2013 Review – January-June 2013
Well what a spectacular six months it has been with the species tally as we begin the second period standing at an impressive 383 species – somewhat surprisingly just one species down on the same time period last year. For keen listers, it has been a very busy period – some of those with lists of over 500 species actually adding up to eight new birds! Discounting the dead White-tailed Tropicbird, highlights have been Dusky Thrush (first twitchable since 1960), White-throated Needletail (first since 1991), Pacific Swift (first twitchable since 1993), Pine Grosbeak, Collared Flycatcher (a record 5 this spring), Rock Thrush, Indigo Bunting and Harlequin Duck (17th record). Here follows an exhaustive report of the Rare and Scarce Birds in Britain and Ireland in January to June 2013 – enjoy.....
Pacific Diver: In West Cornwall, the regularly reappearing adult was again in Mount’s Bay, Penzance Harbour, from 12th-23rd February, when it was last sighted in Little London Bay off Marazion. About three weeks later, it reappeared in Mount’s Bay, and was then seen intermittently from 17th March until 1st April. In Shetland, an adult in virtually full breeding plumage was seen off Grutness during the evening of 16th May constituting the first record for that archipelago.
White-billed Diver: A record year mainly due to the discovery of a large wintering flock in Northeast Scotland. In January, a regular adult was in South Nesting Bay (Shetland) on 20th, followed by an adult off the Isle of May (Fife) on 23rd. A further returning adult was then discovered in Water Sound, South Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 29th January, this bird delighting locals throughout the winter and early spring. During March it moved into Widewall Bay, then Herston throughout April, before lingering off St Margaret’s Hope until 12th May.
In Shetland, singles were seen off Muness, Unst, on 1st and at Sound Gruney, Fetlar, on 8th February, with the first of a cessation of sightings in the Butt of Lewis area, Lewis (Outer Hebrides), on 18th February. Elsewhere in northern Scotland, singles were off John O’Groats (Highland) on 4th March and in Machrihanish Bay (Argyll) on 5th March, whilst over at Portsoy Harbour (Aberdeenshire), the first three of an exceptional wintering population were discovered on 17th March.
Two individuals were to be found off Port Nis, Lewis (Outer Hebrides), from 27th March, this number typically increasing to a peak of 7 during the first three weeks of April, whilst elsewhere on the Scottish West Coast, no less than eight different birds were reported from Gairloch and Gruinard Bay south down into Argyll; one was also off Papa Westray (Orkney) on 26th April.
Enterprising birders in Aberdeenshire realising the potential offshore began a series of offshore surveys aboard the MV Gemini Explorer in April and located no less than 15 different wintering individuals between Banff and Portsoy, at least 11 lingering at the latter location all month. Up to 8 were still to be found during the first fortnight of May with just one adult being seen at the regular haunt of Burghead (Moray) on 15th.
In Orkney, one was at Evie on 9th May, whilst on the Outer Hebrides, an adult flew north past Aird an Runair, North Uist, on 20th May and one was off the Butt of Lewis on 29th May. The last of the spring was an adult off Knock Head, Banff (Aberdeenshire), on 14th June.
In Ireland, a beautiful adult in breeding plumage lingered off Inishbofin Island (County Galway) from 19th-31st May.
Pied-billed Grebe: In Somerset, an extremely popular adult lingered at Ham Wall RSPB, Shapwick Heath, from 15th February until 6th May – the first to be twitchable in Britain in three years. It proved to be on territory, indulging in loud courtship display throughout the early spring. Intriguingly, one reappeared in Ireland shortly later – at Sruhillgeg Lough on Achill Island (County Mayo) on 14th May – following on from an isolated sighting at the end of 2012.
White-tailed Tropicbird: one was found long dead on the tideline at Mawbray Bank (Cumbria) on 6th January. Breeding in the Tropical Atlantic, Indian and western Pacific Oceans, its origin was most likely the deck of a passing vessel than natural, the remains being donated to the Tullie House Museum in Carlisle.
Cory’s Shearwater: Singles flew past Strumble Head (Pembs) on 23rd June and Spurn Point (East Yorks) on both 28th & 29th June, whilst in Ireland, one flew west in Ballycotton Bay (County Cork) on 15th June.
Great Shearwater: In Ireland, one flew past Inishbofin (County Galway) on 30th June.
Leach’s Petrel: A very odd winter record involved one blown far inland at Brogborough Lake (Bedfordshire) on 8th February. This had been preceded by an individual at Lough Boora Parklands (County Offaly) on 5th February.
Wilson’s Petrel: Off the Isles of Scilly, the first of the year was seen from a pelagic trip 3 miles SW of the Bishop Rock on 31st May. A further bird was seen by Kester Wilson off Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 13th June.
Little Bittern: For the fifth spring in succession, a male returned to Shapwick Heath NNR (Somerset) in early May. A second male was discovered nearby later in May, both birds remaining into early July. Like last year, breeding was not suspected until early June, both adults then repeatedly returning to the nest-site at Walton Heath to feed youngsters in early July.
Black-crowned Night Heron: In South Devon, two arrived on the River Dart at Dartington on 24th April, the adult remaining there until 26th and the first-summer until 28th. These were then followed by an adult at Tenby Marsh (Pembs) on 25th May, an adult at Stoke Albany Fishponds (Northants) from 27th May until 7th June and a first-summer at Old Moor RSPB (South Yorks) late evening on 26th June.
In Ireland, one reached Dungarvan (County Waterford) on 6th May and a first-summer in Cork City (County Cork) on 7th June.
Squacco Heron: In Cornwall, one was in a Lanreath garden, near Looe, on 8th May, whilst in Somerset, one visited Walton Heath, Shapwick Heath NNR in early June. What may have been this latter individual was then at Brading Marshes RSPB (Isle of Wight) from 8th-14th June.
Cattle Egret: In the first winter period, one remained at Tealham Moor (Somerset) until 12th January and on Holy Island (Northumberland) from 22nd January until 2nd February, then in spring, one visited Margate (Kent) on 18th April before settling at Stodmarsh NNR from 22nd-25th April; it was then seen at Oare Marshes, Faversham (Kent), on 28th April before moving between a myriad of North Kent marshland sites throughout May and June. A second individual arrived at Dungeness (Kent) during May with others at Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) on 11th May and near Valley (Anglesey) on 14th-15th May. The final bird of the spring was one reported in flight over Doxey Marshes (Staffs) on 9th June.
In Ireland, the popular individual remained at St Johnston pigfields (County Donegal) until at least early April before perhaps returning to Hillsborough Park Lake (County Down) from 16th April until at least 5th June.
Great White Egret: In terms of breeding, two pairs were successful at Shapwick Heath NNR (Somerset) fledging four young in total, whilst in terms of wintering, it was another record year, with 35+ in the first-winter period including counts of 9 at Meare Heath (Shapwick) in January-March and 8 at Dungeness RSPB (Kent) in February-March. April and May saw some 25 or so migrants, with a dozen or so still lingering into June. In Ireland, one flew over Tacumshin Lake (Co. Wexford) on 22nd April.
Purple Heron: April saw a small influx of this Iberian heron with singles at Winterton Dunes (Norfolk) on 16th, Pegwell Bay (Kent) on 22nd, Ormesby Little Broad (Norfolk) on 26th and Frampton-on-Severn (Gloucs) on 28th, whilst one lingered in South Wales in the Kenfig area (South Glamorgan) from 25th until 22nd May. A few more were reported in May but the only ones lingering included an adult at East Chevington South Pool (Northumberland) on 4th-5th and a first-summer at Marazion Marsh RSPB Reserve (Cornwall) from 19th May until 5th June. The Kenfig first-year reappeared in June, lingering until at least 26th, with singles at Walton Heath Reedbed, Shapwick Heath NNR (Somerset) on 2nd and at Tophill Low NR (East Yorks) from 24th into July.
In Ireland, singles were at Knock Lake, Balbriggan (Co. Dublin) on 28th April and at Kilcoole NR (Co. Wicklow) on 30th April.
White Stork: In addition to the 5 or 6 free-flying escapees wandering far and wide throughout the country, presumed passage migrants included singles at Dungeness and Folkestone (Kent) on 6th April, in the Falmouth area (Cornwall) from 8th-14th April and at Berry Fen (Cambs) on 30th May (and subsequently at Ouse Fen nearby next day).
Black Stork: The first of the year flew NE over Monksilver towards Woodford (Somerset) on 4th May before being relocated SE of Barnstaple (North Devon) on 6th, when it flew east towards South Molton. What was likely to have been the same bird was then seen in the New Forest at Acres Down (Hants) on 18th before another was sighted in NW Highland on 26th May, flying over both Mull (Argyll) and Gruinard Bay (Highland) on the same day. In June, singles were seen briefly in flight over Pulborough Brooks RSPB (West Sussex) on 6th, over Wykeham Forest Raptor Viewpoint (North Yorks) on 14th and over the Forest of Dean (Gloucs) on 25th.
