Follow by Email

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

February 2012 comes to an end - 268 species

With some early spring migrants appearing such as the likes of Stone Curlew, Little Ringed Plover, White Wagtail and Northern Wheatear, the total number of species now recorded in Britain and Ireland in 2012 stands at an impressive 268 species.

However, it is the rare passerines that continue to steal the show....

In South Wales, the eleventh COMMON YELLOWTHROAT for Britain continues to thrill allcomers in Rhiwderyn, 3 miles west of Newport (Gwent). Park in Caerphilly Close before entering the farmland by the stile.

Meanwhile, on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, the overwintering NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH continues to parade around Shooter's Pool on Lower Moors, far and away the longest-staying example of a North American 'warbler'.

Hampshire on the other hand, still harbours the first-winter male DARK-EYED JUNCO in the New Forest at Hawkhill Inclosure, 1.5 miles NNW of Beaulieu (in the vicinity of the fallen pines in the main clearing NNW of the car park), with the male SPANISH SPARROW cheeping and chirping in Calshot Close, Calshot village (follow on-site instructions and refrain from visiting prior to 0800 hours; always park 500 yards away at the main car park).

The other main attraction is Pagham Harbour's PADDYFIELD WARBLER in West Sussex. Wintering by itself, this bird has once again reverted to frequenting the grass inside of the North Wall as well as the Phragmites west of the Breach Pool and has been performing very well at times (park at the end of Church Lane in Pagham village and walk west for 400 yards to view)

Now for the rest.......

The most reliable RED-NECKED GREBE in recent days has been that at Alton Water (Suffolk), viewable from Lemon's Hill Bridge in Tattingstone, whilst a plethora of GREAT WHITE EGRETS remain far and wide (including no less than 8 in the Somerset Levels) and the WHITE STORK of unknown origin at Kirkby-on-Bain Landfill Site (Lincs).

GLOSSY IBISES remain in very good numbers with 5 on the island of Eigg (Highland), the first-winter at Leighton Moss (Cumbria), several in the Marloes Mere area of Pembrokeshire, 4 in the Yare and Bure Valleys in Norfolk and the first-winter at Eastbridge/Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk).

Up to 3 different ROSS'S SNOW GEESE remain in Norfolk, with another adult of unknown origin in the Caerlaverock WWT area (D & G), with large numbers of TUNDRA BEAN GEESE still present throughout the country and a number of vagrant GREENLAND WHITE-FRONTED GEESE (including two different birds in Suffolk). The first-winter SMALL CANADA GOOSE remains at Torr Reservoir, East Cranmore (Somerset), with RED-BREASTED GEESE perhaps of continental origin in Dumfries & Galloway, Suffolk, Essex and in Hampshire.

Drake FERRUGINOUS DUCKS continue at Bray GP, Maidenhead (Berks) and Ivy Lake, Blashford HWT (Hants) but are both intermittent in their appearances, with LESSER SCAUPS at St John's Loch (Caithness), Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) and Cosmeston Lakes CP (Glamorgan) and SURF SCOTERS at Dawlish Warren NNR (South Devon), Mount's Bay, Penzance (Cornwall) and in Wales at

The first-winter female BUFFLEHEAD is still to be found at the north end of the Loe Pool, Helston (Cornwall) whilst a female-type Hooded Merganser of unknown origin remains for a third week at Whetstead GP, Tonbridge (Kent)

The 2nd-winter WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE appears to have departed back to the Continent, having not been reported from Kent for over a week now, whilst the only (GREENLAND) GYRFALCON of the New Year being a formidable and most majestic white morph juvenile on North Uist at Grenitote (Outer Hebrides)

A LESSER YELLOWLEGS continues to show well from the second hide

whilst the SPOTTED SANDPIPER is still to be seen at Stanpit Marsh, Christchurch Harbour (Dorset). A LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER continues to feed with Common Redshanks on the low tide of the Cydweli Quay (Carmarthenshire).

Huge numbers of ICELAND-TYPE gulls remain in Scotland and elsewhere, including a record count of 75 in Stornoway Harbour on Lewis (Outer Hebrides), with perhaps 4% being KUMLIENI in appearance. GLAUCOUS GULLS, on the other hand, remain few and far between, perhaps indicative of the source of the influx.

The four SHORE LARKS remain in Holkham Bay (Norfolk), ranging up to 400 yards east of the Gap, with WATER PIPITS more numerous than of late (with 35 in the Stour Valley at Stodmarsh, Kent) and the first wave of Continental WHITE WAGTAILS arriving.

A male PENDULINE TIT remains elusively in the reedbeds close to the Hanson Hide, Dungeness ARC Pit (Kent), with a superb adult ROSE-COLOURED STARLING visiting gardens in Muirhead, Troon (Ayrshire) and a more dowdy first-winter in Holyhead (Anglesey). A single first-winter SCANDINAVIAN ARCTIC REDPOLL remains at Titchwell Marsh RSPB (Norfolk).

In IRELAND today, an immature BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS was seen at sea a staggering 184 miles SW of Mizen Head (County Cork), with the adult BONAPARTE'S GULL still at ballygally, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER at The Cull (County Wexford), juvenile PALLID HARRIER at Lough Corrib (County Galway), the adult FORSTER'S TERN at Traught Beach, Galway Bay (County Galway)and CATTLE EGRET at Hillsborough Lake (Co. Down).