The undoubted highlight for the South East this month, was a male Pine Bunting at Little Murston NR, Kent. The first for the county was found on 24 January and still present into February. Meanwhile, the mysterious ‘Dungeness (Kent) stonechat’ was found to be a Stonechat rather than a Stejneger’s Stonechat, after a mix up in DNA samples was revealed.
HIGHLIGHTS: A Little Bunting was at Great Barford (from 30th). A Twite flew over Broom GP (1st). Small flocks of Waxwings were at Leighton Buzzard, Sandy, Bedford, Pegsdon Hills and Luton. A Long-eared Owl was at Flitwick (28th). A Scaup was at Brogborough Lake and Rookery Pit. White-fronted Geese included four at Cainhoe, eight at Blunham and six at Broom GP. Robin Chittenden. For the latest bird news, please phone 09068 700 245. Calls to 09068 700 245 from a landline or mobile phone cost 65p per minute plus your phone company access charge. Service provided by Birdline East Anglia. For enquiries please call 0330 333 6946 or 07941 333 970; www.birdlineeastanglia.co.uk
HIGHLIGHTS: Great Grey Shrikes were at Wishmoor Bottom (6th-14th) and Cow Down (14th-21st). Up to three Waxwings were in Twyford (5th-19th) and five in Bracknell (28th). Two Siberian Chiffchaffs were at Sandhurst STW (25th-29th). DINTON PASTURES CP: Highlights were Bittern (4th-23rd), Brent Goose (1st-18th), Ferruginous Duck (5th-21st), three Water Rail, and Caspian Gull (1st). MOOR GREEN LAKES: There was a Shelduck (7th-30th), three Red-crested Pochards (14th-28th), a Water Rail (10th) and two Firecrests (10th). QUEEN MOTHER RESERVOIR: There was a Shelduck (30th), two Pintails (20th) and a Mediterranean Gull (19th). Th1e1adleecgemp:btehrere were two Pintails (3rd-7th), a Scaup (1st-12th), Smew (19th-27th), Water Rail (3rd-29th), two Jack Snipe (2nd) and Caspian Gull (23rd-24th). OTHER SITES: Six Brent Geese flew over Thatcham (9th). Two Red-crested Pochards were at Bray GP (22nd). A Scaup was at Wraysbury GP (17th) along with up to eight Smew (5th-30th). A Hen Harrier was at Cow Down (5th), with a Merlin there (17th). A Mediterranean Gull was at Lower Farm GP (19th). Jack Snipe were at Greenham Common (17th) and Swinley Forest (29th), with two at Fobney Meadow, Reading (25th). Firecrests were at Swinley Park (4th), Whiteknights Park, Reading (5th and 14th), Finchampstead Ridges (7th-28th), Bracknell (20th) and Twyford (29th). Marek Walford (www.berksbirds.co.uk)
HIGHLIGHTS: Three different Iceland Gulls roosted at Calvert (20th-30th). Waxwings were seen at nine locations; the largest flocks were 13 at Aylesbury (6th), 12 at Milton Keynes (8th) and 30 at Bletchley (15th). A male Bearded Tit was at Weston Turville Reservoir (from 18th). CALVERT LAKES: The site recorded a Bittern (8th, 24th & 25th), two Red-crested Pochards (7th), a Mediterranean Gull (21st) and at least six Caspian Gulls (to 20th). GALLOWS BRIDGE: A Jack Snipe (9th)and a Short-eared Owl (8th) were noted. GAYHURST QUARRY: A Pintail (15th) and a Scaup (15th) were seen. LINFORD: A Bittern (17th-18th) and a Scaup (15th) were noted. LITTLE MARLOW GP: The pick was a flock of 21 Barnacle Geese (26th-28th), a Jack Snipe (28th) and a Mediterranean Gull (14th). OTHER SITES: Bitterns were seen at Caldecotte Lake (27th) and Marsworth Reservoir (2nd & 5th). A Pintail was at Gayhurst Quarry (15th). A Scaup was at Willen Lakes (16th-18th). Jack Snipe were seen at Broughton, Aylesbury (6th) and Stoke Common (17th). A Mediterranean Gull was seen at Edgcott (24th). A Short-eared Owl was at Emberton (27th). Two Firecrests were at Weston Turville Reservoir (23rd) and 31 Tree Sparrows were at Little Linford Wood (5th). Adam Bassett (www.bucksbirdclub.co.uk)
