Rare Bird Alert weekly round-up: 08 - 14 August 2012
Artiklen er tilføjet af MBH torsdag 16. august 2012 kl. 10.34. Læst 538 gange
The week's highlights:
Eleonora’s Falcon photographed in west Cornwall
County Kerry lands another Least Sandpiper
Pallid Harrier flies by in the Republic too... a 1st for Clare
Stilt Sandpiper linger a little longer in Northumberland
Decent push of early autumn drifters on Orkney and Shetland
A mass of birds to deal with this week as Bird Fair looms and London 2012 begins to fade slowly, slowly into the ether, clouds lined with gold rather than silver for a change!
Warm weather was prevalent for much of the week, pushing temperatures in to the mid 20’s in places and bringing some pretty muggy conditions along for the ride too. Some south coast sites benefitted from the moist warmth while further north, on the east coast from Suffolk and Norfolk, to Northumberland and up to Orkney and Shetland, the breezes off the sea (largely southeast to east-southeast) meant that a strong first wave of drift migrants was bagged as the week drew to a close.
After a summer jam-packed with decent birds (though none that make the lister’s hair stand on end) the first genuine mega of the early autumn slipped by with just a collection of slightly fuzzy, slightly hazy but utterly gripping images to show for it….
Yes, as Mo Farah was presumably trotting gamely along the training track within the confines of Fortress Olympic Park, two seawatching birders in west Cornwall stole the week’s birding gold medal with a 20 minute encounter of a raptor right out of the top drawer.
During the middle of the afternoon of 11th two birders seawatching off Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra noticed a large all-dark falcon hawking insects across the cove. Needless to say, despite a little distance between them and the bird, there was enough nouse about the observers to rattle off a series of crucial shots. Those images were, undeniably, a first-summer Eleonora’s Falcon in all its ragged glory.
Along with the characteristic shape of the bird (note especially that pinched-in base to the slender yet lengthy tail) the plumage (notice those funky dark underwing coverts for starters) points to just one species.
Without the shots, the record would probably have gone nowhere. With the shots, it’s a whole different ball game and acceptance as Britain’s seventh-ever Eleonora’s Falcon is the next step.
Since the start of the 2000’s there have been just two accepted records of this most beautiful of falcons ~ most recent was another photographed bird, over Maldon in Essex in September 2008. Prior to that was a pale phase bird over Reydon (Sufffolk) in early October 2003 and you then have to go back nearly two decades for the next British Eleonora’s Falcon, a hazy first-summer seen at Hickling Broad (Norfolk) in June 1987. That bird took an eternity to be accepted as the fourth for Britain, but it made it in the end….
Before that East Anglian trio (ok Maldon is a squeeze in to that whole E.A. box) the 1980’s registered birds on the Outer Hebrides in June 1985 and, freshly dead, straight out of the cabbage patch, a second-year bird in East Yorkshire in late October 1981.
The bird that set the ball rolling was the first-summer that spent two days in the dunes around Formby Point (Lancashire & north Merseyside) on 8th-9th August 1977. Never assigned to a colour form, the bird was nicely illustrated though and it was enough to ensure that this still “most wanted” bird of prey gained a place upon the British list.
With seven records on the books (one of them with as much rigor mortis as a Norwegian Blue tho’) this remains an unbelievably hard species to twitch.
Indeed, aside from the very first one, none of the live records have been anything other than flyovers and flybys (the bird last weekend in Cornwall was lost after less than half an hour of hawking and a brief rest on the spectacular cliffs nearby) there are perhaps less than 15 – 20 birders who have been fortunate enough to witness one of the neatest BOPS you could wish for….and unless sharp eyes pick this individual up somewhere around the coastline of the southwest in the next few days, there’s nothing to think that the species will remain one of the toughest on the British List to connect with….
Someway behind Eleonora’s Falcon in the medal race this week (don’t worry, the Olympic motif will be forgotten about next week…) but worthy of an avian silver nonetheless was the adult Least Sandpiper that spent a few hours at Carrahane Strand, in beautiful County Kerry, on 13th. The August 2012 bird is a mere stone’s throw (if you’ve an Olympians’s arm I guess) from Black Rock Strand (less than half a mile in fact) from where a juvenile Least Sandpiper was found last November. That bird spent over a month on site, so is there the faintest chance that it may even be one in the same?
Staying in the Republic, and staying in the medals, a bronze medallion goes to the first-summer female Pallid Harrier identified heading high over Moyasta (Co. Clare) on 12th. This species remains desperately rare in the Republic ~ the first records only came last year ~ and this week’s bird is a potential first for the county.
If it had arrived this week, there’s little doubt that the handsome stripy-chested adult Stilt Sandpiper in Northumberland would have easily made itself a silver medalist behind the Cornish mega-raptor, but this week, like Dai Greene, it’s a bit of an “also ran” and comes in fourth in this week’s Headline Hitlist.
This popular bird was in residence at Low Newton-by-the-Sea until the middle of the evening of 9th when it was flushed and didn’t return. Sharp-eyes down the east coast may yet relocate it, but there’s every chance it may have headed out over the North Sea towards the low countries.
Much more in the full online round-up
>>> Read the rest of the round-up here <<<
(illustrated with photos, videos and maps)
Artiklen er senest opdateret: torsdag 16. august 2012 kl. 10.35
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