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Monday, 31 December 2012

Second highest annual total ever

So that was it - 2012 over and done

With the unexpected late addition of the ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK on Scilly, the total number of species recorded in Britain and Ireland in 2012 was 445 species - the second highest total in history following the record 456 in 2011 (and higher than the 441 in 2010 and 434 in 2009).

The last day of the year followed largely in the same vein as before with gale-force winds and heavy rain lashing much of the country. Today's highlights were as follows (available exclusively to members only, special offer of £12 per annum still valid) -:

Sunday, 30 December 2012

BEAN GOOSE conundrum

This is a fairly typical TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE - one of a party of 7 recently photographed by John Richardson........

......But what of this beast - is it a TUNDRA or a TAIGA BEAN GOOSE. Controversy has surrounded this bird and its mate for over two weeks now but what do browsers think - please register your vote on the UK400 Club Yahoo email group poll

Bean Geese really are tricky, especially when just one or two birds are concerned

Still ONE place available on ISRAEL tour in March 2013

I have one place remaining on a tour to ISRAEL from 15-25 March 2013. This will be the full tour, from North to South, with target birds including Brown Booby, European White Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Little Bittern, Striated Heron, Western Reef Heron, Black Stork, Greater Flamingo, Marbled Duck, White-tailed Sea Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Lesser Spotted & Greater Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Booted & Bonelli's Eagle, Black-winged Kite, Pallid Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Black Francolin, Chukar, Sand Partridge, Grey-headed Swamphen, Common Crane, MacQueen's Bustard, Cream-coloured Courser, Greater Sand Plover, Caspian Plover, Slender-billed Gull, Armenian Gull, Great Black-headed Gull, White-eyed Gull, Black-bellied, Pin-tailed, Spotted & Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse, Laughing Dove, Lilith's Owl, Smyrna & Pied Kingfisher, Little Green Bee-eater, Syrian Woodpecker, Desert, Bar-tailed Desert, Temminck's Horned, Hoopoe & Thick-billed Lark, Long-billed Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Citrine Wagtail, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Eastern Bushchat, Isabelline, Desert, Black-eared, Pied, Finsch's, Mourning, White-crowned Black & Hooded Wheatear, Blackstart, Caspian Stonechat, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Arabian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell's Warbler, Asiatic Desert Warbler, Middle Eastern Scrub Warbler, Eastern Moustached Warbler, Fan-tailed Warbler, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Eastern Bonelli's Warbler, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Sombre Tit, Western Rock Nuthatch, Masked Shrike, Palestine Sunbird, Arabian Babbler, Middle Eastern Jay, Brown-necked & Fan-tailed Raven, Indian House Crow, Tristram's Starling, Dead Sea Sparrow, Syrian Serin, Sinai Rosefinch, Trumpeter Finch, Desert Finch, Cretzschmar's Bunting and general migration of thousands of birds.

Email me on  to reserve a space

Also, still one place available on my ROUND BRITAIN TOUR of 19-27 January and 3 places on ROUND BRITAIN tour later in June

Action taken in INDIA against AMUR FALCON slayings and massacre

Dear All

We have exchanged lots of emails on this issue, and I have also replied to some of you. Yesterday I had a meeting with Ramki Sreenivasan of ConservationIndia, the person who brought out this issue through his visit to Nagaland in second half of October, and Dr S. Subramanya. Full credit should go to Ramki for bringing out this issue to our attention. I want to brief you on some points and also update you:

1. BNHS/IBCN is fully involved in this campaign. Neha Sinha, Policy and Advocacy officer of BNHS (funded by RSPB) was involved with Ramki from the beginning and helped in some policy and legal issues.

2. After seeing the massacre, Ramki contacted the Nagaland officials who acted quickly, and prevented further killing. They have posted police and forest guards in the area.

3. The Indian Minister of Environment and Forests, Mrs Jayanthi Natarajan, has asked for an explanation and action taken report from the Nagaland government, so there is a flurry of activity in Nagaland.

