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Monday, 31 October 2011

Just One species to go

Well with October 2011 now over, the tally of species recorded in combined Britain and Ireland now stands at a formidable 444 species.....just one short of the 2008 record

Most incredulous was a first-winter EASTERN CROWNED WARBLER extracted from a mistnet at Hilfield Park Reservoir, near Watford (Hertfordshire) yesterday morning. Although misidentified as a Yellow-browed Warbler at the time, a total of just 8 observers could only stand in astonishment when their in-hand photographs were reviewed. The bird was released close to the reservoir gates at 1030 hours but soon disappeared into a neighbouring wood and was not relocated. A remarkable occurrence and only the second in Britain.

Also new was a SAXAUL GREY SHRIKE in Shropshire. First discovered on Friday 28 October, its true identity was not realised until today, the bird showing fairly distantly 6 miles NNW of Telford at Wall Farm Nature Reserve.

DIRECTIONS: From the B5062, take the road south towards ''The Wall'' for about a mile, parking in the designated field. From this temporary car park, take the track NNW to the hide, then turn right then left and continue over the bridge and NW across the field to view from SJ 680 179.

A first-winter female DESERT WHEATEAR remains for a third day in Orkney on the beach by the car park in Sandside Bay, Deerness.

Sunday was the last day for the longest-staying Siberian Rubythroat ever (on Shetland) but at the opposite end of the country on Scilly, the NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH still survives on Lower Moors, St Mary's, along with the UPLAND SANDPIPER at Maypole and a DUSKY WARBLER in Lower Moors. The WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER has now joined the LESSER YELLOWLEGS and PECTORAL SANDPIPER on Tresco and the WILSON'S SNIPE is still appearing erratically. Meanwhile, an OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT remains on St Agnes.

A RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER was a late find at Europie village, Butt of Lewis, Lewis (Outer Hebrides), whilst a LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Alkborough Flats (North Lincs) and a GLOSSY IBIS at Filey Dams YNT Reserve (North Yorks) were both newly discovered today too.

A juvenile PALLID HARRIER in Irvine (Ayrshire) constitutes a first record for that county, appearing erratically over saltings visible from the footpath beyond the railway bridge at NS 302 412 (located just SW of Garnock Floods SWT west of the railway; park in the latby adjacent to the Recycling Centre and follow the southern perimeter fence to the railway bridge).

Equally popular has been a juvenile SQUACCO HERON performing well on the River Erewash on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border at Attenborough Sailing Club.

There has been a remarkable surge in GREAT WHITE EGRET occurrences of late with no less than a record 5 birds together roosting with Little Egrets and one CATTLE EGRET at Frampton Sailing Lake (Gloucs). Elsewhere, twos are being seen at Llanelli WWT (Carmarthenshire) and at Warton Marsh, Lyth (Lancashire), with singles at Mockbeggar Lake (Hants), Linford Nature Reserve (North Bucks), Sprotborough Flash (South Yorks), Parkgate Marsh (Cheshire) and the Swale NR/Oare Marshes (North Kent).

North Ronaldsay (Orkney) hosts a late BAIRD'S SANDPIPER whilst the adult SPOTTED SANDPIPER and the two mobile LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS continue at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) and the WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER in Manton Bay, Rutland Water (Leics).

A first-winter CASPIAN GULL paused briefly at Portland Bill (Dorset) on Sunday before relocating to Radipole Lake (Dorset) today. Likewise, the Christchurch Harbour RED-BREASTED GOOSE relocated to Ferrybridge and Abbotsbury along the Chesil Beach presumably on route to the Exe Estuary.

A few late Common Swifts have been drifting in and out of East Anglia, with a CATTLE EGRET at Blakeney Freshmarsh (North Norfolk) being the main attraction in that region at present.

A PALLAS'S LEAF WARBLER remains on Bardsey Island (Gwynedd), with a late WRYNECK at Hengistbury Head (Dorset) and a GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK still lingering on North Ronaldsay (Orkney).

A juvenile PALLID HARRIER was identified at Power Head (Co. Cork) in IRELAND yesterday, with a CATTLE EGRET at Killala (Co. Clare), AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Rosscarberry (Co. Cork), 2 GLOSSY IBIS at Timoleague (Co. Cork) and 3 RING-NECKED DUCKS at Lough Gara (Co. Sligo)