Sunday, 31 August 2008

27-31 AUGUST 2008

From 27-30 August, Cape Clear Island (County Cork) hosted three gross North American rares - the juvenile SOLITARY SANDPIPER above (photographed by Josh Jones (top) and Sean Cronin, a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Sean Cronin) and a first-winter male YELLOW WARBLER (photographed by Ronan MacLaughlan). The island was 'swamped' by ardent twitchers, primarily from Ireland, but also included at least 44 visitors from Britain, including Stuart Piner, Lee Gregory, Dan Pointon, Pete Hutchins, Bob Watts, Mike Shurmer and Josh Jones. As winds fell overnight on 30th prior to an incoming Atlantic depression, all three birds took advantage of a lull in the weather and moved on. They had arrived in association with a hurricane that had entered the Gulf of Mexico just a few days prior.
WHITE-BILLED DIVER - the adult, still retaining its full breeding attire, remains in Water Sound, South Ronaldsay (Orkney).
CATTLE EGRET - the family party (adult pair and juvenile) remained at Catcott Lows (Somerset) until 30th.
GREAT WHITE EGRET - the colour-ringed adult from Northern France returned to Mockbeggar Lake and Ibsley Water, Blashford Lakes HWT (Hants) on 16-25, with another at The Mere, Ellesmere (Salop) from 27-31.
BLACK STORK - a juvenile frequented the Wharfe/Ouse confluence at Wharfe Ings, Cawood (North Yorks) from 24-29, where it elusively spent most of its time feeding in a ditch with Grey Herons and only appeared intermittently.
GLOSSY IBIS - an adult in summer finery continued to grace New Swillington Ings St Aidan Flashes (South Yorks) until 30. It frequented the ''Western Reedbed'' area of this extensive wetland but was very elusive throughout its stay.
EURASIAN SPOONBILL - a pair successfully nested in Kirkcudbright (Galloway) this summer, constituting the first breeding record for Scotland. All five birds (including the three juveniles) remained on the River Dee until at least 31st. This follows the successful nesting of the species in Lancashire in recent years.
**BOOTED EAGLE - a pale morph adult visited Guernsey (Pleinmont and the Fauxquets Valley) in the CHANNEL ISLANDS on 30 further proving the migrational mobility of this large raptor.
SPOTTED CRAKE - A poor autumn thus far with a single at Wallsend Swallow Pond NR (Newcastle) on 31st being the only bird recorded in this period.
COMMON CRANE - two birds remain at Welney WWT (Norfolk) and at Dungeness RSPB ARC Pit (Kent).
DOTTEREL - two birds were present on Dale Airfield (Pembs) on 30th.
PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER - the long-staying adult remained on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) until at least 29th.
MARSH SANDPIPER - single juveniles remained at Hickling Rush Hills Scrape (Norfolk) and Heybridge Basin GP (Essex) until 30th, with another at Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham (South Devon) on 31st.
GREY PHALAROPE - a juvenile graced Pennington Marshes Fishtail Lagoon (Hants) until 26 before moving to Titchfield Haven from 27-31.
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER - the juvenile remained on Pumphouse Pit, Stirtloe (Cambs) from 27-31.
SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER - a very confiding juvenile frequented The Bight at Dawlish Warren (South Devon) from 26-31.
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER - a juvenile remained on Shipman Head Down, Bryher (Scilly), from 28-31.
SABINE'S GULL - a juvenile was inland at Westport Lake (Staffs) on 31.
WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN - two different juveniles visited Wilstone Reservoir, Tring (Herts) on 30, with further juveniles at Crosby Marine Lake (Merseyside) and at Dungeness ARC Pit (Kent).
SNOWY OWL - the female remains on North Uist at Balranald RSPB and Aird an Runair headland (Outer Hebrides).
WRYNECK - some 20 or so were discovered during 27-31, including two at Holland Haven (Essex).
GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK - the long-staying bird remains on Tiree (Argyll).
SHORE LARK - the long-staying bird remains at Spurn Point (East Yorks)
CITRINE WAGTAIL - an unusually plumaged adult visited Landguard NR (Suffolk) on 29.
BARRED WARBLER - one at Cley NWT (Norfolk) on 30
MELODIOUS WARBLER - 2 at Porthgwarra 60 Foot Cover (Cornwall) on 27-31, and another at Southwell, Portland (Dorset) on 30.
ORTOLAN BUNTING - one briefly at Rainham Marsh RSPB (London) on 30, with two immatures at Portland Bill Top Fields (Dorset) on 29-31.
A total of 394 species have now been recorded in Britain and Ireland in 2008

Wednesday, 27 August 2008


A juvenile BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was discovered by Martin Davis on Pumphouse Pit, Paxton Pits NR (Cambs) this afternoon. It was still present and showing, but flighty, at 6.45pm. Only the third county record, following an adult on the Norfolk border at Wisbech Sewage Farm on 26th July 1963 (British Birds 58: 371) and an adult at Barleycraft GP, near St Ives, from 8-12 August 1990 (John Parslow, in Evans, Rare Birds in Britain 1990, page 51). Some 25 or so local birders managed to connect this evening, following its relocation by Mark Hawkes and Jamie Wells

Please follow directions for viewing. Park by sewage works at Stirtloe, then walk south and east along tarmac road for around 1 mile. View pumphouse on right from road, or along east edge only. DO NOT access from Diddington, and do not wander on the working areas of the site (this will upset the site manager and could damage relationships with locals).

Well done Martin - a just reward for all those quiet days...


News is coming in of a WATERTHRUSH species, perhaps NORTHERN, in the Central Bog area of Cape Clear Island (County Cork) (note that this is a very early date for a migrant Northern Waterthrush in Europe although not unprecedented). At the same time, birders searching for this bird have just located a SOLITARY SANDPIPER at the same site, both birds still on view at 1130 hours.

Nearby, the first-winter female YELLOW WARBLER continues to perform well in the garden by Lough Errul, at the west end of the island, and in County Cork also, the male YELLOW WARBLER continues to attract admirers at Mizen Head

The only previous record of Northern Waterthrush in Ireland was on 10th-11th September 1983; incidentally also on Cape Clear and also in Central Bog found by T.Murphy and observed by a lucky few including Dennis O'Sullivan and John Coveney).

