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Friday, 20 July 2012

Autumn begins......as summer weather arrives

21 July in the avian world is traditionally the first day of autumn in UK and Irish birding, although the forecast weather for next week suggest that summer has just arrived.......




As such, a FEA'S SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL past Mizen Head (County Cork) on 16th July represents the 387th species of the year



This past week has been fairly quiet as expected but claiming pole position has been a twitchable 2nd-summer CASPIAN TERN traversing the River Bure, east of Norwich from Tuesday to Thursday. It favoured the pool 150 yards east of the derelict windmill at Buckenham Marshes RSPB (Norfwich) but also visited Strumpshaw Fen, Cantley Beet Factory Pools and Breydon Water during its visit, the latter being utilised as a roosting site late in the day; there was no sign of it today however.

Seabirds have been hitting the headlines most of the week with WILSON'S STORM PETRELS now being easily found in the Western Approaches south and SW of Scilly and a small scattering of GREAT and CORY'S SHEARWATERS, the latter including the odd bird off Porthgwarra (Cornwall) and daily now off SW Ireland. ROSEATE TERNS have been moving south with up to 4 individuals being noted at Minsmere South Scrape and at Lowestoft North Beach (Suffolk).
The male RED-BACKED SHRIKE has delighted a stream of visitors to Lake Farm Country Park, Hayes (Middlesex), showing well in Elder and Hawthorn scrub 100 yards NE of the reserve car park - and still present today - with the first of returning passage Whinchats and Common Redstarts turning up at a variety of locations.

A ROLLER at New Pitsligo in Lovie Quarry (Aberdeenshire) from 13th-15th July was a superb record for Scotland.

Returning adult waders this week have included an adult PECTORAL SANDPIPER at Holland Haven (16th) and Old Hall Marshes (both Essex) on 18th, with another at Cresswell Bay (Northumberland) from 16th-19th and an adult WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at Wagon Wheel Pits, Grimley (Worcs) (14th only) and at Frmapton Marsh RSPB (North Lincs). A splendid summer-plumaged GREY PHALAROPE graced Martin Mere WWT (Lancs) on 17th, with an adult in near winter plumage at Old Moor RSPB, Barnsley (South Yorks) today (20th), whilst an adult TEMMINCK'S STINT was at Greatham Creek, Teesmouth (Cleveland) throughout the week.

Three WHITE STORKS were on the floodmeadows at Templecombe (Dorset) until Wednesday whilst GLOSSY IBISES continue at Marloes Mere (Pembs), Pagham Harbour (West Sussex) and wandering birds at Holland Haven (Essex) and Grove Ferry NR (Kent) on 17th.

GLOSSY IBISES continue in IRELAND with singles at Timoleague (County Cork), Tacumshin (County Wexford) and Tralee Bay (County Kerry) whilst the female SNOWY OWL on The Mullet (County Mayo) reappeared at Termon Hill and a male was on Arranmore Islands (County Donegal). An adult ROSE-COLOURED STARLING remained in Dungarvan (County Waterford) at Abbeyside, Seapark.