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Monday, 19 September 2011

Elusive WATERTHRUSH thwarts visiting twitchers

On the Isles of Scilly, the NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH remains for its fourth day in Lower Moors, St Mary's, favouring the trackside vegetation and Sallows to the east of Shooter's Pool. Please be aware that this bird is highly elusive - for example being seen by just 10 of over 100 twitchers today - and that the track where it is is very muddy and slippery.

Just a few yards away is the much easier and more obliging first-winter female BLACK & WHITE WARBLER (also present for its third day) showing well intermittently in the Sallows and Willows in the vicinity of the second vegetated arch along the Trail from Airport Lane, whilst on the Garrison, the RED-EYED VIREO showed well today in pines and trees on the Lower Broome Platform.

Meanwhile, Newford's juvenile SOLITARY SANDPIPER has relocated to behind the ''Dump Clump'' onto the new ''Project Pool'' (take the pathway between the Incinerator and Carn Gwaval School and at the Clump, walk into the wood where the glove has been placed; turn left at the tree with the polythene wrapped around it and then cross the ditch to the new hide). Two juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPERS continue to commute between Porthellick and Lower Moors, whilst up to 4 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS and a juvenile DOTTEREL are on the Airfield..

There are two different WOODCHAT SHRIKES to be seen on St Mary's: the first-summer not far from the Airport terminal and the juvenile up on the Garrison

An extremely confiding juvenile BLUE-WINGED TEAL is now on Newford Duckpond (replacing the Solitary there) whilst the adult EUROPEAN BEE-EATER is often to be found nearby on the wires by Borough Farm.

An ORTOLAN BUNTING was seen on St Martin's along the coast path south of Lower Town Hotel, with a juvenile RED-BACKED SHRIKE on Tresco.

The juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER remains on Periglis Beach, St Agnes, with up to 3 juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPERS on Tresco Abbey and Great Pools.

In neighbouring CORNWALL today, the selection of Nearctic waders therein continues to attract attention. Both the juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER and juvenile LESSER YELLOWLEGS remain at the west end of Drift Reservoir (with a Curlew Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank also thrown in for good measure) and the adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, juvenile BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER and TEMMINCK'S STINT at Davidstow Airfield. A further WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER has been at Devoran Creek, Truro, on recent high tides and a juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER remains from last Wednesday at the southern Carnmenellis Causeway at Stithians Reservoir.

Another juvenile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER is to be found at Baron's Haugh RSPB Reserve near Motherwell (Clyde), showing well from the Marsh Hide, whilst 2 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS arrived at Saltfleet Haven (North Lincs) in the Samphire beds on the beach and the long-staying juvenile remained on the beach by Traigh Golf Course near Mallaig (Highland Region); a further juvenile remains at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) on the Dumbles.. A PECTORAL SANDPIPER is at Back Saltholme Pool (Cleveland) and at Dungeness ARC Pit (Kent), with another on the 100-Acre Lake at Beddington Sewage Farm (Surrey) and the long-staying juvenile at Neatholme Scrape, Lound Idle Valley NR (Notts) and the two at Minsmere Scrape (Suffolk), whilst the TEMMINCK'S STINT remains distant at the west end of Weir Wood Reservoir (Sussex). An elusive and often very distant SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER is also still present on The Dumbles at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs). The latter county also plays host to a juvenile SPOTTED SANDPIPER at Lydney, frequenting the mud to the south of the harbour at SO 642 011.

The first LEAST SANDPIPER in over 50 years in the Shetland archipelago remains at South Ness on Foula, where also a single BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER is to be seen

West Cornwall still plays host to at least two different BLACK KITES and after the thick fog lifted, both the Polgigga and Trewethy Common birds were seen in flight.

In North Lincolnshire, a juvenile NORTH AMERICAN BLACK TERN is present for a fourth day at Covenham Reservoir, sharing the site with two brightly-billed Red-necked Grebes. The tern is favouring the west bank of the reservoir by the Sailing Club and also commuting to neighbouring ploughed fields to feed. A juvenile Northern Gannet also flew over the reservoir this morning.