4. Small scale opportunistic killing of Amur Falcon annually was going on for a long time, but this large-scale killing started only 5-6 years ago after the development of a reservoir. Possibly the presence of large number of dragonflies (due to reservoir water) attract falcons but this need to be confirmed through studies. Anyway, soon after development of the reservoir the villagers found out falcon concentration and started killing them, although it is legally banned. Two years ago, a separate government notification was brought out by the Nagaland government banning falcon killing but not much was done as the area is remote and difficult to monitor. Now, with this media campaign, people have realized the extent of killing.

5. Ramki is in regular touch with people of that area and yesterday he told me that strict steps have been taken to prevent further killing, and anyway falcon migration is over.

6. Yesterday, Ramki and Dr S. Subramanya (known person in BirdLife, and IBCN State Coordinator of Karnataka) agreed that we have to start a long-term environmental education (EE) programme in Nagaland to prevent all type of bird killing. I will discuss this with Cristi, Mike and Marco next week during BirdLife Asia meeting, and with Ian Barber (whom I am meeting on 17th). We will write a project proposal for funding by Indian MoEF, but we will also require more funds. EE in Nagaland has to be long-term as killing of birds is quite extensive in rural areas all over Nagaland (and some other states of north-east India).

7. International campaign should go ahead and RSPB, BirdLife International, CMS, Conservation International, Raptor NGOs, BirdLife partners etc should write to Mrs Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of Environment and Forests, Government of India, Paryavaran Bhawan, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, India. They should congratulate her for her quick action. IBCN members are also writing letters to Mrs Natarajan. I will bring up this issue in the next meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife.

8. Ramki will be regularly updating so please check his website.

9. Atul Sathe, PRO of BNHS has been very active in contacting media so lot of newspaper reports have come out, shocking people. He is in touch with Ramki for updates. Please forward media reports from your country and elsewhere to Atul as he is keeping track. If anyone of you want media reports from India, please contact Atul.

Asad Rahmani

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Pete Naylor's Funeral Arrangements

Peter's funeral has been arranged for FRIDAY 4 JANUARY at the West Chapel at Breakspear Crematorium at 1415 hours. The family have requested for no flowers to be sent but rather for a donation to the RSPB. Can you kindly let me know if you are planning to attend so that Mandy can calculate the catering arrangements

Many many thanks

Lee Evans (

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Birding Tour Availability in 2013

I still have a number of places available on birding tours in 2013, please email me on if you would like to reserve a place or request further details.

1) Round Britain Tour 19-27 January (1 place left)

2) Spain 20-25 February (Spanish Lynx, Eagles, Eagle Owl, Bustards, etc) (2 places)

3) Israel North & South 15-25 March (2 places)

4) Scottish Weekender April (spaces)

5) Goshawk Specials (25 spaces)

6) Lady Amherst's Pheasant feeding station visits (now SOLD OUT)

7) Morocco/Western Sahara (3 places)

8) Cape Verde Islands April (1 place)

9) Round Britain Tour May (3 places)

10) Spain/Portugal 12-18 June (3 places)

11) Ohio May (possibly 1 space)

12) Sicily June (3 spaces)

13) Madeira (July) (3 spaces)

All trips are designed for maximum birding, from dawn until dusk

Monday, 24 December 2012

One of London's finest leaves us for ever - RIP PETER NAYLOR 1950-2012

It is with very deep regret that I have to announce the extremely sad news that PETE NAYLOR has died this evening, after battling with a dehabilitating illness for a number of years. My deepest condolescences go to both Mandy and Simon (Pete's brother) who were with Peter at his bedside when he passed away this evening. At just 62 years of age, he has left us all too early........

Peter had been a very good friend of mine for a very long period of time and we had shared many thousands of great birding moments over a long period, particularly on the Isles of Scilly during what have become affectionately known as 'The Golden Years'. He had been particularly keen on London Birding too, after spending all of his life in the Capital, moving from his birthplace in Uxbridge to neighbouring Hayes, and his enthusiasm and contribution for birdwatching in the area and at his beloved Staines Reservoirs was virtually second to none. His input on the London Birding Scene was extraodinary and for several volumes, he virtually single-handedly wrote and got up-to-date the London Bird Reports. Despite his illness, and the setbacks he suffered, he still managed to fight back and get himself out in the field and testament to his keenness and exceptional ability, was the fact that he discovered the fabulous male RED-BACKED SHRIKE that frequented his local patch at Lake Farm Country Park this June. Sadly, that was the last time I was ever to see Peter in the field, as he was struck down again not long after.

