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|Wednesday 13th June 2012, 12:17||#1|
Join Date: Jun 2007
Rare Bird Alert weekly round-up: 06 - 12 June 2012
This week the full round-up included below for Birdforum members but remember to see the fully illustrated version click the link at the bottom of the page.
Rare Bird Alert weekly round-up: 06 - 12 June 2012
The week's highlights:
A Greater Sand Plover makes an all too brief appearance on Western Isles
Fair Isle bags itself another River Warbler
The first spring Blyth's Reed Warbler since 2008 is discovered singing in Norfolk
Two sightings of Barolo Little Shearwater off the south coast
The Roller in East Yorkshire is un-perturbed by the inclement weather and decides to hang around a while longer
A slightly shorter than usual round-up this week folks, as Mark and Andy are both otherwise engaged, something to do with football and bad weather apparently! But despite the horrid weather and the fact it is June there were still some quality birds to write about.
As spring began to ebb away for another year, many birders were more focussed on the potential for Flood Alerts than Mega Alerts; with torrential rain and multiple reports of severe flooding in several areas of Britain, summer really had arrived with a bang!
The unseasonal weather, which brought torrential rains to many parts of Britain, wreaked havoc on many nesting birds. Coupled with extremely high tides, this perfect storm resulted in tern colonies being completely wiped out in places and there were many more reports of common breeding birds losing nests and young.
Despite the pessimism induced by the typical British summertime weather, those who kept the faith that early June can continue where May left off were rewarded with some quality rarities. This week’s headline discovery arrived on 8th in the form of a superb female Greater Sand Plover at the delightfully named Stinky Bay on Benbecula (Western Isles). Scottish Sand Plovers (of which there have been six previous records, two Mongolian Lesser and four Greater) haven’t always been straightforward to identify, but the Western Isles bird – with its obviously green legs and honking bill, really was a caricature Greater. This first for the Western Isles archipelago lingered until the following day.
Fair Isle is unrivalled in terms of its attractiveness to River Warblers – the 11th produced the island’s fourteenth (and potentially fifteenth, dependant on a BBRC ‘work in progress’) record. The Northern Isles also continued their Scottish Paddyfield Warbler monopoly when one was trapped on North Ronaldsay on 9th. Shetland and Orkney have produced all but three of the Scottish Paddyfield Warbler records, but this was only the second for North Ronaldsay following a bird in October 1997. It is a good while since Paddyfield Warbler was classed as a ‘heart-stopper’ but spring records remain at a premium, despite the species’ well publicised range expansion towards Northwest Europe.
Not to be outdone on the reed and bush warbler front, England fired home an equaliser to Scotland’s Paddyfield opener when a singing Blyth’s Reed Warbler was identified at Warham Greens on 9th, becoming Norfolk’s second spring record. Fittingly, this bird was discovered at the same site that hosted Norfolk’s first Blyth’s Reed (in September 1996), back when the field identification of this species was much more of an enigma than it is perceived to be nowadays.
Sightings of Barolo Little Shearwaters off Berry Head (Devon) on 7th and Pendeen (Cornwall) on 8th gave hope that a distinctive chortling will once again be heard from the darkness on Lundy Island. The lonesome Lundy male was first discovered amongst the Manx from 7th June in 2010 and it piped up again on 25th April last year, so it is now or never in terms of a 2012 encore.
The Roller rolled-over from last week and ensured a steady stream of twitchers made the journey to Aldbrough (East Yorkshire) – stunning views of a pristine specimen of one of the best looking species on the British List – if Carlsberg did rarities… and all that. Just up the road the Hornsea Roller was reported again on 6th.
Apart from a White-billed Diver off Fetlar (Shetland), most seabird activity was focussed around Southwest England. The low pressure system which produced the floods at the back end of last week generated winds that added a handful Pomarine Skuas, a few Balearics and a couple of Long-tailed Skuas to seawatching mix in addition to the aforementioned Little Shear's.
Herons, Egrets & allies
A Little Bittern photographed at Stocker’s Lake (Hertfordshire) on 10th (but only belatedly reported on 12th) was the first county record since 1997, whilst a Squacco Heron in a garden on The Lizard (Cornwall) on 9th had possibly been present for a week before the news of its presence seeped out. A first-summer Purple Heron lingered at Dungeness and in Hampshire the Night Heron reappeared at Lower Pennington on 12th (having avoided attention since 4th). Great White Egrets continued to play happy families at Shapwick Heath NNR (Somerset), whilst lone birds were noted in Cheshire, Isle of Wight and Lincolnshire. Glossy Ibises were logged in Pembrokeshire (the long-staying threesome at Marloes Mere), Somerset (2), Hampshire, Suffolk and Co Cork.