Glossy Ibis: Perhaps because Britain experienced a ‘proper’ winter during the first three months of the year, numbers of this Mediterranean species were low in comparison to some recent years. However, the near-adult continued to survive at Marloes Mere (Pembs) throughout, still surviving into mid-July, while a regular bird present along the South Coast visited Ringwood Water Meadows (Hants) until 27th January, as well as Stanpit Marsh in Christchurch Harbour (Dorset). It then relocated to a small pool and trackside ditch at Warblington (Hants) on 23rd February, where it was seen daily until 23rd March. It then moved further east to Arundel WWT (West Sussex) on 30th-31st March, making a fleeting visit to nearby Pulborough Brooks RSPB on 1st April before returning to Arundel on 6th-8th. It then moved to Warningcamp (West Sussex) on 14th-22nd April.
In Ireland, the long-staying near-adult remained at Timoleague (County Cork) until at least 20th February.
Eurasian Spoonbill: At least seven pairs bred in the heronry at Holkham Marsh NNR (North Norfolk), where post-breeding flocks at the end of June included up to 11 individuals at Titchwell RSPB and 5 at Cley Marshes NWT. Some 35 individuals overwintered in Britain, including a single flock of 17 in Poole Harbour (Dorset).
Snow Goose: An adult blue morph was on the Isle of Bute (Argyll) from 7th January until at least 15th February with another with Pink-feet in the Cockerham area of Lancashire from 13th January until 8th March – the latter being the same individual that had been seen with Greenland White-fronts on Islay (Argyll) on 1st November 2012. A presumed pair of adult white morph remained at Baleshare and Paible, North Uist (Outer Hebrides) from 2012 until at least early April, with an adult blue morph at Westport Marsh, Kilchenzie (Argyll), on at least 12th-20th March. A further blue morph was with Pink-feet at Water of Ae (Dumfries & Galloway) on 2nd-3rd April, with an intermediate morph at Glenacardoch (Argyll) on 3rd and two blue morph at Balmedie CP (Aberdeenshire) from 12th-22nd before moving to RAF Kinloss (Moray) on 25th-27th April. Intriguingly, a flock of 7 white morphs at Goldcliff Marsh, Newport Wetlands (Cardiff) on 15th April were followed by sightings of 6 on Burray (Orkney) on 18th and four at East Chevington CP (Northumberland) on 20th – all no doubt stragglers from the increasing population of non-naturalised birds in Germany and Holland.
In Ireland, the adult intermediate morph remained with Greenland White-fronted Geese at Lough MacNean (Co. Fermanagh) until 1st April, with an adult white morph at Sheskinmore Lough (Co. Donegal) until 19th April.
Exceptionally, not one single Ross’s Snow Goose was recorded in Britain this winter other than the regular adult with Barnacle Geese in East and North Norfolk, considered to be a ‘feral’ bird from Holland.
Taiga Bean Goose: The regular wintering populations in the Fannyside Lochs area, Falkirk (Clyde), and Yare Valley (Norfolk) reached peaks of just 246 and 104 respectively in the first winter period, the former all departing by the end of January and the latter lingering unusually until early March.
Tundra Bean Goose: Rather surprisingly, especially considering the harsh weather conditions, just 25 made it to Britain in January and February, the largest numbers typically in East Anglia.
Considered Vagrant Canada Geese: Single Small Canada Geese (presumed Hutchinsii) were noted NW of King’s Lynn (Norfolk) at North Wootton and at Frampton Marsh RSPB (Lincs) in January and February, with at least 5 regularly returning adults mainly with Barnacle Geese on Islay (Argyll) from January to April. The Norfolk individual was proven to be the same bird that had visited Marshside Marsh RSPB (Lancs) on 25th October 2012, whilst that at Frampton was considered to be the Cley NWT bird last noted on 1st January. One was present in the Caerlaverock WWT area (D & G) from 10th-29th April whilst another lingered with Barnacle Geese at Balranald RSPB, North Uist (Outer Hebrides), from mid February until at least 4th April. An odd-looking solitary bird then spent several weeks at Aird an Runair, North Uist, in May, remaining until at least 27th.
A Todd’s Canada Goose (form interior) remained with Barnacle Geese at Southerness Point (Dumfries & Galloway) from November 2012 until at least early April, also visiting Whitrigg Marsh (Cumbria) on numerous occasions.
In Western Ireland, at least three adults remained with the Barnacle Geese in the Ballintemple area (Co. Sligo) until early April.
Red-breasted Goose: The regular adult remained at Farlington Marshes (Hants) until 12th January before moving to Thorney Island (West Sussex) from 13th January until early March; the bird then reappeared at Farlington remaining until 5th April, next day being intercepted as it flew north with Dark-bellied Brent Geese past Margate (Kent). Meanwhile, in Scotland, regular adults were seen with Barnacle Geese at Loaningfoot/Southerness Point (D & G) from 30th January to 14th April and on Islay (Argyll) until 20th April, whilst in Suffolk, four adults and two first-winters were with the 2,000 or so Barnacle Geese in the Southwold/Reydon area during severe wintry weather throughout January to mid February. One of the first-years then lingered with Eurasian White-fronted Geese at North Warren RSPB, Aldeburgh, until 22nd February. In addition to these, at least 15 further adults of unknown origin were reported, with four in the Hamford Water area (Essex) again settling down to breed.
North American Wood Duck: A drake of unknown origin visited Shapwick Heath NNR (Somerset) on 24th-27th April. With numbers of this highly migratory Nearctic duck now at their highest for over a century in North America, vagrancy of this species in the UK/Ireland and the wider Western Palearctic should be taken far more seriously than is presently.
American Wigeon: A drake was at Doocot, near Rosehearty (Aberdeenshire), on 4th January, with another in Scotland at Udale Bay (Highland) until mid April. Elsewhere, a drake remained in Norfolk near Bawburgh until 31st January, another was at Liddel Loch (Orkney) on 8th February (then at Finstown throughout March and on Loch Stenness until 21st April), with further singles at Fiskerton Fen (Lincs) from 9th February until 3rd April, Bowling Green Marsh RSPB, Topsham (South Devon), from 16th February until 13th April and at Loch Bee, South Uist (Outer Hebrides), from 6th February until 18th March. As spring approached, single drakes appeared at Denhall Quay (Cheshire) on 31st March (remaining until 7th April) and at Twechar Marsh, Kirkintilloch (Clyde), on 21st-30th April (relocating to neighbouring Bridgend Farm Pools on 5th April). A female was identified at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) on 15th-16th February, this same location also hosting a hybrid, this same female presumably visiting Bodenham Lake (Herefordshire) in March. May saw more migrants, with drakes at Loch Magillie, Stranraer (D & G), on 3rd and Loch of Hillwell (Shetland), on 19th-23rd.
In Ireland, a drake was at the Drowse rivermouth at Tullaghan (County Leitrim) from 7th January until early March, with another at Cahore Marsh (Co. Wexford) from 9th-23rd February and a later bird at Quoile Pondage (Co. Down) from 29th March until 6th April. In May, a drake visited Cuskinney Marsh, Cobh (Co. Cork), on 12th-18th.
Baikal Teal: In Ireland, an elusive drake was at Tacumshin Lake (County Wexford) on 8th-9th February. Vaguely possibly the same bird, albeit with some wing damage, appeared at Flamborough Head (East Yorks) with two Eurasian Wigeon on 15th April. All three birds had gone next day, the Baikal Teal perhaps relocating to Germany, where a drake was at Geilenkirchen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, on 4th May.
North American Black Duck: Once again, the Highland drake reappeared at Strontian in early February, being seen almost daily until 10th. Another was then discovered on Shetland on 11th June, moving from the Loch of Hillwell to Boddam on 16th-18th.
In Ireland, the usual drake was again at Sruhill Lough on Achill Island (County Mayo) throughout January to March, whilst two new individuals were discovered at Cockle Strand, near Mizen Head (Co. Cork), from 7th February until 9th March.
Blue-winged Teal: The adult drake of somewhat suspect origin first recorded in November 2010 remained on the River Dee at lamb Island, Threave (D & G), throughout much of the first winter period, being last reported from there on 30th April; as usual, it then relocated to Bridgend Farm Pools, Kirkintilloch (Clyde), on 5th May, staying there until 11th, before perhaps moving to Barry Buddon (Angus) on 18th May – however, it was back at Bridgend from 1st-5th June. Meanwhile, what was presumably a ‘new’ migrant drake appeared at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB (Cheshire) on 19th-20th April.
In Ireland, the long-staying female was still surviving at North Bull Island causeway (County Dublin) until at least 17th February, whilst a drake appeared at Killelton Polder, Ballylongford (County Kerry), from 27th March.
