Rare & Scarce Birds in Britain & Ireland in 2012

Well, we are at the halfway stage in 2012, and no less than 384 species have been recorded in Britain and Ireland this year. It has also been the wettest spring on record, since at least 1910, most likely contributing to what will become one of the worst breeding seasons ever for birds in modern times.

Conversely, for listing birders however, it has been an exciting and lively six months, the first winter period producing both long-staying Common Yellowthroat and Dark-eyed Junco to join the overwintering Northern Waterthrush as well as an easy male Spanish Sparrow in residence. Both Western Sandpiper and Greater Yellowlegs gave themselves up with protracted stays, and the first twitchable UK Thayer’s Gull was well-seen in early spring. Spring proper was dominated by poor weather but high points included a Cream-coloured Courser and Western Orphean Warbler and both excellent performing European Roller and Little Swift towards the end.

White-billed Diver: In Shetland, where this species predominates in terms of its UK occurrences, singles were seen in South Nesting Bay, Kirkabister, on 8 & 22 January and in Bluemull Sound on 10 & 24 January and throughout February and March to 6th April, whilst in Orkney, singles were off Burray on 13th January, and Cara, South Ronaldsay, on 5th February. March often sees a bit of an influx and this year moulting adults were off Portsoy Harbour (Aberdeenshire) on 17th-19th and North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 27th, whilst at the regular staging site off the extreme NW tip of Lewis (Outer Hebrides), up to 3 were sighted during 22nd-26th, with 2 on 9th-10th & 23rd April.

In fact, April saw a welcome flourish in records with the aforementioned Portsoy adult remaining until 29th and another regular adult appearing off Burghead Maltings (Moray) on 12th. This bird continued to show daily until 8th May and was joined by a second breeding-plumaged adult from 19th-23rd April & 3rd May. In Orkney, single adults were off Papa Westray on 27th April and in Widewall Bay, South Ronaldsay, on 29th, with two being seen off Rerwick Head on 29th April and off North Ronaldsay on 30th April. May saw singles off West Burra (Shetland) on 19th and Sumburgh Head (Shetland) on 28th. With an adult off Evie (Orkney) from late May until 3rd June and a first-summer off Brough Lodge, Fetlar (Shetland), on 10th-11th June.

Black-browed Albatross: Off Ireland, an immature was seen ‘at sea’, 184 miles SW of Mizen Head (County Cork) on 29th February. What may have been the same immature was seen several times in the mid English Channel during the second half of June, being photographed from a fishing boast just 30 nautical miles south of Portland Bill (Dorset) on 17th June.

Cory’s Shearwater: In Kent, one flew east past Dungeness on 29th April.

North Atlantic Little Shearwater: One was seen early morning off Berry Head, Brixham (South Devon), on 7th June. Its visit coincided with that of a major displacement of Atlantic seabirds, caused by a very deep and unseasonal low pressure system, involving unprecedented numbers of Pomarine Skuas and Storm Petrels.

Wilson’s Storm Petrel: The first of the summer season, typically in the Western Approaches off Scilly, appeared 5 miles south of St Mary’s on 13th June.

Leach’s Petrel: During some exceptional weather for spring, storm-blown singles were seen flying past Spurn (East Yorks) and Sheringham (Norfolk) on 15th May.

Little Bittern: In Pembrokeshire, a first-summer male was seen at Teifi Marshes, Cilgerran, on 19th-20th April. Much later in the summer, a first-summer female appeared on the River Colne at Stocker’s Lake, Rickmansworth (Herts), showing well from 10th-17th June. It reappeared briefly on the River Chess, Chenies Bottom (Bucks), on 21st.

Cattle Egret: Three wintering birds remained in residence throughout January, with singles at Tophill Low NR and Hempholme (East Yorks) until 1st February, near Warblington Church (Hampshire) until 11th February and at Hillsborough Lake in County Down until 25th March. One was then seen at Seaford (East Sussex) on 7th February before one reappeared in the Lydney area (Gloucs) from 15th February until at least 27th April.

In March, singles were at Kingston Maurward, near Dorchester (Dorset) on 11th-22nd and at Swineham Point, Wareham, on 16th and in Lytchett Bay, Poole Harbour, from 24th March to 13th April, Brading Marsh (Isle of Wight) on 5th & 15th, flying north over Frinton-on-Sea (Essex) on 11th, at Hill Farm, Theale (Berks) from 18th until 3rd May and at Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham (Devon), on 27th and nearby Powderham Lake on 1st April, whilst in April, singles were at Chigborough Lakes, near Maldon (Essex), on 6th-15th, Walmsley Sanctuary (Cornwall) on 6th-30th, at both Snettisham RSPB and Burnham Overy Marshes (North Norfolk) on 25th and at Pevensey Levels (East Sussex) on 28th.

In Ireland in April, two were at Tintern Abbey, Bannow Bay (County Wexford) from 9th-16th, with one lingering until 21st.

In May, singles were noted at Earls Barton (Northants) on 1st-5th before moving to Manor Farm and Old Wolverton (North Bucks) on 19th-21st and in Christchurch Harbour (Dorset) on 5th-6th, whilst in Ireland, one remained near Bantry (County Cork) until 23rd.

Great White Egret: the increase in this species continues with the first breeding attempt successful and no less than 25 individuals overwintering. At Shapwick Heath NNR (Somerset), no less than 8 different individuals were roosting together in February, this culminating in a pair fledging three young in June.

Black-crowned Night Heron: an interesting January record involved a metal-ringed adult at Atherstone (Warks) that had been hatched in captivity at Burger’s Zoo in Holland on 18th April 2009. It had been subsequently transferred to Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire on 18th October 2009, from where it had escaped in December 2011.

High pressure and warm southerly winds saw a major arrival of Iberian-bound birds in March, with an adult commuting between Kenidjack Valley and Polgigga (Cornwall) from 12th April until 2nd May (and seen again on 15th April), an adult at Consols Pond, St Ives (Cornwall), from 17th-25th (then over the Hayle Estuary on 29th) and again on 1st-3rd April, three adults and a first-summer in a garden at Woolacombe (North Devon) on 12th-20th, an adult at Halsinger Down, Barnstaple (North Devon) on 13th, an adult at Lower Yelland Farm (North Devon) on 25th and another at Velator NR, Wrafton (North Devon) on 26th. In May, an adult was seen at Flamborough Head (East Yorks) on 7th-14th, with a first-summer at Ilfracombe (Devon) on 21st and an adult on the Arun Brooks between Amberley and Pulborough (West Sussex) from 15th-23rd. June saw yet more arrivals, with a popular first-summer roosting daily on a fishing pit at Lower Pennington Marshes (Hants) from 2nd-21st and an adult on Holy Island (Northumberland) on 25th June. In Shetland, the wing of a first-summer was found at Sand Voe on 28th June.

In Ireland, an adult was at Skibbereen (County Cork) from 30th March until 8th April.

Purple Heron: much scarcer of late but in early spring, singles appeared at Treledydd-fawr, near St David’s (Pembs), on 27th March, and on the River Otter near Buddleigh Salterton (South Devon) from 3rd-10th April, whilst in May, an adult was at Holkham Freshmarsh (Norfolk) on 4th-6th and a further bird on Tresco (Scilly) on 19th. In June, a first-summer at Severalls Reedbed, Church Norton, Pagham Harbour (West Sussex) on 4th moved to Denge Marsh, Dungeness RSPB (Kent) from 5th-14th, whilst a summer-plumaged adult visited the River Stour Water Meadows, Stodmarsh NNR (Kent), on 29th-30th.

In Ireland, singles were at Blackditch NR, near Newcastle (County Wicklow) from 23rd March until 3rd April, near Bunmahon (County Waterford) from 27th March until 27th April and at Tacumshin (County Wexford) on 4th-5th May.

Squacco Heron: In Avon and Somerset, a confiding adult was at Chew Valley Lake on 2nd-5th May and at nearby Blagdon Lake on 6th-17th May, whilst Dungeness RSPB Reserve (Kent) notched up yet another record of this species with a first-summer at Denge Marsh on 30th May. One then visited a garden pond on the Lizard (Cornwall) on 7th-9th June, followed by singles at Seaford (East Sussex) on 21st June and Welney WWT (Norfolk) on 30th-31st June.

White Stork: with so many escapes and introduction birds around, this species is difficult to review, but an adult that lingered in Fife until 16th January, travelled south through Northumberland and East Yorkshire to reach North Lincolnshire in late January was most likely a natural vagrant. After leaving the Horncastle area on 7th February, it took Kirkby-on-Bain landfill site to its liking, and remained there until 3rd March. There was then the usual early spring scattering of sightings with the first over Redruth (Cornwall) on 22nd March, followed by another over Wincanton (Somerset) on 25th March.

An unprecedented flock of 9 was discovered by a farmer at Abberley (Worcs) on 17th April, six of them touring the North Wales coastline on 22nd-23rd before pitching up in Oxfordshire at Standlake Common from 25th-30th. Sadly, one then died after flying into power lines, but the surviving 5 then visited West Sussex on 2nd-3rd May, Hampshire on 4th and Dorset on 5th-6th. An additional party of 3 were seen over Broughton Down (Somerset) on 17th May and Dawlish Warren (Devon) on 21st May. The five then became four, all attempting to fly south out to sea at Portland Bill (Dorset) on 23rd May but quickly returning. They were then seen in Somerset on 24th, Devon on 25th and incredibly over Lakenheath RSPB (Suffolk) on 28th. A further two were also seen near Appledore (Kent) on 11th-13th May and also toured the South Coast up until 16th.

By June 2012, the four were in South Yorkshire and over Redmires Reservoir on 2nd, before drifting over Titchwell (Norfolk) on 4th and ending up at Dingestow (Gwent) from 6th-9th. They then returned north to wander once more along the North Welsh coastline on 10th, before flying all the way back again to be at Curry Moor (Somerset) on 13th-18th. Incredibly, they were back over Penrhyn Bay (Clwyd) on 19th, before moving to Bamford (Derbyshire) on 28th. Meanwhile, the flock of 3 last reported in South Devon on 21st May, lingered near Bognor Regis (West Sussex) from 20th-24th June, before being seen over Cissbury Ring on 25th, Angmering on 28th, Pulborough Brooks RSPB on 29th and back at Pagham Harbour on 30th.

Northern Bald Ibis: An intriguing record concerned that of an unringed adult in Staffordshire from mid May relocating to Cheshire then Greater Manchester in June. It had presumably escaped from a collection in the Midlands. A reintroduction programme is still ongoing in Spain.

Glossy Ibis: A West Coast influx in mid-January contributed to about 65 birds being logged that month, including a single flock of 23 at Carew (Pembrokeshire) from 29th. In addition to singles in Scilly, Cornwall and Dorset at the beginning of January, further singles were noted at Sandbach Flashes (Cheshire) from 7th, St Helens (Isle of Wight) on 29th-31st and at Fingringhoe Wick EWT (Essex) from 1st. Furthermore, two were seen in Lancashire (including a very long-stayer at Leighton Moss RSPB) and at Stodmarsh NNR (Kent), whilst 5 different birds were seen in Devon and 32 were seen in South Wales, including two adults and an immature at Marloes Mere (Pembs) from 17th. In Scotland, a party of 5 visited Bay of Laig, in extreme NW Eigg (Highland) from 20th, increasing to 7 on 27th. They were last reported on 14th February.

Some 55 continued into February including the 23 at Carew until 2nd; 13 of these then lingered until 12th, with 2 at Dowrog Common, St David’s (Pembs) on 1st and an additional 3 still at Marloes Mere all month. In fact, these 3 became a permanent feature until 8th June, when two moved SE to Steart (Somerset) on 9th. Elsewhere, ones and twos were seen throughout the UK, perhaps most popular being up to 5 that visited Halvergate Marshes (Norfolk) from 23rd February until 27th March. Remarkably, only next day, 4 of this group had completed a mammoth 350 mile journey to Germany.

At least 32 lingered into March including two in Scotland (at Mersehead RSPB Reserve, D & G, on 5th and on North Uist from 23rd-31st), the long-staying immature at Saltholme Pools RSPB (Cleveland), the Spanish-ringed first-year at Great Baddow and Maldon (Essex) and another first-year at Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk), whilst in April, 1-2 continued in the Weymouth area (Dorset) and 3 migrated north from Campfield Marsh RSPB (Cumbria) on 28th to Donmouth and Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire) on 29th-30th.

There were still at least 15 lingering into May, with two in the Pagham Harbour area (West Sussex) on 5th-20th and long-staying individuals in Cleveland, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset, Lancashire and Essex. Two were again at Minsmere Levels (Suffolk) from 29th May until at least late June, whilst up to 4 remained in Wales (including a bird that visited Malltraeth RSPB, Anglesey, on 6th & 17th) and the three were in Scotland (at Strathbeg until 2nd before visiting Drums and Newburgh on 5th). A further bird was at Barassie (Ayrshire) on 5th May.

In June, two lingered at Minsmere RSPB all month, with an immature still at Marloes Mere and another roaming between Sussex and Hampshire.

Many individuals were ringed and traced back to the Coto Donana in southern Spain, where the breeding population there has increased dramatically in recent years.

The winter influx was also mirrored in Ireland, with 1-2 seen at several sites in January, 3 at Termoncarragh Lough on The Mullet (County Mayo) on 12th-13th, 5 at Dungarvan (Co. Waterford) on 15th and 5 at Skibbereen (Co. Cork on 28th. At least 3 continued throughout February, with singles at Timoleague (County Cork) from 14th March until 28th April, Moylough (County Galway) from 14th March until 23rd April. Numbers increased again in May when of 10 reported, three were in County Cork and up to 4 graced Tacumshin Marsh (County Wexford). One remained at Upper Lough Erne (County Fermanagh) on at least 13th-19th June.

Sacred Ibis: Three individuals, two of which were ringed, appeared at Denaby Ings (South Yorks) on 24th-25th March and then Moore NR (Cheshire) on 25th March and had presumably escaped from a local collection. They then visited various sites in the Midlands and along the east coast in April before two then moved to Northumberland and one made a protracted stay in North Norfolk in May-June.

Lesser White-fronted Goose: an adult perhaps of genuine origin remained with up to 104 Taiga Bean Geese in the Yare Valley at Buckenham Carrs and Cantley (Norfolk) until 17th February.  It was almost certainly the same adult as present from 13th December 2010 until 24th January 2011 – at that time, seemingly paired up with one of the Taiga Beans !

LWFG is another problematical species to assess with at any given time, up to 15 escaped adults on the loose in the UK.

Snow Goose: The adult white morph remained with Pink-footed Geese near Greenloaning (Perth & Kinross) from 1st-9th January before moving to Carnwath (Clyde) on 15th-16th, whilst another visited Loch Evelix, Dornoch (Sutherland) with Greylag Geese on 20th January. A blue morph was with Greenland White-fronted Geese on Tiree (Argyll) on 16th-26th January and again on 22nd-27th March. In Ireland, a blue morph remained at Lough MacNean (County Fermanagh) until 21st March, and the adult white morph lingered at Big Isle (County Donegal) until at least 10th February.

At the end of March and in early April, a flock of up to 31 Snow Geese was seen at various sites along the south coast, staging as often, on the East Sussex/Kent border at Scotney GP. This 31 was then followed by a party of 6, initially arriving from the sea at Seaford Head (East Sussex). They much later flew north over East Newton (East Yorks) on 20th April and St Abb’s Head (Borders) next day before settling at Wasbister (Orkney) on 22nd-23rd April. Intriguingly, the darvic-ringed bird amongst them showed that they originated from the non-naturalised population near Dusseldorf in Germany. Although Oxfordshire is often cited as the origin of some of our large flocks of Snow Geese, this does now prove that Germany and Holland self-sustaining populations offer an alternative origin.

Ross’s Snow Goose: up to four different adults accompanied the huge and ever-increasing number of wintering Pink-footed Geese in North Norfolk throughout January, 3 of them being seen at Holkham Freshmarsh during 6th-11th. The two Docking area adults were last reported on 12th February, whilst the Halvergate Marshes adult lingered until early March and that regular adult at Holkham roosted regularly until 29th February.An adult considered to be of more dubious origin remained with the Barnacle Geese on the Solway Firth, being seen near Bowness-on-Solway (Cumbria) from 1st January until 12th February before moving to Caerlaverock WWT (D & G) on 15th-24th February, Mersehead RSPB until 6th March and to Rockcliffe Marsh (Cumbria) from 1st-9th April. By February’s end, there was some hint of return movement, with an adult with Pink-feet in the East Chevington (Northumberland) area from 25th February to 11th March, whilst further singles staged off on their northward journey at Carnwarth (Clyde) from 14th-25th March, Rattray Head (Aberdeenshire) on 1st-4th April and near Forres (Moray) on 24th-28th April..

Small Canada Goose and considered vagrant Greater Canada Geese: at least 5 vagrant birds were seen in January, including an interior near Fleetwood (Lancs) until 9th and later at Caerlaverock WWT (D & G) until 15th March and up to 4 hutchinsii on Islay (Argyll). A further hutchinsii lingered with Barnacle Geese on Berneray and North Uist (Outer Hebrides) from 15th-21st April.

In addition, two different presumed vagrant hutcjinsii were recorded much further south than normal, with a first-winter at Torr Reservoir (Somerset) from 1st January until mid March, moving to Chew Valley lake (Avon) on 25th-28th March & 15th April and another at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) from 25th March to 10th April.

In Ireland, 3 hutchinsii were with Barnacle Geese in the Lissadell area (County Sligo) until at least mid March.

Richardson’s Cackling Geese (hutchinsii) winter in Texas and northern Mexico but autumn 2011 saw larger numbers than usual winter over a thousand miles away in NE Canada. There were also abnormal numbers of Snow Geese lingering there and with 23 North American birds of 11 species alone at Chew Valley Lake, the likelihood that the Somerset/Avon and Gwent bird of November 2011 were displaced natural vagrants.

Red-breasted Goose: single first-winters of presumably wild origin were present with Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the Exe Estuary (South Devon) and at Old Hall Marshes RSPB (Essex) throughout January, whilst an additional first-winter consorted with Barnacle Geese on the Solway Firth visiting Cardurnock (Cumbria) on 22nd-23rd January before moving to Caerlaverock WWT (Dumfries & Galloway) on 25th and then Southerness Point until at least 1st May.

The Exe Estuary bird lingered in South Devon until 19th February before moving to Keyhaven Marshes (Hants) on 25th-26th then Needs Ore Point (Hants) until 20th March whilst that in Essex frequented the assorted creeks and marshes until 27th March. An adult was a new discovery on the River Deben north of Felixstowe Ferry (Suffolk) on 10th February, this bird lingering with Dark-bellied Brents until 9th March, whilst one appeared with Pink-footed Geese near Braco (Perth & Kinross) on 31st March and was possibly that near Brora (Sutherland) on 24th-28th April.