It has been an unprecedented past week for SABINE'S GULLS with west Ireland delivering exceptional numbers (see below) and West Cornwall also bagging at least 50 since last Monday. Left over from the displacement by Hurricanes Irene and Katria, the fabulous moulting summer adult continues to show to just 5 feet at the Grafham Water (Cambs) dam (today sharing algae feeding rights with a first-winter GREY PHALAROPE) whilst others remain at Newhaven West Beach (East Sussex) and by Sturt Pond, Milford-on-Sea (Hants). Also inland is a juvenile at Leadenham Tip (Lincs), where it is frequenting the pool viewed from Pottergate Road. Other straggling GREY PHALAROPES include a first-winter east of the Hook-with-Warsash LNR scrape on the Meander Pool (Hants) and another on the River Ribble at Preston (Lancs) visible from the bridge at SD 527 286, as well as at least two lingering in the Chesil Cove, Portland (Dorset). Another remains for its second day on the foreshore pool at West Usk Lighthouse, St Brides Wentlooge (Gwent).

The first wave of YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS is now apparent with at least 16 identified on Shetland and the odd other on Orkney, the Northern Isles also yielding a GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK on Unst at Skaw, a RED-BACKED SHRIKE on Unst and a cluster of Barred Warblers and Common Rosefinches at a number of locations.

Fair Isle trapped and ringed a BLYTH'S REED WARBLER today (where a BLUETHROAT and LITTLE BUNTING were also newly found and both GREAT GREY SHRIKE and GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK were still present, as well as CITRINE WAGTAIL and MELODIOUS WARBLER) whilst another was identified at Balephuil on Tiree (Argyll) and incredibly a third at North Garden, Bixter, on Shetland. Elsewhere, drift migrants are surprisingly few and far between, with a BARRED WARBLER in bushes on the Straight Lonnen, Holy Island (Northumberland)

Following a westward expansion into European Russia and Finland by breeding male PALLID HARRIERS, further apparent juveniles continue to arrive in Britain, with most recent being singles at Colne Point/St Osyth Marshes (Essex) and at The Burgh (West Sussex) following the three or more currently ranging over Shetland. Today saw another probable juvenile fly low north over Barns Ness (Lothian).

Ever-present GREAT WHITE EGRETS include single adults at Meare Heath (Somerset) and Denge Marsh, Dungeness RSPB (Kent) whilst the adult in North Bucks continues to be seen at Linford Nature Reserve. A CATTLE EGRET is at Wall Common Beach (Somerset).

Seawatching in East Anglia at the end of last week yielded two FEA'S SOFT-PLUMAGED PETRELS - one off Lowestoft North Denes (Suffolk) and then Sheringham (Norfolk) followed by another north past Frinton-on-Sea (Essex) - as well as a bumper number of GREAT and CORY'S SHEARWATERS for the North Sea.

On a relatively local basis, the male LAPLAND BUNTING continues to attract admirers and show remarkably well on the main causeway between the two Farmoor Reservoirs (Oxfordshire), whilat a first-year drake AMERICAN WIGEON continues on the main lake at Wellington GP in Herefordshire.

A party of 6 COMMON CRANES remains on arable farmland at Welney WWT (Norfolk)

IRELAND'S birdwatching fraternity have been concentrating on seawatching and wader-finding in recent times with Bridges of Ross (County Clare) breaking all records of SABINE'S GULLS. Not content with daily counts of between 400 and 700 birds for almost a week, one day peaked at an incredulous 859 individuals - the highest number ever recorded. Also associated were exceptional numbers of LONG-TAILED SKUAS at the site, whilst WILSON'S STORM PETRELS have almost been seen daily.

The adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER is still to be found at the eastern end of Lady's Island Lake (Co. Wexford) with another at Boora Lake, Lough Boora Parklands (Co. Offaly). An AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER is at Black Rock Strand (Co. Kerry), with a SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER still on the Muckross Estuary at Clonakilty (Co. Cork) and a WILSON'S PHALAROPE on the Douglas Estuary (Co. Cork). A single COMMON CRANE was on the North Slob (Co. Wexford) today.