There have been 3 previous Solitary Sandpipers in Ireland: September 1968 at Akeragh Lough found by Frank King (who else), September 1971 at Lissagriffin Lake found by Richard T. Mills and Tom Kelly and the last was also on Cape Clear Island at Central Bog and to the west of Lough Errul on 'Cadigans land found by a P.J. Ewins from 15 - 17 September 1974.

Joe Hobbs


Hard working patch worker Andy Kane discovered a juvenile MARSH SANDPIPER at Hickling Broad Rush Hills Scrape (Norfolk) on Monday 18 August (see his excellent photographs of the bird published above)
It was loosely associating with Common Greenshanks on the pool and was favouring the back edge, where it fed on the emergent vegetation and shallow muddy fringe. It remained present until at least 26 August, during which time it was admired by large numbers of observers.
Rush Hills Scrape is accessed along the Weavers Way public footpath, from where a hide overlooks the area. Park sensibly around the 'green triangle' in Potter Heigham village (by the church) and take the footpath east and northeast to the reserve. After some 600 yards, you will enter the small coppice and eventually arrive at the Weavers Way. Turn right here, and continue for a further 500 yards to the hide. In all, the walk will take around 25 minutes.
Many other waders are taking advantage of the excellent feeding conditions on the scrape, including Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint and Red Knot, Pied Avocet, up to 60 Ruff, Spotted Redshank, Dunlin, up to 12 Green Sandpipers and Black-tailed Godwits.

Juvenile Eurasian Shags disperse inland

Displaced juvenile Eurasian Shags inland, including up to 6 individuals at Draycote Water (Warks) (upper three photographs taken by Dave Hutton) and a single at Calvert BBOWT Lake (Bucks) (Tim Watts)
Since mid-August 2008, up to 28 Eurasian Shags have been displaced inland, from Greater Manchester south to London. None so far have been ringed and only one (at Withins Reservoir) has been in poor health.
Analysis of Records
All records involve juveniles
The first to appear was at Hilfield Park Reservoir (Hertfordshire) on 15-17 August. This was followed by the first of at least 7 in Cambridgeshire - at Ferry Meadows Gunwade Lake on 18-19, then on Overton Lake on 21st.
Following one at Pitsford Reservoir Yacht Club (Northamptonshire) on 19th, up to 5 were then discovered at Grafham Water (Cambs), with three showing well as they roosted on pontoons off the Fishing Lodge from 20-21 and two more off the Dam on 21st; one remained until 22nd. Nearby, a further juvenile was at Diddington Pits, Paxton Pits NR (Cambs) on 20-21, with possibly the same bird on Island & Pumphouse Pit on 22 and Heronry South Pit on 23-25.
The first of 6 juveniles arrived at Draycote Water (Warwickshire) on 21st, with all 6 noted on 23rd and up to 5 remaining until 26th. At the main Nene Barrage Lake at Clifford Hill GP (Northants), a juvenile remained there or on the adjacent Fishing Lake from 21-25, with a second bird present on 24th.
In Greater Manchester, a juvenile at Withins Reservoir from 23rd was taken into care on 25th, with further singles appearing at Harrold Country Park (North Beds) on 23-25, Fowlmere RSPB (Cambs) (flew off south at 0750), Calvert BBOWT Lake (Bucks) on 24th (present from mid-morning to midday), Rother Valley Country Park (South Yorks) on 24th, Earls Barton Mary's Lake (Northants) on 24th and Farmoor Reservoir (Oxfordshire) on 24th.
More recently, singles were at Daventry Reservoir Country Park (Northants) on 25th, Eyebrook Reservoir (Leics) on 25-26 (flew off at 0745) and at Queen Mother Reservoir (London/Berks) on 26th.
Mike King has added ''Although Gloucestershire is not inland it is quite a way from open sea and we too have had an influx of Eurasian Shags. On Tuesday 19th August five juvenile Shags were present over high tide at Slimbridge WWT. On Friday 22nd August a flock of 12 Shags flew N over Sharpness and circled high over Purton/Slimbridge. Possibly including some or all of the five birds above but more likely all new birds. Singles and twos have been turning up since the first date around the Severn Vale as well''.
Terry E Bond kindly supplied me with a further record from Somerset, pre-dating the first at Hilfield - a juvenile at Barrow Gurney Reservoirs on the evening of 13 August (Chris Stone)


In County Cork (IRELAND), the first-winter male YELLOW WARBLER remains at Mizen Head, showing well from 0700-0730 hours at least.

DIRECTIONS: From Lissagriffin Lake continue 0.75 miles to the T-junction then turn right to end of road and park carefully. Walk through the gate and along the track to the walled garden, then right across the field to the plantation.

Elsewhere, the juvenile BLACK STORK is again south of York at Wharfe Ings (SE 574 394) (see directions and photographs above by Craig Shaw), the juvenile MARSH SANDPIPER remains at Heybridge GP (Essex) and the WRYNECK is still in the Industrial Estate at Hetton-le-Hole (County Durham) near the Netts Factory on the footpath.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008


In North Yorkshire, the juvenile BLACK STORK present previously in Northumberland and County Durham from 8-13 August remained for a third day south of York and a mile NW of Cawood at cSE 574 394.

DIRECTIONS: From Cawood, take the road NE towards Stillingfleet and park 220 yards after the sharp left hand bend. Follow the floodbank southwestwards for just over 200 yards to view west across the river. The bird was present for most of the day today and flew to roost just after 2000 hours.

The excellent series of photographs above were taken by Craig Shaw.

In addition to today's two YELLOW WARBLERS in SW Ireland, other new arrivals included a juvenile RED-NECKED PHALAROPE at Swithlands Reservoir (Leics) and a WRYNECK at Hetton-le-Hole (Cleveland).

Juvenile MARSH SANDPIPERS remain at Hickling Broad Rush Hills Scrape (Norfolk) and at Heybridge GP (Essex), with a PECTORAL SANDPIPER briefly on Porthellick Beach, St Mary's (Scilly) and the adult PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER still on North Ronaldsay (Orkney).

An adult TAWNY PIPIT remains on Blakeney Point (Norfolk) (north of the Point buildings), with a WRYNECK at Kelling Heath (Norfolk), juvenile RED-BACKED SHRIKE at Landguard NR (Suffolk) and a HOOPOE for its 6th day at Greatstone-on-Sea (Kent).

Seawatching today produced WILSON'S PETREL, Cory's Shearwater, 5 Great Shearwaters and 64 Sooty Shearwaters off Porthgwarra (Cornwall) and a LONG-TAILED SKUA off Flamborough Head (East Yorks).

