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Friday, 17 June 2011

Scotland dominates the Birdlines

Twitchers will be flocking to Scotland this weekend as two exceptionally rare vagrants continue to keep pulses rating today.........

Firstly, the first-year drake NORTH AMERICAN WHITE-WINGED SCOTER remains offshore at Blackdog, just north of Aberdeen (Aberdeenshire), consorting with 1,200 Common Scoter, 90 Velvet Scoter, at least 2 adult drake SURF SCOTER and upwards of 2,000 Common Eider. Beware of contusion with an assortment of first-year Velvet Scoters and plan to observe the flock in the afternoons, when the light conditions are often more favourable. Park either just east of Blackdog in the designated beach car park and walk up to 1.5 miles to the south along the dune-slack or ask for permission to park by the clubhouse of the Murcar Links Golf Course and carefully negotiate the track to the dunes from there.

Just six miles to the north, the adult drake KING EIDER remains on the Ythan Estuary, where this afternoon a full breeding-plumaged GREY PHALAROPE was present in the ternery. View from the hut just up from the estuary mouth, adjacent to the golf links. Five summering first-year Little Gulls also remain in this vicinity.

Secondly, the gorgeous summer-plumaged adult GREATER SANDPLOVER remains for its fourth day at Dornoch Point, 1.5 miles SSW of Dornoch (Sutherland) - about an hour's drive north out of Inverness. This bird is a real stunner and is cohabiting with a small flock of Sanderling, Dunlin and Ringed Plovers - check out Marcus Conway's outstanding images on my blogs. Please keep away from the tern colony so please park by the aerodrome and follow the tracks through the gress to the dunes - about a mile walk.

On North Ronaldsay (Orkney), a pair of RED-BACKED SHRIKES were new in, with a SHORE LARK also there - and a COMMON NIGHTINGALE trapped and ringed.

Now, back to the other rares perhaps on offer this weekend.....

A summer-plumaged SPOTTED SANDPIPER appeared at Thorpe Lake at Whisby Nature Park, SW of Lincoln (Lincs) this morning close to the visitor centre and showed for the rest of the day, whilst not that far away, the juvenile WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE remains at Ruckland Ponds

Dungeness RSPB (Kent) continues with its double-heron offering, with both SQUACCO HERON and GREAT WHITE EGRET on the bill. The regular GWE favours the reed-fringed Denge Marsh to feed whilst the SQUACCO is commuting between there and Hooker's Pit.

In East Anglia, the first-summer male RED-FOOTED FALCON continues to attract a steady stream of admirers at Horsey (East Norfolk) where it is favouring fence posts to the far end of the Nelson's Head track. Meanwhile, a male RED-BACKED SHRIKE was seen briefly in this area this morning. In Suffolk, a drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK is showing occasionally from Island Mere hide at Minsmere RSPB. At dusk, a CASPIAN TERN roosted in Thornham Harbour (North Norfolk).

In the South-west of England, Chew Valley lake (Avon) harbours a female BLUE-WINGED TEAL and at least 3 drake Garganeys - all best observed from the Fishermen's Car Park at Hollow Brook. Nearby, the drake RING-NECKED DUCK and several Garganey remain at Walton Heath, Ham Wall RSPB (Somerset)

The breeding-plumaged SLAVONIAN GREBE remains in the Walgrave Arm of Pitsford Reservoir (Northants), with another remaining on the Exe Estuary, off Starcross (South Devon). At this latter site, the first-summer BONAPARTE'S GULL remains.

The South Coast has seen some unusual seabird movements today, with 3 SOOTY SHEARWATERS past Portland Bill (Dorset) and 56 BALEARIC SHEARWATERS and 11 SOOTIES past Berry Head, Brixham (South Devon)