American Black Duck: In Ireland, the resident drake was reported from Sruhill Lough, Achill Island (County Mayo) intermittently during January to March.

American Wigeon: at least 5 individuals remained from 2011 with single wintering drakes at Dawlish Warren NNR (South Devon) (until 19th March), Anglers Country Park, Wintersett (West Yorks) (until 5th March), Lochmaben (D & G) (until 5th April) and at Loch Bee, South Uist (Outer Hebrides) (until 15th February and joined by a second on 19th January) and a female at Bodenham Lake (Herefordshire) (until 28th February). Additional drakes appeared at Longton (Lancs) on 7th-8th January, Coombe Hill Meadows NR (Gloucs) on 12th-16th January, Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire) on 16th January (and again on 5th-10th February), North Warren RSPB (Suffolk) on 1st-4th February, Bay of Suckquoy (Orkney) on 19th February to 25th March, Marlingford (Norfolk) on 1st-9th March and on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) from 14th-16th May. A pair was then discovered at Gutcher, Yell (Shetland), on 24th May, quickly relocating further north at Haroldswick, Unst, until 26th, whilst what was presumably February’s drake returned to Strathbeg RSPB on 17th-26th June.

In Ireland, a drake was at Rahasane Turlough NR (County Galway) from 8th January until at least 29th March, with another at Portmore Lough (County Antrim) from 7th-11th April.

Falcated Duck: A drake was with Eurasian Wigeon at Cross Lough, on the Mullet (County Mayo) from 2nd-11th April, representing the first record for Ireland of this resplendent wildfowl.

Blue-winged Teal: a juvenile drake remained at Longham Lakes, Bournemouth (Dorset) until 14th January, with another on Lower Moors, St Mary’s (Scilly) until 4th March and a further juvenile at Loch Stiapavat, Lewis (Outer Hebrides) from 13th-19th January. An adult drake, perhaps a regular bird, appeared at Threave Castle, Castle Douglas (D & G) on 4th-14th February, with a female at Walmsley Sanctuary, Wadebridge (Cornwall), from 18th March until 4th May and a further drake at Ham Walls RSPB (Somerset) from 11th-18th April. The Scottish drake was then relocated at Glengavel Water, near Drumclog (Clyde) on 1st-16th April, before moving to Loch Leven (Perth & Kinross) on 22nd-23rd April and Bridgend Farm Pools, near Kirkintilloch (Clyde) from 6th-22nd May.

In Ireland, the long-staying adult female remained on North Bull Island (County Dublin) until at least 7th January (moving to the Skerries on 28th-30th March), whilst a drake visited Pat Reddan’s Lake, Borriskane (County Tipperary) on 12th-14th March and an eclipse drake was at Tacumshin (County Wexford) from 30th June into July.

Ring-necked Duck: Single drakes were present at Par Beach Pool, St Austell (Cornwall) all January and Cowpen Bewley Lake (Cleveland) all January, with two first-winter drakes at Chard Junction GP (Dorset) until early April. Single females were seen at Hatfield Moors, near Doncaster (South Yorks) from 3rd January until 19th February, Ranworth Broad (Norfolk) from 1st January until 14th February (then at Wroxham Broad on 29th-30th April) and on Coot Loch, Benbecula (Outer Hebrides) from 11th February until 19th April.

As spring approached, migrant drakes appeared at Shearman’s Wath (Lincs) from 9th-12th April, Barton Broad (Norfolk) on 16th April, Loch Kinord (Aberdeenshire) (2 birds) on 7th April, Loch of Skene (Aberdeenshire) (same two birds) on 28th April and West Ashby (Lincs) on 7th-11th May, with summering drakes at Frodsham Marsh (Cheshire) on 4th-10th June, Holme Pierrepont (Notts) on 9th-10th June and at Loch Finlaggan, Islay (Argyll), on 12th-26th June.

Ferruginous Duck: A drake remained at Ivy Lake, Blashford GP (Hants) until 27th January, with a different drake at Woolhampton GP (Berks) on 14th-15th January and from 4th-13th February, subsequently located at Bray GP, Maidenhead (Berks) from 16th-23rd February. A female also visited Paxton Pits NR (Cambs) on 7th-9th January, with a drake of unknown origin commuting between Ranworth Broad and Whitlingham CP (Norfolk) from 13th-29th January. A further drake reached Wimbleball Lake (Somerset) on 5th-13th February with females at Linford NR (North Bucks) on 11th-12th March, Strumpshaw Fen RSPB (Norfolk) on 3rd April, Lisvane Reservoir, Cardiff (Glamorgan) on 6th-7th April and at Steeple Langford (Wilts) on 11th-15th April..

In Ireland, a drake was at Mullaghmore Lough (County Monaghan) on 14th January before being shot, with another at Oxford Island (County Armagh) on 28th.

Lesser Scaup: the wintering females remained at Marden Quarry (Northumberland) until 23rd January and Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) until 4th April respectively, with the drake in Cardiff Bay and environs (South Wales) until 28th April. A female was also discovered at Loch of Skene (Aberdeenshire) on 6th-9th January, with a first-winter male on Dozmary Pool and Siblyback Lake, Bodmin Moor (Cornwall) from 15th January to 17th February and another first-winter male at Newquay Boating Lake (Cornwall) on 19th-21st February and latterly at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) on 23rd February and again from 11th-23rd March. In northern Scotland, the regularly wintering drake was reported from St John’s Loch, near Thurso (Caithness) from 21st February until at least 11th May.

In Ireland, single drakes were on Lough Sheelin (County Cavan) from 18th January until 19th February and Lough Gill, Castlegregory (County Kerry) from 1st January until at least 17th February.

Dresser’s Eider: In County Donegal, an adult drake showing characters of this North American form was seen off the Isle of Doagh, Ballyliffin, on 3rd June and off the west side of Malin Head on 13th-16th June.

King Eider: an adult drake flew past Chanonry Point (Highland) on 10th January followed by singles in Burghead Bay (Moray) on 1st March and near Brora in the Dornoch Firth (Sutherland) on 24th March. From 27th March, the regular drake returned for a third successive spring to the Ythan Estuary (Aberdeenshire), where it was most easily located from Inches Point, whilst on 21st April, a female was photographed about a mile offshore from a boat in the Wash off Leverton (Lincs). Another female was discovered at Rubha Ardvule, South Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 1st May, whilst meanwhile the Ythan drake relocated to Murcar late in the month to commence its annual moult. It remained there into July.

In Ireland, a first-winter female was off Annagh Head (County Mayo) on 1st March, with a first-summer drake off Portnoo (County Donegal) on 18th-19th May.

North American Black Scoter: In Aberdeenshire, a first-summer drake was off Murcar Golf Links at Blackdog from 14th June into July.

Surf Scoter: a first-winter drake remained off Penzance (Cornwall) until 9th April, whilst the female present for its fourth consecutive winter lingered off Dawlish Warren (Devon) until 23rd February. In North Wales, three drakes were identified amongst several thousand offshore scoter off Llandullas (Clwyd) on 14th-28th January and these remained but were rarely seen until at least early April, with a female showing well near Morfa Nefyn from 24th January until 5th April. Meanwhile, in Scotland, a regular adult drake was in Largo Bay (Fife) on 13th-15th January and throughout March and April, with single drakes off Buckhaven (Fife) on 18th February, Portmahomack (Highland) on 18th-21st April, Blackdog Rocks (Aberdeenshire) on 29th April and off Rerwick Head (Orkney) on 19th-21st April.

The Largo drake moved south across the Forth in May to be seen off Gosford Bay (Lothian) from 8th-20th, whilst two drakes were in the Sound of Barra (Outer Hebrides) on 15th May and a first-summer drake was in Loch Gairloch (Highland) on 30th May. Midsummer saw the annual build up in numbers of moulting scoter off Blackdog and Murcar Golf Links (Aberdeenshire), this year involving at least 6 different Surf Scoters (four drakes and two females) from 6th June. Further north in Orkney, a female was in Echnaloch Bay, Burray, from 10th-19th June.

A further 9 were reported from Ireland in January, including 3 off Lahinch (County Clare) on 23rd, with a first-winter drake being seen off Garretstown (County Cork) until 22nd April.

Bufflehead: In Cornwall, the juvenile male remained on the Loe Pool, Helston until 4th March. It made a brief excursion to Drift Reservoir on 3rd January and also visited Trelusback, near Redruth, on 4th March before departing, perhaps to Holland in April. What was then most likely the same bird then appeared in North Lincolnshire on 27th April, spending a few hours late afternoon at Covenham Reservoir near Louth.

Hooded Merganser: in addition to the ever-present drake of unknown origin at Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset), a female was present at Whetstead GP, Tonbridge (Kent), intermittently from 10th February until 6th March.

Black Kite: One flew north over Wallington (London) on 30th March spearheading a somewhat typical scattering of records in April and May, virtually all of which were brief flyovers. More unusual was one over Boddam and Virkie (Shetland) on 7th April. By June, sightings were scarce, but did include a first-summer in the Aldbrough area (East Yorks) on 7th and a long-staying bird wandering Shetland between 18th & 27th June.

In Ireland, an adult visited Vartry Reservoir, Roundwood (County Wicklow) on 24th March, followed by singles in May at Galley Head (County Cork) on 1st and Lady’s Island Lake (County Wexford) on 15th.

White-tailed Sea Eagle: a rather scruffy, heavily moulting second-winter flew NE over East Hyde (Beds) on 10th February and over Rye Meads RSPB (Herts) next day before moving to Kent, where it flew in off the sea over Sheppey later on 11th, roosted in a tree near Botolph’s Bridge, Hythe, on 14th and did the same for over three hours on Romney Marsh near Brookland (East Sussex) on 16th. It was seen again briefly at Saltwood (Kent) on 19th before moving and roosting overnight at Caister-on-Sea (Norfolk) on 21st-22nd February.

This species goes from strength to strength on the near Continent and is also increasing in Poland, Germany and European Russia.

Pallid Harrier: Following an unprecedented autumn for this species in NW Europe, a juvenile male continued to linger in Ireland at Lough Corrib (County Galway) until 2nd April. This was followed by a migrant adult male photographed at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) on 3rd April and a juvenile through Belvide Reservoir (Staffs) on 14th April. There was then a marked influx in May, with a juvenile male touring the north Norfolk coast on 5th, a juvenile at Waxham (Norfolk) on 9th, a juvenile near Skegness (Lincs) on 8th and over Donna Nook (Lincs) on 11th, a juvenile through Spurn (East Yorks) on 6th and an adult male over Long Buckby (Northants) on 28th. Just a single bird lingered: a juvenile in the Patrington Haven area (East Yorks) from 14th-18th May.

Rough-legged Buzzard: There was a good scattering of records in January to March involving about 25 birds, with Kent and East Anglia hosting the majority of them, with up to 4 wintering at Holkham Freshmarsh and roosting at Wells and East Hills. Further popular juveniles included singles at Burpham (West Sussex), Ouse Fen (Cambs), near Withern (Lincs) and on Shetland at Laxobigging.

More unusual was a wintering bird in Ireland: near Kilcoole (County Wicklow) from 5th January to 27th February.

Red-footed Falcon: About a dozen were reported in May and June, over half of them in East Anglia, including well-watched birds at Jubilee River NR, Taplow (Bucks) on 21st-22nd, Rockland Broad (Norfolk) on 29th-31st, Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) on 30th-31st, near Aberfeldy (Perth & Kinross) from 30th May to 1st June, Willington GP (Derbyshire) from 4th-10th June when found dead and Tealham Moor (Somerset) from 4th-11th June and at Tophill Low NR (East Yorks) on 13th-15th June.

Ireland saw an influx too, with first-summers at Owenahincha (County Cork) on 24th May, Tacumshin (County Wexford) from 25th May to 6th June, Kilcolgan (County Galway) on 4th-5th June and in County Antrim at Slemish Mountain on 14th-18th June and Montaigh’s Moss on 24th-27th June.

Gyrfalcon: in January, single white morphs were seen near Stromness (Orkney) on 23rd and near Blennerville (County Kerry) on 15th, whilst in February, one was at Malaclete, North Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 27th. Later in spring, a white morph visited Benbecula (Outer Hebrides) on 6th April

Baillon’s Crake: The third for Ireland and the first in over 150 years there afforded observers with outstandingly close views when it made landfall on Great Saltee Island (County Wexford) on 24th March.

Coinciding with large numbers on the near continent, a singing male was then present at Malltraeth Marsh RSPB (Anglesey) from 22nd May until at least 5th June.

Black-winged Stilt: A bumper year. The first, a male, appeared in Ireland on 30th March – at Tacumshin Lake (County Wexford). It remained until 10th April before crossing the Irish Sea and moving to Standlake NR (Oxfordshire) on 12th, Rutland Water (Leics) on 13th, Willow Tree Fen, near Spalding (Lincs) on 14th-18th and then Frampton Marsh RSPB (Lincs) from 19th until 18th May.

A further first-summer male was then discovered at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) on 10th April before relocating to Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset) on 11th and Abbotsbury Swannery (Dorset) on 12th-18th, whilst a pair appeared at Clayhanger Marsh (West Midlands) on 19th, quickly moving north to Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve (Lancs) on 20th. In Devon, three frequented sites both sides of the upper Exe Estuary on 25th-27th April before two moved north to Wrafton Ponds (North Devon) on 28th-29th and one moved west to Walmsley Sanctuary (Cornwall) from 28th until 4th May.

May saw many more records and some duplication with singles on the Isle of May (Fife) from 1st-4th, in Christchurch Harbour (Dorset) on 2nd, at various sites around the Exe Estuary (South Devon) from 5th-29th, at Lodmoor RSPB (Dorset) on 24th-25th then Abbotsbury Swannery on 24th-27th, at Newport Wetlands NR (Gwent) on 25th, Hodbarrow RSPB (Cumbria) on 28th, Shibdon Pond, Blaydon (County Durham) on 29th and Fairburn Ings (West Yorks) on 30th-31st. Additionally, a party of 4 was at Elmley Marshes RSPB (Kent) on 5th-6th (two of which lingered there until 11th), two visited Minsmere RSPB on 7th and in Cambridgeshire, a pair failed to breed at Upton Fen and a first-summer male remained at Paxton Pits NR from 21st-24th. A second pair also attempted to breed at Pennington Marshes (Hants), with a third in Somerset.

A first-summer female lingered into June in Norfolk, visiting Kelling Water Meadows briefly on 6th before settling at Cley from 6th-10th and then moving to Welney WWT on 13th-18th.

Cream-coloured Courser: Bird of the year, certainly for me. A fabulous breeding-plumaged adult was discovered on 20th May at Kington Golf Course, Bradnor Hill, in Herefordshire, where it afforded stunning views for many hundreds of admirers for several days before flying off west on Natch Day late morning on 23rd. It was the first ever to reach Britain in spring and only the 33rd overall and only the third twitchable individual in over 30 years.

Black-winged Pratincole: one at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB (Cheshire) on 3rd-4th May was unusually early for this eastern vagrant.

Kentish Plover: In Wales, one was at Ynyslas RSPB on 20th April, with a further eight migrants in May – at Pegwell Bay (Kent) on 2nd, Ferrybridge, Portland Harbour (Dorset) on 2nd-3rd, Rye Harbour NR (East Sussex) on 3rd-6th, Hickling Broad (Norfolk) on 4th, Cley NWT (Norfolk) on 10th, a female at Marazion Beach (Cornwall) on 9th-11th joined by a male on 11th-12th and a male on Beal Sands, Holy Island (Northumberland) on 15th-19th.

Greater Sand Plover: In the Outer Hebrides, a female associating with Ringed Plovers visited Stinky Bay, Benbecula, on 8th-9th June. It represented only the 5th for Scotland.

American Golden Plover: In North Cornwall, one visited Davidstow on 17th-19th February. In June, singles were on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 3rd and briefly at Landguard Common (Suffolk) on 11th.

In Ireland, single birds visited Tacumshin (County Wexford) on 20th April & 6th-20th May, Reenroe, Waterville (County Kerry), on 28th April to 1st May, Old Head of Kinsale (County Cork) on 17th May and Ballycotton (County Cork) on 22nd May.

Pacific Golden Plover: an adult in full breeding plumage graced Cley NWT North Scrape and Eye Field (Norfolk) from 22nd-27th June, whilst in Ireland, one was on Inishkea Island (County Mayo) on 4th June.

Western Sandpiper: In North Norfolk, the first-winter remained at Cley NWT Reserve until 29th January, when it was believed to have moved on with Dunlin following the harsh wintry conditions experienced on the reserve. There is an outside chance that it was the bird found in Sweden in early July.

Temminck’s Stint: Very unusually and unseasonally, singles were seen in January at Rushy Common NR (Oxfordshire) on 19th-27th and on the Ouse Washes RSPB (Cambs) all month. No more were then recorded until May, when about 80 appeared, followed by a further 5 in June. A marked decline in numbers compared to recent years.

White-rumped Sandpiper: Singles visited Cley NWT (Norfolk) briefly on 11th May and Holy Island causeway mudflats (Northumberland) on 16th-21st May.

Pectoral Sandpiper: In the first case of overwintering in Britain, a confiding first-winter remained (and moulted) at Barassie (Ayrshire) until 16th January, before moving to near Troon from 29th January until 12th February and then returning to Dundonald Camp until 18th April

Later in early spring, one appeared at Loch Gruinart RSPB, Islay (Argyll), on 5th March, followed by singles at Stretton Sugwas GP (Herefordshire) on 21st-23rd April and again at Gruinart on 26th-27th April. May saw a further influx with singles on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 5th & 15th, at Exminster Marshes RSPB (Devon) on 9th & 29th, on Tiree (Argyll) on 14th-16th, at Butt of Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 15th (and joined by a second bird on 16th), Goldcliff NR (Gwent) on 16th, Buckenham Marshes RSPB (Norfolk) on 16th-19th, Swillington Ings (West Yorks) on 27th and Loch of Harray (Orkney) on 27th. More followed in June with singles at Dawlish Warren NNR (Devon) on 1st, Walney Island (Cumbria) on 5th, Loch of Funzie, Fetlar (Shetland), on 14th & 29th and on Tiree (Argyll) on 29th and two together at Beacon Ponds LNR, Kilnsea (East Yorks) on 2nd.

In Ireland, five appeared in May at Kilcoole NR (County Wicklow) on 15th-19th, two at Lough Beg (County Derry) on 20th-21st, on Inishkea Islands (County Mayo) on 25th and at Truska (County Galway) on 30th. These were followed by four more in June including two at Tacumshin (County Wexford) on 4th-6th.

Broad-billed Sandpiper: In the Outer Hebrides, an adult was at Loch Bee, South Uist, on 28th May. With just one record, this was a very poor showing indeed for this Scandinavian bog-nesting vagrant.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: One visited the Butt of Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 27th May whilst what was probably the same wandering individual visited Tyninghame Bay, Dunbar (Lothian) on 5th June, North Somercotes (North Lincs) on 11th June and at Nosterfield GP (North Yorks) on 15th June.

