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|Wednesday 25th July 2012, 14:03||#1|
Join Date: Jun 2007
Rare Bird Alert weekly round-up: 18 - 24 July 2012
From the Rare Bird Alert weekly round-up: 18 - 24 July 2012
The weeks highlights:
Earliest ever autumn Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Mobile Caspian Tern in Norfolk
New Snowy Owl in Ireland
Terek Sandpiper in Sussex
Summer finally arrived this week! Cloudy and damp conditions prevailed for most until 20th but thereafter the long-awaited high pressure slid in from the southwest and brought, at least for southern England, cloudless skies and the first spell of hot weather since May! By 24th temperatures in the Southeast were touching 30 degrees. The joy was not shared everywhere, however, with northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland experiencing further significant rain.
On the bird front I can report with some satisfaction that last week’s top prediction - Sharp-tailed Sandpiper - duly arrived, though its chosen location - Swartmill on Westray, Orkney - ensured that it was enjoyed by only a few. Found on 20th, it then remained all week. This is an outstanding find, the first for Orkney and only the 5th for Scotland. Sharp-tailed Sandpiper remains a very rare bird nationally too, with only 30 British records to the end of 2010 (with another 5 in Ireland). And not only is Sharp-tailed Sandpiper rare but it’s a stunning-looking species as well, complete with ginger cap, staring ‘spectacles’ and liberal chevrons all over its underparts. Most occur from August onwards, with only two previous July records, both found on 27th. This Orkney bird is therefore the earliest autumn bird by a whole week.
The Caspian Tern which arrived at the end of last week at Strumpshaw Fen, Norfolk remained on 18th and 19th though was, as ever with this species, extremely mobile. Though favouring some shallow pools near the windmill at Buckenham Marshes, it wandered regularly to Strumpshaw to the west and as far as Breydon Water to the east on both evenings. Nevertheless a strategy of patience or driving around would have resulted in most catching up with this fine bird. Norfolk retains its status as a top county for this species, this being the thirtieth since 1970 alone.
A male Snowy Owl on Arranmore Island, Donegal was an exciting discovery on 18th. Could it be the bird from North Uist (and previously Lewis), Western Isles, last seen on 11th June? It lingered in Donegal to 21st before disappearing again whilst, to its south, the adult female was still on The Mullet, Mayo to at least 21st. Will they find each other?
Right at the very end of the week, one of its best birds just managed to sneak in - an adult Terek Sandpiper reported on the River Adur at Shoreham, Sussex for half an hour in the late evening of 24th before flying off. Most Terek Sandpipers occur in late spring but July is also a good month for one, with 12 of the 73 British records between 1950 and 2010 falling in this month. This is only the 4th record for Sussex, the last being at Rye Harbour on 31st May 2008.
Headlines further afield included a Greater Sand Plover just across the water in Holland on 20th (definitely one to look out for here) and a Moustached Warbler in Germany on 21st (probably not one to look out for here). Three more Pacific Golden Plovers also reached northwest Europe this week (in Norway, Sweden and Holland), so a repeat here seems highly likely.
Much more in the full online round-up
- Sharp-tailed Sandpiper stats and facts
- Another gripping Wilson's Petrel photo from the Isles of Scilly
- Gloucestershire's first Long-billed Dowitcher since 1985
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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