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Sunday, 12 December 2010

Frozen continent forces young SEA EAGLE to move west

A juvenile WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE was discovered at Amberley Wild Brooks SWT in Sussex yesterday afternoon roosting in a distant tree. It remained until dusk and was enjoyed by over 40 local birders throughout the afternoon. It represented the first authenticated record for the county since March 1929 and was presumably a bird forced to move west by the severe wintry conditions being experienced over much of Continental Europe.

After the fog eventually lifted this morning, the bird was once again located in the same roosting tree as yesterday and could be viewed distantly from Rackham Street. It sat there until just after midday when it flew SSW and continued down the Arun Valley; it then drifted west over Arundel WWT at 1215 hours before entering Hampshire airspace and was later intercepted over Southsea, Fareham and Titchfield Haven NR as it entered Southampton Water early to mid afternoon.

In North Norfolk, the juvenile male harrier showing characteristics of the North American form hudsonius has reappeared after being 'lost' for a week or more during the severe weather, showing once more in the Burnham Overy Dunes area late morning. By lunchtime it was back quartering the saltmarsh at Thornham Point and was present in this area on and off all afternoon.

The long-staying juvenile ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD was again viewed from the first layby just west of the cement works at South Ferriby (North Lincs) this afternoon, with the two again hunting Burnham Overy Dunes (North Norfolk) before roosting at East Hills, Wells Harbour.

Berkshire's first-ever twitchable GLOSSY IBIS continues for a fourth day at Freeman's Marsh, just west of Hungerford, the bird showing very well at times as it feeds in the ditches.

A EURASIAN HOOPOE continues to survive at Longham Lakes (Dorset), favouring the scrub and open land to the east of the main lake close to the pumping station. as does a wintering Eastern-type YELLOW WAGTAIL at Colyford Water Treatment Works (South Devon) at SY 254 931 (view through the gap in the hedgerow on the north side of the compound). The bird has not been trapped or sound-recorded but does show a suite of field characters consistent with the eastern clade of flava-type wagtails.

A vagrant DARTFORD WARBLER remains present in the orchard at Evesham (Worcs) (SP 041 450), accessed from the footpath east of the A4184 just north of Collinfield.

The juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was again present in Works Cove at Herbury Gore (Langton Herring) in Dorset this morning but then returned this afternoon to Lodmoor Nature Reserve. Meanwhile, a GREY PHALAROPE first seen on the River Thames (Essex) on Friday was still present today on the foreshore at Grays, opposite the Wharf public house.

An adult drake AMERICAN WIGEON remains for a second day at Rutland Water (Leics) where it has been showing well in front of Deepwater Hide and Swan Hide at Lyndon Nature Reserve, whilst the drake AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL is still on the Whooper Pond at Caerlaverock WWT (D & G) (along with the adult Ross's Snow Goose of presumably captive origin). A further drake of the latter is at Kinneil Lagoon (Forth) whilst the regular returning adult female SURF SCOTER remains in Dawlish Bay visible from just east of the Langstone Rock.

Southern Britain is now experiencing a phenomenal influx of BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS - at least 4,000 in all - and is literally all over, from Kent in the east to West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in the west. many more SMEW have also moved in from the continent and the icy conditions have made EURASIAN BITTERNS very noticeable and easy to locate, some reedbed sites harbouring 6 or more..

The adult RING-BILLED GULLS can still be located at Southend-on-Sea (Essex) and Walpole Park Boating Lake and adjacent Haslar Creek (Hants), with another at Sands Lane GP (West Yorks). The juvenile ICELAND GULL is still present in Hamilton Dock, Lowestoft (Suffolk) with the odd GLAUCOUS GULL appearing inland.

A GREAT WHITE EGRET is still to be found in Nottinghamshire - being noted at Holme Pierrepont GP again this morning - with the other wintering individual still present at Pitsford Reservoir (Northamptonshire).

Rather unseasonal was a gathering of BALEARIC SHEARWATERS in Carbis Bay, St Ives (West Cornwall) in the last few days, peaking at 25 birds.

In terms of displaced birds inland, GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS continue at Carsington Water (Derbyshire) (two birds), Stewartby Lake (Beds) (the juvenile from Brogborough) and Farmoor Reservoir (Oxon). Inland RED-NECKED GREBES remain extremely rare though with one still present with a Black-necked Grebe and female Smew at Sevenoaks WR East Lake (Kent) whilst VELVET SCOTERS continue at Walton Reservoirs (Surrey) and King George VI Reservoir (London) with a new bird at Cliffe Pools RSPB Alpha Pool (North Kent).

At Dingle Marshes, Walberswick NNR (Suffolk), the shingle pools north of Dunwich car park continue to harbour wintering flocks of 80 Twite, 90 Snow Bunting and 18 SHORE LARKS, whilst the fields by the South Wall of Breydon Water (Norfolk/Suffolk border) are hosting up to 35 wintering LAPLAND BUNTINGS.

IRELAND continues its run of rare Nearctic birds with yet another PIED-BILLED GREBE - present for its second day in the channel at Little Island (County Cork) (park at Garganey Pond and walk north along the shoreline to view from the golf course). This bird falls hard on the heels of last winter's two individuals. The AMERICAN COOT is also still present on Termoncarragh Lake (Co. Mayo), as well as the drake AMERICAN BLACK DUCK. The adult winter FORSTER'S TERN too can be counted on, appearing just before the high tide on the rocks just east of the Mutton Island causeway near Nimmo's Pier in Galway Harbour (Co. Galway).

WAXWINGS in Ireland today included 1 in Dungarvon (Co. Waterford) and 4 at Knocknacarra (Co. Galway)

A herd of 4 BEWICK'S SWANS at Ballymacoda (Co. Cork) is a noteworthy occurrence, whilst one of the two regular SMALL CANADA GOOSE is again with 1,500 Barnacle Geese in the Raghley area (Co. Sligo). The female SURF SCOTER near Cobh (Co. Cork) was again off Marloag Point this afternoon.