The long-staying adult female SNOWY OWL remains in residence on North Uist at Balranald RSPB (Outer Hebrides), with the drake SURF SCOTER off Blackdog Beach (Aberdeenshire).

In IRELAND, a juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER is at Lissagriffin Lake (Co. Cork), with adult RING-BILLED GULL still at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway) and the SNOWY OWL again on The Mullet at Termon Hill (Co. Mayo). Seawatching today produced a FEA'S PETREL and 4 Great Shearwaters off Galley Head (Co. Cork).

Two YELLOW WARBLERS make landfall in County Cork IRELAND


Cape Clear Island Bird Observatory warden Steve Wing had a very brief and poor view of a bright warbler on Sunday morning (24 August) but was unable to clinch its identification. Despite searching by four birders all Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, the bird was not seen again until today, when it reappeared in the same clump of Sallows and Willows by Lough Errul, at the west end of the island. On this occasion, the bird showed well and was soon identified as a first-winter female YELLOW WARBLER - the third record for Ireland.

The bird continued to show well throughout the afternoon and evening, generally in Michael Vincent's garden by the Lough. The superb photograph below was taken by Seamus Enright.

Just after midday, a further YELLOW WARBLER was discovered, this time in the Three Castles Head area at Mizen Head (County Cork). Although often elusive, this bird too remained for the rest of the day, and was seen well by several observers at 1930 hours.

The two previous Yellow Warblers in Ireland involved a first-winter male at Brownstown Head (Co. Waterford) on 11-12 October 1995 and another at Kilbaha (Co. Clare) from 12-31 October 1995 (Irish Birds 5: 473).

Monday, 18 August 2008


Today's Images (from top to bottom)

Adult Audouin's Gull, Chapel Point Beach, North Lincs, 17th August 2008 (Kevin DuRose)

Adult Glossy Ibis, Allerton Bywater, West Yorkshire, 17th August 2008 (Darren Ward)

An adult AUDOUIN'S GULL, first seen on Friday 15th and the 4th for Britain, reappeared again today on the beach 400 yards north of Wolla Bank Car Park, north of Chapel Point and 2 miles north of Chapel St Leonards at CTF 557 749. It showed well between 1411 and 1630 hours but then flew out to sea. It was also seen several times yesterday afternoon, with local birder Kevin DuRose obtaining the two excellent images published above.

The first Audouin's Gull for Britain was as recently as 2003, when a 2nd-summer remained at Dungeness RSPB Burrowes Pit and Beach (Kent) from 5-7 May (fully documented in British Birds 97: 537-541). This bird was the same as that discovered four days earlier at Neeltje Jans, Zeeland, The Netherlands, where it was also a 'national first' (see Dutch Birding 26: 237-239).

Two years later in 2005, an adult visited St Ouen's Pond on Jersey (Channel Islands) on 31st May to be followed by a 2nd-summer at Beacon Ponds, Kilnsea (East Yorks) from 1430 until 1505 on 1st June (British Birds 100: 49 and Yorkshire Birding 14: 45-47 & colour plate on page 53). The bird was metal-ringed on its left leg.

True to form, Dungeness Beach attracted yet another Audouin's Gull in 2007, with a 2nd-summer on the beach for just over 40 minutes on 16 May (see photographs on Dungeness Bird Obsrvatory Website at, with what may have been the same individual at Seaton Marshes (South Devon) on 14th August (present from mid-morning until 1347 hours and again at dusk roosting in the town).

Second-billing goes to a juvenile MARSH SANDPIPER present all day at Hickling Broad Rush Hills Scrape (Norfolk) (Andy Kane et al) and viewable distantly from the hide on the Weaver's Way, about a mile NE of Hickling Church. Further waders include a moulting adult AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Elmley Marshes RSPB (North Kent) (high tide is best), the long-staying adult BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) and adult BAIRD'S SANDPIPER at the south end of Rubha Ardvule, South Uist (Outer Hebrides), a moulting adult RED-NECKED PHALAROPE at Saul Warth Floods, Frampton-on-Severn (Gloucs), a PECTORAL SANDPIPER at Freiston Shore RSPB (Lincs), TEMMINCK'S STINTS at Holland Haven Country Park Scrape and Abberton Reservoir (both Essex) and a trip of 7 DOTTERELS south over Spurn Point (East Yorks).

A spell of South-easterly winds bathing the Northumberland coast northwards yielded a fall of Scandinavian birds, with GREENISH WARBLERS on both North Ronaldsay and Stronsay (both Orkney) and on the Farne Islands (Northumberland), an ICTERINE WARBLER at Windwick, South Ronaldsay (Orkney) and BARRED WARBLERS on Fair Isle, at Hestilly (Orkney), at Girdleness Torry Battery (Aberdeenshire) and on the Farne Islands. A PADDYFIELD WARBLER was trapped and ringed at Skaw Plantation, Whalsay (Shetland) yesterday, with THRUSH NIGHTINGALE and 4 TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS still present on Fair Isle today. A new male TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL was at Lower Voe, Olna Firth (Shetland) today, with at least 5 still at Sumburgh Head (Shetland). WRYNECKS included singles on Fair Isle, the Farne Islands and at South Gare Bomb Hole (Cleveland), with a MARSH WARBLER on North Ronaldsay and a RED-BACKED SHRIKE at Hauxley NR (Northumberland).

A GLOSSY IBIS is present for its second day at Allerton Bywater, NW of Castleford (West Yorkshire) where it has been feeding amongst Canada Geese on the easternmost pool. From the Victoria Hotel Car Park in the main street, take the footpath to the River Aire and after 50 yards, view from the metal gate.

In Norfolk, 21 COMMON CRANES (including 1 juvenile) have resumed flock-feeding at Brayden Marshes, Hickling NWT (Norfolk), with the two colour-ringed adults previously in Hertfordshire/London still resident in Shropshire at Hall Farm (SJ 677 188). The colour-ringed GREAT WHITE EGRET has returned to Blashford Lakes HWT (Hants), whilst a sub-adult PURPLE HERON was seen briefly at Fen Drayton GP Elney Lake (Cambs).

The female SNOWY OWL remains resident at Balranald RSPB, North Uist (Outer Hebrides), with long-staying wildfowl including the LESSER SCAUP at Balgray Reservoir (Clyde), FERRUGINOUS DUCK at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) and Hooded Merganser at Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset).