Peter's contributions to British birding were immense and it was always very pleasurable to be in his company. He had the very same obsession I have for accuracy and for figures and we would pull each other's legs whenever we met at various London reservoirs, comparing the various counts of ducks, passage terns or waders. He was an outstanding ornithologist who always had a notebook to hand, was meticulous for detail and extremely sharp in the field - he would frequently beat me to a flyover Whimbrel or Bar-tailed Godwit in April and would relish the chance at identifying an Arctic Tern from an almighty mass of Common Terns. His list of finds is impressive, especially in Middlesex, where sites such as Perry Oaks Sewage Farm were once in favour and highly productive (and before it made way for Heathrow's Terminal 5).

There are not too many like Peter and I will miss him dearly. Although not forceful like myself, Peter would take time out to help others not so gifted and was often surrounded by a number of faithfuls, always grateful for what Pete would be able to point out for them. He was a very friendly individual and was also extremely tactful and funny at the same time. He had an interesting sense of humour.

Judging by the number of phone calls I have had this evening, Peter was extremely popular and well-liked - his passing will be mourned by many.

Lee Evans

Birds of the Year

With 2012 coming to an end, personal prizes for Birds of the Year go to -:

1) In first place, Suffolk's wonderfully confiding and entertaining HORNEMANNI. My only new bird in Britain in 2012

In second place, Herefordshire's outstandingly beautiful CREAM-COLOURED COURSER. Not only the bird but the location were remarkable.....(Gary Thoburn image)

And in third place - East Yorkshire's ROLLER charming hundreds of admirers during its long stay near Aldbrough.......(John Carter image)

A Whole Lotta TEAL.....

David Rodrigues kindly sent me this card representing part of the 8,000 strong flock of COMMON TEAL currently wintering on the lagoon of the recently ended EVOA project . Now there is a fabulous waterfowl location to visit when passing through Lisbon in Portugal…

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Rain, rain, rain - and severe flooding in the Southwest

The Southwest in particular is suffering from severe flooding together, with all rail links west of Taunton being suspended. Helston is particularly hard hit, and Braunton, with rain expected to continue all day

Not much information on the bird front other than the 2nd-winter LAUGHING GULL still in Rosehearty...

ROSY STARLING still in Milbury Lane gardens, Exminster (South Devon)

Happy Christmas


Friday, 21 December 2012

The Friday Review (21 December 2012)

Well I wasn't expecting to be writing this summary, more expecting some sort of catastrophic incident....

Anyway, the World ending apart, biggest news of this week was the finding of a first-winter male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK on Scilly - species number 445 of the Year. It is visiting a garden feeder in Pilot's Retreat (at The Elms) at the east end of Hugh Town (St Mary's).

In Berkshire, the AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT remains for its 9th day, showing well on the perimeter bank about half a mile west of the Yacht Club at Queen Mother Reservoir. Once again, the Berkshire Bird Club will be opening up the site for this weekend and directing birdwatchers; just under £2,000 has now been raised.

The first-winter ROSE-COLOURED STARLING remains in gardens near the church in Exminster (South Devon), as does the first-year female SUBALPINE WARBLER in St Just (West Cornwall) in private gardens along Princess Street.

Both GLOSSY IBISES are still to be found (at Marloes Mere, Pembs, and on floodwater south of Ringwood, Hants), whilst 15 or so GREAT WHITE EGRETS are to be found, including at least 3 at Dungeness (Kent). In relation to the latter species, an adult has returned to the Chess River Valley, between Little Chalfont and Chenies Bottom (Bucks), where it can be seen from the bend in Latimer Road just 100 yards downhill from Chenies Village (please park sensibly in village and walk).

In North Norfolk, the adult Richardson's Canada Goose remains at Kelling Quags, whilst the adult Ross's Snow Goose of suspect origin remains with Barnacle Geese near Cley village. The drake LESSER SCAUP has now returned to the Dozmary Pool on Bodmin Moor (Cornwall) (with another at Blagdon Lake, Somerset), with the 3 RING-NECKED DUCKS still on Tresco Great Pool (Scilly) and single drakes at Hawkridge Reservoir (Somerset) and Par Beach Pool, St Austell (Cornwall) and the female at Siblyback Reservoir (Cornwall). The drake AMERICAN WIGEON continues at Wintersett Reservoir (West Yorks).

