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Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Rare Birds over the Festive Period

There has been very little change in recent weeks with many birds now firmly established win winter territories...........

We have two wintering male DESERT WHEATEARS in Britain - one in the vicinity of Beacon Point at Newbiggin-on-Sea (Northumberland) and another by the coastal footpath at Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve in East Yorkshire. A wintering DUSKY WARBLER is on Scilly - at Lower Moors - and HUME'S LEAF WARBLER in Dorset at Littlesea Holiday Camp at Wyke Regis.

Large numbers of BALEARIC SHEARWATERS have been seen off Porthgwarra (Cornwall) in recent days, whilst two different CATTLE EGRETS are wintering along the South Coast (in Hampshire and in Dorset) and no less than 15 wintering GREAT WHITE EGRETS (including up to 7 in Kent).

A GLOSSY IBIS arrived on Scilly yesterday and today was feeding voraciously at Shooter's Pond, Lower Moors, whilst further birds remain in the Stour Valley, Stodmarsh (Kent) (two birds) and at Leighton Moss RSPB (Lancashire) and Fingringhoe Wick EWT (Essex). The largest flock of EURASIAN SPOONBILLS wintering are the 9 in North Devon at Isley Marsh RSPB, Yelland.

Up to three different ROSS'S SNOW GEESE are in Norfolk, with two with Pink-footed Geese in the Yare Valley and Acle Strait and another with Barnacles and Pink-feet in the Cley and Letheringsett areas. The adult LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE of unknown origin has reappeared with TAIGA BEAN GEESE in the Yare Valley at Buckenham Carrs RSPB, the flock of the latter so far peaking at 86 birds. Meanwhile, at the only other regular wintering site for this species in Britain, 262 are in the Slammannan area of Forth District. There are still large numbers of TUNDRA BEAN GEESE around, including 46 on the River Humber (North Lincs) and 3-4 vagrant CANADA GEESE on Islay (Argyll) and a SMALL CANADA GOOSE of the form hutchinsii at Torr Reservoir in Somerset. The only vagrant-type RED-BREASTED GEESE include the adult at Tollesbury Wick Marshes (Essex) and the first-winter at Bowling Green Marsh RSPB in South Devon.

AMERICAN WIGEONS include drakes at Angler's Country Park (West Yorks) and Dawlish Warren (South Devon), a wintering female GARGANEY at Tophill Low (East Yorks), juvenile female BLUE-WINGED TEALS at Porthellick Pool, St Mary's (Scilly) and Longham Lakes (Dorset), LESSER SCAUPS at Cosmeston lakes (Glamorgan), Wimbleball Reservoir (Somerset), Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) and Marden Quarry Pool, Whitley Bay (Northumberland), drake KING EIDER in Burghead Harbour (Moray & Nairn), SURF SCOTERS off Dawlish Warren NNR (South Devon) and in Penzance Bay (Cornwall) and a juvenile female BUFFLEHEAD on the Loe Pool at Helston (Cornwall).

It has been the best winter in over 30 years for HEN HARRIERS whilst over 12 ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARDS continue to overwinter, including 4 in North Norfolk.

Vagrant waders still lingering on include the first-winter WESTERN SANDPIPER at Cley NWT Reserve (North Norfolk), a TEMMINCK'S STINT at Swithland's Reservoir (Leics), a first-winter PECTORAL SANDPIPER at Barassie in Ayrshire, SPOTTED SANDPIPERS at Chew Valley Lake (Avon), Lyme Regis (Dorset) and on the River Plym in Plymouth (South Devon), the WILSON'S SNIPE at Lower Moors, St Mary's (Scilly) and a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER in South Wales at Kidwelly Quay (Carmarthenshire).

In IRELAND, a long-staying BLUETHROAT remains in County Waterford at Clonea Strand.