Ring-necked Duck: The three first-winters that first arrived on Scilly in October commuted between Porthellick Pool and Tresco Great Pool until 15th April, whilst elsewhere in the first winter period, two remained on Slapton Ley (South Devon) from 15th January until 30th April and single drakes lingered at Marloes Mere (Pembs) until 30th April, Par Beach Pool (Cornwall) until 17th April, Helston Boating Lake and Loe Pool (Cornwall) until 14th January (as well as a female in the vicinity until at least 6th), Shearman’s Wath, West Ashby, from 5th-17th January, Hawkridge Reservoir (Somerset) until 30th April, High Eske NR (East Yorks) from 20th-27th January and at Loch Skerrols, Islay (Argyll), on 23rd January. During the same period, single females were also present at Siblyback Lake (Cornwall) until 27th April and on Loch Scaraidh, Balranald RSPB, North Uist (Outer Hebrides), until early May, while spring passage involved a first-winter drake at Tophill Low NR (East Yorks) from late April into early June, a drake at Ham Wall RSPB (Somerset) on 2nd-5th May (moving north to Chew Valley Lake, Avon, on 13th-16th) and a female on Islay (Argyll) on 1st-2nd May. A female then began a long sojourn at Forfar Loch (Angus) from 18th May until early June, with an eclipse drake at Catterick Racecourse Lake (North Yorks) from 23rd June into July.
Ferruginous Duck: Three different individuals were seen in January – a regular female at Cockshoot Broad, Woodbastwick (Norfolk) on 6th , an adult drake at Priory Country Park, Bedford (Beds), from 27th and a female in Danson Park, Bexleyheath (London) on 31st. The latter was still there next day, the Cockshoot female appeared again on 8th-16th February and the Priory bird attracted large numbers of admirers until 2nd March. Another regular drake, that at Ivy Lake, Blashford GP (Hants), reappeared on 22nd-24th February, with a further drake (probably first-year) at ham Wall RSPB (Somerset) from 27th February until 20th March. A young drake was then on Otmoor RSPB (Oxfordshire) from 25th March until 9th April, with the regularly reappearing female at Minsmere RSPB Reserve (Suffolk) from 17th April until 9th May. In Somerset, a female then visited Barrow Gurney Reservoir on 19th April, with a drake at Chew Valley Lake from 13th-15th May, 7th-19th June and again on 29th June.
Lesser Scaup: Single adult drakes remained at Blagdon Lake (Somerset) until mid-February and Colliford Lake (Cornwall) until 20th February, whilst a putative first-winter female was at Loch of Ayre (Orkney) from 6th-15th January. A first-winter drake was then at Shotton Pools and Connah’s Quay (Clwyd) from 1st-4th February, before relocating to Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB (Cheshire) on 3rd March and back to Shotwick Boating lake on at least 4th-8th March, whilst in South Wales, the regular drake reappeared at Cardiff Bay Wetlands NR from 3rd February until at least 20th April, and a new drake present at Bryn Bach Park (Gwent) from 27th March until 20th April. The Shotwick drake was then seen at Ogston Reservoir (Derbyshire) on 16th March before settling at Freiston Shore RSPB (North Lincs) from 19th March until 14th April. Meanwhile, the Colliford drake relocated nearby at Siblyback Reservoir on Bodmin Moor, remaining there from mid March through 22nd April. Additionally, single drakes were noted at Brockholes NR (Lancs) on 15th March, Wellington Country Park (Herefordshire) from 16th March until 22nd April and on Auchendores Reservoir (Clyde) from 12th March until 28th April. As summer approached, moulting drakes were seen at Saltholme Pools RSPB (Cleveland) on 3rd-29th April and 12th-20th May, Netherfield Lagoons and Holme Pierrpont GP (Notts) on 21st-27th April and at Pugney’s Country Park, Wakefield (West Yorks) from 30th April until 21st May, while a female was identified at Borwick Waters (Lancs) from 14th April until 4th May. The regular drake then returned to St John’s Loch (Caithness) on 10th May, displaying to Tufted Ducks until at least mid June, with that summering in the Midlands identified at Lound GP (Notts) on 4th June.
In Ireland, a first-winter drake remained at Lough Gash, Newmarket-on-Fergus (Co. Clare) until at least 16th April and an adult drake at Oxford Island NR (Co. Armagh) intermittently between mid March and early May.
King Eider: In Aberdeenshire, the regular drake was off Rosehearty until 5th January, before relocating to St Combs from 6th until 25th February, whilst in Shetland, a second-winter drake was at Symbister, Whalsay, until at least mid May and a first-year drake was in Bluemull Sound from 1st February until 1st March and later in Tresta Voe on 16th June. The former then returned to the Ythan Estuary on 12th April, staying until late May, before drifting south to Blackdog and Murcar to moult throughout June. In Ireland, a first-summer drake was on Inishkea (County Mayo) on at least 17th-21st May.
Harlequin Duck: In the Outer Hebrides, a first-winter drake was found by Brian Rabbitts on the sea at Balranald RSPB, North Uist, on 18th February, the bird lingering off Traigh Iar rocks there until 25th April. Although largely ignored for several weeks, Roger Wyatt visited the site on 24th May and relocated it, daily sightings then continuing until 1st June. Harlequin Duck breeds from NE Canada to southern Greenland and Iceland, and from central Siberia eastwards to Alaska and south to NW USA. In winter, most move just a short distance, with the Icelandic population largely sedentary. A total of 17 have been recorded in the UK, this being the first twitchable since the female on Lewis in January to May 2004.
Surf Scoter: In South Wales in January, a juvenile drake was at Amroth (Pembs) on 14th and a female was in Broad Haven (Pembs) until 23rd March, whilst in North Wales, the first of a number of drakes was seen off Llandullas (Clwyd) on 16th. The latter was joined by a second drake on 18th-24th February and a third (and a female) from 2nd-16th March while 3 drakes were noted in Carmarthen Bay (Pembs) on 12th February, two of which perhaps at Telpyn Point on 18th March. Just a single adult drake lingered in Largo Bay (Fife) from January to late March (moving to Edinburgh, Lothian, from 31st until late May), whilst newly found were a young drake off Hougharry, North Uist (Outer Hebrides), on 1st-11th February, a drake off Rerwick Head (Orkney) on 9th February and a drake in Loch Ryan, Stranraer (D & G), from 1st February until 21st March. Another drake was seen off Starr Gate, Blackpool (Lancs), on 2nd March, with two drakes in Deer Sound (Orkney) on 12th March, a regular drake in the Sound of Taransay (Outer Hebrides) on 30th March, an adult drake off Embo Pier (Sutherland) on 8th-9th May, an adult drake off Stag Rocks, Bamburgh (Northumberland), on 14th May, a pair in the Sound of Harris (Outer Hebrides) on 14th June, a drake off Rhunahaorine Point (Argyll) from 26th June into July, up to four moulting individuals off Murcar Golf Course (Aberdeenshire) from 14th June and a very popular drake in Filey bay (North Yorks) from 26th-30th June.
In Ireland, single juveniles were at Ballinskelligs (Co. Kerry) from 6th January until 16th March, Brandon Bay (Co. Kerry) from 10th January until 21st February, off Dungarvan (Co. Waterford) until 3rd March, at Rosslare (Co. Wexford) from 16th March until 12th May and at Rossbeigh (Co. Kerry) on 24th-28th April, with adult drakes off Salterstown (Co. Louth) on 17th March, Ben Head (Co. Meath) from 16th March until 6th April, Balbriggan (Co. Dublin) from 25th-29th March, off Silver Strand (Co. Galway) on 19th May, at Inch Strand (Co. Galway) on 11th-14th June and off Ballycotton (Co. Cork) on 16th June.
Black Kite: Following the first near Hayle (Cornwall) on 1st April and Brighton (East Sussex) on 8th April, singles were then reported flying over various sites in Suffolk, Cumbria, London, Devon, West Sussex, Hampshire, Kent and Somerset between 11th & 30th April and a further dozen in early May between Cornwall and Orkney. One did eventually linger in Northumberland near Cramlington on 14th-16th May before a very popular bird was found in East Kent on 8th June, showing regularly in the Selling Woods area, SE of Faversham, until 15th.
White-tailed Sea Eagle: In Shetland, a Norwegian-colour-ringed second-winter was seen on Unst on 1st January before flying south over Whalsay on 10th; it was then seen over Bressay on 23rd February and near Stromfirth on 12th March before returning to Unst on 18th-21st March. A juvenile was then seen flying in off the sea at Sutton (Lincs) on 2nd February, before flying out into the Wash and south over Hunstanton (Norfolk) on 16th to be relocated in the Anmer area (also Norfolk) two days later on 18th. It then lingered over a large area of farmland NE of King’s Lynn but particularly in the Houghton Hall area until 5th March, then being reported over Burston, near Diss, on 6th. It was seen by a few non-birders in west Norfolk later in March before reappearing over Roydon Common on 2nd April before then flying east over Kelling Heath on 6th April and south into Suffolk, where it subsequently lingered in the Orfordness area until 8th before moving to Benacre Broad on 10th-11th.