Strong southwesterly winds in the English Channel resulted in a large displacement of BALEARIC SHEARWATERS, with 31 past Portland Bill (Dorset), 36 past Seaton (South Devon), 82 off Berry Head, Brixham (South Devon) and 27 past Porthgwarra (Cornwall), whilst the latter site yielded 4 GREATS and 3 CORY'S, with 5 further CORY'S off St Mary's (Scilly).


Single CATTLE EGRETS appeared at Dungeness RSPB Boulderwall Farm Fields (Kent) and Ballard Down (Dorset) on 17th, with an adult WILSON'S PHALAROPE at Grindon Lough (Northumberland) from 13th-17th. Two juvenile WHITE STORKS visited Tring Reservoirs and a field being harvested north of Tring Station (Herts) from 1440-1641 on 16th, with a CITRINE WAGTAIL on Fair Isle (16th-17th) and a SPOTTED CRAKE at Oare Marshes (North Kent) from 16th-18th.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Remarkable record of THRUSH NIGHTINGALE inland

Images above
Adult Baird's Sandpiper at Balgarva, South Ford, South Uist, Outer Hebrides (John Kemp)
Female Lesser Grey Shrike, Hartland Moor, Middlebere, Dorset (Gary Thoburn)
Adult male Two-barred Crossbill, Sumburgh Head, Shetland (Jim Nicolson)
A THRUSH NIGHTINGALE was trapped and ringed at a confidential MOD ringing site on Salisbury Plain (Wiltshire) on 9 August (Graham and Philip Deacon) - as far as I know the furthest inland this species has ever occurred in Britain.

Elsewhere today, an adult ROSE-COLOURED STARLING remains for a fourth day in a Cromdale garden, 3 miles east of Grantown-on-Spey (Speyside) with the adult winter WILSON'S PHALAROPE still on site 3 miles NW of Haydon Bridge at the east end of Grindon Lough (Northumberland) (associating with a Common Greenshank). A moulting adult RED-NECKED PHALAROPE appeared today at Saul Warth, Frampton-on-Severn (Gloucs), whilst in North Norfolk, the CATTLE EGRET remains for its third day at Blakeney Freshmarsh. An adult BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was present for at least its second day on South Uist (Outer Hebrides) at the north end on South Ford at Balgarva.

Seawatching continued apace in West Cornwall today with Porthgwarra yielding 2 GREAT SHEARWATERS, 33 CORY'S, 13 Balearics and 9 Sooty, along with an adult Pomarine Skua and 21 Storm Petrels, whilst in Greater London, the near winter-plumaged WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN was again on the River Thames north of Thamesview Golf Club at TQ 481 814.

In Dorset, the female LESSER GREY SHRIKE remains at Hartland Moor (Dorset), with 3 TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS still at Sumburgh Head (Shetland) (adult male and two juveniles still frequenting the cliffs north of the bottom car park) and the GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK still on Tiree (Argyll).

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Colour-ringed EURASIAN SPOONBILL in Hampshire

Dutch birder Otto Overdijk has kindly provided the following information relating to the colour-ringed EURASIAN SPOONBILL currently residing at Keyhaven/Pennington Marshes in Hampshire.

The bird has a light green over yellow over metal ring on its LEFT leg and a yellow flag over light green over red on its RIGHT leg.

This bird, a first-summer, was born in The Netherlands last summer and was ringed at Onderdijk (43 Kms north of Amsterdam) on 20th May 2007. It remained in this general area until October before migrating west with other Spoonbills to the River Lynher in Cornwall on 25th November. It remained in Cornwall and Devon for several months before relocating to Keyhaven on 8 March 2008, where it remained on and off until 4 May.

It then returned to The Netherlands from late May to mid-June, before returning once more to Keyhaven on 5 July. Thereafter it visited Poole Harbour (Dorset) intermittently.


Westerly winds up to Force 8 battered the Southwest and South Coast today, providing excellent seawatching at exposed promontories.

Some 40 or so observers gathered at Pendeen Watchpoint (Cornwall), where a total of 11 GREAT SHEARWATERS, 16 CORY'S SHEARWATERS, 27 Balearic Shearwaters, 30 Sooty Shearwaters, 29 Arctic Skuas and 51 Storm Petrels were recorded, whilst off Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra, 9 GREATS, 2 CORY'S, 7 Balearics and 3 Sooty Shearwaters passed, as well as an adult Pomarine Skua. A further 12 CORY'S SHEARWATERS flew past Lizard Point (Cornwall) this evening, with 4 CORY'S and 9 Balearics past Prawle Point (South Devon) and a single CORY'S past Portland Bill (Dorset) at 0940.

At the opposite end of the country, a WILSON'S PHALAROPE spent all day 3 miles NW of Haydon Bridge in the SE corner of Grindon Lough (Northumberland), often associating with a single Common Greenshank. Wall birder Ray Craig had first seen the bird in appalling weather last night but because it was distant and mostly asleep, awaited confirmation this morning.

On Fair Isle, a THRUSH NIGHTINGALE was found.

In County Durham, the juvenile BLACK STORK remained west of Ryton and north of Crawcrook just south of Clara Vale. From Clara Vale, follow the footpath to the recreation ground and then track 98 to view the field with hay bales.

The CATTLE EGRET in North Norfolk remained for a second day, moving from Cley NWT early morning to the north end of Blakeney Freshmarsh, where it joined a herd of cattle.

The WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN was again just east of Inverness Airport (Highland), whilst on Tiree (Argyll), the GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK was still north of the airport by the track at 'The Reef'. The partial breeding-plumaged adult AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was again at Elmley Marshes RSPB (North Kent) over high tide this evening.

Seawatching over in County Clare (IRELAND) saw a presumed FEA'S SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL (the first of the season off Bridges), 7 SABINE'S GULLS and 2 Pomarine Skuas south past Bridges of Ross.


The bottom two images (videograbs) were taken by Stevie Evans and the upper (perched atop the yellow digger) by Jeff Hazell.

Since Saturday 2nd August, an adult female LESSER GREY SHRIKE has been frequenting some Oak trees, brookside scrub, gorse clumps and fenceposts on Hartland Moor and Middlebere Heath in the valley just west of Wych Heath, by the Corfe River (at cSY 966 843). It represents only the 5th Dorset record, following singles near Hurn (shot) in September 1842, in Wareham Forest on 23 August 1965, briefly at The Nothe, Weymouth, on 18 October 1987 and at Stoford on 20 May 1989.