Wilson’s Snipe: On the Isles of Scilly, last autumn’s first-winter reappeared on Lower Moors, St Mary’s, briefly on 25th February.

Great Snipe: one was discovered by a survey worker at West Sedgemoor RSPB (Somerset) on 25th May. An exceptionally rare straggler in spring.

Long-billed Dowitcher: It was an excellent winter for this Nearctic species with no less than 8 individuals to be found on this side of the Atlantic, including a first-winter at Kidwelly Quay (Carmarthenshire) (until at least 20th April), a first-winter at Wigtown Harbour (D & G) (from 7th January to 8th April) and two first-winters at Lodmoor RSPB (Dorset) from 2nd-12th January. What may have been one of the latter reappeared at Lodmoor on 2nd February before moving to The Fleet at Langton Herring on 3rd-4th, then back again to Lodmoor on 5th March, before perhaps moving east to Needs Ore Point (Hants) briefly; It was back at Abbotsbury Swannery (Dorset) on 12th April. In Somerset, a first-winter was at Greylake RSPB on 17th-18th March before moving to the drained lagoon at Meare Heath, Shapwick, on 15th, where it was joined back by a second bird from 20th. Both birds then continued through April and until 2nd May. Also in May, single summer-plumaged adults appeared at Great Livermere Lake (Suffolk) on 4th-6th, Hodbarrow RSPB Reserve (Cumbria) on 9th-12th and at Saltholme RSPB (Cleveland) from 24th May until 17th June.

Four wintering birds in Ireland included two first-winters at The Cull (County Wexford) from 14th January until 15th April and singles at the North Slob WR (County Wexford) on 1st-8th January, Fahamore (County Kerry) on 13th-16th January, in Bannow Bay (County Wexford) from 28th April until 4th May and in Victoria Park, Belfast (County Antrim) on 9th April. May saw further arrivals with singles at Lough Beg (County Derry) on 3rd and at The Gearagh, Macroom (County Cork) on 18th.

Greater Yellowlegs: a first-winter, previously present in Northumberland in the autumn of 2011, remained near Loch Fleet (Sutherland) until 14th January, disappearing at the onset of heavy snow and ice. It made a sudden reappearance in the Dornoch area on 20th February before moving back to the Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire) on 3rd March, where it continued to linger until 27th May. It also visited the north end of the Ythan Estuary on 5th-12th and Loch of Mey (Highland) on 28th May.

Lesser Yellowlegs: In Somerset, a first-winter remained on the Brue Estuary at Burnham-on-Sea until 4th February with another on the Tamar Estuary at Kingsmill Lake (Cornwall) until 29th March. In Spring, one appeared at Hereford Quarry (Herefordshire) on 20th May.

Spotted Sandpiper: The adult was at Chew Valley lake (Avon) from 24th September 2011 until 26th January and again intermittently from 12th-17th February and throughout March to 21st April, whilst wintering first-years were at Lyme Regis (Dorset) until 31st January and on the Plym Estuary at Blaxton Meadows (Devon) until 29th January. A further first-winter was then identified in Christchurch Harbour (Dorset), frequenting Stanpit Marsh from at least 1st February until 29th March.

In June, a first-summer with hardly any spots visited Scaling Dam Reservoir (Cleveland) late evening on 18th before relocating briefly to Hilfield Park Reservoir (Herts) on 24th.

In Ireland, a summer-plumaged adult was at Tacumshin (County Wexford) on 11th-12th May.

Red-necked Phalarope: the female returned to Gloucestershire and the West Midlands in 2012, where it visited Upton Warren NR (Worcs) on 15th May, Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) on 16th-17th May & 5th & 9th June and Coombe Hill Meadows NR (Gloucs) from 18th May to 26th June. Elsewhere, singles visited Llandindrod Wells (Powys) on 1st-2nd May, Old Moor RSPB (South Yorks) on 10th May, Loch of Harray (Orkney) on 24th May, Nosterfield GP (North Yorks) on 6th June, Hornsea Mere (East Yorks) on 11th June and Brockholes Quarry (Lancs) on 9th June.

Grey Phalarope: No less than 10 were reported in January, with a confiding first-winter at Farmoor Reservoirs (Oxfordshire) from 18th-28th. Later in June, a wonderful female in full breeding plumage graced St John’s Loch (Caithness) from at least 13th-24th.

Long-tailed Skua: An adult was again on territory at East Burra (Shetland) on 12th-21st May, with two flying NE over inland Drayton Bassett GP (Staffs) on 15th May. A strong passage involving several thousand birds passed North Uist (Outer Hebrides) on just three days in May.

Laughing Gull: a first-winter was near Dalton-in-Furness (Cumbria) from 17th-22nd March, whilst an adult was reported at Severn Beach (Avon) on 1st May.

Sabine’s Gull: In Ireland, an adult was off Cape Clear Island (County Cork) on 24th April, whilst following some seriously inclement weather originating far offshore in the Atlantic, several were reported in June including an adult off Severn Beach (Avon) on 9th.

Bonaparte’s Gull: Following a first-winter at Loch Branahuie, Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 20th January, an adult appeared in Cardiff Bay (Glamorgan) on 22nd January and was reported intermittently until 26th February, with a first-winter at the same site from 17th-25th February. This latter individual was then relocated on the River Severn at Newnham (Gloucs) from 30th March to 4th April. In northern Scotland, a further adult was in the Dunnet Bay area (Caithness) on 25th-26th February, whilst in March, a first-winter flew past Newbiggin (Northumberland) on 5th and an adult visited Stornoway, Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 10th. In Greater London, a first-winter was on the River Thames off Crossness on 19th-30th May, where it was remarkably joined by a first-summer on 26th-29th May – both birds constituting the first records for the capital. In Shetland, an adult was at Loch of Tingwall on 30th May.

In Ireland, an adult remained at Ballygally near Larne (County Antrim) until 11th April, with further adults noted at Dun Laoghaire (County Dublin) on 5th February and Tacumshin (County Wexford) on 25th February.

North American Herring Gull:  In Ireland, single juveniles were identified at Castletown Bearhaven (County Cork) on 14th January and at Poolbeg (County Dublin) on 30th January.

Kumlien’s Gull: an unprecedented invasion took place in January with at least 65 being identified amongst the 750 Iceland Gulls that invaded during the month, the Scottish Islands and Ireland accounting for 85% of the occurrencies. In February, a third-winter lingered at Hartlepool Headland (Cleveland) on 4th-26th, whils a 2nd-winter that frequented Dover Harbour (Kent) was the most popular of several that reached the southern half of Britain during the influx. As one would expect, the vast majority were juveniles.

Thayer’s Gull: In Ireland, a juvenile was at Enniskillen Landfill (County Fermanagh) from 1st January until 7th February, whilst only the second for Britain was well-received and watched in fields near Elsham (North Lincs) from 3rd until 18th April.

Ross’s Gull: In County Down, an adult lingered at Ardglass Harbour (County Down) from 18th January until 1st February. It represented only the 20th record for Ireland.

Caspian Tern: In Aberdeenshire, one flew south past Kinnaird Head, Fraserburgh, on 27th May.

Gull-billed Tern: One visited Thorne Moors (South Yorks) on 30th May after being initially seen near Donna Nook (Lincs) the previous day. In June, a second-summer commuted between Llanelli WWT Reserve and the Loughor Estuary (South Wales) from 24th-27th before likely relocating to Lodmoor RSPB, Weymouth (Dorset), on 29th. In Ireland, one was at Ballyneety, near Dungarvan (County Waterford), on 29th June.

Forster’s Tern: In Ireland, the regular reappearing adult was in Galway Bay off Nimmo’s Pier (County Galway) until at least 20th January before moving to Tacumshin Lake (County Wexford) for the summer – from 12th May until at least 17th June.

White-winged Black Tern: Following one on the Abbey Pool, Tresco (Scilly), on 18th May, two summer-plumaged adults arrived at Stodmarsh NNR (Kent) on 26th May with further singles at Saltholme Pools (Cleveland) on 27th May, Ranworth Broad (Norfolk) on 14th June, Swillington Ings (West Yorks) on 18th June (and at nearby Fairburn Ings RSPB on 19th-20th), Leighton Moss RSPB (Lancs) on 23rd June and Grove Ferry NR (Kent) on 25th June. A single summer-plumaged bird then moved from Staines Reservoirs (Surrey) on 25th June to Cotswold Water Park (Wilts) on 27th and Shapwick Heath NNR (Somerset) on 28th.

Snowy Owl: In Ireland, an immature male was at Altikeeragh NR (County Derry) from 1st-13th February with the returning adult female at Ballycastle (County Mayo) on at least 13th February.

In the Outer Hebrides, the usual St Kilda male reappeared for its summer sojourn at Grenitote, North Uist, on 14th May and was then seen regularly until 11th June before moving back to Kilda on 12th.

Eurasian Scops Owl: On St Mary’s (Scilly), one was seen briefly at dusk on Higher Moors on both 25th and 26th March.

Palm Dove: a presumed escape visited an Ipswich garden (Suffolk) from at least 21st-24th April. Ship-assistance is a real possibility with this North African and Middle Eastern speciality.

Alpine Swift: A typical scattering of March records but none twitchable included singles over The Lizard (Cornwall) on 18th, Butt of Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 24th-25th, Havant (Hants) on 29th, and on Lundy Island (North Devon) on 28th-29th. No more until three at the end of April with singles at Lowestoft (Suffolk) on 28th-29th, over Canvey Island (Essex) on 29th and at Berry Head, Brixham (South Devon) on 30th – and just two in May – over Theddlethorpe St Helen & Huttoft (Lincs) on 11th and over Cranham Golf Course, Upminster (Essex), on 13th. In fact, we had to wait until the end of June for a twitchable one, with a bird in heavy moult at Bempton and Buckton Cliffs (East Yorks) from 29th June into July. One was also seen over Blakeney Point and Cley (Norfolk) on 30th June.

In Ireland, singles were seen at Fanore (County Clare) on 24th March, Kilcoole (County Wicklow) on 7th & 24th April and at Tacumshin (County Wexford) on 28th June.

Little Swift: Vying with the Cream-coloured Courser and Yorkshire Roller for bird of the year was a spectacularly low-flying juvenile at New Brighton Promenade (Wirral) on 22nd-24th June. It was then seen erratically and rather distantly over the town until 29th.

European Bee-eater: A major influx with about 30 recorded in May, with singles at many sites from Scilly to Cumbria and from Kent to Cleveland, twos in East Sussex, Norfolk, East Yorks and North Wales and a party of 6 that was seen in Kent, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. Most popular was a confiding bird in the Cley and Wiveton area from 18th-21st May. Perhaps 25 continued to linger into June but were never seen anything other than fly-bys, including 5 over Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 4th, 4 over Climping Beach (West Sussex) on 14th and a flock of 5 at various sites in East Sussex on 17th-18th.

In Ireland, one was at Ram Head (County Waterford) on 21st May.

European Roller: Following one seen in flight near Haldon Forest (Devon) on 1st May, one was seen at Spurn Point and Kilnsea (East Yorks) on 29th May, before being relocated in a recently tilled field just north of Aldbrough (East Yorks) on 31st. This adult male then became the centre of attention for over two weeks – being both stunningly beautiful and confiding – last being noted on 14th June. Less than five miles away, in Hornsea, a second bird was reported from wires on 4th & 6th June.

Eurasian Hoopoe: In winter, one remained in Lowestoft Harbour (Suffolk) until 2nd January and another was noted near Pendeen (Cornwall) on 25th January. In early spring, one arrived in Cornwall at Sennen on 23rd March to be quickly followed by 11 more before the month’s end. Elsewhere, a further 18 were reported in March, with 14 in April, 35 in May and 3 in June.

Wryneck: early arrivals included singles on Bryher (Scilly) on 25th March, at Ottery St Mary (Devon) on 30th-31st March, Ewhurst (East Sussex) on 9th April and Cam (Gloucs) on 17th April. At least 22 then arrived from 19th April, most of which were in Shetland, Orkney and along the NE coast of Britain, with a further influx in May involving at least 50 individuals. The last noted was one at Sumburgh Head (Shetland) on 3rd June.

Calandra Lark: One flew over Sandwich Bay (Kent) on 5th May. Despite turning up more frequently in recent years, there is yet to be a twitchable individual on the UK mainland.

Greater Short-toed Lark: In addition to the four that reached Scilly in May, singles were at Traeth Crigyll, Rhosneigr (Anglesey) on 2nd-3rd May, Lundy Island (Devon) on 12th May, Fair Isle on 21st May, the Farne Islands (Northumberland) on 27th-29th May and at Baltasound, Unst (Shetland), on 31st May. Two birds then made a very protracted stay on Lundy Island being present from at least 2nd-24th June, with late spring records in Ireland from Cape Clear Island (County Cork) on 3rd June and at The Cull (County Wexford) on 23rd-24th June.

Crested Lark: In Kent, one visited Dungeness Power Station on 7th May. Kent continues to monopolise where records of this species are concerned.

Shore Lark: A total of just 15 birds were seen in January in Kent, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, including up to 8 on Havergate Island (Suffolk) from 15th and 4 in Holkham Bay (Norfolk), whilst a more noteworthy record involved a single at Hayling Oyster Beds (Hants) from 15th January until 16th February. April saw a hint of passage, with 7 at Donna Nook (Lincs) on 1st-2nd, 2 at Filey (North Yorks) on 2nd-13th, 3 at Benacre (Suffolk) on 5th-6th, 2 at Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk) on 8th and one at Cley (Norfolk) on 13th-22nd, whilst May saw further arrivals with 2 at Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire) on 7th and singles on Fair Isle on 19th-20th, North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 20th and Foula (Shetland) on 31st.

Red-rumped Swallow: It was an excellent spring for this southern species with singles at Castletown (Highland) on 9th April, High Eske NR, Beverley (East Yorks) on 21st, Far Ings NR (North Lincs) on 28th-29th, Bowesfield Marsh (Cleveland) on 30th and Gibraltar Point (Lincs) on 30th. A widespread influx then occurred in May involving at least 50 individuals, including up to 5 on Scilly and 3 as far north as Shetland. Four more were seen in Ireland.

Richard’s Pipit: In January, singles were at Wyke Regis (Dorset) all month, Snettisham RSPB (Norfolk) on 9th and at Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 17th, with the former staying on site until 24th April. These were followed in spring by singles at Kelling Hard (Norfolk) from 29th March until 19th April, Lundy Island (Devon) from 5th-12th May and on St Mary’s (Scilly) on 6th-7th May.

In Ireland, one was at Killard NR (County Down) from 2nd January until 23rd March.

Tawny Pipit: One flew west over Dungeness (Kent) on 26th April, one spent the day at Landguard NR (Suffolk) on 6th May and brief flyovers were noted at Worthing (West Sussex) on 20th May and Capel-le-Ferne (Kent) on 28th May.

Red-throated Pipit: In Gloucestershire, a summer-plumaged bird visited New Passage (Avon) briefly on 22nd April, whilst in May, singles were on The Lizard (Cornwall) on 8th, at Scourie (Highland) on 18th, on St Mary’s (Scilly) on 19th-20th and on Foula (Shetland) on 30th.

Citrine Wagtail: In Norfolk, single males were at West Runton on 30th April and Holme Golf Course on 4th May, with a first-summer male at Thornwick Bay, Flamborough Head (East Yorks) on 19th-20th May whilst a female visited Ballycotton Marsh (County Cork) on 5th May.

Bohemian Waxwing: At least 650 were reported in January and February 2012, most popular being a flock of 70 near Ipswich (Suffolk) for several weeks. Birds lingered due to the poor weather, with a flock of 25 remaining in Sheffield (South Yorks) until 5th May.

Thrush Nightingale: One trapped and ringed at Weybourne (Norfolk) on 13th May was followed by a more typical batch of Scottish arrivals, including singles on the Isle of May (Fife) on 19th & 30th-31st May and on Fair Isle on 20th-22nd and 25th May. The male remained on the Isle of May until 2nd June.

Bluethroat: In Ireland, a wintering male remained at Clonea Strand, near Dungarvan (County Waterford) until 6th January. This was later followed by a red-spotted male on Tory Island (County Donegal) on 20th-21st May.

In spring, white-spotted males occurred at Woodhorn (Northumberland) on 7th-8th April, with two at Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 8th April, whilst 35 red-spotted males arrived in May including a singing male inland at Doxey Marshes NR (Staffs) on 20th May. The last of spring included males on the Isle of may (Fife) on 1st June and at Exnaboe (Shetland) on 11th June.

Red-flanked Bluetail: The third for Ireland, a female, was well-watched at Galley Head (County Cork) on 26th March whilst the first for the Outer Hebrides, a first-winter, was trapped and ringed at Uigen, Lewis, on 31st March and retrapped on 4th & 7th April. With this species now, it is more of ‘where has it not been recorded’ than where it has – a most exceptional change in occurrence pattern.

Siberian Stonechat: In Ireland, a female was present at South Slob NR (County Wexford) from 5th-20th March, whilst in April, single males appeared on Holy Island (Northumberland) on 28th and Cromer (Norfolk) on 30th.

Black-eared Wheatear: A first-summer female of the western form was photographed at Frampton Marsh RSPB (Lincs) briefly on 12th June.

Desert Wheatear: two first-winter males successfully overwintered in Britain including a bird at Newbiggin (Northumberland) until 3rd January and another at Bempton Cliffs RSPB (East Yorkshire) until 9th February. These are not the first to do so however, at least 7 of the previous 135 recorded making it somewhat surprisingly into this month.

River Warbler: On Fair Isle, one lingered in the Bird Observatory garden from 11th June into July.

Savi’s Warbler: The first of the year involved a reeling male at Steart (Somerset) on 21st April, with 5 more in May (at Rutland Water, Leics, on 4th-8th, Strumpshaw Fen RSPB, Norfolk, on 8th-21st, at Blacktoft Sands RSPB (East Yorks) on 9th-31st, Walberswick Marshes (Suffolk) on 12th and Wilstone Reservoir, Tring (Herts) on 20th-21st) and another in June (at Exminster Marshes RSPB, Devon, on 21st-23rd). The Blacktoft male remained on territory until at least 28th June.

A reeling male was also discovered in Ireland – at Lingstown Reedbed, Tacumshin (County Wexford), from 25th-30th June.

Marsh Warbler: An outstanding year with over 45 recorded between 23rd May and the end of June. Breeding was suspected at seven sites.

Great Reed Warbler: Singing males were at Weston-super-Mare Sewage Treatment Works (Avon) from 19th May until 2nd June, Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset) on 22nd-24th May, Cley NWT East Bank (Norfolk) on 30th May, Gunwalloe Fishing Cove, Lizard (Cornwall), on 3rd-6th June and at Boddam Voe (Shetland) on 28th June.