In Scotland, up to 35 pairs were breeding in May, whilst in Ireland, the first-ever nesting in over a century was taking place at two locaties.
Northern Harrier: In Ireland, the juvenile female remained at Tacumshin Marsh (County Wexford) until 21st April, while a juvenile reported at Cahore Marsh (Co. Wexford) on 8th & 20th April may have overwintered there.
Pallid Harrier: A beautiful male was photographed by Mark & Veronica Hill preying on a pigeon by Newark Lane, Ripley (Surrey), on 31st March, whilst a male flew north over Forfar Loch (Angus) on 19th April. A juvenile then lingered on Skomer Island (Pembs) from 20th April until 1st May, later that day either it or another being seen over Bedmannarch Bay (Anglesey) just prior to noon. Lastly, a juvenile visited Fair Isle on 3rd June, with a male flying past Drimfern, Inverary (Argyll), on 4th June.
Rough-legged Buzzard: an average winter with perhaps four different individuals in East Anglia (including two on the Haddiscoe Levels and a popular bird at Burnham Overy Marshes) and a couple elsewhere in NE England, with a noteworthy record from Shetland during mid March to 9th April.
Red-footed Falcon: An early adult female was on St Martin’s (Scilly) from 25th April until early May, with an adult male on the Ouse Washes RSPB (Cambs) on 2nd-6th May. What may have been the same individual then performed admirably at Lakenheath Fen RSPB Reserve (Suffolk) from 3rd May into early June, this same period seeing reports of several more, none of which lingered. Cambridgeshire hosted yet another popular individual in June – this time a first-summer female at Ouse Fen RSPB from 1st-10th.
Gyrfalcon: In the Outer Hebrides, a juvenile white morph remained on South Uist until 11th January, visiting Balranald RSPB, North Uist, on 10th. A further juvenile white morph was then sighted on Orkney near Stromness on 1st-2nd February, later being seen at Yesnaby on 8th, Hoxa on 26th and Deerness on 27th. A further white morph was on Shetland at Tresta on 26th March with another on Orkney at Orphir on 20th April, Birsay Moors on 25th and over Marwick Bay on 30th.
American Coot: In Ireland, the first-winter remained at Murloch, near Ballyconneely (County Galway), from late November 2012 until 13th April.
Common Crane: The resident population in Norfolk Broadland hovered around the 34 figure during January to March, with a flock of 7 (four adults and three first-winters) lingered on the Isle of Sheppey at Capel Fleet Marshes (Kent) from 22nd January until 17th February. Another flock of 7 (this time six adults and a first-year) visited Clifton (Worcs) on 20th-26th January before flying over Stourton (Wilts) on 1st February, while a long-staying first-year lingered near Tyninghame (Lothian) from 9th-27th February before relocating to Northumberland in March-April. The Horsey Mere roost then held 41 birds from late March, the 7 aforementioned new arrivals departing north to Lincolnshire on 20th April, continuing north to Northumberland then back south past Whitburn (County Durham) on 23rd. Scotland played host to a flock of four from late April, visiting Loch of Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire) until 2nd May before heading south over Longfornan (Perth & Kinross) on 6th; a first-summer was then on Unst from 24th May until at least 22nd June. A further first-summer visited the Isle of man from 5th-13th June.
In Ireland, a flock of 5 remained in the Tacumshin area (Co. Wexford) from the start of the year until 14th February, later that day flying over Kilcoole (C. Wicklow), with another at Barrow (Co. Kerry) on 7th February. A further bird was seen on the Rogerstown Estuary (Co. Dublin) on 6th March.
Great Bustard: A bird from the Salisbury Plain reintroduction project found its way to Long Melford (Suffolk) on 17th March and near Great Dunmow (Essex) on 23rd, whilst 3 or 4 typically wintered in Dorset.
Black-winged Stilt: A pair arrived in South Wales on 26th April (at Goldcliff Pools in Gwent), moving to Ham Walls RSPB (Somerset) next day. A first-summer male then visited Limbourne Creek, Maldon (Essex), on 6th May, Frampton Marsh RSPB (Lincs) on 7th and Adventurer’s Fen, Wicken Fen (Cambs), from 14th-18th May, with a pair at Frampton Marsh on 3rd June.
Black-winged Pratincole: One visited the Swale Nature Reserve, on the Isle of Sheppey (North Kent), for a few hours on 26th June.
Killdeer: In Ireland, one was at Killybegs (Co. Donegal) on 29th March followed just over a week later by perhaps the same bird at Alston Reservoirs, Longridge (Lancs), on 7th April. Most incredulous however was that both birds were found by the very same observer – Gavin Thomas!
Kentish Plover: In spring, following one at Ferrybridge Harbour (Dorset) on 24th March, two males were at Rye Harbour NR (East Sussex) from 25th March until 2nd April, with one still present on 9th; one had been colour-ringed as an adult at St Peter-Ording, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany in May 2009. A further male was also seen at Swalecliffe Beach (Kent) on 28th-29th March followed by further singles at Ferrybridge on 1st April (female), Old Hall Marshes RSPB (Essex) on 7th April, in Pegwell Bay (Kent) on 8th April and Ferrybridge again on 2nd-3rd May.
Dotterel: Early in the spring, up to 4 were in the Siblyback area of Bodmin Moor (Cornwall) from 2nd-5th April, whilst a further 35 were logged by the end of the month including 3 at Aldingfleet (Lancs) on 20th, 8 on Plynlimon Mountain (Central Wales) on 27th and 7 at Carr Vale NR (Derbyshire) on 29th. May saw up to 160 reported, with trips of up to 10 birds at several sites and gatherings of 21 at Cross Fell (Cumbria) on 7th and 14 at Grainthorpe Haven (North Lincs) on 11th-13th. Unusually, a summering female was on St Martin’s (Scilly) on 27th-29th June.
In Ireland, 4 were at Ballinskelligs (Co. Kerry) on 23rd-29th April, 3 at Slieve Muck (Co. Down) on 27th April and a female at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on 6th-9th June.
American Golden Plover: In Ireland, a first-summer was at Kilcoole (Co. Wicklow) from 28th April until 3rd May with an adult on Inishkea (Co. Mayo) on 17th May. These were followed by three in Britain in June: an exceptionally confiding first-summer in the Cuckmere Haven (East Sussex) from 11th-14th, one at Ardvule Point, South Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 12th and a flyover adult at Brownshill Staunch (Cambs) on 18th.
Temminck’s Stint: In a repeat of recent years, there was a wintering individual in Britain: on the Parrett Estuary at Stockland Reach (Somerset) from 1st January until at least 26th March. No more were then recorded until May, with 57 logged during that month peaking at 6 at Frampton Marsh RSPB (Lincs) on 19th – and a further 8 birds in June.
White-rumped Sandpiper: An adult was at Findhorn Bay (Moray) on 10th-14th June, with two reported there on 11th. One also visited Ireland in June – at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on 3rd.
Pectoral Sandpiper: In what was a record spring for this Siberian/Nearctic wader, involving at least 48 individuals, the first appeared in Northumberland on 19th April, commuting between Bradford Kaims, Backworth Pond and Holywell Pond until 24th. One was then seen at Rainham Marsh RSPB (London) and Holland Haven CP (Essex) on 25th and 26th April respectively before a huge influx of 30 arrived in May, including 3 at Strathbeg RSPB (Aberdeenshire) on 6th-8th, 3 at Wicken (Bakers) Fen (Cambs) on 14th, 2 on Foula (Shetland) on 25th-28th and 2 on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 29th. June saw a further 18, including two together at Cley NWT (Norfolk) on 11th-14th. A further 5 were recorded in Ireland in May, with up to 3 at Cahore Marsh (Co. Wexford) from 4th-12th.
Broad-billed Sandpiper: One was at Patrington Haven (East Yorks) on 18th May.
Buff-breasted Sandpiper: In spring, singles were at Loch Gruinart RSPB, Islay (Argyll), on 22nd-23rd May, Exnaboe (Shetland) on 24th May, Tiree (Argyll) on 3rd June and at Cemlyn Bay (Anglesey) on 20th June, whilst in Ireland, at Inishkea (Co. Mayo) on 21st May, Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on 25th May and at Blacksod on the Mullet Peninsula (Co. May) on 11th June.