Leave the A351 just north of Corfe Castle at the Norden roundabout and follow the minor road to the left for 1.5 miles to Scotland Farm. Just beyond there, park sensibly and courteously at the entrance to the public bridleway at SY 961 841 and continue past the gate to the first stile. From here, follow the new fenceline NE and after 200 yards, start searching the fenceposts for the shrike. From the far end of the fence, a line of gorse goes away from you and on the dead gorse protruding is another favoured hunting post. If not here, the bird can be found in the bushes and Oak trees bordering the Corfe River, particularly where a new ditch is being dug out (eg in the area with the yellow mechanical digger). The bird is typically mobile and wide-ranging.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Durham BLACK STORK still Top Billing

For the past two days, the juvenile BLACK STORK has been performing down to just 45 yards in the allotments and fields just south of Clara Vale, west of Ayton (Co. Durham), particularly the field NW of Building Farm viewed from Stannerford Road. The bird has been widely twitched and photographed - the three fabulous shots above being obtained by Cambrian birder Tristan Reid. The bird has now been in the Northeast of England for at least 12 days. Meanwhile, a WHITE STORK was at Britford Water Meadows (Wilts) yesterday morning.

WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERNS arrived in force yesterday (Monday 11th), with three birds discovered with single moulting adults at Inverness Airport eastern runway (Highland) from 1430-1625, at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire) and on the River Thames off Thamesmead (Greater London). The latter bird, almost in full winter plumage apart from its jet-black underwing-coverts, was still present today, commuting between the north shore mud and the outfall immediately north of Lytham Close and the Thamesview Golf Club and wandering east as far as half a mile. Please note that there is a diversion through Thamesmead North - follow signs to the Golf Club for viewing.
A GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK was a surprise straggler to Tiree (Argyll), with a CATTLE EGRET gracing Cley NWT Reserve (North Norfolk) for much of the day.
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS today still included up to 11 at Sumburgh Head (Shetland) (2 adult males, a female and 8 juveniles), 8 juveniles at Buness on Fair Isle and a juvenile on Fetlar at Tresta Beach (Shetland), with a juvenile trapped and ringed at Holland House Garden, North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 11th.
In terms of wildfowl, the drake LESSER SCAUP continues at Balgray Reservoir (Clyde), the drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK remains at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) and the first-summer drake Hooded Merganser at Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset), with the moulting adult WHITE-BILLED DIVER still off South Ronaldsay (Orkney) and an adult BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER still on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 11th, with a large flock of European Golden Plovers.
In Dorset, the female LESSER GREY SHRIKE remains at Hartland Moor, east of Middlebere Heath.
In IRELAND, the first-summer drake KING EIDER remains at Lady's Island Lake (Co. Wexford).

Sunday, 10 August 2008


Today's Scillonian III pelagic trip was perhaps the worst so far, with only 400+ Storm Petrels, 2 very distant Cory's Shearwaters, 3 Great Shearwaters (the undoubted highlight), 2 Grey Phalaropes and a Sooty Shearwater being observed. Reports of a Wilson's Petrel were erroneous. The sea swell was particularly bad (following a force 8 SW on Saturday) and consequently one birder was seriously injured with a head wound after colliding with the ship's rigging. He had to be taken to St Mary's Hospital on Scilly, and whilst docking to offload him for treatment, several others worse for wear also climbed off!

The Wilson's Petrel below was photographed from one of the Association boat trips west of Scilly last week (Steve Keightley)

In Northumberland, yesterday's County Durham juvenile BLACK STORK was relocated at 1400 hours a mile south of Throckley and 0.8 miles west of Newburn in the horse field just north of Grange Road 200 yards east of Blayney Row adjacent to the River Tyne (at cNZ 154 655). It remained on view until 2022 hours, delighting 50 or so local observers.

A juvenile KENTISH PLOVER was present with Ringed Plovers on the shingle spit behind Fishtail Lagoon, Keyhaven Marsh (Hants) all afternoon and evening, whilst the female LESSER GREY SHRIKE was again in the field adjacent to the Corfe River with the yellow digger on Hartland Moor, Middlebere (Poole Harbour, Dorset) (at cSY 966 845 (see Jeff Hazell's superb image below). A CATTLE EGRET was in Poole Harbour briefly at Ower Causeway.

On Shetland, the MELODIOUS WARBLER remains in bushes close to Sumburgh Head Lighthouse (Jim Nicolson obtained the excellent image published above) with just 2 TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS remaining but another at Saxa Vord. On Orkney, the WHITE-BILLED DIVER continues on South Ronaldsay between St Margaret's Hope pier and Churchill Barrier No.4, with a juvenile CITRINE WAGTAIL showing well SE of Loch of Stenness in a small ditch at HY 310 116 (Eric Meek et al).

On Inner Farne (Northumberland), a juvenile BARRED WARBLER arrived, joining the juvenile Red-backed Shrike there

Saturday, 9 August 2008


In County Durham, a juvenile BLACK STORK (present since at least 1st August) has been showing very well 2.5 miles WSW of Blaydon and 0.25 miles south of Greenside in the pasture field just north of Reeley Mires Farm at NZ 145 619. DIRECTIONS: From Lead Road, turn south on Barlow Lane.

A bare minimum 18 TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS have now gathered at Sumburgh Head (Shetland) (per Steve Minton) with a further 9 juveniles still present on Fair Isle, with the MELODIOUS WARBLER still showing intermittently in the bushes by the lighthouse. In Aberdeenshire, a drake SURF SCOTER is again off Blackdog Beach, whilst the summer-plumaged adult WHITE-BILLED DIVER remains in St Margaret's Hope Bay on South Ronaldsay. A very confiding adult BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER remains for a third day at Doonfoot Beach just SW of Ayr (Ayrshire) feeding with Dunlin just south of the river mouth at cNS 321 194 (easily viewed from the adjacent car park), with an adult ROSE-COLOURED STARLING at garden feeders at Bunessan on Mull (Argyll).

In North Kent, an AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER in partial breeding plumage was again at Elmey Marshes RSPB, showing from Wellmarsh Hide, whilst in Dorset, the first-summer female LESSER GREY SHRIKE continues on Hartland Moor, east of Middlebere, SE of Wareham (see detailed directions below). A TAWNY PIPIT remains for a second day on Blakeney Point (Norfolk), favouring the Docks within the shingle on the flat area just east of the Seawatching Hide.