Paddyfield Warbler: In West Sussex, an overwintering male remained in Phragmites at Pagham Harbour’s Breach Pool until 18th March. Towards the end of its stay and on warm sunny mornings, it sang briefly.

On 9th June, one was trapped and ringed on North Ronaldsay (Orkney), where it remained until next day, followed by yet another one trapped and ringed in the Fair Isle Bird Observatory garden on 30th June, this bird making a protracted stay well into July.

Blyth’s Reed Warbler: In North Norfolk, a very elusive male sang from the overgrown ‘pit’ at Warham Greens on 9th June. Although still singing towards midnight, it had disappeared by first light next day.

Icterine Warbler: Following the first reported on 24th May, a total of 34 arrived in May including 20 on Shetland, 4 on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) and 8 along the east coast from North Norfolk north to Northumberland. At least 23 more appeared in June but again mainly in Orkney and Shetland.

Melodious Warbler: Most popular (and welcome) was a singing male in Greater London at Leyton from 16th-18th May. Otherwise, singles occurred at Dungeness (Kent) on 1st May, Northward Hill RSPB (Kent) on 16th May, St Mary’s (Scilly) on 19th May, Bardsey Island (Gwynedd) on 3rd-5th June, Isle of May (Fife) on 7th June and at Totronald, Coll (Argyll), on 8th June.

Western Subalpine Warbler: an early male appeared in Eccles-on-Sea (Norfolk) on 29th March but was not followed by any others until 9th May, when a first-summer male was trapped and ringed at Portland Bill Bird Observatory (Dorset). Single females were then noted on Bardsey Island (Gwynedd) on 14th May, Weybourne (Norfolk) on 20th May, St Abb’s Head (Borders) on 20th May, Pool of Virkie (Shetland) on 22nd May and on Fair Isle on 26th May.

Off North Devon, an adult and a first-summer male were trapped and ringed on Lundy Island on 30th May, the former remaining until 2nd. A female was also at Quendale (Shetland) on 1st-2nd June.

Eastern Subalpine Warbler: Male albistriata were recorded on Whalsay (Shetland) on 21st May and at Balephuil, Tiree (Argyll), on 28th May.

Western Orphean Warbler: Far and away the rarest species recorded in Britain this spring, a first-summer male trapped and ringed at Hartlepool Headland (Cleveland) on 29th May. The sixth for Britain and the first twitchable since 1981, it was no surprise that just over 900 observers connected before it disappeared to roost half an hour before dusk.

Greenish Warbler: A good spring with singles, some of which were singing males, at Flamborough Head (East Yorks) on 25th May, Landguard NR (Suffolk) on 26th May, Northward Hill RSPB (Kent) on 26th May, Walney Island (Cumbria) on 4th June, Bardsey Island (Gwynedd) on 8th June, on the Isle of May (Fife) on 6th-9th June (with two present on 6th) and on Bardsey again on 30th June – eight in total.

In Ireland, one visited Cape Clear Island (County Cork) on 30th May.

Arctic Warbler: In Shetland, an adult was trapped and ringed at Skaw, Whalsay, on 27th June. Oddly, Shetland has attracted quite a few midsummer records of this boreal species over the years.

Yellow-browed Warbler: A dozen were seen in January and February, including 2 in Somerset, 3 in Devon, 4 in Cornwall and 2 on the Isles of Scilly. Most popular however, and easier to see, was one at Worthing (West Sussex) from 22nd February to 28th March, whilst one in Warndon village (Worcs) from 10th March until 21st April was occasionally heard singing. Waxham (Norfolk) produced another on 30th April, with one at Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 3rd-4th May and a singing male in Wells Woods (Norfolk) on 8th May.

Hume’s Leaf Warbler: A wintering first-year was present near Wyke Regis (Dorset) until 26th April but remained particularly elusive throughout.

Dusky Warbler: On the Isles of Scilly, one remained in Lower Moors, St Mary’s, until 16th January, before relocating to neighbouring Harry’s Walls until 12th February. A different bird was identified on Tresco, also on 12th February.

Iberian Chiffchaff: After a number of false starts, we finally recorded an ibericus that both looked and sounded the part in May – at Kenidjack Valley, St Just (Cornwall), from 28th. It sang daily until 21st June. A further singing male was then recorded in Somerset at Porlock from 6th June into July.

Red-breasted Flycatcher: Singles were on Blakeney Point (Norfolk) on 2nd May, Fair Isle on 10th, the Farne Islands (Northumberland) on 18th & 26th, Warham Greens (Norfolk) on 20th-22nd, Yell (Shetland) on 21st, Coquet Island (Northumberland) on 22nd, Collieston (Aberdeenshire) on 22nd-23rd, on the Isle of May (Fife) on 24th, North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 23rd, Dungeness (Kent) on 29th, Bardsey Island (Gwynedd) on 6th June and on the Farne Islands (Northumberland) on 16th June.

In Ireland, a male was on Dursey Island (County Cork) on 26th May.

Collared Flycatcher: A belated first for Ireland involved a female on Tory Island (County Donegal) on 29th May.

White-headed Long-tailed Tit: In West Yorkshire, two were in gardens at Luddenden Dean from 10th January to 20th February.

Penduline Tit: In Somerset, two were at Portbury Wharf on 15th January, whilst in Kent, a male reappeared on the ARC Pit, Dungeness, from 20th February until 1st March. Two more were seen at Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) on 26th March & 6th April, with a further reported at Leighton Moss RSPB (Lancs) on 7th April.

Short-toed Treecreeper: In Kent, one was at Samphire Hoe CP, Dover, on 10th March. Again, like Crested Lark. Kent monopolises somewhat with this species being so close to the Continent.

Golden Oriole: A male arrived at Lakenheath RSPB (Suffolk) on 26th April, before being joined in early May by a second individual. Much more showy and confiding was a cracking male at Snettisham CP (Norfolk) on 29th-30th April, with further males at Reculver and Sandwich Bay (Kent) on 30th April. A strong passage continued into May with the Isles of Scilly hosting at least 20 individuals, whilst June saw a shift to the Northern Isles, with 3 on Shetland.

Single males also reached Ireland – on Cape Clear Island (County Cork) on 4th-6th May and at Loop Head (County Clare) on 3rd June.

Red-backed Shrike: Just under 100 birds arrived in May from 6th, the vast majority on Shetland and along the East Coast from Suffolk to Aberdeenshire. A further 35 were recorded in June.

Woodchat Shrike: The first of the spring appeared in SW Ireland – in County Waterford at Ardmore on 24th March. Over a month later, the first arrived in Britain – at Cape Cornwall (Cornwall) on 30th April – to be followed by 20 more in May including up to 6 on Scilly, 4 in West Cornwall and 3 in South Devon. Elsewhere, singles were noted at Keyhaven (Hants) on 12th-13th, Tenby (Pembs) on 17th, Martin Down (Hants) on 20th-21st, Culverwell, Portland (Dorset), on 23rd and at Maghull (Lancs) on 30th.

Seven more appeared in June with a first-summer female at Winterton North Dunes (Norfolk) from 1st-14th, a first-summer male on Bardsey Island on 3rd, a male at Walberswick Common (Suffolk) on 10th, a first-summer female at Great Ormes Head (Clwyd) on 10th-14th, a male at Skirza, John O’Groats (Caithness) on 13th, a male at Gunton Warren (Suffolk) on 19th-20th and an adult male at Smeatonthorpe (North Yorks) on 26th.

In Ireland, singles were at Carnsore Point (County Wexford) on 18th-19th May and on Sherkin Island (County Cork) from 30th May until 9th June.

House Crow: In Ireland, the long-staying ship-assisted adult remained in Cobh (County Cork) throughout the review period

Rose-coloured Starling: wintering birds are a regular phenomenon so single first-winters at Newquay (Cornwall) on 7th January, St Columb Minor (Cornwall) on 9th January and at Muirhead, Troon (Ayrshire), from 28th January were not unexpected, the latter remaining until at least 24th March. A first-winter reappeared again in Holyhead (Anglesey) on 25th February and showed daily until 7th April, with another much-watched male frequenting Hordle village (Hants) from 29th February until 16th April. Further adults were noted at Selsey Bill (West Sussex) on 6th-12th May, Mullion Cove, The Lizard (Cornwall), on 18th May, Landguard NR (Suffolk) on 25th May and at Arlington Reservoir (East Sussex) on 27th May whilst an influx of at least 26 birds took place in June including a cracking male in gardens at Rhos-on-Sea (Clwyd) from 16th-24th. Others were at Langney Point, Eastbourne (East Sussex) from 2nd-7th June, Gillingham (Kent) on 3rd, Higham (Kent) on 4th, Martin’s Haven (Pembs) on 5th, Upper Hollesley (Suffolk) on 8th, Flamborough Head (East Yorks) on 9th, Hastings (East Sussex) on 9th-10th, Golspie (Sutherland) on 10th, Hartburn (Cleveland) on 10th, Edwinstowe (Notts) on 10th, Severn Beach (Avon) on 10th-11th, Whitley Bay (Northumberland) on 16th, Pensarn (Clwyd) on 16th-17th, Minions (Cornwall) on 17th, Valley (Anglesey) on 18th-24th, Frampton Marsh RSPB (Lincs) on 20th-25th, Scratby (Norfolk) on 21st and at Llangefni (Anglesey) on 25th.

Four more reached Ireland in June with singles at Spanish Point (County Clare) on 13th, Skelligs Harbour (County Kerry) on 15th, Wicklow (County Wicklow) on 18th-20th and at Mizen Head (County Cork) on 24th.

Spanish Sparrow: In Hampshire, a male frequented a Calshot garden from early December 2011 until at least 23rd March, constituting only the eighth record for Britain.

Scandinavian Arctic Redpoll: In North Norfolk, a first-winter remained at Titchwell Marsh RSPB until 18th March whilst another frequented a Kelling garden from at least 8th-25th January; a further first-year was trapped and ringed at Santon Downham (Norfolk) on 4th March.

Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll: Singles were noted at Sanaigmore, Islay (Argyll) on 10th April, near Lochaline (Highland) on 16th April and in Ireland at Dog Bay, Murvey (County Galway) on 13th April. On 4th June, a worn first-year was trapped and ringed on Fair Isle.

Trumpeter Finch: A female was on St Kilda (Outer Hebrides) on 10th June. The status of this largely sedentary species has dramatically changed in recent years with it no longer being the mega-rare it once was..

Common Rosefinch: No less than 31 occurred in May, over half of course being discovered on Shetland. Less usual was one in Ireland – a singing male at Meenbannad (County Donegal) on 29th May. At least 12 more occurred in June.

Northern Waterthrush: Incredibly, the first-winter first seen in August 2011, survived the winter on the Isles of Scilly and was seen regularly on Lower Moors until 10th January. It then went missing but reappeared in February, showing intermittently up until 16th April. The longest stayer ever.

Common Yellowthroat: in what was an exceptional winter for Nearctic passerines in the UK, a cracking first-winter male was eventually identified at Rhiwderin, near Newport (Gwent), where it frequented the hedgerows and bracken fronds there from 10th-29th February. It represented the eleventh for Britain and second for Wales.

Slate-coloured Junco: First seen on 24th December 2011, this first-winter male was not identified from photographs until a week later. It chose Hampshire to its liking and like the Spanish Sparrow aforementioned, was almost certainly a stowaway from Southampton Docks nearby. It inhabited a woodland glade at Hawkhill Inclosure in the New Forest with Reed Buntings and Chaffinches until at least 11th March and represented the third for the county.

White-throated Sparrow: a bright individual was photographed visiting a garden lawn at Broadford, Isle of Skye (Highland), on 20th May.

Rustic Bunting: a male visited Heysham NR (Lancs) briefly on 14th March before flying off strongly NE. Further males then visited Filey NCCP (North Yorks) on 21st May, North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 23rd May and on Inner Farne (Northumberland) from 31st May until 1st June. A small but fairly typical influx on Shetland involved a singing male at Sumburgh Head on 24th-27th May, a male at Scousburgh on 26th, a male on Foula on 21st-23rd and a female on Foula on 23rd-24th.

Little Bunting: a male was trapped and ringed at South Milton Ley (South Devon) on 19th March and remained faithful at the feeders there until 17th April. In Kent, one was trapped and ringed at Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory on 30th April staying until 5th May, with further spring migrants at St Mary’s (Scilly) on 19th May and on Foula (Shetland) on 27th May.

Ortolan Bunting: an early migrant male appeared at Dungeness (Kent) on 30th April to be followed by four further records in May – on Fair Isle on 9th-10th, Whalsay (Shetland) on 9th-18th, Wester Quarff (Shetland) on 13th and on Holy Island (Northumberland) briefly on 20th.

Black-headed Bunting: A male visited Bryher (Scilly) on 28th May only to be followed by a very showy male on Shetland at Gloup, Yell, from 29th May until 1st June. Two different males were then discovered at garden feeders in South Wales – at Godre’r-Craig, near Ystalyfera, on 17th June and at Porthyrhyd, Carmarthenshire, on 18th-24th June, whilst a female was identified at Grenitote, North Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 19th June.

Lee G R Evans, 9 July 2012 – LGREUK400@aol.com

UK Bird Sightings 2012 – Rare Bird Round-up

This is the second part of my Annual Report on Rare Birds in 2012, the first part covering the months January-June being published in the Summer 2012 issue on pages 95-105. At that stage, no less than 384 species has been recorded by 1st July. In the six months that followed, a further 62 species occurred, including at least two New to Britain and Ireland, culminating in a 6th-best 446 species.

The latter half of the year proved as equally exciting as the first, with July and August yielding some great seabird movements and rare waders such as Stilt Sandpiper. The best birds of course were largely single observer, including an Eleonora’s Falcon in West Cornwall and a Black Skimmer off Ireland, but Rainham’s Baillon’s Crake made up for any disappointment and two twitchable juvenile Short-billed Dowitchers certainly whetted the appetite. Again, late September and October were dominated by short-staying mega-rares, with both Magnolia Warbler and eastern Kingbird slipping away for the high listers. The worst was even yet to come when a Pale-legged Leaf warbler spent just one day on Portland. That’s life I am afraid.

Anyway, the second half Systematic List is exhaustive – work out how many species would have been new for you….

Pacific Diver: In Cornwall, the regular adult returned to Mount’s Bay, Penzance, on 5th December, being seen almost daily until 16th.

White-billed Diver: Singles flew north past Flamborough Head (North Yorks) on 25th October and 28th November and Whitburn CP (County Durham) on 27th September

Pied-billed Grebe: In Ireland, one was at Lough Baun, Louisburgh (County Mayo), from 29th October until 4th November, whilst perhaps the same relocated to Loch na Bagh, Smerclate, South Uist, in the Outer Hebrides from 26th November until 8th December.

Fea’s Soft-plumaged Petrel: In Ireland, one flew west past Mizen Head (County Cork) on 16th July, followed by two off Carnsore Point (County Wexford) on 18th August and then further singles off Cape Clear island (County Cork) on 19th August and Galley Head (County Cork) on 29th August. Yet another went west off Mizen Head on 5th October.

In Cornwall, one flew west past Porthgwarra early evening on 24th August, whilst on 26th September, one flew south past Fraserburgh (Aberdeenshire).

Cory’s Shearwater: Bang on cue, the first 20 or more were seen on 16th July, passing both Scilly and Porthgwarra (Cornwall), with a stronger passage in SW Ireland, including 35 past Mizen Head (County Cork) on 31st July. Numbers then dramatically increased in August with no less than 320 reported in SW Britain during the month, including 115 past Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra, on 3rd and 18 past Pendeen Watchpoint (Cornwall) on 25th. These numbers were absolutely dwarfed by those passing Ireland during the same period, with at least 1,500 passing Galley Head (County Cork) on 2nd-3rd and over 400 at several other West Coast locations. On 10th September, a further 9 flew west past Porthgwarra (the same day 30 were logged from a Scilly pelagic trip), with up to 3 different birds reported in the southern North Sea on 23rd September, being seen offshore of Suffolk, Norfolk and East Yorkshire. A few late birds were reported in October, with singles off Beesands Ley (South Devon) on 1st, Skinningrove (Cleveland) on 9th, Flamborough Head (East Yorks) on 10th and Thorpeness (Suffolk) on 11th.

Great Shearwater: the first of the year and autumn flew west past Start Point (South Devon) on 2nd July. Six others quickly followed, including one past Flamborough Head (East Yorks) on 13th July, with a major movement in SW Ireland on 31st July, when 14 flew west past Mizen Head (County Cork). A further 65 were logged in August, peaking at 22 past Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 3rd and 11 past Pendeen Watchpoint (Cornwall) on 25th. In the North Sea, singles were seen passing Cley Coastguards and Sheringham (Norfolk) on 26th August, Hartlepool Headland (Cleveland) on 27th August and Flamborough Head (East Yorkshire) on 31st August. Along with the Cory’s Shearwater passage, SW Ireland also recorded large numbers of Great Shearwaters passing in August, with 60 past Old Head of Kinsale (County Cork) on 3rd. In September, just 10 were seen between 4th & 18th, including two past Pendeen on 11th and further singles past Portland Bill (Dorset and Porthgwarra on 30th.

Yelkouan Shearwater: After some good years for this species in West Cornwall, the only record this year was of a single north past Whitburn Steel (County Durham) on 31st August.

North Atlantic Little Shearwater: In Ireland, singles flew past Toe Head (County Cork) on 19th August and Bridges of Ross (County Clare) on 27th August.

Wilson’s Storm Petrel: Joe Pender’s Scilly Pelagic trips have the monopoly with this seabird these days with the SW Approaches yielding at least 3 in July, including 2 on 2nd, 3 on 12th and singles on 16th and 19th, and 2 more in August on 2nd. Further singles were also seen from the MV Scillonian, between Penzance and St Mary’s, on 16th July and from a pelagic 14 miles NW of Newquay (Cornwall) on 25th July.

In Ireland, singles flew past Galley Head (County Cork) on 22nd July, Bridges of Ross (County Clare) on 17th August, Toe Head (County Cork) on 19th August and Galley Head (County Cork) on 21st August, with two seen from a pelagic trip off Loop Head (County Clare) on 12th August and at least three from a Pelagic west of the Blasket Islands (County Kerry) on 17th August. A very late individual was seen off Cloughmore Head (County Galway) on 4th October.

Leach’s Storm Petrel: One was inland at Pennington Flash Country Park (Gtr Manchester) on 13th September.

Black-crowned Night Heron: In Hampshire, the second-summer was again at Lower Pennington Fishponds from 3rd-19th August.

