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Monday, 12 September 2011

in the aftermath of HURRICANE KATRIA

The remnants of Hurricane Katria, now classified as a Tropical Storm or just under, battered Scotland and the north of Ireland with winds up to 93 miles per hour today, bringing down trees and causing some structural damage to properties.......

In its wake, and over the preceding days since Irene swept up the Eastern Seaboard of North America, it has been Nearctic waders being displaced in numbers......

The icing on the cake of these is today's appearance of an adult GREATER YELLOWLEGS on the River Camel at Treravon Meadows, Wadebridge (Cornwall) - still largely in breeding plumage.

A juvenile LESSER YELLOWLEGS also arrived yesterday on Porthkillier Beach, St Agnes (Scilly), where today both it and the nearby juvenile Periglis Beach BAIRD'S SANDPIPER were showing well, whilst a juvenile SPOTTED SANDPIPER remains by the Plym Estuary at Blaxton Meadow (South Devon) and juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) this afternoon.and at Patrington Haven (East Yorks) this evening.

BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS have appeared in the largest numbers since the autumn of 1977, with a flock of 8 juveniles on the airfield at St Mary's (Scilly) and further birds at Davidstow Airfield (Cornwall) and on Brownsea Island (Dorset) - following 8 or more in the past week,

A total of 37 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS had already appeared in Britain prior to this weekend since 1 September but still being seen today were 2 at Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk), 2 on Tresco (Scilly), 2 at Collingham Pits (Notts), 2 at Stithians Reservoir (Cornwall), 2 at Chew Valley lake (Avon), 3 at Drift Reservoir (Cornwall) and singles on Porthellick Pool, St Mary's (Scilly), Pitsford Reservoir (Northants) and Neatholme Scrape, Lound GP (Notts).

Just like during the October 1987 hurricane, large numbers of SABINE'S GULLS have been displaced from the Atlantic, with stranded birds inland at Belvide Reservoir (Staffs) (juvenile) and King George V Reservoir (Essex). An adult has now been present for several days off Heysham Harbour (Lancs) whilst others seen today included a juvenile at Avon Beach, Mudeford (Dorset), two juveniles at Stert Island, Burnham-on-Sea (Somerset), an adult past Felixstowe (Suffolk), a juvenile off Black Rock Sands (Gwynedd), a juvenile at Caerlaverock WWT (D & G), an adult past Sandwich Bay (Kent), a juvenile off Turnberry Point (Ayrshire), off Severn Beach and past Berrow (Somerset) and a juvenile off Mumbles Head, on the Gower (West Glamorgan).

BALEARIC SHEARWATERS have also been displaced into the English Channel with huge numbers recorded off of the coasts of Dorset and South Devon, whilst a WILSON'S STORM PETREL flew west past Pendeen Watchpoint (Cornwall) mid-morning. The latter site also produced the following in strong westerly winds: 7 SABINE'S GULLS, 12 GREAT SHEARWATERS and a LEACH'S PETREL

In what has been a record year for PALLID HARRIERS, both here and in Scandinavia, at least two individuals remain on Shetland, with juveniles still on Unst and in the Hillwell area of South Mainland. Roger Wyatt excelled by photographing a juvenile on the Oxfordshire Downs at Churn last week, whilst an adult male flew across the A1065 in front of observers in north Norfolk during the weekend.

Displaced Seabirds in the south today included up to 7 NORTHERN FULMARS (5 were seen flying upstream at Lydney, Gloucs), several GREAT SKUAS, several NORTHERN GANNETS (including an adult at Draycote Water). GREY PHALAROPES also got swept inland with single first-winters at Ashworth Moor Reservoir (Greater Manchester), Grafham Water (Cambs) and Queen Mother Reservoir (Berkshire) as well as at coastal sites such as Portbury Wharf (Somerset), the Chesil Beach (Dorset), Ferrybridge (Dorset), at South Milton Ley (Devon) and on the Fishtail Lagoon at Keyhaven/Pennington Marshes (Hampshire)

In North Norfolk, a juvenile LITTLE BITTERN has been showing off and on at Titchwell RSPB Reserve since first being sighted on Thursday, favouring the first patch of reeds to the right of the footpath about 200 yards north of the Information Centre. In North Buckinghamshire, the adult GREAT WHITE EGRET remains at Linford Nature Reserve.

Two AQUATIC WARBLERS remain on St Agnes (Scilly), skulking in reeds and poolside vegetation at the Big Pool by Periglis Beach, whilst elsewhere on the archipelago, two WOODCHAT SHRIKES remain on St Mary's - a first-summer close to the airport and a juvenile between the Campsite and Holly Cottage on The Garrison. At the opposite end of the UK, Fetlar (Shetland) hosted a WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER at Legarth today.

For the second autumn running, it looks as though LAPLAND BUNTINGS are in plentiful supply again, with some Northwest-facing locations harbouring 30 birds or more. Particularly confiding has been a juvenile at Abbotsbury Beach (Dorset) and another near Stromness (Orkney)

A HOOPOE remains for a 4th day at Glynde (East Sussex), favouring the grassy bank by the main road, whilst WRYNECKS still remain at Millfield LNR, Old Basing (Hants), Garnlydan Reservoir (Gwent) and South Fambridge (Essex).

A juvenile WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN is still to be found at Farmoor Reservoirs (Oxfordshire), where on Saturday the first CITRINE WAGTAIL for the county was identified. Meanwhile, a WHISKERED TERN appeared briefly at Starnafin Farm, Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire), whilst North Ronaldsay (Orkney) hosted a further first-winter CITRINE WAGTAIL.

IRELAND has been awash with rare waders for over a week now with today producing SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER and 2 GREY PHALAROPES at Ballycotton (Co. Cork), a LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Rosscarbery (Co. Cork), two adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS at Rosslare Backstrand (Co. Wexford), a PECTORAL SANDPIPER at White's Marsh (Co. Cork), a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER in Cross Village (Co. Clare) and an adult AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Lady's Island Lake (Co. Wexford). Up to 8 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS have graced Tacumshin Lakes (Co. Wexford) in the past week, along with a juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, two WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS and both a juvenile PALLID HARRIER and a first-year MONTAGU'S HARRIER.

Seawatching at Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) this afternoon produced an impressive 39 SABINE'S GULLS in just two hours, with a FEA'S SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL offshore this evening.

A long staying GREENISH WARBLER still remains on Cape Clear Island (Co. Cork) whilst a WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER remains for a second day at Torr Pier on Mizen Head (Co. Cork)