An adult Sabine's Gull has been showing very well this afternoon at Heysham Power Station inner stage II Outfall (Lancashire) (SD 401 591) (1600-1800 hours at least) whilst strong winds in the southwest saw Great Shearwaters off Berry Head, Brixham (South Devon) and Porthgwarra (Cornwall).

A Honey Buzzard flew ENE over Venus Pool NR (Salop) at 1440

In Avon, the drake Ferruginous Duck remains at Chew Valley Lake (in Herons Green Bay), with the first-summer drake Hooded Merganser still at Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset)

In IRELAND, the first-summer drake KING EIDER remains at Lady's Island Lake (Co. Wexford) west of Scarabhean Island, with an adult Ring-billed Gull still at Nimmo's Pier, Galway Harbour (Co. Galway).


A summer-plumaged SPOTTED SANDPIPER was present on the Camel Estuary at Amble Dam sluice on 6-7, with the WHITE STORK again in the Avon Valley (Hants/Dorset border) and an adult LESSER GREY SHRIKE briefly at Balephuil on Tiree (Argyll) on 6th. A MELODIOUS WARBLER and Red-backed Shrike were at Sumburgh Head (Shetland), with a juvenile Red-backed Shrike and Woodlark on Inner Farne (Northumberland) and an ICTERINE WARBLER on Fair Isle (6th), with another at Landguard NR (Suffolk) on 7th.

Summer-plumaged WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERNS made appearances at Crosby Marine Lake (Merseyside) on 7th and Slapton Ley (South Devon) on 8th, with a Dotterel briefly at Weston, Portland (Dorset) on 8th and a BARRED WARBLER new in on Inner Farne on 8th.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008


With the arrival of 9 Two-barred Crossbills on Fair Isle this afternoon, a new record has been set. With 33 now recorded since the first on Orkney on 20 July, 2008 supercedes 1987 as the largest influx ever of this species in Britain. There have been just three such events in the past 50 years – with 25 birds in 1987, 24 in 1990 and 17 in 2002.

Back to the records - with today's 18 new arrivals, a total of 33 individuals have now reached the Northern Isles, including 11 on Shetland (Sandgarth on 28-29 July, East Voe, Scalloway, on 30 July, Esha Ness Lighthouse on 30 July to 3 August, Norwick, Unst, on 5 August, Tresta Links, Fetlar, on 6 and 6 at Sumburgh Head on 6) 13 on Fair Isle (female and juvenile on 27-31 July, with 4 present on 1 August and 1-2 until 5, with 9 in one flock on 6), 8 on Orkney (Evie on 20 July, Mull Head on 28 July, Stenness on 29-30 July, Queenamidda, Rendall, on 29 July to 1 August, Crafty, Finstown, on 29-30 July, Stronsay on 3 August and 2 on North Ronaldsay on 6 August) and one on St Kilda (3-4 August).

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


If you have additional records not listed here, can you kindly email me with details at

AUGUST 2008 Summary of News
(All records accepted by the British Birding Association/UK400 Club)
(A total of 372 species have been recorded in Britain & Ireland in 2008)

Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena
Up to 22 summer-plumaged adults off Ferny Ness car park in Gosford Bay (Lothian) on 3-5

Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea
Large numbers in the Western Approaches, including 100 on 1st (52 past Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra, Cornwall; 43 off Scilly pelagic; 3 past Cape Cornwall, 1 past Berry Head, Brixham, South Devon (Martin Cade) and 1 past Portland Bill, Dorset), just 1 on 2nd (Porthgwarra, per John Swann), 7 on 3rd (singles off Porthgwarra and Pendeen Watchpoint, West Cornwall,, Minehead in Somerset and 4 past Giant's Castle, St Mary's, Scilly)

Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis
A total of 9 was off Scilly on 1st (from pelagic trip), with 1 off Sennen Cove (Cornwall) on 1st, 1 was seen off Dungeness Point and Beach (Kent) on 2nd and another flew west past Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 4th.

Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus
At Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra (West Cornwall), the following were encountered, with 3 on 1st, 9 on 2nd, 21 on 3rd, 10 on 4th, whilst at Portland Bill (Dorset), 5 flew west on 1st, followed by 2 on 2nd, 4 on 3rd, 3 on 4th, 2 on 5th

Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus
Small numbers encountered off North Sea and English Channel coastlines from 1st

Wilson's Storm Petrel Oceanites oceanicus
Singles recorded on Scillonian pelagic trips SW of the Bishop Rock on 2nd and 3rd August.

Cattle Egret Bulbulcus ibis
Breeding pairs were present in two Somerset heronries this summer, with one nest successfully fledging a single youngster. This constitutes the first confirmed breeding of this species in Britain.

Great White Egret Egretta alba
One flew east over Reculver (Kent) at 0700 on 1st.

White Stork Ciconia ciconia
The long-staying but wide-ranging adult was again on floodmeadows south of the Avon Causeway near Sopley (Hants/Dorset bdr) on 2nd.

BLACK STORK Ciconia niger

GLOSSY IBIS Plegadis falcinellus
On 3rd, one was seen briefly at Hoveringham Railway Pit (Notts).

Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
A flock of 7 immatures remained at Middlebere/Arne RSPB, Poole Harbour (Dorset) from 1st-5th, with 4 at Cley NWT North Scrape (Norfolk), on 1-5, 2 at Kinneil Lagoons, Grangemouth (Forth) 1st-5th, and singles on the River Dee at Kirkcudbright (Galloway) on 1-5, on the River Taw (North Devon) on 1-5, at Sowley Pond (Hants) on 1st, Welney WWT (Norfolk) on 1st-2nd, Broomhill Flash (South Yorks) on 2nd, an immature at Breydon Water (Norfolk) on 3-5, on the Exe Estuary (South Devon) on 3-5, Ferry Meadows Country Park (Cambs) on 5, on the Alaw Estuary (Anglesey) on 5

Taiga Bean Goose Anser fabalis
An unseasonal adult was at Cresswell Pond NWT (Northumberland) on 1-5

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
A regular adult was at Cliffe Pools RSPB (North Kent) on 1-5

American Wigeon Anas americana
An eclipse drake was at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg Reserve (Aberdeenshire) on 2-3.

Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca
A long-staying drake remained at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) from 1-5

Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
An eclipse drake remained at Balgray Reservoir (Clyde) from 1-5

Hooded Merganser Laphodytes cucullatus
A first-summer drake of unknown origin remained with Tufted Ducks at Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset) from 1-5. The bird was unringed and fully-winged, and may possibly be the bird that wintered on the Azores.

