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Friday, 9 November 2012

PINE GROZZERS still moving south

Denmark today has seen more PINE GROSBEAKS arrive in Skagen suggesting that the southerly exodus is picking up, whilst in North America, large numbers of RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, PINE SISKINS and EVENING GROSBEAKS are irrupting.


Here in Britain, the westerly winds have put paid to arriving vagrants and we are left with a paucity of birds of wider interest.....the total remains at 440 species.....

Highly popular is a first-winter female HOODED MERGANSER in West Sussex, present for just over a week in Pagham Harbour. The bird is favouring the tidal creek by the sluice at the North Wall and is concentrating its efforts at catching Crabs and other crustaceans. An hour either side of high tide should provide the best views, otherwise the bird swims down the creek and is very distant or out of view. Park sensibly at the end of Church Lane and walk 200 yards to the sluice bridge to view. As there is nothing to suggest that this bird is an escape (unringed and fully-winged) and its appearance in November mirrors that of the majority of recent records of this species in the UK, it is considered by the UK400 Club to be most likely a genuine vagrant.

In Kent in the Stour Valley, the PENDULINE TIT flock at Grove Ferry NR (Stodmarsh) increased to four birds first thing this morning, showing well pulling Bulrush heads apart from the David Feast Hide. However, with an increasing westerly wind, they were not seen again despite searching (at least one bird has been present all week).

After several weeks, the EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER continues to survive at Kilminning, Fife Ness (Fife), showing well in Rose bushes close to the green building on the seaward side of the lower car park at NO 631 088. At the same site also is a very long-staying juvenile BARRED WARBLER. Further north on Shetland, no less than 8 HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLLS remain, with 5 in crops around Baltasound School on Unst. Shetland also yielded a late ARCTIC WARBLER in Helendale on Wednesday and Thursday. Also managing to survive and find suitable food is the EUROPEAN BEE-EATER in County Durham, favouring properties and gardens along Dartford Road in Seaham (SR6 8HF for those of you with Sat-nav's)

A RICHARD'S PIPIT remains on the clifftop SE of the church at Covehithe (Suffolk) whilst a late juvenile RED-BACKED SHRIKE was trapped and ringed in Denmark House garden, Weybourne (Norfolk), this afternoon. In Breckland Norfolk, an elusive BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER is frequenting the River Thet in Thetford.

An adult BONAPARTE'S GULL continues in South Devon at Dawlish Warren NNR, ranging along the beach between the Lifeboat lookout and Groyne 1, whilst the influx of CASPIAN GULLS continues with perhaps 45 birds recorded from Derbyshire to Buckinghamshire.

The adult LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER remains with Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) on South Lake, whilst a first-winter was still present yesterday at the Long Nanny Burn in Northumberland. An adult AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER still retaining partial breeding plumage remains for a second day with 850 European Golden Plovers on mudflats at Pickerings Pasture NR (Cheshire).

A fair number of wintering GREAT WHITE EGRETS are to be found, with 4 in the Dungeness Area (Kent), the regularly-reappearing French-ringed adult at Ringwood (Hants), a bird at Willington GP (Derbyshire) (at SK 284 275), the usual bird at Leighton Moss RSPB (Lancs), up to 3 at ham Wall RSPB (Somerset) and 2 at Burton Mere Wetlands (Cheshire). Contrastingly, just one GLOSSY IBIS remains - at Marloes Mere (Pembs).

This time of year always sees a scattering of rare wildfowl with the adult RED-BREASTED GOOSE grazing with Dark-bellied Brent Geese and Canada Geese on The Deeps, Farlington Marsh (Hants), RING-NECKED DUCKS including a female in Ireland Bay, Slapton Ley (South Devon), a drake at Chew Valley Lake (Avon),one on Skomer (Pembs) and a young drake on Alvie Loch, near Aviemore (Speyside), a drake LESSER SCAUP in Villice Bay, Chew Valley Lake (Avon) and the drake AMERICAN WIGEON remaining at Wintersett Reservoir (West Yorks).

There continue to be large numbers of arriving BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS into the UK, from Shetland to Scilly, although individual flock sizes are generally small (less than 25) when compared to recent influxes of the species. A flock of 112 however is to be found in Blaydon (County Durham), 330 in Hull (East Yorks), 200 in Morrison's Car Park in Stirling (Forth) and 150 on Euston Street in Preston (Lancs). At least 150 Waxwings have been colour-ringed in Orkney in recent weeks and if you see any of these birds, please email alan.leitch@rspb.org.uk with details.

The largest flock of BRAMBLING I have heard of so far is of 125 birds in Beech in Screetham Lane, Beeley Moor (Derbyshire)

Just one freshwater GREAT NORTHERN DIVER has been reported (on the Main Pit at Theale, Berkshire), whilst inland LONG-TAILED DUCKS can be found at Stocks Reservoir (Lancs) and at Dungeness RSPB (Kent).

Very little in the way of news from IRELAND but the regularly-reappearing adult SABINE'S GULL is back at the Kennedy Pier in Cobh (County Cork), the adult FORSTER'S TERN is once more at Nimmo's Pier, Galway Harbour (County Galway), a young drake LESSER SCAUP is on Lough Gash and at least 2 RICHARDSON'S SMALL CANADA GEESE are in the Lissadell Area. A party of 5 COMMON CRANES have been present at Tacumshin (County Wexford) in recent days, as have 2 juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS on the Myroe Levels, whilst the regular blue morph LESSER SNOW GOOSE is back at Lower Lough MacNean (County Fermanagh). Highlight though, was news of a BLACKPOLL WARBLER late this afternoon, feeding in a private garden on the Mullet at Blacksod (County Mayo), whilst on Sunday 4 November, this year's only PIED-BILLED GREBE remained near Louisburgh at Lough Baun (County Mayo).