A GREY PHALAROPE was off Golspie Pier (Sutherland) today whilst inland, the first-winter was still at Dunstable Sewage Farm (Beds) (permit access only).

Inland/freshwater Great Northern Divers include singles at Alton Water (Suffolk) and on Queen Mother Reservoir (Berks), with just one Black-throated Diver on the New Diggings Pit at Dungeness (Kent). A juvenile Red-necked Grebe is on the reserve at Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk), whilst the Queen Mother (Berks) first-year was last noted on 14th. The Slavonian Grebe remains at Rutland Water (Leics), in the South Arm between Old Hall and the Lyndon Centre, with the female Long-tailed Duck also still there in the North Arm. Other Long-tailed Ducks include singles at Stithians Reservoir (Cornwall), on Fairhaven Lake (Lancs) and at Queen Mother Reservoir (Berks). Some 40 Smew are now at scattered localities.

Little to report from IRELAND although the AMERICAN COOT is still at Murloch (Co. Galway), the juvenile female NORTHERN HARRIER remains at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) and the CATTLE EGRET is at St Johnston (Co. Donegal).

Premier Bird News direct to your computer and phone now available on subscription for just £12* per year (* limited offer only) - email for details. Get direct access to the Club Database, detailing all sightings.

Lee G R Evans, Ornithological Consultant, British Birding Association/UK400 Club

Professional Guiding from just £63/70 Euros per day

2013 Tour Itinerary shortly to be announced but vacancies still on Round Britain Tours from 19-27 January and 17-26 May - email Lee at

*NEW FOR 2013 - October Birdathon Fortnights - getting the most out of the rarity jamboree

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

AMUR FALCON disgrace: Raising the profile and keeping the pressure on Indian Government

BNHS India is keeping the pressure on the central and State Government and initiated a story for Rajya Sabha TV on the amur falcon killings. RSTV is a Parliamentary channel and runs only one bulletin a day which government tends to watch a lot. After this story came out, an officer from Ministry of Environment and Forest called the channel to enquire about it and to get a copy of the story.

The BNHS Advocacy Officer in the clip has been instrumental in helping Conservation India to get the whole story out and keep the pressure on the Government. She is funded through our support to the BNHS bird programme.

Ian Barber, RSPB (UK), Partner Development Officer (Asia)

Festive wishes from MOROCCO and the GO-SOUTH team

The catastrophic killing of AMUR FALCONS in India and its effect in Africa

Following the earlier correspondence relating to the disgraceful and illegal massacre of AMUR FALCONS on migration in India, the following link is of interest:


TURTLE DOVE UK population little more than 600 birds

The EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE needs all of your help and is in stark decline across most of its European distribution. This summer, the UK population may have been as low as just 600 birds, hammering home just how rare they have become. When I was a teenager and learning the ropes, Richard Richardson and I would watch several thousand Turtle Doves a day (in May) flying west in large flocks across the East Bank at Cley (North Norfolk) - sadly, just a fading memory now. Looking at my notebook for 2012, I saw a pitiful 12 Turtle Doves in just 5 counties - my worst annual total ever.

Saturday, 15 December 2012


No less than 367 visiting birders were attracted to Queen Mother Reservoir today - the biggest twitch in BERKSHIRE birding history; the bird showed well all day, often walking towards the crowd - a special bird for a special occasion.....

The dawn raiders (Johnny Foster)

Friday, 14 December 2012

What a cracking Xmas Card - Memories....

Gary Thoburn is an outstanding rare bird photographer; just look at his portfolio for 2012 - highlighting some of the avian events of the year


There is an AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT present for its third day at QUEEN MOTHER RESERVOIR (Berkshire). Special visiting arrangements have been organised for tomorrow for all non-members of the Reading Ornithological Group.

The bird will be looked for from first light and news of its presence will then be relayed to RBA for general release. If present, general access will be allowed from about 0930 hours onwards. A Day Permit will be offered at £2 per person. This will be available at the gate. For Health & Safety Reasons, EVERYBODY (including permit holders) MUST be signed IN and OUT - there are NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule.