European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus
Another good season with a minimum 67 pairs on territory, including 11 in Scotland, 9 in Wales and 47 in England. Four adults showed well at Swanton Novers Watchpoint (Norfolk) early in the month, with a similar number at Wykeham Forest (North Yorks), whilst migrants were encountered

A pair was at Sleap Moor, near Crudgington (Shropshire) from 1-5, with two more adults at Welney WWT (Norfolk) from 1-5, whilst the rehabilitated individual remained at Caerlaverock WWT (Dumfries & Galloway) until at least 3rd.

KENTISH PLOVER Charadrius alexandrinus
One visited Sidlesham Ferry Lagoon, Pagham Harbour (West Sussex), briefly at high tide on 1st-2nd.

A moulting adult was with European Golden Plovers on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) from 1-4, with another on Havergate Island (Suffolk) briefly on 3rd (Dave Fairhurst).

Continental Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa limosa
Up to 45 pairs bred on the Nene Washes RSPB (Cambs), with one juvenile lingering at Cley NWT (Norfolk) from 1-5.

WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER Calidris fuscicollis
At Cley NWT Reserve (Norfolk), the adult reappeared on Pat's Pool briefly on 2nd & 4th, whilst an adult on the Wyre Estuary at Skippool Creek (Lancs) was last seen on 1st. Likewise, an adult at Cresswell Pond (Northumberland) reappeared on 3rd.

Temminck's Stint Calidris temmincki
An adult remained at Old Hall Marshes RSPB (Essex) until 2nd.

Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos
Single adults were noted at Great Yarnouth North Denes (Norfolk) briefly on 1st, at Titchwell Marsh Freshwater Lagoon (Norfolk) on 1-5, Gibraltar Point Jackson's Marsh (Lincs) on 1-5

Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
A first-summer was at Helston Loe Pool (Cornwall) on 1st

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans
A Polish-ringed first-summer remained at Cley NWT (Norfolk) until 1st

Sabine's Gull Xenus sabini
A first-summer flew south past Grimston and Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 4th

Roseate Tern Sterna dougalli
A good crop of sightings peaking at 61 at Long Nanny Burn (Northumberland) on 3rd. Elsewhere, noted on Brownsea Island Lagoon, Poole Harbour (Dorset) (2) on 1-4, past Eccles-on-Sea (Norfolk) on 1st, in Pegwell Bay (Kent) (1-3) on 2-3, past Flamborough Head (East Yorks) on 2nd, in Belhaven Bay (Lothian) on 2nd (2), off South Shields (Durham) on 2nd, at Cemlyn Bay (Anglesey) on 3rd, in Minnis Bay and at Reculver (North Kent) on 4th, at Breydon Water (Norfolk) on 4th, at Dawlish Warren (South Devon) on 4th, at Tyninghame (Lothian) on 5th, past Holme (Norfolk) (ad + juv) on 5th

CASPIAN TERN Sterna caspia
An adult flew north past Formby Point (Merseyside) on 4th.

SNOWY OWL Nyctea scandiaca
The long-staying bird on St Kilda (Outer Hebrides) was still present on 3rd.

EUROPEAN BEE-EATER Merops apiaster
On Orkney, one visited Shapinsay on 1st.

Shore Lark Eremophila alpestris
The Spurn Point (East Yorks) individual was present until at least 3rd.

CITRINE WAGTAIL Motacilla citreola
An exceptionally early juvenile was on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) from 2-4

AQUATIC WARBLER Acrocephalus paludicola
One was on Unst (Shetland) at Skaw, Norwick, on 4th.

Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris
A pair bred at Spurn Point (East Yorks) this June-July fledging at least three young (per Ray Scally), with an early autumn migrant on Fair Isle on 1st.

Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
An adult male was in Richmond Park (London) on 2nd.

A first-summer/female was on Hartland Moor (Dorset) at SY 966 845 from 2-5

Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
The first-ever Penwith (Cornwall) breeding pair successfully fledged young this summer.

Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra
The irruption continued with large numbers still present.

**TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL Loxia leucoptera
The first influx since July 2002 continued with an adult male and three juveniles remaining on Fair Isle until 1st (the former until 2nd), a female at Esha Ness Lighthouse (Shetland) until at least 3rd, a juvenile in Stuart William's garden at Crafty, Finstown (Orkney) (HY 372 156) until 1st, a juvenile on Stronsay (Orkney) on 3rd, a female on St Kilda (Outer Hebrides) on 3rd-4th, a 'new' juvenile on Fair Isle on 5th with another at Norwick, Unst (Shetland) that same day. At least 15 have now been recorded in this influx.

Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus
An adult was on Fair Isle on 1st.


Cory's Shearwater
Large numbers recorded including 750 past Galley Head (Co. Cork) on 1st (with 162 on 2nd, 2 on 5th), 11 past Helvick Head (Co. Waterford) on 1st, 100 past Cape Clear Island (Co. Cork) on 2nd

Great Shearwater
Off Galley Head (Co. Cork), 6 were seen on 1st, with 13 on 2nd and 1 on 3rd.

The summering first-year drake remained at Lady's Island Lake (Co. Wexford) until at least 3rd.

Pectoral Sandpiper
An adult at Ballycotton (Co. Cork) on 1st

Ring-billed Gull
An adult was at Nimmo's Pier, Galway Harbour (Co. Galway) from 1-5

The first of the year, an adult, was at Shanagarry Marsh, Ballycotton (Co. Cork) on 2nd

An adult remained at Castlemaine Harbour (Co. Kerry) until at least 3rd.



The first-summer female LESSER GREY SHRIKE remains on Hartland Moor this afternoon, frequenting the gorse bushes and Oak trees west of the Corfe River, 3.5 miles SE of Wareham (Dorset). Lee Fuller obtained these two images published below.

In CORNWALL, a summer-plumaged SPOTTED SANDPIPER is today on the Camel Estuary west of the B3314 Trewornan Bridge at the Amble Dam sluice and viewed from the CBWPS Burniere Hide (at SW 982 740), whilst in CAERNARFONSHIRE, a male MONTAGU'S HARRIER has been present all day hunting over the north side of the Cob Embankment at Porthmadog.

In HAMPSHIRE, the adult WHITE STORK is again south of Ringwood in the Avon Valley on the flood plain between Bickton and Christchurch in the Special Protection Area.

