Golspie in Sutherland. He estimated the flock to be in the region of 1,400 birds, moving between Birch scrub. In the same vein, 6,000 or so BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS continue to invade southwards from their initial arrival in Scotland.

The long-staying juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER is still with up to 2,000 European Golden Plover in Blakeney Harbour (North Norfolk), best viewed from the 5-bar gate on the seawall, whilst not that far away at Burnham Overy Dunes, two juvenile ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS are still roaming the farmland and a male TRUMPETER BULLFINCH continues in Holkham Pines.

A further juvenile ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD was still in the South Ferriby (North Lincs) area, with 2-3 still at Sleddale (Cleveland), whilst a 'new' juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER involves a bird for its second day at Trevorian Pool near Sennen (West Cornwall), in fields just west of the pool viewed from the footpath between Trevorian Farm and Trevear Farm 200 yards NE of the school at SW 373 264. In South Devon, after an absence of four days, the first-winter LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER reappeared on the flooded field opposite Axmouth Football Club on Sunday afternoon.

Recent gales have seen an arrival of windblown seabirds, with juvenile Great Northern Divers at Chew Valley Lake (Avon), Angler's Country Park, Wintersett (West Yorks), Astbury Mere CP (Cheshire), Big Mere, Marbury CP (Cheshire), Fleetwood Marine lakes (Lancs) and Carsington Water (Derbyshire), a Slavonian Grebe in Savages Creek at Grafham Water (Cambs) and another on Pine Lake (Lancs) and a first-winter drake Velvet Scoter at Broadwater Sailing Lake (Middlesex).

A first-winter GREY PHALAROPE continues to show very well on the roadside pools at Pett Level (East Sussex), whilst another is present for its third day at Lytham Moss (Lancs), in the flooded field just west of the southern end of North Houses Lane at SD 344 298. A long-stayer is still to be found at Rutland Water (Leics) off of the Green Bank on the Hambleton Peninsula.

The CATTLE EGRET remains at Saltholme RSPB (Cleveland), showing intermittently from the Haverton Viewpoint, with the recent Guyhirn (Cambs) bird relocating to Welney WWT (Norfolk), where the GLOSSY IBIS can still be seen feeding in front of the Lyle Hide. Two further GLOSSY IBIS from the early autumn influx still survive in South Devon - on the west side of the River Otter at Budleigh Salterton and just west of the canalbank car park at Exminster Marshes RSPB.

Kevin Shepherd located a RICHARD'S PIPIT whilst surveying this morning at Lendalfoot (Ayrshire) whilst a couple of late YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS include singles at Caerlaverock WWT (Dumfries & Galloway) and at the Clennon Valley Lakes near Paignton (South Devon).

Suffolk's drake KING EIDER has now moulted into more adult-type plumage and is looking typically dapper and continues to range between Minsmere RSPB beach and Dunwich beach car park, whilst bucking the recent downward trend, wintering SHORE LARK flocks include 15 between Dunwich and Walberswick (Suffolk) and at least 24 in Holkham Bay (Norfolk). Six more were also at Landguard NR (Suffolk) today, with 10 on the saltings at John Muir Country Park at Dunbar (Lothian)..

A juvenile COMMON CRANE is present for a second day at Nigg Bay, Cromarty, favouring a stubble field just beyond the turn off to Nigg village - the field with bales of straw in black plastic. When disturbed it flies down to the bay just in front of the hide (per Bob Swann), with a further vagrant COMMON CRANE at Castlemartin Corse (Pembs), visible from the Corseside Nursery entrance.