Long-billed Dowitcher: A first-winter was on the Gann Estuary, near Dale (Pembs), from 1st January until 13th April, with another wintering individual at Alkborough Flats, Scunthorpe (North Lincs), until 24th April. One was then seen on Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 29th April – at Loch Stiapavat just east of the Butt of Lewis.
In Ireland, an adult was at Lady’s Island Lake (Co. Wexford) from 14th January until at least 9th March.
Lesser Yellowlegs: In South Devon, a first-winter remained on the Tamar Estuary in Ernesettle Creek, Plymouth, from 1st January until 22nd April. This was followed by one in spring at Marazion Marsh RSPB (Cornwall) on 2nd-3rd May.
In Ireland, singles visited Skerries Harbour (Co. Dublin) on 2nd April, Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on 27th April to 2nd May, Dundalk Docks (Co. Louth) on 29th April to 5th May and on Inishkea (Co. Mayo) on 7th May.
Terek Sandpiper: One visited Rye Harbour NR (East Sussex) on 25th May.
Spotted Sandpiper: Single summer-plumaged birds were at Wadebridge (Cornwall) on 10th-14th May and Belvide Reservoir (Staffs) on 26th May.
Wilson’s Phalarope: On the Isle of Wight, a breeding-plumaged female graced Yarmouth Mill Pools from 18th-23rd June.
Red-necked Phalarope: A female reappeared for its 7th consecutive summer at Coombe Hill Meadows NR (Gloucs) on 16th May and lingered until 16th June, whilst elsewhere, singles visited Old Moor RSPB (South Yorks) on 24th May, Scaling Dam Reservoir (Cleveland) on 31st May, Slimbridge WWT (Gloucs) on 3rd & 20th June, Kilnsea (East Yorks) on 12th June, Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) on 14th June, Kenfig (South Glamorgan) on 15th June, Wat Tyler CP (Essex) on 16th June, Berry Fen, Earith (Cambs), on 18th June, North Shields (Northumberland) on 21st June, Easton Bavents (Suffolk) on 25th June, Tiree (Argyll) on 28th June and the Ouse Washes RSPB (Cambs) on 28th June. Two birds together were noted in Broadford Bay, Skye (Highland), on 23rd May and at Rutland Water (Leics) on 2nd June whilst in Ireland, 2 were on Inishkea (Co. Mayo) on 17th May (with four females there on 21st) and a female at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on 10th June.
Grey Phalarope: In January, singles were at Garths Ness (Shetland) on 5th, Kinmel Bay (North Wales) on 20th and off Filey Brigg (North Yorks) on 31st . The latter then lingered until 2nd February while further birds flew past Hinkley Point (Somerset) on 2nd and Flamborough Head (East Yorks) on 4th. Another made a fleeting visit to Riverside Country Park, Gillingham (Kent) on 5th February. In March, singles were at South Queensferry (Lothian) on 23rd, off St David’s Harbour, Dalgety Bay (Fife), on 25th and in Bridlington Harbour (East Yorks) on 26th, whilst one flew east past Kelling Quags (Norfolk) on 1st April.
In Ireland, singles were noted at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on 5th-6th January and in Galway (Co. Galway) on 29th January.
Pomarine Skua: It was an outstanding spring in the Outer Hebrides where of the 3,000 or so logged during May, 614 flew north past Aird an Runair, North Uist, on 11th.
Long-tailed Skua: an early adult was on Lundy Island (North Devon) on 16th April. Then a flock of 27 on the sea off Criccieth Beach (Gwynedd) on 10th May proved to be the precursor of a spectacular movement in the Outer Hebrides and elsewhere in Scotland where numerous counts exceeding 200 too place between 12th & 23rd including a mammoth 1,125 flying NE over Aird an Runair, North Uist, on 22nd. Next day, the Corran Narrows, SW of Fort William (Highland), saw a remarkable 834 fly north, with movements switching to the East Coast at the end of the month. The only report inland was of one briefly at Queen Mother Reservoir (Berks) late on 24th May. A further 25 were logged in June, mostly in the North Sea, including 5 reported flying south past Flamborough Head on 7th.
Sabine’s Gull: During a period of inclement weather in the southwest, singles flew past Horse Point, St Agnes (Scilly) on 17th April and Pendeen Watchpoint (Cornwall) next day. June then saw a trio of occurrences with singles off Porthcawl (South Wales) on 22nd, Lundy Island (Devon) on 27th and 6 miles south off Scilly on 24th.
Bonaparte’s Gull: Single adults were seen at Dawlish Warren NNR (South Devon) again on 5th January, on the Ogmore Estuary near Cardiff (Glamorgan) from 5th January until 17th April, at Padstow (Cornwall) on 14th January, in Cardiff Bay itself from 12th January until 5th April and most popular of all, in Princes Park, Eastbourne (East Sussex), from 27th January until 26th February. A first-winter was then seen at Stoneybridge, South Uist (Outer Hebrides), on 2nd February, with an adult reappearing at Castletown, Thurso (Caithness) on 30th March & 6th April, the first for Berkshire at Hosehill Lake, Theale, on 26th April (a summer-plumaged adult and perhaps the same at Chew Valley Lake, Avon, next day) and a first-year at Elmley Marshes RSPB (Kent) from 28th April until 5th May which later relocated to the East Flood at Oare Marshes, Faversham, on 22nd May, staying until the end of June at least. The adult returned to the Exe Estuary in South Devon on 2nd May and showed daily until 15th while in neighbouring Cornwall, an adult visited Siblyback Lake on 15th-16th May and a first-winter Stithians Reservoir on 16th May. The last of the spring concerned a first-summer on Tiree (Argyll) on 18th June.
In Ireland, the adult remained in Larne Harbour (Co. Antrim) until mid February before relocating to Ballygally on 18th March, with another in Skerries Harbour (Co. Dublin) from 2nd-18th March. The month of May saw two fresh arrivals with summer adults at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on 2nd-13th and at Kilshannig, Castlegregory (Co. Kerry) on 13th-14th.
Ring-billed Gull: The single adults remained at Sands Lane GP near Mirfield (West Yorks) until late March and at Walpole Park, Gosport (Hants), until 26th March, with single first-winters on Fair Isle from 9th-20th January, at East Voe of Scalloway (Shetland) from 16th January until 20th March, in Bude (Cornwall) from 21st January until 3rd February, at Neath Abbey (South Wales) from 2nd-31st March and at Stewartby Lake roost (Beds) on 14th March. A popular first-summer then commuted between Rutland Water and Melton Mowbray CP (Leics) from 18th April until 7th May whilst the long-staying Shetland individual was seen at Quendale on 28th April and in the Hillwell area until at least 25th May before returning to East Voe until at least 16th June. In addition, large numbers were recorded in Ireland including at least 35 between January and March.
North American Herring Gull: In Ireland, a first-winter was at Baltimore Fish Factory (Co. Cork) from 2nd-9th February.
Gull-billed Tern: Singles visited Kelling Water Meadows (Norfolk) on 10th June, Kirkby-on-Bain GP (Lincs) on 18th June and Bowling Green Marsh RSPB, Topsham (Devon), on 25th June.
Caspian Tern: One flew north past Spurn and Kilnsea (East Yorks) on 25th April before a second-summer appeared at Testwood Lakes HWT Reserve (Hants) on 9th June. This latter individual then moved west to Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset) on 11th before settling at West Bexington (Dorset) on 11th-12th June.
Forster’s Tern: In Ireland, a first-winter was at Lady’s Island Lake and Carne (Co. Wexford) on 20th January, while the regular returning adult was in Galway Bay (Co. Galway) intermittently between 1st January and 28th March. An adult then returned to Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) from 3rd-25th May.
Whiskered Tern: In Somerset, two adults arrived at Shapwick Heath NNR on 21st April and lingered there until the following morning. They then split up and were seen at Durleigh Reservoir on 22nd & 27th April, Witcombe Reservoir on 22nd-23rd and at Chew Valley Lake (Avon) on 23rd & 25th, as well as at Frampton Sailing Lakes (Gloucs) on 26th. One was also seen at Carsington Water (Derbyshire) on 24th April before moving to Blithfield Reservoir (Staffs) later the same day.
White-winged Black Tern: A poor spring with just two birds located: summer-plumaged adults at Ferry Meadows CP, Peterborough (Cambs) on 20th May and at Lady’s Island Lake (Co. Wexford) on 23rd-26th May.
Little Auk: About 30 were noted in January, including singles as far south as Hemsby (Norfolk) and Southwold (Suffolk) on 9th & 19th respectively, with others seen southwest to Somerset, Cornwall and Scilly to the month’s end. February saw a further 18 reports, including 3 in Loch Fyne (Argyll) on 1st while a further 15 in March (including 3 north past Staithes Harbour, North Yorks, on 28th).
Four were reported in Ireland in January, including one off Ballycotton Pier (Co. Cork) on 27th, with 7 in February including 4 off Slyne Head (Co. Galway) on 1st.