A party of four White Storks were located near Dingestow in Gwent on 5th. They remained until 9th, when they departed the area soon after 7am but were intercepted in Patchway in Gloucestershire later that morning. They were next seen flying along the Conwy coastline, approximately 130 miles north north-west of Patchway late afternoon on 10th.
Ducks & Geese
Early summer is hardly a vintage period for wildfowl, but the King Eider lingered on the beach at Blackdog (Aberdeenshire), where there is, as yet, no sign of the American White-winged Scoter, a bird many will be hoping will make a reappearance, given it's summer vacation to the Aberdeenshire coastline this time last year.
Surf Scoters were off Murcar (Aberdeenshire) and Orkney and Ring-necked Ducks visited Islay (Argyll), Frodsham Marsh (Cheshire), Holme Pierrepont (Nottinghamshire) and Lough Swilly (Co Donegal).
Red-footed Falcons lingered in Derbyshire (but sadly the Willington Gravel Pits bird was found dead on 11th), Tacumshin (Co Wexford) and Tealham Moor (Somerset), whilst the first Red-footed Falcon for Angus was found on the Isles of Scilly! well, almost; an internet-savvy Scilly birder stumbled across a photo of a female Red-footed Falcon on a non-birding photographer’s website and quickly alerted those who needed to know.
In Lincolnshire the Pallid Harrier remained in the vicinity of Barton-upon-Humber until 10th, a Black Kite joined the Roller in Aldbrough (East Yorkshire) and another Black Kite flew over Ower (Hampshire). The popular Snowy Owl lingered on North Uist.
Belated news of a Great Snipe at West Sedgemoor RSPB on 25th May would have been a popular addition to many a Somerset County Life List given the dearth of post-1950 county records. An American Golden Plover in Suffolk was equally untwitchable, lingering only briefly at Landguard NR on 11th, but a Black-winged Stilt at Kelling then Cley (Norfolk) on 6th-10th, two lingering Black-winged Stilts at Pennington Marshes (Hampshire) and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper in Lincolnshire on 12th were more cooperative.
Elsewhere migrant Red-necked Phalaropes paused in East Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, Lancashire and North Yorkshire and Pectoral Sandpipers were in Co Wexford (2) and Co Wicklow.
Gulls & Terns
A Whiskered Tern joined Kittiwakes off Saltwick Nab (North Yorkshire), whilst in Co Wexford the ever-present adult Forster’s Tern continued to perform at Tacumshin.
A Sabine’s Gull flew up the Severn Estuary and lingered off Severn Beach on 9th and in Co Down the long-staying 2nd-summer Ring-billed Gull remained in Groomsport.
Vocal male Iberian Chiffchaffs were present in Cornwall and Somerset throughout, whilst Greenish Warblers made landfall on Isle of May and Bardsey Island (Gwynedd). Bardsey Island once again benefited from its end-of-the-line location by also hosting a Red-breasted Flycatcher and Common Rosefinch – when you factor in the Black Kite, Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow, Woodchat Shrike, Subalpine Warbler, Melodious Warbler and at least one Common Rosefinch already recorded during spring 2012, few could argue with the island being awarded this spring’s ‘site of the season’ award.
Bee-eaters were logged in Co Durham, East Sussex, East Yorkshire, Essex, Kent and North Yorkshire, and Rose-coloured Starlings in Devon, East Sussex, East Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, Nottinghamshire and Suffolk were perhaps the harbingers of a significant invasion. A Great Reed Warbler sang on the The Lizard (Cornwall) and Melodious Warblers were logged in Argyll and Fife.
A couple of Short-toed Larks lingered on Lundy (Devon) and in Staffordshire a Short-toed Lark was suppressed in the north of the county between 4th-7th. Woodchat Shrikes were located in Co Cork, Conwy, Norfolk and Suffolk.
The Northern Isles produced the standard scattering of late spring scarce fare, but away from the northern extremities of the British Isles Marsh Warblers were in Northumberland (3), Aberdeenshire (2), East Yorkshire (2), Hampshire, Kent and London; Icterine Warblers visited Fife (2), Northumberland and Norfolk; Red-backed Shrikes were in Devon, East Yorkshire, Lothian, Isles of Scilly and Suffolk and Common Rosefinches arrived in Aberdeenshire, Anglesey and Fife.
Serins were noted on Isles of Scilly and in Kent and a Rustic Bunting on Mingulay.
Normal service will be resumed next Wednesday when Andy Stoddart steps in for the next few weeks in Mark's absence.
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