BLASHFORD LAKES/AVON VALLEY: Highlights included a Scaup, Ferruginous Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, two Cattle Egrets at Harbridge, two Caspian Gulls, a White-fronted Goose, Black-necked Grebe, Bittern, two Great White Egrets, a Water Pipit, six Mediterranean Gulls, two Ring-billed Gulls, six Yellow-legged Gulls, two Bramblings, several Siskin, 126 Cormorants, 271 Gadwall, 110 Shovelers, 17 Goldeneyes, 1,000 Common Gulls and 5,900 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. FARLINGTON MARSHES/LANGSTONE HARBOUR: There was a Red Kite, Merlin, Barn Owl, Marsh Harrier, Spotted Redshank, four Short-eared Owls and five Bearded Tits. The harbour held a Scaup, two Long-tailed Ducks, a Great Northern Diver, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, 12 Black-necked Grebes, 54 Avocets and 91 Great Crested Grebes. LYMINGTON-MILFORD-ON-SEA: There were six Spoonbills, a Whimbrel, Caspian Gull, Water Pipit, four Marsh Harriers, ten Avocets, good numbers of Golden Plovers and Knot and a few Ruff, Spotted Redshanks, Cetti’s Warblers, Dartford Warblers and Bearded Tits. A Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, four Slavonian Grebes, a Guillemot, three Razorbills and Gannets were offshore. TITCHFIELD HAVEN: Highlights included a Bittern, three Cattle Egrets, four Water Pipits, a Snow Bunting, Little Gull, five Marsh Harriers, a Kingfisher, seven Bearded Tits, two Firecrests, 80 Snipe and five Jack Snipe. The sea between Hill Head and Chilling produced 59 Barnacle Geese, six Scaup, 60 Eiders, a Long-tailed Duck, 16 Common Scoters, a Goosander, Red-throated Diver and Black-necked Grebe. OTHER SITES: A Little Bunting was at Portsdown Hill. Eight Cattle Egrets were at Warblington at the beginning of the month, with others at Eling, Harbridge and Pinglestone Cress Beds. Waxwings were at Overton, Testwood Lakes, Winchester and eight at Basingstoke. A Black Brant was at Hayling Island. A few Scaup were at Sowley Pond, Testwood Lakes and Mayflower Park-southampton.velvet Scoters were off Sandy Point-hayling Island. A Long-tailed Duck was in Cams Bay. All three divers were seen, including a long-staying Black-throated Diver in Chichester Harbour. A few Slavonian and Black-necked Grebes were seen away from their regular locations. A Bittern was at Testwood Lakes and a Great White Egret at Greywell. Hen Harriers were in the New Forest and in the Alresford area. A Ring-billed Gull was at Testwood Lakes. A Caspian Gull was at Black Point-hayling Island. A Glaucous Gull was at Black Point. Five Water Pipits were at Lower Test Marshes and six at Alresford Cress Beds. Black Redstarts were at Haslar Creek, Hayling Island, Portchester and Southsea Castle. A Dartford Warbler was unusual at Butser Hill. Two Siberian Chiffchaffs were at Darby Green. Great Grey Shrikes were in the New Forest. Away from the Forest, Hawfinches were at Lakeside, Parnholt Wood, Romsey, Weston Common, and West Walk. Richard Carpenter
HIGHLIGHTS: There was a small influx of Waxwings, with birds seen at Tring Hemel, Hempstead, Berkhampsted, Garston, Hoddesdon, Potters Bar and 36 at Cheshunt. Hawfinches were at Wormley West End (8th)