Continental Barn Owl: A dark-breasted individual remained at Southease Bridge, near Rodmell (East Sussex) from mid January until at least early April, with others at Reawick (Shetland) on 9th-10th March and in Sutton Courtenay (Oxfordshire) on 29th March.
Snowy Owl: In Strathspey, a male was on the Cairngorm Plateau from 18th January until at least 18th June, generally frequenting the rocky outcrops just west of Ben Macdui. This was followed by an immature on Jura (Argyll) on 28th March and the regular adult male on North Uist in the Grenitote and Sollas machair area from 1st-6th April and throughout May before returning to St Kilda (Outer Hebrides) from 12th June.
In Ireland, an immature male was on the Pettigo Plateau (Co. Donegal) from 10th-15th February, with the regular male on Aranmore Island (Co. Donegal) from 29th May into July.
Pallid Swift: On the Isles of Scilly, one lingered over St Mary’s from 16th April until 1st May constituting the longest stayer ever in spring
Alpine Swift: Following singles over Pagham Harbour (West Sussex), Skinningrove (Cleveland) and Marton Mere (Lancs) on 14th April, one commuted between Bridlington and Scarborough (Yorkshire) from 16th-18th April. These were then followed by singles at Lopham Fen (Norfolk) on 17th April, Cliftonville, Margate (Kent), on 17th and a lingering bird in the Lade area of Dungeness (Kent) from 17th-18th April. May saw just two arrivals with singles at Ruan Lanihorne (Cornwall) on 20th and over Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 24th
In Ireland, singles were over Glasnevin (Co. Dublin) and Castlerock (Co. Derry) on 17th April.
White-throated Needletail: In the Outer Hebrides, a first-summer graced the skies around Tarbert, the Isle of Harris, from 24th-26th June, delighting 66 visiting twitchers during its last day before being killed by an isolated wind turbine unexpectedly early evening. It represented only the fifth to be recorded in Britain and the first since 1991.
Pacific Swift: One was photographed over East Lane GP, Bawdsey (Suffolk), on 29th May before being relocated just over two weeks later less than eight miles away at Trimley Marshes SWT (Suffolk) on 15th-16th June. Its appearance sparked off the biggest twitch of the year, just under 3,000 observers trekking the 6 miles in order to see it. It was last seen at around 1600 hours on 16th. What was probably a different bird flew south over Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 12th June, later being relocated and photographed at Sea View Farm, Saltfleetby (North Lincs) in the evening.
European Bee-eater: The first of the spring involved singles over Niton (Isle of Wight) on 27th April and at Condover Industrial Estate (Salop) on 29th-30th April, while May saw a notable influx including a flock of 8 that were seen at Briningham (Norfolk) on 8th and then over Colne Point (Essex) on 11th-12th. At least eight were reported in Dorset, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Yorkshire in June, but the only one to linger was that at Pegwell Bay CP (Kent) on 8th-9th.
European Roller: One was well-watched at Broxhead Common, Bordon (Hants) on 23rd-26th May and after departing at 0910 hours on 26th to the east was relocated briefly at Thursley Common (Surrey) later that morning. One then flew over Fair Isle on 11th June before a much more obliging bird commuted between Heath House Woods and Holt Lowes (Norfolk) from 16th-19th June.
Hoopoe: A wintering individual was present in Hamworthy, Poole (Dorset), from 19th January until 19th March followed by the first spring migrants on the Isles of Scilly in March (on St Agnes on 8th, St Martin’s on 10th and St Agnes on 23rd, the latter found dead two days later). A further 29 then appeared in April and 28 in May but only that at Lyme Regis (Dorset) on 7th-15th lingered long enough to be twitched. A further 7 were reported in June including one on Skokholm (Pembs) on 8th.
In Ireland, one lingered at Creadon Head (Co. Waterford) from 16th-23rd April, with another near Athleague (Co. Roscommon) from 20th-24th June..
Wryneck: On the Isles of Scilly, singles were noted at Shipman Head, Bryher, on 20th April and St Mary’s Golf Course on 24th April before 25 arrived between 9th & 31st May, including possibly as many as 4 on Blakeney Point (Norfolk) on 29th-31st.
Greater Short-toed Lark: Singles were on St Mary’s Airfield (Scilly) on 8th-13th May, Foula (Shetland) on 16th-18th & 29th May, Pennington Marshes (Hants) on 19th May, Balranald RSPB, North Uist (Outer Hebrides), on 19th-20th May, Dawlish Warren NNR (South Devon) on 25th May, Sumburgh Head (Shetland) on 25th-29th May, on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 26th May, Blakeney Point (Norfolk) on 31st May to 5th June and on Shipman Head Down, Bryher (Scilly) on 30th June.
Crested Lark: One made a very brief early morning visit to Bockhill Farm, St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe (Kent) on 1st June before flying off strongly to the north.
Shore Lark: It was a dire winter for this species with just six wintering individuals: at Blakeney Point (Norfolk) on 15th January, two at Cley Beach (Norfolk) on 19th-20th January & 5th February, Gibraltar Point NNR (Lincs) on 22nd January to 4th February and at Sandwich Bay (Kent) on 23rd January. One then visited Havergate Island (Suffolk) from 16th February until 7th April, with 2 in Holme Dunes (Norfolk) on 8th February and a singleton at Salthouse Beach (Norfolk) on 15th-16th February. Spring passage saw singles at Gibraltar Point NNR on 1st April and Boulby Cliffs (Cleveland) on 16th, with a party of 3 at Ynyslas RSPB (Ceredigion) from 13th-15th April.
Red-rumped Swallow: An excellent spring with at least 32 recorded. The first arrived on 23rd March at Pendrathen, St Mary’s (Scilly) followed by a marked influx in April with birds noted at Crediton (Devon) on 16th, Coldwaltham Brooks (West Sussex) on 18th, Kessingland Sewage Works (Suffolk) on 18th-19th, Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 20th, St Just (Cornwall) on 21st, Portland Bill (Dorset) on 21st, Attenborough NR (Notts) on 26th and Lodmoor RSPB (Dorset) on 27th. Dungeness RSPB had an incredible run of sightings with singles on 24th & 27th April and 2nd-4th, 13th & 24th-25th May and even more incredibly, most found by the same individual observer – Steve Broyd, Spurn Point (East Yorks) also chipping in with singles on 28th April & 12th May. Additionally in May, singles were noted at Hallsands Ley (South Devon) on 2nd, Aberystwyth (Wales) on 6th, Gibraltar Point (Lincs) on 9th-11th, Flamborough Head (East Yorks) on 11th, Beddington Sewage Farm (Surrey) on 12th & 24th-25th, Marloes Mere (Pembs) on 12th, Whitlingham CP, Norwich (Norfolk) on 13th, Weir Wood Reservoir (Sussex) on 24th, Walland Marsh (Kent) on 25th and Hillswick Booth (Shetland) on 29th. Four more appeared in June with singles over Portland Bill on 7th, Brading Marsh RSPB (Isle of Wight) on 9th, Asta Golf Course, Scalloway (Shetland) on 13th and Swalecliffe (Kent) on 17th. In Ireland, one visited Great Saltee Island (Co. Wexford) on 5th May.
Richard’s Pipit: Singles were at Dowlais Farm, near Clevedon (Somerset) from 21st December until 17th January, on St Mary’s (Scilly) on 6th-9th January, at Kilnsea (East Yorks) on 27th-30th January, at Dornoch (Sutherland) on 5th February, Hesketh Out Marsh RSPB (Lancs) on 14th February, Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 26th April, Portland Bill (Dorset) on 30th April and Bolt Head (South Devon) on 16th May.
In Ireland, one was at Cooley Point (Co. Louth) on 2nd-24th February.
Tawny Pipit: Singles were at Paull Strays (East Yorks) on 5th May and on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 25th May.
Red-throated Pipit: the sole report of the spring concerned one flying south over Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 10th May.
American Buff-bellied Pipit: In Berkshire, the two wintering birds remained at Queen Mother Reservoir until 22nd January, one being last reported on 2nd February.. A series of well organised day-twitches at this permit-only site eventually realised the best part of £3,000 for conservation.
Citrine Wagtail: A female visited Swillington Ings (West Yorks) briefly on 19th April, with a first-summer female at Kelling Water Meadows (Norfolk) on 25th. A male then arrived at Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 30th April.
Black-headed Wagtail: Following a male at Marloes Mere (Pembs) on 12th-13th May, further singles were reported at Filey NCCP (North Yorks) on 28th, Winwick (Cheshire) on 29th-30th and Ynyslas RSPB (Ceredigion) on 30th.
Bohemian Waxwing: This year’s wintering population was estimated to be in the region of 6,000 birds, with January’s peak count of 360 at Old Moor (South Yorks) on 16th. Large numbers then lingered with odd birds still being seen in early June!