Today, the bird showed well throughout, bar a period of 45 minutes late morning when it got lost. It is exceptionally confiding, affording views down to just a few yards, often on the grass at the top of the bank. It is like a heavily sullied Meadow Pipit on its underparts but with ALL BLACK legs, a bold eye-ring and a tiny hint of a superciliary behind the eye.

DIRECTIONS: Leave the M4 at Junction 5. Follow the A4 east to the traffic lights and then take the right turning into Colnbrook. The entrance gate is at TQ 017 771 along Horton Road.

QMR has a circumference of some 3 miles, almost equivalent to walking to Blakeney Point, so save yourself plenty of time. The bird is favouring the SOUTH shoreline - a good 20 minute walk from the car park and Yacht Centre. It has occasionally flown to the far SW corner - a walk of 45 minutes

There is also a first-winter RED-NECKED GREBE present (at around TQ 000 765) and a juvenile LONG-TAILED DUCK NW of the Yacht Club at TQ 015 775

Also of note, and very rare locally, is a GREY PHALAROPE in BEDFORDSHIRE - also present for its third day. Again, special access has been arranged for this Saturday by local permit holders if the bird is still present (it was there at 1610 hours this evening). The bird is favouring the third pan, feasting on insects where the inflow pipe pumps into the basin. Unlike the pipit, this bird IS NOT CONFIDING - it is viewable distantly from by the hide, at around 100 yards distance

DIRECTIONS: Dunstable Sewage Works is situated NW of Dunstable, just east of the A5 and south of the Thorn Turn at TL 003 244. The gate will be manned to direct visitors to the parking place and watchpoint.


Here´s Birdvisions new video on You Tube. It highlights PINE GROSBEAK migration to Southern Finland during winter 2012.

Have a nice Christmastime!

Petri Merta

Thursday, 13 December 2012


American Buff-bellied Pipit (Mike McKee)

Mike McKee photographed a very odd pipit at Queen Mother Reservoir (Berkshire) late yesterday afternoon and after relocating this morning, realised it was an AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT - a first record for the County (and for the London Recording Area which the reservoir also comes within).

The reservoir is strictly permit access - restricted to members of the Reading Ornithological Group. However, on-site day permits of £2.00 are available to non-members

Both the long-staying RED-NECKED GREBE and LONG-TAILED DUCK are still present on the reservoir too.

In Suffolk, despite being traumatised by a local Sparrowhawk yesterday afternoon, the first-winter HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL remains today, showing well on the shingle beach about 200 yards north of the Martello Tower at the very south end of Aldeburgh. Not that far away, at Minsmere RSPB, a juvenile drake SURF SCOTER was discovered mid-afternoon and drifted slowly north towards Dunwich Cliffs - a mega record for the county. Tundra Bean Geese include parties of 5 at Westleton and North Warren RSPB, Aldeburgh,

The GREAT WHITE EGRET is also still present, frequenting the NW arm of Alton Water - accessed from Lemon's Hill Bridge just off of the A137.

In neighbouring Norfolk, the regular returning female RING-NECKED DUCK was still on Whitlingham Great Broad, Norwich, whilst a BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER (the Thetford bird perhaps?) was at the Nar Millhouse in Narborough. An impressive 54 COMMON CRANES is in Broadland, roosting together in the reedbed north of Horsey Mill.

In Cambridgeshire, the two juvenile PENDULINE TITS were seen again briefly on Ouse Fen - accessed from Long Drove at TL 370 713.

The adult drake FALCATED DUCK was again with Mallards on the north bank of Farmoor 1 Reservoir (Oxfordshire) today, as well as both Slavonian Grebes and 3 juvenile Greater Scaups.

In Bedfordshire, a GREY PHALAROPE remains for a second day on the third pan at Dunstable Sewage Works. The site is strictly permit access only.

In Northeast Scotland, the female DESERT WHEATEAR continues at rattray Head (Aberdeenshire), frequenting the beach in front of the lighthouse

The juvenile BLACK-THROATED DIVER remains on the New Diggings Pit (the one opposite the ARC) at Dungeness RSPB (Kent), whilst inland Great Northern Divers can be found at eight localities.Carsington Water (Derbyshire) harbours both Great Northern Diver and Slavonian Grebe, whilst the Slavonian remains at Priory Country Park (Beds).

