Friday 19 December 2008


Plates 1-4 RARE BIRDS IN IRELAND - the AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT at Mullagh, Lough Neagh, County Antrim (Derek Charles), CATTLE EGRET at Incydoney, County Cork (Sean Cronin) and the adult NORTH AMERICAN HERRING GULL in Galway Harbour, County Galway (Tom Cuffe and Michael Davis).
Plate 5: SHORE LARK, perhaps of a Nearctic form with its rich colouration and bright yellow face pattern, at Lambaness, Unst, Shetland (Rory Tallack)
Plates 6-7: female RING-NECKED DUCK on Martnaham Loch, Ayrshire (Jim Woods)
Plates 8-9: ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD near Coveney, Cambs (David Hopkins)
Plate 10: AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Baltasound, Unst, Shetland (Rob Brookes)
Plates 11-14: first-winter IVORY GULL on Fetlar, Shetland, identified as a different individual on plumage characteristics to the one seen recently near Lerwick (Brydon Thomason)
Plates 15-16: drake AMERICAN WIGEON at Lower Farm GP, Berkshire (Adam Hartley)
Plate 17: GREY PHALAROPE at Covenham Reservoir in North Lincolnshire (Dean Eades)

This is the UK400 Club Rare Bird Alert for Friday 19 October 2008 issued at 2200 hours and published in association with Rare Bird Alert Pagers whilst utilising additional information gleaned from the Regional Birdlines, BirdGuides, local email groups, blogs and websites and individual observers.

Bird of the week has been the white morph GYRFALCON which has inhabited the cliffs of West Cornwall for much of the period and was that bird previously seen on Scilly. Although largely untwitchable, due to the fact that it is ranging so widely, it has been noted at Land's End, Sennen Cove, Skewjack and as far east as Marazion.

The two PENDULINE TITS were seen again today briefly feeding on reedmace along the Loop Trail at Rainham Marsh RSPB Reserve (Essex) (Dave Smith)

The Shetland Islands have once again stormed the headlines with their second IVORY GULL of the winter - another juvenile - showing very well at Oddsta, Fetlar, on 14-15. In addition, an AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was discovered on Unst (at Baltasound) on 18, with the SHORE LARK (perhaps an AMERICAN HORNED LARK) still present at Lamba Ness. A LITTLE AUK, 3 Great Northern Divers and 650 Eiders are in Bluemull Sound, whilst 7 Iceland Gulls are at the Shetland Catch Fish Factory in Lerwick, 4 Icelandic-type Redpolls at North Road and 2 Greenfinches at The Sletts.

In East Kent, the winter-plumaged adult BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON remains on the Royal Military Canal at West Hythe, generally feeding on the north bank up to 300 yards west of the dam

The BOHEMIAN WAXWING invasion is gradually sweeping southwards with many more birds (including flocks of up to 10 birds) appearing in southern counties and in the Midlands. Keep your eyes out for colour-ringed birds, many of which have been ringed by the Grampian Ringing Group.

Sightings today include 120 near Longniddry (Lothian), 115 by Clevedon Academy (NS 560 684) in Glasgow (Clyde), up to 150 in Ayr (Ayrshire), 30 in Durham, 20 in Washington (Durham), 1 in Kepple Lane, Garstang (Lancs), 4 in Blackburn (Lancs), 5 in Denton (Gtr Manchester), 26 at Jennyfield, Harrogate (North Yorks), 250+ in Pepper Road, Leeds (West Yorks), 25 in Tong Road, Leeds (West Yorks), 100 in Moor Road, Hunslet (West Yorks), 80 in the Mecca Casino car park on St Thomas's Road, Huddersfield (West Yorks), 1 in Broomhill Park (South Yorks), 20 in Hull (East Yorks), 6 in Shiptonthorpe (East Yorks), 8 in Market Street, Clay Cross (Derbyshire), 40 by Chilwell Retail Park (Notts), 5 on Hucknall Road, Carrington (Notts), 13 in Ridlington (Norfolk), 1 in Minsmere RSPB North Bushes (Suffolk), 18 in Tower Road, Rendlesham (Suffolk), 14 in Stoke-on-Trent (Staffs), 14 in Newcastle-under-Lyme (Staffs), 16 at Minworth Asda Supermarket (West Midlands), 11 in Sutton Coldfield (West Midlands), 1 at Danbury CP (Essex) (briefly), 5 at Benfleet Creek, Leigh-on-Sea (Essex), 4 in Brightlingsea (Essex), 10 in Barrow-upon-Soar (Leics), 9 in Leicester High Street (Leics), over Highfield Road, Tring (Herts), 10 in York Road, Stevenage (Herts) and 1 in Moggs Mead, Petersfield (Hants) - the latter not seen today. In the far south, one remains by the playing fields off Muscliff Lane in Shelley Lane, Bournemouth (Dorset).

In IRELAND, a flock of 120 is by the Asda Shopping Centre in Coleraine (Londonderry), with 30 in Dublin.

The female RING-NECKED DUCK remains with Tufted Ducks at Passfield Pond, Bordon (Hants) whilst nearby in Fareham, the YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER and 2 Firecrests can still be found by the lower fishing pond at Newlands Farm. The warbler has been heard singing and is presumably a male. In neighbouring Berkshire, the drake AMERICAN WIGEON continues to commute between the Trout Lake and Lower Farm GP.

The CATTLE EGRET is still showing well at Hubberton, West Angle Bay (Pembs), feeding with cattle by the farmhouse north of the B4320, with the colour-ringed GREAT WHITE EGRET still on Rockford Lake, Blashford Lakes HWT (Hants). Another CATTLE EGRET is present by the Golden Lion Causeway at Stithians Reservoir (Cornwall).
Rare waders include the GREY PHALAROPE at Covenham Reservoir, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER on North Uist (Outer Hebrides) and SPOTTED SANDPIPER at Tittesworth Reservoir (Staffs).

The NORTHERN GREY SHRIKE was still present by the RSPB car park at Lakenheath RSPB (Suffolk) today whilst in Cambridgeshire, the ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD was again just south of Coveney. Further NORTHERN GREY SHRIKES were by the A149 just north of the Castle Rising turning (Norfolk) and in the New Forest (Hants) at Pig Bush.

A flock of 17 Pale-bellied Brent Geese remain at Baiter, Poole Harbour (Dorset), whilst also of local interest is the adult drake Red-breasted Merganser for its fourth day at Willen Lake South Basin (North Bucks), a juvenile Red-necked Grebe on Carew Mill Pond (Pembs), at least 14 freshwater and long-staying Great Northern Divers and a drake Common Scoter on Carsington Water (Derbyshire).

News from IRELAND in recent weeks has been rather scant but highlighting is the continuing AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT at Lough Beg (Co. Antrim). The bird favours the area by Mullagh Farm early mornings but soon disperses and becomes difficult to locate.

The CATTLE EGRET remains at Inchydoney (Co. Cork) and the regular adult NORTH AMERICAN HERRING GULL is again commuting between Nimmo's Pier and Galway Fish Docks (Co. Galway).