Black-bellied Dipper: An extremely popular individual remained on the River Thet in Thetford (Norfolk) from December 2012 until 30th March where incredibly it was joined by a second individual from 21st-28th March. The latter was then seen at Liston Mill, Long Melford, on the Essex/Suffolk border, on 27th April.
Thrush Nightingale: In Shetland, one was on Fair Isle from 8th-10th May with two more there on 29th-30th and another at Virkie Willows on 30th, whilst further south down the East Coast, a first-year showed exceptionally well at Hartlepool Headland (Cleveland) from 19th-21st May and an elusive male sang from dense scrub at Sammy’s Point, Easington (East Yorks), from 31st May until 6th June.
White-spotted Bluethroat: An above average influx with single males at Portland Bill (Dorset) on 23rd-24th March, Bembridge Harbour (Isle of Wight) from 26th March until 6th April, Prawle Point (South Devon) on 30th March, Weston, Portland (Dorset) on 30th March until 1st April, Dungeness RSPB (Kent) on 31st March, St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe (Kent) on 1st-2nd April, Chesil Cove, Portland (Dorset), on 1st-6th April, Melksham (Wilts) on 2nd April, Ashleworth Ham (Gloucs) on 3rd April, St Agnes (Scilly) on 5th April, Start Point (South Devon) on 6th April, Keyhaven Marshes (Hants) on 11th April, Hopton-on-Sea (Norfolk) on 16th April and females at Samphire Hoe CP, Dover (Kent), on 27th March to 3rd April and Portland Bill (Dorset) on 28th March to 2nd April. Much later in the spring, singing males graced the reedbeds of Cley NWT (Norfolk) from 1st-11th June, Martin Mere WWT (Lancs) from 18th-21st June and Wat Tyler CP (Essex) from 19th-23rd June.
Red-spotted Bluethroat: A singing male that arrived at Girdleness (Aberdeenshire) and four more in Shetland the same day marked the arrival of no fewer than 45 birds between 10th and 31st May, as usual the vast majority on Shetland and the Northern Isles. Just one was then recorded in June – on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 11th.
Red-flanked Bluetail: A male was reported from Burnham Overy Dunes (Norfolk) on 7th April and was shortly followed by a female at Horsey Gap (Norfolk) on 14th April. Norfolk is by far the best county for this ever-increasing Siberian waif.
Rock Thrush: In East Yorkshire, a rather drab first-summer female arrived at Spurn on 25th April before quickly moving to neighbouring Kilnsea, where it remained, much to the relief of post ’93 twitchers, until dusk the following day.
Desert Wheatear: The sixth January record for Britain involved a wintering first-winter female at Rattray Head (Aberdeenshire) from November 2012 until 26th March. Having spent just under four months in residence, it became the longest staying individual ever.
White’s Thrush: Incredibly, one had been recorded remotely by a camera trap set to capture images of Wildcats at the Ledmore & Migdale Woodland Trust Reserve near Bonar Bridge (Highland) on 31st January.
Black-throated Thrush: A male visited a garden in Banchory (Aberdeenshire) from 24th-27th March constituting the first record for this recording region of NE Scotland.
Dusky Thrush: Bird of the spring for many was this first-winter female in Margate Cemetery (Kent) from 15th-18th May – only the 10th individual ever to have been recorded in Britain and the first twitchable since the long-staying male in Hartlepool in winter 1959/60.
River Warbler: In Shetland, one was on Fair Isle on 5th-6th June, this locality by far attracting the most numbers this Millenium.
Savi’s Warbler: In East Anglia, reeling males were at Hickling Broad (Norfolk) on 12th-26th May, Minsmere RSPB (Suffolk) from 12th May into June and at Lakenheath Fen RSPB (Suffolk) from 25th May until 7th June, whilst elsewhere, five others were recorded including males at Man Sands Marsh, Brixham (South Devon), on 30th May and Old Moor RSPB (South Yorks) on 17th June.
Paddyfield Warbler: With an estimated 850,000 pairs now present in the wider Western Palearctic region, it comes as no surprise to see incidences of this species increasing in spring. In May, a singing male lingered on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) from 20th-24th and an adult was trapped and ringed on Shorne Marshes RSPB, Gravesend (Kent), on 31st, whilst in June, singles were on Bardsey Island (Gwynedd) on 7th and Fair Isle on 16th.
Blyth’s Reed Warbler: In Shetland, one was on Fair Isle on 27th-31st May, while further singles were identified on Fetlar on 29th May, Sandwick on 30th May
Marsh Warbler: Following the first trapped and ringed at Landguard Point (Suffolk) on 14th May, eight more arrived between 16th and 31st May along the east and south coasts, and another 16 were logged from Orkney and Shetland. June typically saw the peak passage, with at least 38 singing males recorded. Unusual so far north and west were singing males in North Locheyenort, North Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 24th May and in Uig Harbour, Skye (Highland) from 17th-28th June.
Great Reed Warbler: A singing male was at Church Farm Pools, Grimley (Worcs), on 14th May, followed by another at East Chevington South Pool (Northumberland) on 19th-21st May. Further individuals appeared at Buckland, near Dover (Kent) and on Out Skerries (Shetland) on 31st May.
Icterine Warbler: The first appeared on Shetland on Fair Isle on 8th May, followed by 37 more, predominantly on the Northern Isles and along the east coast from East Yorkshire northwards, between 15th May and early June.
Melodious Warbler: A quiet spring by recent standards with singles on Fair Isle on 16th May and a popular singing male at Broom Wood, Tiln (Notts) from 20th June into July.
Western Subalpine Warbler: The first overwintering record for Britain involved a first-year in St Just gardens (Cornwall) from November 2012 until 23rd January. This was followed in spring by single males at Holes Bay, Poole Harbour (Dorset), on 19th April, Mynydd Mawr, Aberdaron (Gwynedd), on 19th-30th April, Gibraltar Point NNR (Lincs) on 20th-23rd April, Portland Bill (Dorset) on 21st April, St David’s Head (Pembs) on 23rd-27th April, Carn Vean, St Agnes (Scilly) on 25th April, St Mary’s (Scilly) on 25th-26th April, Cruden Bay (Aberdeenshire) on 14th-16th May, Barrow-in-Furness (Cumbria) on 15th-18th May and Bardsey Island (Gwynedd) on 3rd June and females on Bardsey Island (Gwynedd) on 7th May, St Mary’s (Scilly) on 8th-11th May, Skokholm (Pembs) on 16th May, Scatness (Shetland) on 28th May, Skomer (Pembs) on 29th May to 5th June and at Great Ormes Head (Conwy) on 8th-9th June. Further males visited Fair Isle on 3rd-14th & 17th-27th June while a female was there on 26th June, with another male on Foula on 19th June.
In Ireland, a male was at Inch Strand (Co. Cork) on 7th-8th May, with a female on Copeland Island (Co. Down) on 26th May.
Eastern Subalpine Warbler: An exceptionally obliging male entertained a stream of admirers at Landguard NR (Suffolk) on 26th-27th April, while a female was trapped and ringed on Fair Isle on 25th May. A first-summer male was then trapped at Portland Bill Bird Observatory (Dorset) on 2nd June.
Sardinian Warbler: a male was trapped and ringed at St Abb’s Head (Borders) on 30th June – the first occurrence of this Mediterranean species in several years.
Barred Warbler: In Northumberland, a first-summer frequented isolated pines near Snook House, Holy Island, on 20th-21st May.
Greenish Warbler: A singing male was at Scarborough Castle (North Yorks) on 28th May, with another at Gibraltar Point (Lincs) on 29th-31st May. June then saw 5 further arrivals with a very popular singing male at Turton Golf Course (Lancs) from 13th-18th and others at Quendale (Shetland) on 1st, St Agnes (Scilly) on 3rd, Portland Bill (Dorset) on 16th and on Skokholm (Pembs) on 18th.
Arctic Warbler: In Shetland, one was on Skaw, Whalsay, on 23rd June.
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler: On the Berkshire/Hampshire border, a male lingered at Moor Green Lakes NR, Yateley, from 3rd January until 16th April, singing during its last week of residency.
Western Bonelli’s Warbler: One visited Church Norton, Pagham Harbour (West Sussex), on 22nd-23rd April.
Iberian Chiffchaff: Singing males were reported at Soap Rock, Lizard (Cornwall), on 20th April, Lower Moors, St Mary’s (Scilly), on 24th-26th April, Boldon Flats NR (County Durham) on 24th April whilst a calling individual was identified at Flamborough Head (East Yorks) on 25th-30th April. There were further reports in May (at Llanelli, South Wales, on 6th and at St Loy, Cornwall, on 16th) and a long-staying singing male in South Wales in June.