In Ireland, one was reported near Bandon (County Cork) on 26th July

Cattle Egret: One visited Elmley Marshes RSPB (Kent) on 16th August, with single juveniles at Abbotsbury (Dorset) on 24th-27th August and Dungeness RSPB (Kent) on 30th August. In September, singles were at Northwick Wharf (Gloucs) on 9th, near Fort William (Highland) on 23rd, this latter individual relocating to the Outer Hebrides shortly later, where it visited Kilmuir, South Uist, on 26th-27th and Balranald RSPB, North Uist, on 28th-30th and later Loch nam Magarlan, North Uist, until 4th October.

Elsewhere, one was seen at various sites in South Devon in October and at Catcott Lows NR (Somerset Levels) on 11th, with that in Devon at Colyford Common, Seaton, from 1st-27th November. One was then present at Westhay Moor (Somerset) on 27th-28th December, moving to nearby Mudgeley until 31st.

In Ireland, one was at Strabane (County Tyrone) from 2nd-11th November, with another at St Johnston (County Donegal) organic piggery from 14th December into 2013.

Squacco Heron: The breeding plumaged adult continued to grace the Welney Washes WWT (Norfolk) until 1st July.

Great White Egret: This species continues to go from strength to strength following this year’s first breeding attempt in Somerset where two different nests fledged a total of four young. Around 50 different individuals were logged in the UK between July and December, including at least 8 on the Somerset Levels, up to 7 in the Dungeness Area (Kent), 8 in Mid & South Wales and 7 in NW England.

In Ireland, one visited the River Slaney near Bunclody (County Wexford) on 28th August

Purple Heron: In Kent, the adult remained at Stodmarsh NNR until 1st July and was then replaced by a juvenile in the Stour Valley from 25th July until 30th August. A further adult was then seen in flight over Oare Marshes NR (Kent) on 30th July, with further juveniles at Coombe Hill Meadows NR (Gloucs) from 28th-30th July, on the Mepal Washes (Cambs) from 30th July until 5th September and reported from Fritton Marshes (Norfolk) on 15th August. In October, juveniles were present at Radipole Lake RSPB, Weymouth (Dorset), from 6th-27th and at College Reservoir, Falmouth (Cornwall), from 17th-22nd, that at Radipole reappearing in November from 1st-5th.

Black Stork: No twitchable Black Storks this year but brief appearances by this species at Loch Fleet at Littleferry, Golspie (Sutherland) on 6th July and in flight over Bignor Hill (West Sussex) on 17th July.

In Ireland, one flew over Ballyvaughan (County Clare) on 12th July

White Stork: Discounting some fairly obvious local escapees, a party of 3 continued to linger along the South Coast from the spring frequenting flooded food-rich fields at Templecombe (Somerset) from 14th-19th July. They were then seen flying over Rampisham (Dorset) on 20th July before being rejoined by a fourth individual at Thorney Moor, near Muchelney (Somerset Levels) on 27th-29th July. The flock then relocated to Wet Moor, near Langport (Somerset), from 9th-22nd August, feasting on fish and other prey marooned by receding floodwaters, before being seen near Dorchester (Dorset) on 23rd August.

Sacred Ibis: The three escaped individuals, none of which were ringed,  continued to tour the UK throughout July to December.

Glossy Ibis: Up to a dozen oversummered, including singles at Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) until 15th July, Pagham Harbour North Wall (West Sussex) until 20th July, Ham Walls RSPB (Somerset) until 24th July, the Ouse Washes RSPB (Cambs) until 25th October and that at Marloes Mere (Pembrokeshire) all year.

Elsewhere, Glossy Ibises were recorded on Skokholm Island (Pembs) on 8th July, Farlington Marsh Lagoon (Hants) on 15th July, Grove Ferry, Stodmarsh NNR (Kent) on 17th July, Holland Haven CP (Essex) on 17th July, The Naze (Essex) on 25th-30th July, Welney WWT (Norfolk) on 22nd & 28th September and at Hesketh Out Marsh (Lancs) on 2nd September.

October saw yet another influx of birds from Coto Donana (Spain), with independent parties of 7 and 8 birds arriving in West Cornwall at Windmill Farm (Lizard) and Marazion Marsh RSPB Reserve respectively on 6th, with all 15 birds then flying over Land’s End at midday, at least 7 of which remaining in Sennen Brew Pool water meadows until at least 23rd. Elsewhere, one flew south over Bosley Reservoir (Cheshire) on 4th, one visited Rainham Marshes RSPB (London) on 14th-15th, one was in Poole Harbour (Dorset) on 21st, a first-winter was at Aveton Gifford (South Devon) on 21st, the Poole bird was at Keyhaven Marshes (Hants) on 24th and back at Hengistbury Head (Dorset) on 25th. What may have been the same bird was at Bickerley Common Floods, south of Ringwood (Hants), from 2nd December into January 2013.

Ireland saw an additional three birds oversummer (in Counties Wexford & Cork) with those at Timoleague (County Cork) and Tacumshin (County Wexford) being seen until the end of the year.

Eurasian Spoonbill: The breeding population continued to do well and swell the numbers present in the country during the summer, with no less than 70 birds being present in East Anglia in July. Noteworthy were 2 on the Ythan Estuary (Aberdeenshire) on 26th July and a juvenile at Broom GP (Beds) on 31st August. As autumn progressed, the Poole Harbour (Dorset) flock increased to 19 birds by 7th October, whilst Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk) still held 11 early in the month and Elmley Marshes RSPB at least 10.

Snow Goose: A flock of 13 Lesser Snow Geese was seen in Lancashire on 29th August and next day in Gloucestershire and had probably wandered from the naturalised population in Germany. An adult white morph of unknown origin was then with Greylag Geese on Lewis (Outer Hebrides) from 6th-8th September. Two white morphs were with Greylag Geese on Islay (Argyll) from 3rd October, perhaps the two later present on North Uist (Outer Hebrides) from 15th October into the New Year. The regular Stromness adult was with Greylag Geese in Orkney from 25th November, with blue morph birds on Islay at Loch Gruinart RSPB (Argyll) on 1st November and at Skinnet, near Halkirk (Highland) on 30th November.

In Ireland, the regular blue morph was at Lough MacNean from Late October, with a white morph with Greenland White-fronted Geese at Sheskinmore Lough (County Donegal) from 7th November into the New Year.

Ross’s Snow Goose: For the first winter in a long time, not one genuine Ross’s Goose arrived with the Pink-footed Geese this autumn. The white morph adult consorting with Barnacle Geese did show up, moving from Breydon Water (Norfolk) on 31st October to Waxham (Norfolk) on 4th-7th November, before spending the rest of the year in the Yare Valley. A further bird with less than good credentials also appeared at Loaningfoot (Dumfries & Galloway) on 24th November.

Vagrant Canada Goose: At least 10 Richardson’s Canada Geese were discovered in Scotland and Ireland in October, the majority being regularly returning adults with Barnacle Geese, including up to 4 on Islay (Argyll) and 3 in the Lissadell area (County Mayo). Several Todd’s Canada Geese were also identified, including singles in Dumfries & Galloway, Cumbria and on Islay. A further hutchinsii in North Norfolk ranged between Kelling, Cley and Blakeney all month before relocating to Lincolnshire in the New Year.

Red-breasted Goose: An adult, presumed to be a regular bird, was with Dark-bellied Brent Geese at South Swale NR (North Kent) from 14th-23rd October before moving south and west to Hampshire, where it was seen at Milford-on-Sea on 24th and Farlington Marshes from 25th, remaining at the latter site until the turn of the year. A further adult also accompanied Barnacle Geese on Islay (Argyll) from 21st October into January 2013 with another at Whitrigg (Cumbria) on 16th-18th November and at Cardurnock (Cumbria) from 28th-30th November. This latter bird then relocated to fields near Loaningfoot (Dumfries & Galloway) on 29th-31st December.

North American Wood Duck: A drake of unknown origin was at tacumshin Pools (County Wexford) on 2nd December.

American Wigeon: Regularly returning drakes were seen at Wintersett Reservoir, Ryhill (West Yorks), from 8th October, Kirk Loch and Lochmaben (Dumfries & Galloway) from 13th October and at Loch Bee, South Uist (Outer Hebrides) from 24th-28th October. A drake was also at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire) from 31st October until 5th November, with others at St John’s Loch (Caithness) on 2nd November, in the Yare Valley near Bawburgh (Norfolk) on 9th-30th December and in Udale Bay (Highland) from 24th-31st December.

In Ireland, a drake was at Tacumshin (County Wexford) from 7th October until at least 5th November, with others at Cahore (County Wexford) on 8th December and Ashton’s Callow (County Tipperary) on 29th December.

Falcated Duck: In Oxfordshire, a drake arrived at farmoor Reservoirs with an influx of Mallards on 9th December and remained there until 13th.

North American Black Duck: In Ireland, the long-surviving drake was present at Achill Island (County Mayo) throughout the latter half of the year, two Mallard hybrids also being recorded in September, whilst in Scotland, the drake returned to Strontian (Highland) from 23rd December.

Blue-winged Teal:  An eclipse drake of unknown origin was at Carbarns Pool near Motherwell (Clyde) from 25th August until 8th September before returning to Bridgend Farm Pools, near Kirkintilloch on 16th September. It then returned to the River Threave, near Castle Douglas, on 29th November, showing intermittently until the end of the year. Other sightings included a drake at Marshside Marsh RSPB, Southport (Lancs) on 16th September

In Ireland, an eclipse drake remained at Tacumshin Lakes (County Wexford) until 26th August, with two females at the North Slob WR (County Wexford) on 6th-9th August and an immature at Church Island, Lough Beg (County Derry) on 14th September. A further first-winter was identified at Rahasane Turlough (County Galway) on 14th-30th October, with yet another at ballylongford (County Kerry) on 22nd-29th November. In December, a juvenile was at Ballyalla Lake, Ennis (County Clare) on 1st-2nd, with the regular female on North Bull Island (County Dublin) on 9th.

Ring-necked Duck: In Perth & Kinross, a drake was at Loch Leven off Grahamstone on 20th August, whilst in September, single drakes appeared at Orgreave lagoons, Sheffield (South Yorks) from 10th until 7th October and at Loch Kinord, Aboyne (Aberdeenshire) on 17th. Deep Atlantic depressions during October resulted in the arrival of 3 first-winters on Scilly, the drake and two females commuting between Porthellick Pool and Tresco Great Pool from 16th October until the end of the year. Also associated with this arrival were first-winter females on Tiree (Argyll) on 19th October, Slapton Ley (South Devon) from 22ndn October into 2013 and at Siblyback Lake (Cornwall) from 27th October, as well as a drake at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) from 14th October into early December. A first-winter drake on Skomer Island (Pembs) from 8th-15th November later moved to Marloes Mere, whilst further arrivals included a female on North Uist (Outer Hebrides) from 6th November, a drake on Loch Alvie, Aviemore (Speyside) on 7th-8th November, a drake on Loch Watten (Highland) on 10th November, a drake on Helston Loe Pool (Cornwall) from 16th-19th November, a drake at Rutland Water (Leics) on 2nd November and latterly at Eyebrook Reservoir (Leics) from 18th-30th November, a drake at Dungeness (Kent) on 9th December and a female at Whitlingham Broad, Trowse (Norfolk), on 9th-13th December.

Ireland saw at least four Ring-necked Ducks arrive during October, with those at Cross Lough (County Mayo) and Lough Shivnagh (County Donegal) remaining into 2013.

Ferruginous Duck: An adult drake was at Blagdon Lake (Somerset) from 12th July until 19th August, before moving to Chew Valley Lake (Avon) on 30th-31st August and 13th-14th September. A female was at Minsmere RSPB Reserve (Suffolk) from 1st-23rd August with one at Chew Valley Lake on 8th-13th September and again from 1st-18th October. The regular drake reappeared at Ibsley Water (Hants) for one day on 22nd October (and again on 12th November), whilst a female Ferruginous Duck hybrid performed well at Welney Refuge (Norfolk) from at least 5th-10th November. In December, a drake visited Curry Moor (Somerset) on 2nd-9th December before moving to Wimbleball Lake on 11th-13th, with another drake at Girton GP (Notts) on 18th-30th.

Lesser Scaup: An eclipse drake was at Cardiff Bay Wetlands NR (East Glamorgan) on 25th August before moving back to Chew Valley Lake (Avon) from 28th August until 16th November. A further drake was seen at Loch Leven RSPB (Perth & Kinross) on 15th September, with an additional drake at Chew from 15th-25th October, two drakes at Loch Watten (Caithness) on 10th November (one remaining until 13th and the other moving to nearby St John’s Loch until at least 18th) and the regular drake at Dozmary Pool and Colliford lake (Cornwall) from 1st December into 2013. The Chew drake relocated to Blagdon Lake (Somerset) from 7th December into 2013.

In Ireland, a first-winter drake was at Lough Gash (County Clare) from 4th November into 2013, as was that at Lough Gill, Castlegregory.

King Eider: In Lincolnshire, a female was seen again in the Wash drifting north past Gibraltar Point on 1st July, whilst the regular drake off Aberdeenshire was with moulting drake Eiders at Blackdog, Murcar, until 1st July. At Burghead (Moray), the usual drake was back from 29th September, being reported intermittently until 10th November. An immature drake was off Filey Brigg (North Yorks) on 8th December, with an adult drake off Rosehearty (Aberdeenshire) on 29th December and another at Symbister (Shetland) on 31st December.

North American Black Scoter: The first-summer male remained with up to 3,000 moulting scoter off Blackdog Rocks (Aberdeenshire) until 6th July.

Surf Scoter: The same moulting scoter flock that harboured the above species also continued to attract up to five different Surf Scoters in July – two adult drakes, two first-summer drakes and a female. Four remained throughout August. Further south, a drake was seen off Monifieth (Angus) on 1st-6th July before relocating off Lunan Bay (Angus) from 21st July until 8th August. In North Wales, a drake was in Colwyn Bay (Gwynedd) on 28th August, whilst in September, a drake flew past Uisead Point, Machrihanish (Argyll) on 18th and a drake was off Muckle Roe (Shetland) on 23rd-24th before relocating to nearby Olna Firth from 30th until 3rd October.

As the second winter period approached, a single adult drake was in Largo Bay (Fife) from 13th October, the drake in Inganess Bay (Orkney) was resident from 17th October and off North Wales, at least three drakes and a female were identified from over 10,000 Common Scoters  off Llanddulas from 12th October. New arrivals this autumn included a juvenile at Bunessan, Mull (Argyll), on 1st October, a female off Embo Pier (Sutherland) on 27th-29th October, a juvenile off Saunton Down (Devon) on 28th-30th October, a juvenile off Sheringham (Norfolk) on 17th November, a juvenile at Loch na Reivil, North Uist (Outer Hebrides), from 29th November until at least 15th December, a juvenile male was offshore at Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) on 13th December and a juvenile at Broad Haven (Pembs) from 21st December into 2013.

Off Ireland, a female was in Brandon Bay (County Kerry) on 7th October, two different individuals were off County Clare in October and a juvenile drake was in Carnlough Harbour (County Antrim) from 31st October until 7th November.

Hooded Merganser: A first-winter female lingered by the North Wall sluice at Pagham Harbour (West Sussex) from 30th October until 17th November, whilst in Dorset, the adult drake of unknown origin remained at Radipole Lake RSPB all year.

Black Kite: In East Yorkshire, a juvenile was photographed perching on wires at Spurn and Kilnsea on 18th September. One flew NW over Pegwell Bay (Kent) on 15th October, with another reported at Slapton Sands (South Devon) on 31st October.

Rough-legged Buzzard: The first of the autumn was noted on Unst (Shetland) on 27th September, with just 3 or 4 individuals making it into January 2013, including popular juveniles at Haddiscoe Levels (Norfolk) and Gibraltar Point (Lincs).

Northern Harrier: In SW Ireland, a juvenile male was at Tacumshin Lake (County Wexford) from 6th-19th October, along with a juvenile female at the same locality from 19th October into January 2013. Both birds roosted in Lingstown Reedbed each night.

Pallid Harrier: What may be the first truly adult female to be identified in the UK roosted each evening on setaside by Firsby Reservoir, Conisbrough (South Yorks) from 20th September until 7th October.

In Ireland, a first-summer female flew north over Moyasta, near Kilrush (County Clare) on 12th August.

Red-footed Falcon: A cracking first-summer male remained at Ivy Lake, Chichester GP (West Sussex), from 20th August until 11th September, followed exceptionally by a female at Puckaster Cove, St Lawrence (Isle of Wight), on 24th-25th October..

Eleonora’s Falcon: Although not twitchable, a dark morph first-summer was photographed hunting over the ragged clifftop at Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 11th August – only the 7th record of this Mediterranean raptor for Britain.

Gyrfalcon: In the Outer Hebrides, a white morph was at Bornish, South Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 18th November, with a juvenile found dead on Barra on 1st December and further sightings involving two different birds on the Uists sporadically throughout the month.

In Ireland, a white morph was seen at Blennerville (County Kerry) on 27th November and another near the Burnfoot River (County Derry) on 18th December.

Baillon’s Crake: In the summer of 2012, at least 6, and perhaps as many as 11, male Baillon’s Crakes were heard calling in apparently suitable breeding habitat at a minimum of three locations in Britain, presumably as a result of severe drought in Iberia. Neighbouring Netherlands also experienced an unprecedented influx, with between 32 and 39 territories in eight provinces, the highest number in recent history (Ruud van Beusekom). And as expected and predicted, one finally gave itself up and lingered at Rainham Marshes RSPB (London) on the marsh in front of the Butts Hide from 7th-23rd September providing the autumn highlight for many an observer, especially as it took some several early/late visits before finally connecting.

Spotted Crake: 2012  was the year of the second national survey of this species in the UK with some 28 males heard calling overnight from approximately 130 surveyed sites. The first autumn individuals began appearing from mid August, with the first of 3 at Marazion Marsh RSPB (Cornwall) from 11th-18th and 12 elsewhere in the country during the rest of the month (including 2 at Birstall Meadows, Leics, on 25th, and 2 on Lower Moors Pool, St Mary’s, Scilly, on 28th). September saw a further dozen seen, including singles at Baron’s Haugh RSPB (Clyde) on 8th, Upton Warren (Worcs) on 11th, Stanwick GP (Northants) on 13th-18th, Farlington Marshes (Hants) on 30th and Greylake RSPB (Somerset) from 19th until 7th October, with 10 more in October, mostly on Scilly and in Cornwall.

In Ireland where Spotted Crake is still a rare passage migrant, one was trapped and ringed at Cabragh Wetlands (County Tipperary) on 28th August.

American Coot: The third for Ireland was at Murloch, near Ballyconneely (County Galway) from 28th November into 2013.