In Hampshire, both the GLOSSY IBIS and GREAT WHITE EGRET remain on the floodmeadows south of Ringwood.

In the South West of England, the adult winter PACIFIC DIVER is back to its normal routine, fishing offshore between Marazion Beach car park and Longrock car parks (West Cornwall), the drake LESSER SCAUP and Great Northern Diver are still on Siblyback Reservoir and the exceptionally late RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER is still at Nanquidno Valley.

In South Devon, a first-winter ROSE-COLOURED STARLING is in gardens by Exminster Churchyard for a second day, the female RING-NECKED DUCK is at Slapton Ley, whilst in Somerset, a drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK is present for a third day north of the Bessom Bridge at Wimbleball Reservoir.

Monday, 10 December 2012

FALCATED DUCK in Oxfordshire

This dapper drake FALCATED DUCK was superbly photographed by Roger Wyatt


Following the hysteria of the weekend, today was back to normal with a visit to Oxfordshire.....


A drake FALCATED DUCK had been discovered yesterday and was still present today. Joan, Mike Campbell, Bill Pegrum and I arrived late morning to find it still performing - showing reasonably well along the north shore of Farmoor 1. The bird is unringed and surprisingly wary, swimming away from the shore at speed at 130 yards range, before any of the Mallards it seems to be associating with (incidentally, of which, there has been a huge Continental influx of in the past month, perhaps due to many small lakes freezing over in the Low Countries and beyond). It is an ADULT drake and perhaps a returning bird, maybe that which wintered in South Devon.

Two different SLAVONIAN GREBES were still present on the reservoir, as well as 3 GREATER SCAUPS, one of which was an odd-plumaged juvenile.

Lee G R Evans

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Today's Beauty

Four from JONATHAN LETHBRIDGE and.........

another fine set from MJP......

Bird of the Year for me - and one of my most enjoyable twitches in a long time. Suffolk birders are always such a great bunch - and so friendly. Being face to face with this gorgeous bird for over three hours was momentous.
The first-winter HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL performed unbelievably today, showing down to just a few feet on the shingle beach just south of Aldeburgh (Suffolk). It was incredibly approachable, delighting upwards of 250 birders during the day; only the second twitchable bird on the Mainland ever.

With this week's adult winter PACIFIC DIVER in Mount's Bay, Marazion (Cornwall), the total number of species recorded this year in Britain and Ireland now increases to 444 species.

An adult drake FALCATED DUCK was discovered today on Farmoor 1 Reservoir (Oxfordshire), keeping to the NW corner

At the north end of Scotland, the female DESERT WHEATEAR continues to show well on the beach near the lighthouse at Rattray Head (Aberdeenshire).

For the remainder of today's News and direct access to the Club's Master Database for 2012, sign up for PREMIER BIRD NEWS today - still on special offer.

Premier Bird News direct to your computer and phone now available on subscription for just £12* per year (* limited offer only) - email for details

Lee G R Evans, Ornithological Consultant, British Birding Association/UK400 Club

Professional Guiding from just £63/70 Euros per day

2013 Tour Itinerary shortly to be announced but vacancies still on Round Britain Tours from 19-27 January and 17-26 May - email Lee at

*NEW FOR 2013 - October Birdathon Fortnights - getting the most out of the rarity jamboree

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Breaking News: HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL in Suffolk

A first-winter HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL was this lunchtime giving crippling views on the shingle opposite the Sailing Club at Aldeburgh. Frustratingly, the finder thought it was a Lapland Bunting and as such, the sighting was not followed up. A beautiful bird

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).

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


In West Cornwall, the adult PACIFIC DIVER was seen today in Mount's Bay, distantly feeding with Great Northern Divers off of the Station House Inn. This is presumably the bird seen on numerous occasions before

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

My first Christmas Birding Card of the Year

And very topical - from Lee and Roy at SUFFOLK BIRDING

Monday, 3 December 2012

The WAXWING invasion reaches CORNWALL

Check out Steve Rogers' superb website images -

Some nice summaries for Cornwall