and Broxbourne Woods (24th). Three Smew were at Amwell, with a White-fronted Goose there (24th). A Water Pipit was at Rye Meads. A Smew was seen at Stockers Lake. A dark-bellied Brent Goose was at Wilstone Reservoir (27th). Two Great White Egrets were at Tyttenhanger GP. Robin Chittenden. For the latest bird news, please phone 09068 700 245. Calls to 09068 700 245 from a landline or mobile phone cost 65p per minute plus your phone company access charge. Service provided by Birdline East Anglia. For enquiries please call 0330 333 6946 or 07941 333 970; www.birdlineeastanglia.co.uk
HIGHLIGHTS: A Pine Bunting was seen well near Little Murston, Sittingbourne (24th-28th). Dungeness RSPB held a Ring-necked Duck throughout, 15 Great White Egrets (2nd), a Slavonian Grebe and Smew (3rd), Long-eared Owl (4th), Scaup, Caspian Gull and 53 Bewick’s Swans (8th), and 17 White-fronted Geese (24th). Shell Ness/swale NNR had 170 Whitefronts and a Crane (1st-19th), and a Hen Harrier on several dates. Cattle Egrets were at Hareplain and Wickhambreaux (2nd). Another was at Stodmarsh (8th-15th), plus three Hen Harriers. Cranes were at Elmley (11th) and Minster (25th). A Siberian Chiffchaff was at Rodmersham (19th-20th), with four Waxwings also seen there. A Richard’s Pipit was at Graveney Marshes (21st). Two Great White Egrets were at Walland Marsh (29th) and one at Conningbrook Lakes CP for most of the month. Harty Marshes, Sheppey had a Crane (30th), Short-eared Owl and Hen Harrier.
HIGHLIGHTS: The long-staying Long-tailed Duck remained at Frensham Little Pond (to 17th). A Rose-coloured Starling was at Hedgecourt Lake (5th), presumably the same bird previously seen at Croydon. A Siberian Stonechat was at Beddington SF intermittently (6th-17th). Waxwings were reported from several locations in small numbers, including 17 at Ewell. LONDON WETLAND CENTRE: Six Bitterns were counted (20th). Other highlights were Bearded Tit, Caspian Gull, Firecrest, Jack Snipe, Pintail, Water Pipit and Waxwing. STAINES RESERVOIRS: Three Smew were at Staines (5th). A Great Northern Diver was present (2nd). Black-necked Grebe, Brent Goose, Caspian Gull, Kittiwake and Scaup were noted. OTHER SURREY WATERWAYS: Beddington SF had Caspian, Glaucous and Iceland Gulls, five Water Pipits and six Jack Snipe. A Red-crested Pochard was on Burton Mill Pond (26th-29th). A Red-breasted Merganser joined 17 Goosanders at East Horsley (from 10th). OTHER SITES: Staines Moor had a Golden Plover, two Jack Snipe and two Water Pipits (14th) and a Short-eared Owl (4th). Golden Plovers were also at Tice’s Meadow, Farnham (2nd). A Merlin hunted Starlings at West Clandon (10th). Great Grey Shrikes remained at Frensham Common and Thursley Common, with another at Farnham Heath (21st) and Ash Ranges (23rd). Peter Bryant
EAST SUSSEX: Three Cattle Egrets were around Piddinghoe and Tarring Neville (1st-5th). The regular Great Grey Shrike was seen at Wrens Warren, Ashdown Forest (4th-14th). A Great White Egret was at Scotney GP (14th), with two Lapland Buntings there (20th-21st). A Serin sang regularly at Tide Mills (from 16th). A Long-tailed Duck was at West Rise Marsh, Eastbourne (3rd-31st). Four Short-eared Owls were on Pevensey Levels (5th). Two Velvet Scoters were off Pett Level (10th-27th). A Glaucous Gull was recorded at Rye Harbour (11th). Waxwings were seen in reasonable numbers at Crowborough, Hollingbury and Lewes. WEST SUSSEX: The Rose-coloured Starling remained in a Crawley garden. Two Siberian Chiffchaffs were at Coldwaltham STW (4th) with one also there later in the month. A Great White Egret and six Bewick’s Swans were at Arundel (3rd), with 12 Bewick’s Swans later in the month and a Red-breasted Goose there (13th). The Great Grey Shrike remained around Waltham Brooks.
Taiga Bean Goose, Pett Level, East Sussex, 3 January