Common Crane: Away from the East Anglian and Somerset breeding and reintroduced populations, one remained at Sandwick (Orkney) until 14th July before moving to Loch of Swannay from 1st-25th August, a pair was at Hatfield Moors (South Yorks) on at least 30th July to 12th September, two were at Chat Moss (Greater Manchester) on 1st-22nd August, one flew north over Hornsea Mere (East Yorks) on 27th August, one was at Montrose Basin (Angus) on 28th August, 3 at New Pitsligo (Aberdeenshire) on 5th September, one at Port Charlotte, Islay (Argyll), on 21st September and a flock of 7 in North Kent at the end of December.

During September and October, as many as 44 birds roosted at Horsey Mere (Norfolk), whilst a flock of 8 flew over Rutland Water (Leics) on 26th October.

A party of four birds arrived at Tacumshin Lake (County Wexford) on 29th October and were seen daily into the New Year, often ranging widely between fields in the local vicinity. Their number increased to 5 in late November.

Black-winged Stilt: Following the 3-4 pairs that attempted to breed in June, two were again at Wet Moor, Langport (Somerset) on 9th August, with another reported at Pett Levels (East Sussex) on 15th August. Two were then seen briefly at Cottam Pits (Notts) on 18th September.

Black-winged Pratincole: In the Outer Hebrides, a heavily abraded first-summer was at Loch Stiapavat, Lewis, on 2nd-6th August – only the fourth-ever to reach Scotland and the first for the Western Isles.

Semipalmated Plover: In the Outer Hebrides, John Kemp located a very confiding juvenile at the Sound of Eriskay at Glendale, South Uist, on 7th September, the bird performing for allcomers until 11th. It represented only the fifth record for Britain.

Dotterel: Definitely much scarcer than it once was with breeding numbers on the high plateaux plummeting and migrant numbers dramatically falling; in July, a female remained on the Outer Hebrides at Bornish, South Uist, on 24th-25th, with 15 appearing in August including singles at Gamlingay (Cambs) on 17th, Polgigga (Cornwall) on 21st-23rd, Sandwich Bay (Kent) on 24th and on Blakeney Point (Norfolk) on 25th. September passage saw just a dozen reported, including 2 on Cleeve Hill, Cheltenham (Gloucs) on 11th and a very confiding juvenile with a Buff-breasted Sandpiper for company on Penninis Head, St Mary’s (Scilly) from 26th September. Just 7 appeared in October, including a late juvenile on Mersea Island (Essex) on 29th October and another at Southill (Beds) on 4th-5th November.

American Golden Plover: A first-summer was seen intermittently near Earith Washes (Cambs) from 21st-24th August before a major arrival, involving some 35 individuals, occurred in September, with 15 in Ireland and up to 10 in the Northern Isles. The Isles of Scilly attracted a single juvenile from 8th-16th October, whilst two adults retaining breeding plumage appeared near Anthorn (Cumbria) from 26th-29th October. Tacumshin lake (County Wexford) had no less than four juveniles present on 26th October.

Semipalmated Sandpiper: In Lothian, an adult was present at John Muir Country Park, Tyninghame, from 29th-31st July, most likely last year’s bird returning. In September, a major arrival of juveniles took place, with singles at the Butt of Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 3rd & 4th, at Balgarva, South Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 4th-6th & 17th, in Broadford Bay, Skye (Highland) on 7th-12th, Loch Ryan (Dumfries & Galloway) on 8th-12th, at Carnan, South Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 9th, in Tyninghame Bay (Lothian) on 15th-20th, at Dungeness ARC Pit (Kent) on 17th and at Ynyslas (Ceredigion) on 20th-22nd.

Western Sandpiper: A juvenile on Tiree (Argyll) on 2nd-7th September may well have been that which visited Hoylake Beach (Wirral) from 19th-24th September.

Temminck’s Stint: Following a below average spring for numbers, the first in autumn were singles at Rutland Water (Leics) on 12th-14th July, the Long Drag Pools (Cleveland) on 14th-19th July, the Ythan Estuary (Aberdeenshire) on 20th July and at Cley NWT (Norfolk) on 24th July. Just one adult followed in August (at Oare Marshes NR, Kent, on 12th & 17th-18th) and for the second year running, we had a winter record – a first-winter at Stockland Reach, by the Parrett Estuary at Steart (Somerset), from 3rd December into 2013.

Least Sandpiper: In Ireland, an adult was at Carrahane Strand (County Kerry) on 13th August with one flying over Cape Clear Island (County Cork) on 20th August.

White-rumped Sandpiper: Single adults were at Frampton Marsh RSPB (Lincs) on 7th-25th July, Grimley (Worcs) on 14th July, Kirkby-on-Bain GP (Lincs) on 14th July, Havergate Island RSPB (Suffolk) on 22nd July, Snettisham RSPB (Norfolk) on 22nd July and again on 5th & 21st August, Brownsea Island Lagoon, Poole Harbour (Dorset) on 31st July, Tyninghame Bay CP (Lothian) on 1st-4th August, on Tiree (Argyll) on 6th August, at Beacon Ponds LNR, Kilnsea (East Yorks) on 10th-13th August, Ouse Washes RSPB (Cambs) on 8th-23rd September, on the Parrett Estuary at Steart (Somerset) on 15th-22nd September and at Hoylake Beach (Wirral) on 21st-23rd September. In addition, at least three different birds were on the Outer Hebrides on South Uist between 17th & 22nd September with a juvenile reported on Breydon Water (Norfolk) on 28th September. A grey first-winter touched down briefly at Salthouse Beach (Norfolk) before settling down at Cley NWT Daukes Pool from 17th-31st October. A second first-year joined the same flock of Dunlin on the scrape on 30th-31st October whilst elsewhere, single juveniles were at Northton, Harris (Outer Hebrides), on 18th October, Brora (Sutherland) from 28th-30th October, inland at the Drayton Bassett Pits (Staffs) from 13th-21st November and at Longham Lakes, Bournemouth (Dorset) from 30th November until 9th December.

August saw a flourish of arrivals in Ireland with singles at Dungarvan (County Waterford) on 4th-6th, the Bann Estuary (County Derry) on 18th-20th, at Kilcoole NR (County Wicklow) on 22nd-26th and at Blennerville Marsh (County Kerry) on 24th. A further six individuals were recorded in September, increasing to 10 more in October, including up to 4 juveniles at Tacumshin Lake (County Wexford) on 29th. In November, two remained at tacumshin until 3rd, with later singles at Rahasane Turlough (County Galway) on 4th and Baltimore (County Cork) on 11th.

Baird’s Sandpiper: A very confiding juvenile was well-watched at West Angle Bay in Pembrokeshire from 20th-26th August, with one briefly at Marazion Beach (Cornwall) on 31st August. There then followed a further 7 in September with singles at Seaton Snook (Cleveland) on 4th-12th, Birsay (Orkney) on 8th, Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk) on 9th-11th, Pennington Marshes (Hants) on 14th, Tresco Great Pool and Tean (Scilly) on 16th, Esha Ness (Shetland) on 16th and Brownsman Island, Farnes (Northumberland) on 26th. A juvenile was reported from Northton, Harris (Outer Hebrides), on 19th October, whilst an exceptionally late juvenile was at Baltasound, Unst (Shetland) briefly on 26th November.

In Ireland, an adult was at Smerwick Harbour (County Kerry) on 16th-17th August with another at Kilcoole NR (County Wicklow) on 14th-18th September. Two juveniles were seen in October with a very late bird at Black Rock Strand (County Kerry) from 30th November until 12th December.

Pectoral Sandpiper: An average scattering of sightings in the autumn following the first 13 in July (at Cley NWT, Norfolk, on 13th-14th; Cresswell Pond, Northumberland, on 13th-19th; on the Earith Washes, Cambs, on 14th & 26th-27th; Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk, on 15th; Holland Haven Scrape, Essex, on 16th; Greatham Creek, Teesmouth, Cleveland, on 18th-19th; at Old hall Marshes, Essex, on 18th-22nd; near Bawtry, South Yorks, on 25th-28th; at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB, Aberdeenshire, on 26th-29th; Low Newton-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, on 22nd-24th; Bishop Middlham, County Durham, on 29th-31st; Normandy Marsh, Pennington, Hants, on 29th-30th; Cliffe Pools RSPB, Kent, on 31st), with 22 appearing in August (including 2 at Walton Hall Marshes, Essex, on 27th-28th, and 3 on the Hayle Estuary, Cornwall, on 28th-30th) and a whopping 120 or more in September. At least 25 remained into October.

Ireland saw an additional 4 in July, 9 in August and 20 in September, including 7 in the Tacumshin Pools area on 8th-9th.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper: The first for Orkney was a nice adult at Swartmill Loch from 20th-23rd July. It turned out to be the only occurrence of the year.

Broad-billed Sandpiper: A neat juvenile was at Seaton Snook (Cleveland) on 21st-22nd August before refuelling briefly at Nosterfield GP (North Yorks) on 25th.

Stilt Sandpiper: Coinciding with the only real hot spell of weather in the summer was a moulting breeding-plumaged adult at Low Newton-by-the-Sea (Northumberland) from 5th-9th August. It was consorting with a small number of Common Redshanks on floodwater north of the main Newton Pool.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: In Cheshire, an adult visited Frodsham Marsh from 28th-30th July, followed by singles at Ferrybridge (Dorset) on 9th-10th August, Warkworth Gut (Northumberland) on 18th August, St Mary’s Airfield (Scilly) on 29th-31st August and at Marazion Beach (Cornwall) on 30th-31st August. September then saw a major influx, involving some 35 birds, with the majority on the Northern Isles. Two of these (at Strathbeg RSPB) lingered into early October, whilst the last two to be recorded involved singles at Aberlady Bay (Lothian) on 13th October and at Loch Hempriggs, Wick (Caithness) on 14th October.

The first of the autumn in Ireland was an adult on Inishkea Island (County Mayo) on 2nd July quickly followed by singles at Tacumshin (County Wexford) on 12th-25th August, Cape Clear Island (County Cork) on 18th & 31st August, Quilty (County Clare) on 19th August, Kilshannig (County Kerry) on 30th-31st August and 15 or more in September. At least six lingered into early October, including three different individuals at Bridges of Ross (County Clare) until 3rd.

Short-billed Dowitcher: Another Red Letter event was the finding of this beautiful juvenile at Lodmoor RSPB in Dorset in early September. It went on to stay for just over a month, delighting many hundreds of observers during this time, and representing only the second British record of this primarily West Coast migrant of the USA. Even more incredible was the finding of a second juvenile – another long-staying bird on Tresco (Scilly) from 9th-21st September. The Lodmoor juvenile stayed from 3rd September until 6th October.

Long-billed Dowitcher: A single adult oversummered in the UK moving from Ouse Fen (Cambs) on 7th-8th July to Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) on 21st July, where it was to remain until 12th December. Further records included juveniles at Drumburgh Marsh (Cumbria) on 27th September, Holy Island and Druridge Bay Pools (Northumberland) from 28th September until 1st October, Loch Grogarry, North Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 4th-8th October, Baleshare, North Uist (Outer Hebrides), on 23rd-26th October and at Alkbrough Flats, near Scunthorpe (North Lincs), from 4th October into January 2013. Additionally, an adult was at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB (Cheshire) from 1st-17th October, with another at Llanelli WWT (South Wales) on 28th-29th October. In November, the Northumberland juvenile relocated to the Long Nanny Burn, Beadnell, from 4th-18th November, whilst the Baleshare first-winter was still present on 16th

In Ireland, an adult visited Blennerville Marsh (County Kerry) on the unusually early date of 24th August, with a juvenile at Lough Beg (County Cork) on 7th October and at Rosscarberry (County Cork) on 9th October.

Upland Sandpiper: One was heard calling as it flew over Lissagriffin Lake (County Cork) on 7th October. It was never seen.

Marsh Sandpiper: another species that has become very rare in recent years as a vagrant to Britain with just two autumn records: on the River Tavy at Blaxton (South Devon) on 5th July and on Shetland at the Pool of Virkie and Hillwell Loch on 7th July.

Greater Yellowlegs: The long-staying bird put in a further appearance in northern Scotland in July at St John’s Loch, near Thurso (Caithness), on 25th-27th, before appearing once more there on 1st August. It then relocated south again, visiting Montrose Basin LNR (Angus) on 9th September before returning once more to Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire) on 26th-29th September.

Lesser Yellowlegs: An adult was at Carness (Orkney) on 30th-31st July before autumn vagrants appeared at South Landing, Flamborough (East Yorks) on 1st September, Kingsmill Lake, Saltash (Cornwall), from 2nd-27th September and at Curry Moor (Somerset) on 29th-30th September. Another was discovered at Little Kilmory on Bute (Argyll) from 30th September until 3rd October, whilst the Somerset bird moved to Greylake RSPB on 10th-12th October and the Cornish bird relocated to Ernesettle Creek on the Plymouth side of the River Tamar (South Devon) from 20th October into 2013. In addition, one was identified on Hayling Island (Hants) on 14th October, a juvenile visited Aldcliffe Marsh, Lancaster (Lancs), from 21st October until 5th December and an adult returned to Alkborough Flats NR (North Lincs) from 28th October until late December.

In Ireland, single juveniles were seen at North Bull Island (County Dublin) on 7th-23rd October and at Ballinskelligs Harbour (County Kerry) from 13th-27th October.

Solitary Sandpiper: The rarest bird on Scilly this October was this very confiding juvenile on Bryher from 12th-14th. It then moved to a tiny pool opposite the Pottery on St Mary’s from 15th-17th October.

Spotted Sandpiper: In the Northern Isles, singles appeared at Ardvule Point, South Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 6th-19th September and at Lower Voe (Shetland) from 30th September until 2nd October.

In Ireland, an adult was at Clonea Strand, Dungarvan (County Waterford) on 5th August, with a juvenile in Smerwick Harbour (County Kerry) from 4th-16th September. Two juveniles were then at Moyasta (County Clare) from 13th-17th October, with one remaining until 22nd, with further arrivals at Silver Falls, Ballysadare (County Sligo) on 13th October and Ross Castle, Killarney (County Kerry) on 23rd-25th October. A single juvenile remained in Poulnasherry Bay at Moyasta until 3rd November.

Terek Sandpiper: An adult was reported from the River Adur at Shoreham (West Sussex) briefly on 24th July.

Red-necked Phalarope: An adult female lingered at Coombe Hill Meadows (Gloucs) until 5th July, with another at Backworth Pond (Northumberland) on 1st-2nd July and a male on Minsmere Scrape (Suffolk) on 2nd July. August saw further singles at Wheldrake Ings (North Yorks) on 17th, Frampton Marsh RSPB (Lincs) from 18th August until 5th September, Caerlaverock WWT (Dumfries & Galloway) on 28th, Wath Ings (South Yorks) on 30th, Cley NWT (Norfolk) on 30th and at Rutland Water NR (Leics) on 31st until 1st September, with September adding single juveniles on the River Ouse at Newhaven (East Sussex) on 18th and at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) from 27th September until 3rd October. A late juvenile was at Shearman’s Wath, West Ashby (North Lincs), from 2nd-8th October.

Grey Phalarope: Most unusually, a full summer-plumaged adult female was at Martin Mere WWT (Lancs) on 17th July with an adult in almost full winter plumage at Old Moor RSPB (South Yorks) just three days later on 20th July. At sea, one flew past Strumble Head (Pembs) on 29th July, followed by 6 or more from scattered localities in August before a more widespread arrival in September and October. Inland, singles were noted at Old Moor RSPB (South Yorks) on 24th September, Carsington Water (Derbyshire) on 17th-20th October, Farmoor Reservoirs (Oxfordshire) on 22nd October, on a flooded field near the Yeo Estuary at Clevedon (Somerset) on 23rd-26th November, at Great Livermere (Suffolk) on 2nd-3rd December, Bothal Pond (Northumberland) on 4th December and Dunstable Sewage Works (Beds) from 12th-17th December.

Wilson’s Phalarope: In Ireland, an adult that had already moulted into full winter plumage visited Rosscarbery (County Cork) on 24th-25th Augus, with a first-winter at Kinsale Marsh (County Cork) on 2nd-9th September.

Long-tailed Skua: Once again, very few records from inland sites: a juvenile visited Angler’s Country Park, Ryhill (West Yorks) briefly on 13th August, whilst further dark morphs flew over Queen Mother Reservoir (Berks) on 17th September and Belvide Reservoir (Staffs) and Beddington Sewage Farm (Surrey) on 25th September.

Franklin’s Gull: In Ireland, a first-summer roosted on the beach at Gormanstown (County Meath) on 16th August.

Laughing Gull: In Aberdeenshire, a second-winter visited fields at Rosehearty Golf Course from 19th-31st December, as well as visiting Phingask bay, Fraserburgh, on 29th.

Sabine’s Gull: Particularly popular was an extremely confiding first-summer at Startop’s End Reservoir, Tring (Bucks) from 1st-5th July. This was quickly followed by at least 7 more occurrences in July and a noticeable increase in August, when some 50 or more were logged from coastal localities. Most unexpected was a summer-plumaged adult near the Bill car park at Portland (Dorset) for about an hour early morning on 30th August. Strong winds throughout September saw no less than 85 logged from coastal sites, with a juvenile displaced inland at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB (Cheshire) on 20th-23rd. Only 30 were reported in October, although a ridiculously tame juvenile on Brighton Esplanade (East Sussex) on 21st more than made up for the lack of numbers.

Bonaparte’s Gull: An adult was on the Add Estuary near Lochgilphead (Argyll) from 1st-12th August, with a regular reappearing adult at Whitburn (County Durham) from 16th August until 9th September. A first-winter was identified at Burrafirth, Unst (Shetland) on 30th September, whilst further adults were seen at Strumble Head (Pembs) on 16th & 19th October, off Rubha Reidh Lighthouse, Poolewe (Highland), on 16th October and at Dawlish Warren NNR (South Devon) from 21st October until 19th November. The Whitburn adult reappeared at Roker Pier, Sunderland, on 27th October, whilst an adult roosted at Boddington Reservoir (Northants) on 1st & 3rd November.

In Ireland, the adult returned to Larne Harbour (County Antrim) on 14th September and remained until the year end.

Ring-billed Gull: The returning adult was at Kinneil Lagoon, Grangemouth (Forth), from 14th August until at least 16th October, whilst the Walpole Park Lake, Gosport (Hants), adult reappeared for its 9th consecutive winter from 21st October.

In Ireland, the second-summer at Groomsport Harbour, Bangor (County Down) remained throughout, with another at Ring, near Clonakilty (County Cork) on 22nd July and others at Nimmo’s Pier Slipway, Galway Harbour (County Galway), from 4th August, at Doonbeg (County Clare) (a 2nd-winter) on 20th-26th August,

Azorean Yellow-legged Gull: At least four were recorded in Ireland in late August, including a 2nd-summer at Ring Marsh (County Cork) on 26th.

Gull-billed Tern: In the Outer Hebrides, an adult visited Loch na Liana More, South Uist, on 25th July, whilst in August, single adults visited the Dyfi Estuary at Ynyslas (Ceredigion) on 2nd-6th and Tophill Low Reservoir (East Yorks) on 25th.

