Monday, 30 December 2013
Its unusual for me to twitch outside Cornwall, but news of a Brunnich's Guillemot was just too tempting. I travelled to Portland, Dorset on Sunday and quickly connected with another 100 or so birders. The bird is uber-rare in England - in fact, there is only one other record in 1977 of one in Northumberland. All of the other previous 41 records in the UK have been found in the northern Isles. And well over half of these were found dead.
The Portland individual has been present since at least the 19th Dec and was found after the huge gales we experienced before Christmas. Of interest, other rare arctic species including White-billed Diver, Snowy Owl and Ivory Gull also turned up in the UK.
This species is almost circumpolar in the Arctic and near Arctic but in Newfoundland it breeds at a latitude equivalent to that of northern France. This reflects the lower sea temperatures on that side of the Atlantic Ocean. The nearest breeding colonies to Britain are in Iceland, Greenland and northern Norway.
In winter it disperses out to sea in northern latitudes with it's southerly limit in the eastern Atlantic being well to the north of Scotland. The worldwide population is estimated to be in the region of 15 to 20 million individuals and as such it is one of the most abundant marine species in the northern hemisphere. There are nearly two million breeding pairs in Iceland alone which makes it's rarity in Britain very surprising indeed.
2011 - Moray - Burghead - 17th November only
2007 - Aberdeenshire - Girdle Ness - 7th November only
2007 - Shetland - Scousburgh, Mainland - 25th March - dead
2006 - Shetland - West Sandwick, Yell - 4th May - dead
2005 - Shetland - Lerwick, Mainland & Bressay - 30th November to 20th December
2001 - Orkney - North Ronaldsay - first winter on 29th January - dead
2000 - Orkney - Scapa Flow - 21st December - dead
1997 - Shetland - Fetlar - 26th to 30th December
1996 - Highland - Kilchoan Bay, Ardnamurchan - 27th March only
1995 - At Sea - north of sea area Fair Isle - 23rd January only
1995 - Shetland - Gulberwick, Mainland - taken into care on 4th January (released 1st February)
1994 - Shetland - Wadbister Voe, Mainland - 12th February - dead
1994 - Lothian - Seafield - 6th February only
1993 - Lothian - Musselburgh - 27th March only
1992 - Western Isles - Hirta, St Kilda - 26th May to 8th June
1991 - Orkney - Sule Skerry - 25th January only
1989 - Shetland - Sumburgh Head, Mainland - 16th June to 12th July
1988 - Highland - Dunnet Bay - male on 9th March - dead
1987 - Shetland - Hamnavoe, West Burra - 3rd to 7th February - dead
1985 - Orkney - Scapa Bay - 9th January - dead
1984 - Orkney - Birsay, Mainland - 20th March - dead
1983 - Shetland - Banna Minn, West Burra - 30th October - dead
1982 - Highland - Golspie, Sutherland - 24th December - dead
1982 - Orkney - Stromness, Mainland - 3rd April - dead
1982 - Highland - Brora, Sutherland - 3rd February - dead
1981 - Orkney - Bay of Ireland, Stenness, Mainland - 29th December - dead
1981 - Aberdeenshire - Johnshaven Beach, Kincardine - 25th January - dead
1980 - At Sea - sea area Viking (Brent Oilfield) - 26th December only
1980 - Shetland - Fair Isle - adult from 16th to 17th October
1980 - Shetland - Burrafirth, Unst - 24th February - dead
1980 - Lothian - Kilspindie Beach - 9th February - dead
1980 - Lothian - Ferry Ness - 9th February - dead
1979 - Aberdeenshire - Rattray Head - 25th February - dead
1978 - Aberdeenshire - St Cyrus - 14th July - dead
1977 - Shetland - Sumburgh, Mainland - 18th December - dead
1977 - Northumberland - Farne Islands - 13th July only
1976 - Highland - Reay Beach, Thurso - 31st January - dead
1969 - Argyll - Loch Caolisport, Knapdale - 11th October - dead
1968 - Shetland - Norwick, Unst - 20th March - dead
1960 - Lancashire - Middleton Sands, near Morecambe - adult on 15th April - dead
1908 - Lothian - Craigielaw Point - female on 10th December - dead
Thanks to Archie for the list of records and some text. Further informative info can be found on Archie's birding blog here.
Sunday, 22 December 2013
This first winter Glossy Ibis has been present in the marshy fields below Tregony since at least the 10th December. Several other recent records in the county include one at Drift Res on the 14th Dec. Four flew over West Cornwall golf course on the 7th Dec, reducing to three at Ryan's Field, Hayle the following day. Presumably the remaining fourth bird flew over the reed beds at Marazion on the 8th. Single birds were also seen on the 8th at Helston Loe Pool and at St Merryn.
This pair of Stonechats were seen today at Pendower beach. Stonechat took a bit of a hit in numbers after last years' harsh winter but seem to have made a decent recovery. This pair were very confiding this morning in the low winter sunshine.