Follow by Email

Saturday, 4 December 2010

The south experiences a thaw

The snow stopped falling in Britain today for the first time in a week whilst the temperatures recovered to between 5 and 9 degrees C in the south giving rise to a slight thaw. In the north though, the vast snowfields remain, and temperatures there struggled to get above freezing. The weekend saw more birders in the field and a consequent rise in sighting reports but neither Ivory or Ross's Gull was found, nor the hoped-for Pine Grosbeak. Finland attracted another BLACK-THROATED ACCENTOR though - this bird near Pori representing their 8th occurrence.

A single PENDULINE TIT has survived the freeze at Dungeness RSPB (Kent), feeding at the tops of reedmace close to the Hanson Hide on the ARC Pit this morning, but a HUME'S LEAF WARBLER present in Wells Woods (North Norfolk) on both Thursday and Friday and showing well could not be located today. Not that far away, a single CONTINENTAL WHITE-HEADED LONG-TAILED TIT was with 10 or more British Long-tailed Tits at the Sculthorpe Fen Nature Reserve near Fakenham

The juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER remains at Lodmoor CP (Dorset) whilst in neighbouring South Devon, a probable EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL has been showing well at the water treatment works at Colyford today. A COMMON CRANE flew west along the Hampshire coastline this morning, crossing Langstone Harbour and then Swaythling, Southampton, and was most likely the bird later seen at Ham Wall RSPB (Somerset).

The adult female SURF SCOTER has returned once more to her wintering site at Dawlish Warren (South Devon) whilst a female LESSER SCAUP on Orkney is now present for a seventh day at Ayre Loch, St Mary's and the drake BLUE-WINGED TEAL remains west of Castle Douglas (D & G) and off of the A75 at Threave Castle NT on the River Dee from the Lamb Isalnd Hide (NX 746 606).

Two long-staying GREY PHALAROPES continue: at Dunbar East Beach (Lothian) and in the South Arm from Gadwall Hide at Rutland Water Egleton Reserve (Leics).whilst a short-staying bird visited Rainham Marshes RSPB (Essex) on the adjacent River Thames at the Mar Dyke mouth mid-morning.

A flock of 7 SHORE LARKS ranged between Glyne Gap and the eastern end of the beach at Bulverhythe (East Sussex), whilst the fourth-ever for Ayrshire involved one on the shoreline on the SW side of West Kilbride on the south side of the point at Seamill close to the Scottish Water buildings (NS 204 461). Meanwhile, 19 are at Gibraltar Point NNR (Lincs) and at least 15 in Holkham Bay (Norfolk).

The 6,000 or so BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS that arrived in Scotland at the end of October are now scattered wide and far throughout Britain, with birds now west as far as South Wales, South Devon and in County Galway and County Antrim in Ireland. The other invasive species of the autumn - MEALY REDPOLL - is also penetrating Lesser Redpoll flocks well inland, with over 50 reported in the Birch scrub at The Lodge, Sandy RSPB (Beds) today.. Two ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS remain in the Burnham Overy Dunes (Norfolk) .

There has been a distinct arrival of SMEW in the last couple of weeks with at least 50 scattered around the country whilst the icy conditions and easterly winds saw an influx of TUNDRA BEAN GEESE, with four still today in winter wheat west of the Shell garage south of the A12 at Boreham (Essex) and a further 10 at Holland Haven (Essex). In the Yare Valley (Norfolk), TAIGA BEAN GEESE numbers increased to 106 this week

Also, as a direct result of the cold weather, ICELAND GULLS include a juvenile in Lowestoft's Hamilton Dock (Suffolk) and another in Preston Dock (Lancs) with immature GLAUCOUS GULLS at Salthouse Beach (North Norfolk), Dungeness Beach (Kent) and at Appleford Pit, Didcot (Oxon). Peterhead Harbour, in NE Scotland (Aberdeenshire) has both species present, as does Swillington Ings (West Yorks), with the usual adult ICELAND GULL in Ayr (Ayrshire).

The SLAVONIAN GREBE is still to be found on Brooklands Lake, New Hythe GP (Kent), as is the female VELVET SCOTER at Walton Reservoir (Surrey) with juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS at Eyebrook Reservoir (Leics) and Brogborough Lake (Beds) The LONG-TAILED DUCK is still on the Ferry Lagoon at Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB (Cambs), whilst two NORTHERN EIDERS on the Jubilee River at Dorney Wetlands (Berks) was an exceptional record. One drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK remains at Chew Valley Lake (Avon).

A wintering EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE is in a private garden at Goonhavern Downs (West Cornwall) whilst a RED-BILLED CHOUGH is exceptional on the Isle of Wight frequenting fields at Headon Warren today.

In IRELAND, the INDIAN HOUSE CROW can still be found in Cobh Town (County Cork), with a RED-NECKED GREBE off Ballintubbrid (Cork) and adult female BLUE-WINGED TEAL south of the causeway at North Bull Island (Co. Dublin). The adult winter FORSTER'S TERN is again at Claddagh Beach, Galway Harbour (Galway) and the AMERICAN COOT continues its residence on The Mullet at Termoncurragh Lake (Co. Mayo).