In Ireland, an adult flew east past Bloody Foreland (County Donegal) on 4th August.

Caspian Tern: In Dorset, one visited the lagoon on Brownsea Island on 6th July, whilst a near-adult roosted on the scrape at Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) briefly on 6th July. This latter individual then made a whistle-stop tour of various inland sites, stopping off at Wissington Beet Factory Pools (Norfolk) on 7th before settling in to a routine in the Yare Valley from 17th-19th (visiting Strumpshaw Fen, Buckenham Marshes, Cantley and Breydon Water each day). It was again seen off Minsmere on 25th July

Roseate Tern: In Ireland, a staggering post-breeding flock of some 2,000 birds roosted at Sandymount Beach in Dublin at the end of August.

Forster’s Tern: In Ireland, the regular adult was off Soldier’s Point, Dundalk (County Louth) from 29th August until 14th October, before moving back to its regular wintering site in Galway Harbour on 29th October.

American Black Tern: A highly mobile juvenile commuted between Eccleston Mere, St Helen’s and Prescot Reservoirs (Lancashire) and Pennington Flash CP (Gtr Manchester) from 30th August until 4th September.

White-winged Black Tern: At least four were seen in July with adult-types at Lodmoor RSPB, Weymouth (Dorset) on 8th-10th, Frampton Marsh RSPB (Lincs) on 25th, Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) on 28th, Staines Reservoirs (Surrey) on 28th-29th, Cresswell Pond (Northumberland) on 29th, Orford Ness (Suffolk) on 29th, Alton Water (Suffolk) on 29th-30th and at Saltholme Pools RSPB (Cleveland) on 30th until 2nd August.

In Ireland, an adult was off Garretstown (County Cork) on 4th August, with a juvenile at Poulaphouca Reservoir, Blessington (County Wicklow) on 29th August. A further juvenile was in Dublin Bay at Sandymount Strand (County Dublin) on 8th September.

American Black Skimmer: In Ireland, the first for the Western Palearctic flew south past Annagh Head on The Mullet (County Mayo) on 30th August

Snowy Owl: In the Outer Hebrides, the regular summering adult male was on St Kilda from at least 16th July to mid September, whilst in Ireland, an adult male was on Arranmore Island (County Donegal) from 18th July until at least 10th September and an adult female on the Mullet at Termon Hill (County Mayo) from 14th-27th July.

European Eagle Owl: Up to 6 pairs were known to have bred, including the popular pair in North Lancashire.

Belted Kingfisher: In Ireland, a juvenile male visited Lough Fee and Kylemore Abbey Ponds (County Galway) on 5th-6th October, although scant compensation for those many that dipped the Western P’s first-ever Eastern Kingbird. It reappeared very briefly near Clifden on 31st October.

Alpine Swift: In East Yorkshire, a bird in wing moult continued to linger over Bempton Cliffs RSPB until 4th July, whilst another flew south at Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 1st July. Far more popular was a bird in suspended post-breeding primary moult over Beeston Bump, Sheringham (Norfolk) from 1st-6th August, with further singles, both of which lingering long enough to be twitched, at Newquay (Cornwall) on 17th-18th August and in the Edinburgh Area (Lothian) on 17th-18th August.

In Ireland, one was seen at Brandon Head (County Kerry) on 21st August.

European Bee-eater: Singles were at Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 5th July, St Just (Cornwall) on 8th July, Titchfield Haven (Hants) on 28th-29th July, Fishguard (Pembs) on 9th August, Swanage (Dorset) on 28th-30th October and at Mere Knolls Cemetery, Seaburn (County Durham), on 31st October. The latter proved to be very popular, especially amongst photographers, and continued to grace Seaburn until 12th November.

European Roller: One of the Birding Highlights of 2012: the adult first seen in East Yorkshire for a fortnight in late May/early June was relocated 280 miles further north at New Pitsligo (Aberdeenshire) on 13th-15th July before moving a further 100 miles north to Finstown (Orkney) on 26th-30th July.

Eurasian Hoopoe: Midsummer sightings involved singles in Richmond Park (London) on 6th July, North Tolsta, Lewis (Outer Hebrides), on 14th July, Meols (Wirral) on 26th July and Manaccan (Cornwall) on 12th August, whilst returning autumn migrants involved singles at Portland (Dorset) on 16th-20th August, Newdigate (Surrey) on 18th-19th August, Tresta Voe (Shetland) on 24th August, Prawle Point (South Devon) on 24th August, Lower Yelland (North Devon) on 8th September, Attingham Park (Shropshire) on 13th September, Brighton Cross, Bodmin Moor (Cornwall) on 28th September, Sand Bay, Weston-super-Mare (Somerset), on 25th October to 4th November, Out Skerries (Shetland) on 14th October, Whalsay (Shetland) on 1st-4th November. Godlingstone Heath (Dorset) on 3rd November, Llancadle (South Wales) on 12th November and at Portland Castle (Dorset) on 15th November.

In Ireland, one was at Bealad West (County Cork) on 23rd-26th July, with another near Lisdonvarna (County Clare) on 24th September. A further late individual was found on Rathlin Island (County Antrim) on 15th-16th October.

Wryneck: The first autumn migrants appeared in Britain on 14th August with some 72 individuals logged by the end of the month, a further 123 in September and just 45 in October.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: A first-winter female that graced Scalloway gardens (Shetland) from 15th-19th October constituted the first British record of the Scandinavian form minor.

Eastern Kingbird: The first for the Western Palearctic involved a juvenile found on Inishmore Island (County Galway) on 5th October. Despite showing remarkably well all afternoon, much to the satisfaction of just three Irish twitchers, it disappeared overnight. A mighty blocker indeed !

Red-rumped Swallow: In Cheshire, one visited Frodsham Marsh briefly on 29th August, whilst a juvenile flew south over Conwy RSPB (North Wales) on 3rd September. At the beginning of October, an unprecedented flock of 7 arrived at Marazion Marsh RSPB (Cornwall) on 5th, remaining there until early next day. The flock then seemingly dispersed and broke up, with ones and twos being seen in West Cornwall at a number of coastal sites on 6th, 7th and 8th and additional birds noted at South Milton Ley (South Devon) on 6th, St Agnes (Scilly) on 6th, over Plymouth (Devon) on 7th, at Seaford (East Sussex) on 7th, in Titchwell Reedbed (Norfolk) on 15th and over Cley NWT (Norfolk) on 17th. In November, one was seen at Blackness and South Queensferry (Lothian) on 3rd-4th.

Greater Short-toed Lark: One still remained on Lundy Island (North Devon) until 6th July with another summering individual on Blakeney Point (Norfolk) from 8th-26th July. Lundy produced yet another record on 12th September, but in a very poor autumn for the species, just two were seen in October – at Carn Friars, St Mary’s (Scilly), on 15th-16th and at Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 27th.

In SE Ireland, one was at Tacumshin (County Wexford) on 29th September.

Shore Lark: Although the autumn passage of this species was fairly typical (15 were seen in October), just three birds remained to overwinter into 2013 – two in North Norfolk at Cley and one at Gibraltar Point NNR (Lincs).

Tawny Pipit: Singles were seen briefly in Barking Bay, Creekmouth (London) on 19th August, Bradwell-on-Sea (Essex) on 21st August, Pegwell Bay (Kent) on 9th September, the Lower Cuckmere Valley (East Sussex) on 23rd September and at Dawlish Warren NNR (South Devon) on 29th September. In October, the first twitchable individual of the year appeared – at Beacon Lane Ponds, Easington (East Yorks) from 11th-17th.

Blyth’s Pipit: Just one recorded in 2012 – on Foula (Shetland) on 24th September.

Richard’s Pipit: The first of the autumn migrants appeared on 24th September, with birds on Fair Isle, Shetland Mainland and on South Uist (Outer Hebrides). By 30th, 15 birds had been logged, with a further 85 or more in October and 22 in November. In Ireland, one was at Tacumshin (County Wexford) on 16th-17th November.

Olive-backed Pipit: An excellent autumn for this species, particularly in the Northern Isles – and occurrences very early too. In Shetland, singles arrived on Fair Isle and Foula on 24th September, quickly followed by 6 more around Shetland during 26th-29th. Elsewhere, birds were noted at St Margaret’s Hope, South Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 26th September, Whitburn CP (County Durham) on 28th and then at many coastal localities throughout October, no less than 55 birds being encountered (again, mostly on the Northern Isles). A late individual was seen at Burrafirth, Unst (Shetland), on 3rd November.

In Ireland, one reached Inishmore (County Galway) on 22nd-26th October.

Pechora Pipit: A Shetland speciality with four typical occurrences: on the Out Skerries on 21st September, at Norwick, Unst, on 30th September to 2nd October, Fair Isle on 1st-2nd October and on the Isle of May (Fife) on 16th October.

Red-throated Pipit: There were six or so flyover birds in October but none lingered long enough to be seen on the deck, mostly in West Cornwall and on Scilly. As in recent years, Tacumshin Lake (County Wexford) produced a record with one noted there on 2nd November.

American Buff-bellied Pipit: Yet another influx of this rapidly-increasing species on the British List, with singles at Ardvule Point, South Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 19th September, near Loch Smerclate, South Uist, from 21st-30th September, St Mary’s (Scilly) on 26th-29th September, on Tiree (Argyll) on 27th September, on Fair Isle (Shetland) on 29th September, at Scousburgh (Shetland) from 30th September until 4th October, on Bryher (Scilly) on 9th-27th and on Foula (Shetland) on 27th October. Most incredulously, the first of two different individuals appeared at Queen Mother Reservoir (Berks) on 12th December, both birds being seen together on Boxing Day.

Several more were discovered in Ireland with singles on Cape Clear Island (County Cork) on 24th September, at Smerwick Harbour (County Kerry) from 28th September until 13th October, at Carrickfergus Castle (County Antrim) on 30th September to 5th October and up to two at Corbett’s Beach near Tyrella (County Down) from 13th November into December.

Citrine Wagtail: No longer the rarity this species once was, first-winters were identified on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 12th-14th August, Noss (Shetland) on 12th August, Unst (Shetland) on 17th August, two on Fair Isle (Shetland) on 14th-15th August, another on Fair Isle on 25th August, Foula (Shetland) on 31st August, three different birds on Scilly in September, Barns Ness (Lothian) on 20th-21st September and on Tiree (Argyll) on 27th-29th September. Late individuals were seen on Fair Isle on 5th October and on Bardsey Island (Gwynedd) on 10th-14th October, taking this autumn’s tally to a very respectable 20 birds.

Bohemian Waxwing: Due to an almost total berry crop failure in Scandinavia, an enormous arrival of almost 6,000 birds took place in Britain from mid October, culminating in single flocks of over 1,000 birds in several localities in Scotland in November. By the end of the year, the majority had moved south to winter in southern England and East Anglia, with a substantial percentage moving even further south into Europe.

Cedar Waxwing: In Ireland, Dave Suddaby watched a first-winter settle in his Termon garden (County Mayo) briefly, before it flew off north.

Black-bellied Dipper: Singles were at Gulberwick Burn (Shetland) from 3rd-6th November and by the River Thet in Thetford (Norfolk) from 6th November into January 2013.

Thrush Nightingale: One was on Fair Isle (Shetland) from 24th-26th August

Bluethroat: One was trapped and ringed at Hollesley Marsh (Suffolk) on 19th August, followed by 7 on the Northern Isles in September and another at Fife Ness (Fife) on 27th September. A further dozen reached Shetland and Orkney in October but elsewhere just one at Easington Lagoons (East Yorks) on 23rd-25th. In November, singles were noted on Tresco (Scilly) on 2nd and at Gibraltar Point (Lincs) on 3rd.

Siberian Rubythroat: In Shetland, a first-winter female lingered on Fair Isle from 23rd October until 3rd November. In recent years, this highly sought-after Sibe has become annual, but still no Mainland record to shout about.

Red-flanked Bluetail: A poor autumn by recent standards with just three
located: a first-winter trapped and ringed at Skaw Plantation, Whalsay (Shetland) on 27th September, a first-winter in Ridley Park, Blyth (Northumberland) on 22nd October and a particularly confiding first-winter in Stiffkey Meals *Norfolk) on 22nd-24th October.

Siberian Stonechat: Single first-winters were identified on Copinsay (Orkney) on 27th September, Hoswick (Shetland) from 27th September until 8th October, Birling Gap, Beachy Head (East Sussex), on 20th-23rd October, Mid Soar (South Devon), on 27th-30th October, Wellington GP (Herefordshire) on 27th-30th October, Norwick, Unst (Shetland), on 29th October, Gunnersbury Park, Southend (Essex) on 29th-30th October

In Ireland, a first-winter was at Firkeel (County Cork) on 1st October

Stejneger’s Stonechat: a first-winter male that had spent the best part of a month on Texel (The Netherlands) migrated overnight to Portland Bill (Dorset) on 24th October, where it was trapped and ringed on 26th (its last day). Analysis of the mtDNA confirmed its maternal lineage as belonging to stejnegeri – an eastern form of Siberian Stonechat now considered a good phylogenetic species by some authorities.

Pied Wheatear: A poor autumn for this autumn vagrant from the east with just two records – a first-winter male on Holy Island (Northumberland) on 14th October and a first-winter male at Quendale (Shetland) on 23rd-24th October.

Desert Wheatear: Unlike the last species, a good autumn, with no less than six occurrences – a male at Splash Point, Worthing (West Sussex), from 24th-27th October, a female at West Lulworth (Dorset) on 27th October, a first-winter female at Abberton Reservoir (Essex) from 28th October until 5th November, a male at Harty Marshes (Kent) on 18th November, a female by Rhyl Golf Course (Clwyd) from 23rd-30th November and a female at Rattray Head (Aberdeenshire) from 2nd December into January 2013.

White’s Thrush: Simply stunning – one was on Inner Farne (Northumberland) on 24th September with others just seen in flight at St Margaret’s Hope, South Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 27th September and in the Cot Valley, St Just (Cornwall), briefly on 8th October. Another was then trapped – on Barra (Outer Hebrides) on 13th October.

Swainson’s Thrush: One was on Foula (Shetland) on 23rd September, followed by another (later trapped and ringed) on Barra (Outer Hebrides) from 2nd-4th October.

Grey-cheeked Thrush: An elusive individual frequented fields near St Agnes Campsite (Scilly) from 6th-8th October.

Eyebrowed Thrush: One visited Foula (Shetland) on 13th October.

Black-throated Thrush: The 13th for Fair Isle involved a first-winter on Fair Isle on 6th October, with an unusual December record at Muness, South Nesting (Shetland) on 1st.

Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler: On 26th September, following a period of intense SE winds, singles were discovered at Hartlepool Headland (Cleveland), Whitburn Coastal Park (County Durham)(trapped & ringed) and at Whinnyfold Plantation (Aberdeenshire). As expected, all had gone by the following day. Two more were then recorded in October, with a first-winter trapped and ringed on Fair Isle on 3rd and one seen briefly at Marsden Old Quarry (County Durham) on 12th.

Lanceolated Warbler: In Shetland, singles were on Out Skerries on 21st September, Fair Isle on 23rd & 26th September, Whalsay on 25th September and Sandness on 27th September, whilst another was on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 26th September. In October, a bird that was regrowing its tail remained on Fair Isle for almost a month (2nd-22nd), with yet another on North Ronaldsay on 17th. A return to normal for this mouse-like locustella.

River Warbler: In Shetland, the unusual oversummering individual remained on Fair Isle until 11th July. Another bird arrived on Fair Isle on 11th September, but was sadly found dead there the next day, whilst a further bird appeared at Burwick, South Ronaldsay (Orkney), on 24th September.

Aquatic Warbler: Singles were trapped and ringed at South Milton Ley (South Devon) on 10th August, Marazion Marsh RSPB (Cornwall) on 12th August, Portland Bill Bird Observatory Garden (Dorset) on 12th August, Keysworth, Poole Harbour (Dorset) on 18th August (3) and at Church Cove, Gunwallow (Cornwall) on 23rd August, with additional juveniles seen in the field at Red Rocks NR, Hoylake (Wirral) on 19th-20th August and at Steart (Somerset) on 21st August. In September, a juvenile lingered at Porthloo Duck Pond, St Mary’s (Scilly), from 25th-29th.

Savi’s Warbler: A reeling male remained at Blacktoft Sands RSPB (East Yorks) until 5th July.

Paddyfield Warbler: One remained on Fair Isle (Shetland) until 11th July. In September, one was trapped and ringed at Kirkton of Logie Buchan, by the Ythan Estuary (Aberdeenshire), on 8th, with yet another on Fair Isle from 24th
September until 1st October. An unbelievably confiding first-winter then set up territory in a bracken-filled hollow adjacent to the coastal footpath in Church Cove, The Lizard (Cornwall), from 8th-13th October.

Blyth’s Reed Warbler: One was on Sanday (Orkney) on 21st September, whilst on Shetland, an influx there included singles at Hillsgarth, Unst, on 21st, Halligarth, Unst, on 26th-30th, Fair Isle on 22nd-29th (with a second bird there on 29th), Foula on 24th-27th (with a second bird there on 25th), Whalsay on 24th and at Collafirth on 29th-30th. Elsewhere, singles were at Bornish, South Uist (Outer Hebrides) from 28th until 2nd October and at Barns Ness (Lothian) on 28th September, with another surge in records in October involving a further six birds – North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 9th, Dale of Walls (Shetland) on 12th, St Mary’s Island (Northumberland) on 13th, Quarff (Shetland) on 16th, Northbay, Barra (Outer Hebrides) on 16th, Inverness (Highland) on 20th and on the Garrison, St Mary’s (Scilly), on 30th-31st. A first-winter, identified retrospectively from photographs, showed well at Ferry Meadows CP near Peterborough on 23rd November.

Records continue to gather apace in Ireland too with another four occurrences this October – on Inishbofin (County Galway) from 5th-7th, on Tory Island (County Donegal) on 8th, at West Beara (County Cork) on 8th and at Helvick Head (County Waterford) on 15th-16th.

Marsh Warbler: On Shetland, singles remained on Fair Isle until 1st July and Foula until 5th July whilst singing males in suitable habitat throughout the rest of Britain remained at a very low ebb.

In the autumn, few records, but singles on Shetland on Fair Isle on 12th September and Foula on 22nd September and another at St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe (Kent) on 9th September. Three more were reported in October with singles at Thorntonloch (Lothian) on 3rd, on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 5th and on St Agnes (Scilly) on 22nd-23rd.

Great Reed Warbler: In Shetland, one was at Norwick, Unst, on 22nd September, with yet another – at Rerwick, near Scousburgh, on 5th October.

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler: In Fife, one made an unprecedented stay at Kilminning, Fife Ness, showing well from 14th October until 20th November.