Yellow-browed Warbler: Overwintering birds included singles near Dinas Cross (Pembs) on 5th January, St Austell (Cornwall) on 14th January, with 1-2 at Gwennap Sewage Treatment Works, Redruth (Cornwall), from 23rd January until 2nd March.
Dusky Warbler: On the Isles of Scilly, one remained on Lower Moors, St Mary’s (Scilly), until 11th January.
Red-breasted Flycatcher: The first to arrive was a male at Grutness (Shetland) on 8th May – followed subsequently by 3 more on the archipelago and 5 in Scotland – at Rattray Head (Aberdeenshire) on 11th, St Fergus (Aberdeenshire) on 19th and on the Isle of May (Fife) on 28th. Elsewhere along the east coast, 9 more were seen, with 3 additional birds in June – on Fair Isle on 2nd, at Lowestoft (Suffolk) on 3rd and on Foula on 22nd.
White-collared Flycatcher: A first-summer male showed well at Low Newton-by-the-Sea (Northumberland) on 8th-9th May, with another at Skaw, Whalsay (Shetland), from 10th-16th May and a third at Sammy’s Point, Easington (East Yorks), on 18th May. A first-summer female was trapped and ringed on Fair Isle on 9th June, while the fifth of the spring – a new record and another male – was at Stoer Lighthouse, Lochinver (Highland) on 12th June.
Penduline Tit: In Kent, one was initially seen at Stodmarsh NNR on 5th January before giving itself up to allcomers close to the Lampen Wall from 6th February until 22nd April; an additional bird was also seen at nearby Grove Ferry NR on 8th February, while elsewhere in the county, 1-2 were again at Dungeness RSPB from 8th February intermittently until 20th April. One also visited Rainham Marshes RSPB (London) on 17th February.
Golden Oriole: Less than ten arrived in April but did include lingering males at Cemlyn Bay (Anglesey) on 17th-22nd and at Pennington Marshes (Hants) on 27th-29th whilst in May, 26 occurred including just one singing male at Lakenheath Fen RSPB (Suffolk). A further 15 appeared more typically in June.
In Ireland, a male was on Inishbofin (Co. Galway) on 22nd-24th April, with two further birds at Hook Head (Co. Wexford) in May on 8th-14th and 14th May respectively. One was also seen on Dursey Island (Co. Cork) on 4th June.
Red-backed Shrike: Arrival took place in Orkney and Shetland from 9th May and by the end of that month, no fewer than 136 individuals had been logged in Scotland. At least 75 more were recorded from the English east coast from 12th May, with isolated single males at Portland Bill (Dorset) on 22nd May, Barnes WWT (London) on 25th-26th and Pewley Downs (Surrey) on 26th. Just under 60 appeared in June including a male at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on 19th.
Lesser Grey Shrike: One was on Holy Island (Northumberland) on 19th-20th May.
Great Grey Shrike: The first winter period saw no less than 27 wintering individuals, some locations such as Therfield Heath (Herts) and Sixpenny Handley (Dorset) attracting two birds.
Woodchat Shrike: Following a male at Kenidjack Valley, St Just (Cornwall), on 15th April and a female at Efford Marsh (South Devon) on 18th April, further singles in spring were at Wembury (South Devon) on 20th April, Pelistry, St Mary’s (Scilly), on 20th April to 14th May, Hendre (Gwynedd) on 20th-27th April, Cot Valley (Cornwall) on 20th-29th April, North Widcombe Common (Avon) on 21st-30th April, St David’s Head (Pembs) on 21st-30th April, Barton Bendish (Suffolk) on 25th April to 6th May, Telegraph, St Mary’s (Scilly), on 28th-29th April, Trevilley Farm, Land’s End (Cornwall) on 28th April to 2nd May, The Lizard (Cornwall) on 30th April, Brandon Marsh (Warks) on 2nd May, Cromer Golf Course (Norfolk) on 6th May, Newlyn (Cornwall) on 6th-9th May, Gwenter (Cornwall) on 7th-11th May, Lowestoft North Denes (Suffolk) on 19th May, on Tiree (Argyll) on 19th-21st May, Kenfig Pool (South Glamorgan) on 22nd-25th May, Southbourne (Dorset) on 22nd May, Ramsey Island (Pembs) on 26th May, Foula (Shetland) on 28th May, Uskmouth NR, Newport (Gwent), on 28th May, the Isle of May (Fife) on 31st May to 1st June, Baltasound, Unst (Shetland) on 1st June, Winspit (Dorset) on 2nd June, St David’s (Pembs) on 2nd June, Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 7th June and Sennen Cove (Cornwall) on 18th-19th June. In addition, a male of the Balearic form was identified at Pierowall, Westray (Orkney), on 26th May.
In Ireland, singles appeared at Courtmacsherry (Co. Cork) on 27th April, Lady’s Island Lake (Co. Wexford) on 2nd-5th May, Ring Marsh (Co. Wexford) on 4th-6th May and Hook Head (Co. Wexford) on 14th May.
Rose-coloured Starling: The popular first-winter remained in gardens in Exminster (South Devon) from 1st January until 23rd April, during which time it had completed its moult. A first-summer was then in gardens at Orford (Suffolk) from 23rd-29th April, with later adults on the Calf of Man (Isle of Man) on 8th-16th June, Edmonton (London) on 9th June, Wells Quay (Norfolk) on 18th-22nd June, Finstown (Orkney) on 18th-21st June and at Newquay (Cornwall) on 25th June.
Eurasian Serin: A male at Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 24th March proved to be the first of the spring with 15 more recorded in April (including one trapped and ringed at Gibraltar Point NNR, Lincs, on 27th), 9 in May and 5 in June.
Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll: In Shetland, a first-winter was seen on Unst at Haroldswick on 15th January, while in Argyll, one visited Loch Gruinart RSPB on Islay on 19th April. In Orkney in May, a singing male on North Ronaldsay remained from 4th-7th.
Common Rosefinch: A first-winter remained in a Broadstone garden, Bournemouth (Dorset) from 28th January until 10th April while in spring, 55 appeared in May from 17th and 15 in June. Most popular were singing males at Strathtummel (Perth & Kinross) from 12th June into July and at Porth Eilian (Anglesey) on 21st-29th June whilst in Ireland, one reached Great Saltee (Co. Wexford) on 19th June.
Pine Grosbeak: In Shetland, a first-winter male first photographed at Almara, Urafirth on 1st November 2012 was re-photographed at nearby North Collafirth on 29th January. A subsequent search by locals saw an eventual relocation on 2nd February and then the scene was set for a dramatic twitch. Once it had become available, this incredibly obliging bird performed at distances down to just a few feet, ranging between up to 11 different conifer plantations in the vicinity until 23rd February. It represented the third record for Shetland (following singles at Lerwick from 25th March to 25th April 1992 and at Maywick on 9th November 2000) and only the 12th for Britain (where most recently birds on the mainland were on Holy Island, Northumberland, on 11th-12th May 1975 and at Easington, East Yorks, on 8th-10th November 2004). Throughout February, it attracted a steady stream of very appreciative admirers, with perhaps 600 making the pilgrimage prior to its departure.
White-throated Sparrow: In Somerset, one remained in a private Churchstanton garden from 23rd January until 3rd March whilst in South Lincolnshire, one did the same in Spalding on 28th May.
Ortolan Bunting: An early male appeared on the causeway at Longham Lakes, Bournemouth (Dorset), on 8th May, followed by singles on Fair Isle on 12th-19th, Foula (Shetland) on 17th, Spurn Point (East Yorks) on 17th, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea (Northumberland) on 21st and on Fair Isle on 10th-14th June.
Rustic Bunting: Single males were on Holy Island (Northumberland) on 19th May, Fair Isle on 19th May & 3rd June and on Foula (Shetland) on 28th-29th May.
Little Bunting: Singles were noted at Slaughterhouse Combe (Somerset) on 5th March, Rawcliffe Moss (Lancs) on 13th March (trapped & ringed), Elba Park, Houghton-le-Spring (County Durham) on 8th-23rd April, Skaw, Unst (Shetland), on 28th May and on Blakeney Point (Norfolk) on 30th May.
Lapland Bunting: The wintering population was in the region of around 100 birds, with 60 of those at Rosenannon Downs (Cornwall) and at least 30 in North Norfolk. In Ireland, one was seen at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on 9th February.
Black-headed Bunting: A female showed well on the Farne Islands (Northumberland) on 30th May whilst males appeared at Compton Bay (Isle of Wight) on 9th-11th June and at Mainsriddle (Dumfries & Galloway) on 22nd June.
Indigo Bunting: On Anglesey, an adult visited a garden feeder at Llansadwrn during the evening of 20th May – only the third occurrence since singles at Wells Woods (Norfolk) in October 1988 and on Ramsey Island (Pembs) in October 1996.