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Friday, 7 December 2012

The Friday Review: its getting colder

Very, very cold throughout much of the week with some heavy snow in Scotland and Northern England; this theme is to continue next week and more severe.

Not much different has occurred this past week, although well over a thousand WAXWINGS have moved much further south into the Midlands, SE England and along the South Coast, including two single flocks of over 400 birds and perhaps 25 of over 150.

The rarest bird continues to be the AMERICAN COOT in IRELAND, whilst the South Uist PIED-BILLED GREBE is not far runner-up. Today, it was back once more on Loch na Bagh, Smerclate. Also rare on paper is PACIFIC DIVER, the regular adult reappearing for yet another winter in Mount's Bay, Marazion (Cornwall), this week.

PENDULINE TITS were once again a feature of the week, with a juvenile pair showing well at Ouse Fen, Over (Cambs) for three days and another seen briefly in Pegwell Bay (East Kent), whilst the female DESERT WHEATEAR survived all week on the beach by the lighthouse at rattray Head (Aberdeenshire).. A LITTLE BUNTING was at East Burrafirth (Shetland) today, where at least 4 HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLLS continue in residence on Unst.

Most unseasonal is a first-winter TEMMINCK'S STINT in Somerset, favouring the pool at Stockland Reach near Steart at ST 278 446 (Use the Natural England car park and walk east then south along the seawall to view)

Long-stayers include the LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) (again on South Lake with Black-tailed Godwits), the WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER north of Bournemouth (Dorset) at Longham Lakes (SZ 062 981); lots of GREAT WHITE EGRETS still around, including the 4 at Dungeness RSPB (Kent), plus both GLOSSY IBISES at Marloes Mere (Pembs) and Bickerley Common, Ringwood (Hants), respectively.

Also still to be seen are the BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER in Thetford (Norfolk) on the River Thet

On the wildfowl front, drake AMERICAN WIGEON still at Wintersett Reservoir (West Yorks), drake LESSER SCAUP again at Blagdon Lake (Somerset)

With the cold weather encroaching from the Near Continent, quite a few Smews are now appearing at traditional wintering sites, whilst inland VELVET SCOTERS include 3 at Swithland Reservoir (Leics), 2 on Island Barn Reservoir (London) and a juvenile on Cliffe Pools RSPB (Kent), LONG-TAILED DUCKS at Alston Reservoirs (Lancs), Pugney's Country Park (West Yorks), Foxcote Reservoir (North Bucks) (2) and at Queen Mother Reservoir (Berks) and the RED-NECKED GREBE at QMR (Berks).

Irish WAXWINGS include 100 on bushes by the Old Mill pub in Tallaght (County Dublin).

As per usual, the adult winter FORSTER'S TERN and up to 3 wintering Sandwich Terns (presumably European) are in Galway Harbour east of the Mutton Island Causeway, with the adult SABINE'S GULL still at Kennedy Pier in Cobh (County Cork).

As mentioned above, the AMERICAN COOT is still to be found on Murloch, south of Ballyconneelly (County Galway), whilst in Wexford, the juvenile female NORTHERN HARRIER was again at Tacumshin Pools. The juvenile drake SURF SCOTER is still to be seen off Dungarvan (County Waterford).