Booted Warbler: Early migrants were seen on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 16th August and at Sumburgh Head (Shetland) on 18th-20th August. September saw a further four birds arrive, with singles on Fair Isle on 22nd, by the seawall at Burnham Overy Marshes (Norfolk) on 23rd-26th, at Clibberswick, Unst (Shetland) on 27th and on Bressay (Shetland) on 29th. In October, just one was found – at Covean, St Agnes (Scilly), on 20th.

Sykes’s Booted Warbler: In Shetland, one lingered on Foula from 23rd-29th September, whilst on Scilly, one showed well in inclement weather conditions near Tresco Great Pool from 5th-6th October.

Icterine Warbler: A singing male was inland at Cockmuir (Lothian) from 4th-8th July, whilst the first autumn migrant appeared at Kilnsea (East Yorks) on 12th August. From thenon until the end of the month, a further 25 birds appeared along the East Coast between Shetland and Norfolk, with just 5 more in September.

Melodious Warbler: An average showing by recent standards with eight birds recorded in August (on Bardsey Island, Gwynedd, on 6th; Portland Bill, Dorset, on 9th; on St Mary’s, Scilly, on 14th & 31st; Walney Island, Cumbria, on 19th; Beachy Head, East Sussex, on 19th-20th, Start Point, South Devon, on 20th and on Skokholm, Pembs, on 28th) and 11 in September (including two different birds on Bardsey Island on 8th and singles at Sandwich Bay, Kent, on 14th and on Scilly at the end of the month). The last to be reported during the year was on Skokholm (Pembs) on 6th-7th October.

Western Subalpine Warbler: A male was on Foula (Shetland) on 2nd July, whilst one of just two autumn records involved a first-winter at the Avalanche Road Hump, Southwell (Portland, Dorset) from 14th-26th October. The first Subalpine ever to winter in the Uk involved a first-winter female in St Just (Cornwall) gardens from 17th November into January 2013.

Barred Warbler: The first of the autumn (and year) involved a juvenile on the Farne Islands (Northumberland) on 6th August, with a further 63 then logged before the end of the month, mostly on Shetland and Orkney. At least 110 then appeared in September and a further 70 in October

In Ireland, where the species remains very scarce, a juvenile was on Arranmore Island (County Donegal) on 2nd September.

Asiatic Desert Warbler: In East Kent, one was photographed at Samphire Hoe CP, Dover, early morning on 18th November. Despite being alerted by the photographer shortly later, the bird was never seen again.

Greenish Warbler: Following singles on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 14th-15th August and Out Skerries (Shetland) on 18th August, three arrived along the Northumberland coastline in late August at Tynemouth on 26th, St Mary’s Wetland on 26th-28th and on Inner Farne on 26th-28th and others elsewhere at Kilnsea (East Yorks) on 26th, Blakeney Point (Norfolk) on 26th-28th, Gibraltar Point (Lincs) on 28th and at Great Ormes Head (Conwy) on 29th. September saw a further flourish of records with singles on Skomer Island (Pembs) on 8th-12th, at Norwick, Unst (Shetland), on 23rd-24th, at East Hills, Wells (Norfolk), on 24th-26th, in Filey NCCP (North Yorks) on 25th-26th, at Burniston (North Yorks) on 25th-26th, Flamborough Head Old fall Plantation (East Yorks) on 26th, Kilnsea (East Yorks) on 26th-29th and at St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe (Kent) on 29th-30th.

In Ireland, singles were discovered at Old Head of Kinsale (County Cork) on 12th October and at Three Castles Head (County Cork) on 17th October.

Arctic Warbler: Singles were noted on Fair Isle (Shetland) on 19th-21st, 29thAugust to 5th September, 21st-23rd September and 27th September, Halligarth, Unst (Shetland), on 1st-2nd September, Flamborough Head Old fall Plantation (East Yorks) on 1st-2nd September, Holy Island (Northumberland) on 26th-29th September, Fair Isle again on 2nd October, Ronas Voe (Shetland) on 21st October and at Brancaster Staithe (Norfolk) on 24th-25th October. An exceptionally late bird was then seen at Helendale, Lerwick (Shetland), on 6th-10th November. An exceptional year involving 10 records.

Pale-legged Leaf Warbler: Well, what can one say. Totally unexpected and off the scale. The first for the Western Palearctic was seen and photographed in Pete & Debby Saunders’ back garden in Southwell, Portland (Dorset) on 22nd October, showing well up until dusk. Just a limited number of local observers connected, the bird never to be seen again.

Pallas’s Leaf Warbler: Compared to the number of Arctic Warblers recorded in autumn 2013, this was a poor year for this species. Following the arrival of the first singles in Angus and Aberdeenshire on 13th October, one was located in a Lancashire back garden on 15th-20th. A further 15 were then discovered along the East Coast from Northumberland to Kent between 15th and 30th, whilst another strayed far inland to Hatfield Moors (South Yorks) on 24th. Just three more appeared in November – on Rousay (Orkney) on 10th, Portland Bill (Dorset) on 14th and at Dungeness (Kent) on 14th-17th.

Like most vagrant warblers, this species is rare in Ireland, so one at Knockadoon Head (County Cork) on 27th October was Headline News.

Yellow-browed Warbler: Singles that arrived at Holme NOA (Norfolk) and North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 21st September were precursors of a major autumn influx, involving at least 450 birds by the end of the month and including over 150 on 22nd September alone. At least 200 more arrived in October, with a few filtering west into Ireland.

Hume’s Leaf Warbler: Singles were identified on a combination of call and plumage characteristics at Cambois (Northumberland) on 11th-12th October, Norwick, Unst (Shetland), on 16th-24th October, on Fair Isle on 17th-18th October, in Belle Tout Wood, Beachy Head (East Sussex), from 30th October until 4th November

Radde’s Warbler: Slightly later than usual, the first was trapped and ringed at Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 11th October. This was followed by a bird on Bardsey Island (Gwynedd) on 14th and 1-2 birds at Kilminning Rose Patch, Fife Ness (Fife) from 18th-21st. Further singles then appeared at Lunan Bay (Angus) on 18th-21st, on St Agnes (Scilly), on 22nd-23rd, on the Farne Islands (Northumberland) on 22nd-25th and trapped and ringed at Hollesley RSPB (Suffolk) on 30th October.

Dusky Warbler: In Shetland, singles were seen at Symbister, Whalsay, on 12th October, Swinister Burn, Sandwick, on 19th and at Sumburgh Head Quarry on 20th, whilst elsewhere, an above average showing included singles at Reculver Towers (Kent) on 22nd, Hartlepool Headland (Cleveland) on 22nd, Whitburn CP (County Durham) on 23rd-28th, St Mary’s Island Wetland (Northumberland) on 23rd, Flamborough Head (East Yorks) on 25th, Long Nab, Burniston (North Yorks) on 25th, Holy Island (Northumberland) on 25th-26th and at Lynford Arboretum (Norfolk) for just over an hour on 29th. Several more appeared in November, with singles at Portland Castle (Dorset) on 13th-14th, West Bexington (Dorset) on 30th and at Swanvale NR, Swanpool (Cornwall) from 23rd November until 5th December. On the Isles of Scilly, one overwintered in Lower Moors, St Mary’s, being noted from 10th December into the New Year.

In Ireland, one was on Inishmore (County Galway) (that island again !) from 19th-24th October.

Western Bonelli’s Warbler: In Orkney, one was seen sporadically on North Ronaldsay in the Holland House Garden from 1st-30th July, whilst on the Isles of Scilly, one was photographed on Bryher on 26th August. On this same archipelago, one was on the Garrison, St Mary’s, on 20th-21st September, with yet another on St Martin’s from 1st-6th October.

Iberian Chiffchaff: In North Somerset, the singing male remained at Porlock until early August.

Red-breasted Flycatcher: The first autumn arrival was that on Whalsay (Shetland) on 15th September, a precursor for 50 or more before the end of that month. North Norfolk attracted 6 or more, with further birds widely scattered between Shetland, Orkney, the Outer Hebrides and Scilly. At least 75 more were discovered in October, with a further seven recorded in Ireland. Four very late birds occurred on Scilly in early November, with the last in Cot Valley (Cornwall) from 6th-8th November. This was eclipsed somewhat however, by an even later individual in Nanquidno Valley, St Just (Cornwall), on 11th-13th December.

Penduline Tit: Late October annually produces a crop of Penduline Tit occurrences and this year was no exception, with an influx of up to 15 birds. An adult male was at Dungeness ARC (Kent) on 15th & 28th October, with an immature on Tresco Great Pool (Scilly) from 22nd-27th October, another at Oare Marshes NR, Faversham (Kent), on 30th-31st October, the ARC Pit male again on 5th & 13th November, up to four at Grove Ferry, Stodmarsh NNR (Kent) from 6th-13th November, two juveniles at Marston Vale Millenium Park (Beds) on 10th November, these latter two at Ouse Fen (Cambs) on 2nd-13th December and later singles in Pegwell bay (Kent) on 6th December and Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) on 8th December.

Golden Oriole: Up to four birds were eventually seen at Lakenheath Fen RSPB (Suffolk) but successful breeding was not considered to have taken place because of the poor weather. Autumn migrants are rarely encountered in the UK so singles at Collister (Shetland) on 19th August and North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 20th August were noteworthy, as well as one at Ollaberry (Shetland) on 10th September.

Red-backed Shrike: Present in at least one breeding site during the summer whilst the first of autumn included a female at East Holton (Dorset) on 6th July and adult males at East Chevington (Northumberland) on 6th-15th July, Lake Farm Country Park, Hayes (Middlesex), on 11th-22nd July and at Cheriton (Hants) on 26th July. August was typically better for this species with a juvenile on Blakeney Point (Norfolk) on 12th, singles on the Isle of May (Fife) on 17th-18th, Sammy’s Point, Easington (East Yorks) on 18th, Land’s End Cycle Track (Cornwall) on 19th-20th, Great Ormes Head (Conwy) on 26th, Salthouse (Norfolk) on 31st and Beachy Head (East Sussex) on 31st and a further 15 on the Northern Isles during the month. September saw just 22 more arrive, with 10 lingering into October. A very late first-year was trapped and ringed in Weybourne (Norfolk) on 9th November.

In Ireland by comparison, just one juvenile in August at Hook Head (County Wexford) on 18th-19th and three more in October.

Isabelline Shrike: In Shetland, an early first-winter was at Hestingsgot, near Toab, from 27th September until 5th October, with an adult male of the form isabellinus at Portland Bill (Dorset) from 23rd-27th October.

Woodchat Shrike: On Anglesey, a first-summer male visited Llanfairynghornwy, near Cemlyn, on 12th July, whilst in August, a first-summer male was in residence at Wyke Regis Bridging Camp (Dorset) from 18th until 1st September and a juvenile was on Tresco (Scilly) on 20th.

In Ireland, a juvenile was on Inishmore Island (County Galway) from 10th-20th October.

Lesser Grey Shrike: On the Isles of Scilly, an adult was on the Garrison, St Mary’s, on 22nd August, whilst on Shetland, one was at Aithbank, Fetlar, on 14th September.

Great Grey Shrike: The first autumn migrants appeared on the East Coast during 25th-27th September, with a further 40 or so being noted in October.

House Crow: In Ireland, the long-staying adult survived in Cobh (County Cork) until at least 21st July.

Rose-coloured Starling: At the height of summer in July, single adults were seen at Ynyslas (Ceredigion) on 2nd-9th, St Martin’s (Scilly) on 3rd and at Newbiggin (Northumberland) on 5th, whilst in August, adults were at Marbhig, Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 6th, Hillswick (Shetland) on 6th, Wick (Caithness) on 9th, Gulberwick (Shetland) on 11th, Perranporth (Cornwall) on 24th and at Llansantffraed (Wales) from 26th until 2nd September. In September, an adult was at St Agnes (Cornwall) on 14th-15th followed by juveniles at Samphire Hoe CP (Kent) on 20th-21st, Cape Cornwall (Cornwall) on 21st, St Martin’s (Scilly) on 21st-28th, Cunningsburgh (Shetland) on 22nd, St Mary’s (Scilly) on 24th-30th, Holme & Titchwell (Norfolk) on 25th-26th, Easington (East Yorks) on 26th and Hayling Island (Hants) on 28th-29th. Another wave of immigrants in October with single juveniles on St Mary’s and on St Martin’s (Scilly) from 1st-6th (the latter until 14th), St Agnes (Scilly) on 22nd-24th, Haverfordwest (Pembs) on 19th-20th, Cape Cornwall Golf Course (Cornwall) on 22nd, Strumble Head (Pembs) on 28th and the Walmsley Sanctuary, Wadebridge (Cornwall) on 30th. November saw juveniles at Northrepps (Norfolk) on 17th, Port Isaac (Cornwall) on 17th-29th and at St Columb Major (Cornwall) on 26th-27th. At the end of the year, a first-winter frequented Exminster Village (South Devon) from 12th December into 2013.

In Ireland, single adults were near Wicklow (County Wicklow) again on 4th July, at Malin Beg (County Donegal) on 6th July and at Dungarvan (County Waterford) on 19th-24th July, with further juveniles in autumn on Arranmore Island (County Donegal) on 3rd October and at Knockadoon Head (County Cork) on 28th October.

Spanish Sparrow: A presumably ship-assisted male was present at Landguard NR (Suffolk) from at least 24th August until 27th September – the first record for the county. It was very intermittent in its appearances, only occasionally being located in the pre-roost gathering of House Sparrows on the common. What may have been last year’s Calshot male was visiting a garden feeder in Newchurch (Isle of Wight) from 4th-6th November.

Red-eyed Vireo: The first for Shetland and one of the earliest British records ever was a first-winter in Valyie garden, Norwick, Unst, from 12th-15th September.

European Serin: In Suffolk, a long-staying but very erratic female remained at landguard NR until 13th July, whilst an equally elusive singing male was in the Dungeness Area (Kent) from 10th-15th July and a flyover in Kent at Cheriton on 25th July. Much scarcer in autumn, with perhaps 14 seen briefly in October and 4 in November.

Scandinavian Arctic Redpoll: Following an unseasonal bird at St Abb’s Head (Lothian) on 1st July, one was trapped and ringed on Fair Isle (Shetland) on 14th July.

Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll: Coinciding with a major influx of Greenland and Northwestern Redpolls came an unprecedented influx of Hornemanni, the first of which arrived on Unst at Norwick on 28th September. Although this bird remained until 11th October, up to 10 more were discovered on Unst and neighbouring islands throughout the rest of the month. Elsewhere, at least two frequented North Ronaldsay (Orkney) during 17th-22nd October, whilst 6 or more were considered to have passed through Port Nis, at the extreme NW tip of Lewis (Outer Hebrides) between 14th & 26th October. And at last a first-winter finally reached the Mainland – but frustratingly got misidentified throughout much of its stay at Holkham Dunes (Norfolk) on 26th-27th October. All was not lost though as in December, an extremely confiding and popular first-winter inhabited Aldeburgh Beach (Suffolk) from 8th-19th December.

Common Rosefinch: The first juveniles of the autumn appeared on the Northern Isles from 14th August, with 9 or more recorded there by the months end. Elsewhere, singles were on Skokholm (Pembs) on 28th August, Holme Dunes (Norfolk) on 30th August. September saw an arrival of a further 30, few of which being twitchable apart from a juvenile at Whitburn CP (County Durham) on 27th-29th. October proved no better, with 15 reported, mostly from Shetland.

In Ireland, singles visited Arranmore Island (County Donegal) on 17th August and Copeland Island (County Down) on 8th September, with 5 or so reaching the West Coast of Ireland in October.

Myrtle Warbler: Two reached Ireland in October – on Dursey Island (County Cork) on 3rd-6th and on Inishmore Island (County Galway) on 6th.

Magnolia Warbler: The second for Britain but a first for Scotland involved a first-winter male on Fair Isle (Shetland) on the evening of 23rd September; it was admired by a lucky 38 observers and was never seen again.

Blackpoll Warbler: On the Isles of Scilly, singles reached Bryher from 11th-18th October and near Telegraph, St Mary’s, on 28th-29th October.

In Ireland, one visited Inishmore (County Galway) on 7th October, with the fourth of the autumn in Dave Suddaby’s Termon garden on The Mullet (County Mayo) on 9th November.

Ortolan Bunting: Another passage migrant declining in numbers at an alarming rate. Just two were recorded in August (at Spurn Point, East Yorks, on 18th and on North Ronaldsay, Orkney, on 20th-24th), 16 in September (mainly in SW Britain, with 4 on Scilly) and just two in October (on St Mary’s, Scilly, on 1st-6th and in Housel Bay, Lizard, Cornwall, on 10th).

In Ireland, singles were on Inishbofin Island (County Galway) on 10th-12th September, at Skibbereen (County Cork) on 20th September, Knockadoon Head (County Cork) on 29th September, Lissagriffin (County Cork) on 1st-3rd October and at Mizen Head (County Cork) on 4th October.

Chestnut-eared Bunting: The second for Britain (and Shetland) involved a first-winter female near the Pool of Virkie at Eastshore from 23rd-25th October.

Rustic Bunting: Another poor autumn for this sharply declining Scandinavian breeder, with just two recorded in autumn – on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 5th October and Marsden Hall Quarry (County Durham) on 23rd-24th October.

Little Bunting: Following the first autumn arrival on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 23rd September, at least 12 arrived on Shetland and Orkney during 24th-29th and singles elsewhere at Gun Hill (Norfolk) on 24th, South Gare (Cleveland) on 24th-26th, Cresswell (Northumberland) on 25th, Bardsey Island (Gwynedd) on 26th, Portland Bill (Dorset) on 27th, Emlin Moor (South Yorks) on 29th and Portland Bill (Dorset) on 6th October. Fifteen more then appeared in the Northern Isles in the first two weeks of October, with others elsewhere at South Shields (County Durham) on 13th, Barra (Outer Hebrides) on 16th, on the Farne Islands (Northumberland) on 22nd-25th, Bardsey Island (Gwynedd) on 23rd, South Gare, Redcar (Cleveland) on 23rd-24th, on Lundy Island (Devon) on 24th, at Burnham Overy Dunes (Norfolk) on 25th-27th, Easington (East Yorks) on 28th and at Hawling (Gloucs) on 30th. A few more appeared in November, including singles at Sedgeletch SF (County Durham) on 2nd-8th and near Skeffling (East Yorks) on 10th, with two with Reed Buntings at Rosenannon Downs, near Wadebridge (Cornwall), on 28th-30th. The last of the year was at East Burrafirth (Shetland) on 7th-10th December.

Black-headed Bunting: an adult male was on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) from 5th-13th August.

Bobolink: In Shetland, a first-winter was at Brake, just north of Hillwell, on 28th October.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak: On the Isles of Scilly, a first-winter male visited garden feeders in Rams Valley, Hugh Town, from 18th-29th December.

Lee G R Evans 4 February 2013LGREUK400@aol.com

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