At the opposite end of the country, Shetland and Orkney continue to dominate, with the Sumburgh Head area yielding a MELODIOUS WARBLER (exceptional so far north), a male RED-BACKED SHRIKE and 6 TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS (including an adult male - the largest single gathering ever recorded in Britain) and yesterday's juvenile Common Swift (previously thought to be a Pallid) still showing well commuting back and forth over the cliffs at Sumburgh Head. A further TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL is showing well this afternoon feeding in Thistles west of the football pitch at Tresta Links on Fetlar, with another two (females) on North Ronaldsay Observatory Gardenwhilst two more juveniles remained on Fair Isle yesterday afternoon. Meanwhile, the summer-plumaged adult WHITE-BILLED DIVER remains in Hope Bay, South Ronaldsay (Orkney) and moulting adult PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER on North Ronaldsay, with a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER on the north end of North Ronaldsay (and another adult at Doonfoot, Ayrshire), whilst an adult LESSER GREY SHRIKE dropped in on Tiree (Argyll) briefly (at Balephuil). A Common Rosefinch was at Skaw, Whalsay, on 5th.

Activity elsewhere is rather bland in comparison, with an adult Sabine's Gull north past Hartlepool Headland (Cleveland) and the drake Hooded Merganser at Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset)


A PALLID SWIFT (re-identified as a juvenile Common Swift) was at Sumburgh Head (Shetland) showing well around the cliffs by the cattle grid early afternoon and evening, with yet more TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS on Shetland - single juveniles at Norwick, Unst, and on Fair Isle.

Two GLOSSY IBISES flew east over Ardcath (Co. Meath) at 0920 hours, with another seen briefly at Hoveringham Railway Pit (Notts) on Sunday.

The LESSER GREY SHRIKE remains on Hartland Moor (Dorset)

Red-necked Grebe: 22 adults mostly in summer plumage in Gosford Bay (Lothian) off Ferny Ness car park

Spoonbill: immature still at Breydon Water (Norfolk), with 7 more in Poole Harbour (Dorset) at Middlebere, 4 at Cley NWT North Scrape (Norfolk) and another on the Alaw Estuary at Llanfachraeth (Anglesey) and a juvenile on the River Taw at Pottington (North Devon). One also pitched down at Ferry Meadows CP (Cambs) briefly at 0845

LESSER SCAUP - eclipse drake still present on Balgray Reservoir (Clyde)

FERRUGINOUS DUCK: long-staying drake still present at Chew Valley Lake (Avon)

Hooded Merganser: first-summer drake of unknown origin still present at Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset) roosting with Tufted Ducks opposite the Gurkha Restaurant (see image above - Gary Thoburn).

COMMON CRANE - long-staying pair still present SE of Crudgington (Shropshire) on Wrockwardine Moor south of Duke's Drive at SJ 652 161 (also calling Quail). Two more adults are at Welney WWT (Norfolk).

PECTORAL SANDPIPER: long-staying adult remains at Jackson's Marsh, Gibraltar Point NR (Lincs)

Roseate Tern - adult and juvenile on Holme Beach

CITRINE WAGTAIL: the remarkably early juvenile was still present on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 4th

IRELAND - adult RING-BILLED GULL remains in Galway Harbour at Nimmo's Pier (County Galway)

4 AUGUST 2008

The star bird throughout the weekend and today is an adult female LESSER GREY SHRIKE which is frequenting some Oak trees, brookside scrub, gorse clumps and fenceposts on Middlebere Heath in the valley just west of Wych Heath, by the Corfe River (at cSY 966 843). It represents only the 5th Dorset record, following singles near Hurn (shot) in September 1842, in Wareham Forest on 23 August 1965, briefly at The Nothe, Weymouth, on 18 October 1987 and at Stoford on 20 May 1989.


Leave the A351 just north of Corfe Castle at the Norden roundabout and follow the minor road to the left for 1.5 miles to Scotland Farm. Just beyond there, park sensibly and courteously at the entrance to the public bridleway at SY 961 841 and continue past the gate to the first stile. From here, follow the new fenceline NE and after 200 yards, start searching the fenceposts for the shrike. From the far end of the fence, a line of gorse goes away from you and on the dead gorse protruding is another favoured hunting post. If not here, the bird can be found in the bushes and Oak trees bordering the Corfe River, particularly where a new ditch is being dug out (eg in the area with the yellow mechanical digger). The bird is typically mobile and wide-ranging.

Nearby, the 7 immature Spoonbills remain at Middlebere, Poole Harbour, with 2 adult Roseate Terns on Brownsea Island and the eclipse drake Hooded Merganser at Radipole Lake RSPB (the latter now favouring the west side of the channel with roosting Tufted Ducks, viewable distantly from the Gurkha Restaurant car park - 40p for half-hour parking). Balearic Shearwaters continue to daily pass Portland Bill, and a Wood Sandpiper is present on the Tip Scrape at Lodmoor NR.

In Orkney, we had a 'new' TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL on Stronsay on 2nd (with just the adult male remaining on Fair Isle and female at Esha Ness Lighthouse) and an eclipse drake AMERICAN WIGEON at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire) (on 2nd-3rd).

A handful of CORY'S and GREAT SHEARWATERS were noted off Cornwall and Scilly at the weekend, with a WILSON'S PETREL identified amongst 250 Storm Petrels from a short pelagic (3rd) and 61 ROSEATE TERNS counted from Long Nanny Burn in Northumberland.

The SHORELARK remains at Spurn Point (East Yorks), with a male RED-BACKED SHRIKE in Richmond Park (Gtr London) on 2nd.

The adult summer WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER appeared again at Cresswell Pond (Northumberland), with adult summer PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVERS on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) and at Havergate Island (Suffolk) briefly. Adult PECTORAL SANDPIPERS remain at Gibraltar Point NR (Lincs) and Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk).

The pair of COMMON CRANES remain at Sleap Moor (Salop), with another two at Welney WWT (Norfolk), whilst in Avon the drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK continues at Chew Valley Lake.

A CASPIAN TERN flew north past Formby Point (Merseyside) at 1355 on 4th.

In IRELAND, the first BAIRD'S SANDPIPER of 2008 was discovered at Shanagarry Pools (Co. Cork), NNW of Ballycotton (2nd), whilst the first-summer drake KING EIDER remains at Lady's Island Lake (Co. Wexford).