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|Wednesday 1st August 2012, 13:48||#1|
Join Date: Jun 2007
Rare Bird Alert weekly round-up: 25 - 31 July 2012
From the Rare Bird Alert weekly round-up: 25 - 31 July 2012
The weeks highlights:
Greater Yellowlegs reappears yet again
Roller reappears yet again
Semipalmated Sandpiper in Lothian
Influx of White-winged Black Terns
A surfeit of Baillon’s Crakes
This week saw a return to more typical British summer weather. After the extremes of last week, only 25th saw such high temperatures whilst the nose of an Atlantic high pressure continued to extend across the country. By 26th, however, high pressure was building over the North Sea, bringing a shift in the wind to a northeasterly on exposed coasts and rolling much colder cloud and fog into eastern England. Elsewhere temperatures were soon down to a more normal twenty degrees or so with sunshine across much of the south though a trailing front from a low pressure off northwest Scotland brought rain across the north of the country. By 28th the wind was in the west for most, with moderate temperatures and a mixture of sunshine and showers but temperatures took a further dip on 30th in increasing winds.
As well as being a busy week for weather, this was a busier week for birds too, with a more definitively autumnal feel to proceedings and an excellent set of birds, the best of which were all in Scotland, particularly Orkney. As well as a Scottish and Orcadian flavour to the week, the other obvious theme was reappearing birds!
Hot on the heels of last week’s miraculously reappearing Western Bonelli’s Warbler on North Ronaldsay, Orkney and House Crow at Cobh, Cork, both resurfacing after long apparent absences, the long-staying but wandering Greater Yellowlegs reappeared at St. John’s Loch, Highland on 25th, continuing this site’s recent good run of birds which includes Black Kite, summer plumage Grey Phalarope and multiple Lesser Scaups.
Last seen at Loch of Mey, Highland on 28th May, it had previously been at Loch of Strathbeg, Aberdeenshire, Loch Fleet, Highland and before that at Hauxley/Druridge/East Chevington, Northumberland. Though this is this bird’s third appearance in Highland, it is only the second individual for the county, the last being as long ago as 19th May 1985, on the Isle of Skye. It was not seen on 26th but, guess what, it reappeared there on 27th. Is its next stop destined to be Orkney, just a short flight across the Pentland Firth?
If so, it would contribute yet another good bird to this archipelago’s already fine run of birds this autumn. Last week’s national highlight was the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper on Westray, whilst the rediscovered Western Bonelli’s Warbler also added to the quality. This week, what is presumably this summer’s wandering Roller made a reappearance on 26th near Finstown, Mainland, by the road to Heddle, and was still there on 30th. This is only the 12th for Orkney, the last as long ago as 1966! This bird was last seen at New Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire on 15th July, before that it was at Aldborough and Spurn, both Yorkshire. Like the Greater Yellowlegs, it seems bent on continuing north despite the lateness of the season.
The week’s third highlight was also in Scotland. Predicted in last week’s roundup, the appearance of an adult Semipalmated Sandpiper at Tyninghame Bay, Lothian on 29th was perfectly timed! It stayed to 31st and became only the second record for Lothian, following the first, a juvenile at the same site, on 27th August to 15th September 2010.
Closer to home for most was a sudden rash of White-winged Black Tern sightings in east and southeast England - at Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire briefly on the early morning of 25th, then singles at Minsmere, Suffolk on 28th and Staines, Surrey on 28th and 29th, with further reports from Orford Ness, Suffolk on 29th and from Alton Water, also Suffolk, on 29th to 30th and then another at Cresswell Pond, Northumberland on the late evening of 29th, the latter presumably then at Saltholme, Cleveland on 30th and 31st. How many (or few) birds might have been involved remains an open question.
Although ‘late news’, 31st saw a remarkable revelation – this summer has seen at least seven singing male Baillon’s Crakes at three sites across England, with possibly two more at another two sites! Following the discovery of a singing male on this year’s national Spotted Crake survey, surveyors were asked to listen out for Baillon’s Crakes too, with this astonishing result! This begs the obvious question as to whether this year is exceptional (at least 30 were heard in the Netherlands this spring) or whether we are seriously overlooking this species and it is actually a rare breeder rather than a vagrant. Next year will be fascinating!
Our European neighbours wre also making headlines this week, particularly the Dutch who came up with a summer plumage Brunnich’s Guillemot standing on the beach at Lauwersoog on 28th. Looking for all the world like some lost penguin, it was still there on 29th and proved extremely popular and, of course, well-photographed. Other ‘Eurohighlights’ included a juvenile Great Black-headed Gull in Poland, Short-toed Eagles in both Holland and Sweden and an Imperial Eagle also in Sweden. Also worth a mention is the Red-necked Stint in Italy on 29th – a predicted bird for the last two weeks but in the wrong country!
Much more in the full online round-up
- Wandering Greater Yellowlegs map
- Videos of Roller, White-winged Black Tern and Long-billed Dowitcher
- Video of a very showy Brunnich's Guillemot from Netherlands
Plus lots of great photos, analysis, and predictions...
>>> Read the rest of the round-up here <<<
illustrated with photos, and maps
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