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Monday, 2 January 2012

A New Year.............

Well with two days into 2012, a total of 235 species has been recorded in Britain and Ireland with numerous long-staying vagrants keeping New Year visitors busy......

In addition to the DARK-EYED JUNCO in the New Forest at Hawksley Inclosure, two first-winter male DESERT WHEATEARS remain at Beacon Point, Newbiggin-on-Sea (Northumberland) and Bempton Cliffs RSPB (East Yorks) Staple Neuk Viewpoint respectively.

A good list of waders includes the first-winter GREATER YELLOWLEGS still at Skelbo, near Loch Fleet (Sutherland) (on flooded fields opposite the entrance to Coul Farm) and a first-winter LESSER YELLOWLEGS with a Spotted Redshank at Burnham-on-Sea (Somerset). Last year's Somerset LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS are now both together at Lodmoor Country Park (Dorset), whilst another is in South Wales at Kidwelly Quay (Carmarthenshire) and the first-ever wintering PECTORAL SANDPIPER remains at Dundonald Camp, Barassie (Ayrshire). Three SPOTTED SANDPIPERS are to be found, with the adult at Chew Valley Lake Herriott's Bridge causeway (Avon) and juveniles at Lyme Regis West Cobb (Dorset) and at the north end of the River Plym at Plymouth (South Devon). Perhaps best of all, the first-winter WESTERN SANDPIPER continues at Cley NWT (Norfolk).

Of the remaining ''good birds'' on offer, the CATTLE EGRET remains at Warblington (Hampshire), no less than 21 GREAT WHITE EGRETS at widely scattered localities, GLOSSY IBISES on the Isles of Scilly at Lower Moors, at Exminster Marshes RSPB (South Devon), at Stodmarsh NNR water meadows (Kent), at Fingringhoe Wick NR (Essex) and at Leighton Moss RSPB (Lancs).

Rare geese include the continuing RICHARDSON'S CANADA GOOSE with local Canadas at Torr Reservoir (Somerset), the adult LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE of unknown origin with the Taiga Bean Geese at Buckenham Carrs RSPB in the Yare Valley (Norfolk) and first-winter RED-BREASTED GEESE at Tollesbury Wick (Essex) and Exminster Marshes RSPB (South Devon), whilst rare wildfowl are represented by at least 4 AMERICAN WIGEONS (the easiest being drakes at Kirk Loch, Lochmaben, Dumfries & Galloway and at Wintersett Reservoir, West Yorks), 12+ AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEALS, a juvenile female BLUE-WINGED TEAL at Longham Lakes (Dorset), an adult drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK on Ivy Lake, Blashford Lakes HWT (Hants), SURF SCOTERS at Dawlish Warren NNR (South Devon) and in Penzance Harbour (Cornwall), the juvenile female BUFFLEHEAD on the Loe Pool at Helston (Cornwall) and the ever-present drake Hooded Merganser at Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset).

East Anglia maintains its stranglehold on ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD occurrences with at least 6 birds being regularly seen (others remain on Shetland and in North Yorkshire) whilst Orkney enjoyed a very brief visit from a glorious white morph GYRFALCON just before 2011 ended.

A HOOPOE has brightened up the Lake Lothing area of Lowestoft (Suffolk) with its appearance whilst that same county continues to harbour virtually all of the nation's wintering crop of BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS (about 100 birds in total, mainly frequenting Ipswich Hospital and Martlesham Heath. Four SHORELARKS are at Holkham Gap saltings (North Norfolk) with a RICHARD'S PIPIT wintering at Wyke Regis (Dorset) and the HUME'S LEAF WARBLER at the same locality.

In IRELAND, the rarest offerings are the regular wintering adult FORSTER'S TERN in County Galway at Kinvara, 1-2 NORTH AMERICAN HERRING GULLS, a drake LESSER SCAUP at Lough Gill and the surviving HOUSE CROW at Cobh (County Cork). A LONG-BUILLED DOWITCHER is at North Slob WWR (County Wexford) and a RICHARD'S PIPIT was located Killard Nature Reserve in County Down