First day of crazy improvised UK twitching tour. There is a massive amount of rarities residing in the UK currently. We want them all, or more succinctly, need them.
Here is the short list as graciously provided to us by Cris Batty at Rare Birds Alert.
- Pacific Diver Penzance in Cornwall 50.1152, -5.5309 (can be elusive)
- Hudsonian Whimbrel Perranuthnoe in Cornwall 50.1136, -5.4511
- Green-winged Teal Hayle Estuary in Cornwall 50.1762, -5.4371
- Lesser Scaup Dozmary Pool in Cornwall 50.5443, -4.5498
- Bonaparte’s Gull Dawlish Warren in Devon 50.6146, -3.4248 (elusive)
- Ring-necked Duck Chew Valley Lake in Somerset 51.3395, -2.6048
- Lesser Yellowlegs park at 50.7364, -2.0417 then walk southwest along Slough Lane and follow signs to Sherford Pool or French’s Pools (also Green-winged Teal on same pools)
- Ring-billed Gull Blashford Lakes in Hampshire 50.8786, -1.7867 (late afternoon from Tern Hide)
- Ring-necked Duck Abberton Reservoir in Essex 51.8146, 0.8263
- Pallas’s Warbler Kessingland in Suffolk 52.4107, 1.7238
- Golden Pheasant Wolferton in Norfolk 52.8235, 0.4754 (dawn is best)
- Lady Amherst’s Pheasant Lidlington in Bedfordshire 52.0375, -0.5528 (very elusive)
- Dusky Thrush Beeley in Derbyshire 53.2063, -1.6037
- Black Scoter Goswick in Northumberland 55.7091, -1.8975 (hard when windy)
- American Wigeon Caerlaverock in Scotland 54.9771, -3.4821 (also Green-winged Teal on same pond)
- Ring-billed Gull Strathclyde Loch in Clyde, Scotland 55.7888, -4.0299 (comes to bread)
- Hooded Merganser Barr Loch, Lochwinnoch in Clyde, Scotland 55.7875, -4.6262
- Surf Scoter St Andrews in Fife, Scotland 56.3451, -2.8008 (also check off the beach north of here)
- Ring-necked Duck Pitlochry in Perthshire, Scotland 56.7081, -3.7385
- On islands off the Scottish coast there are wintering Cackling Goose (Islay in Inner Hebrides), American Coot (North Uist in Outer Hebrides), Northern Harrier (North Ronaldsay in Orkney Isles), and Killdeer (Shetland Isles), but each will probably take multiple days travelling.
- The only vagrant Snow Goose (in Lancashire) has gone missing right now, but you might count one at Tittesworth Reservoir in Staffordshire 53.1320, -2.0127 as Category C (it’s not probably not good enough though!)
So, quite a lot. One bird that’s not on the list, was the reported Stejnegers’s Stonechat, a recent IOC split. That’s the bird we went for first, found it. Dang!.
We were told on site that there has been DNA taken from the bird bla bla and it’s rock solid. Apparently the DNA guys had mixed up the samples and it’s just a regular Stonechat – we were told after the twitch. Win some loose some. We also spent a few hours at the Stonechat site (Dungeness) looking for a Ring-necked Duck to no avail.
Went west, towards Poole and tried to find a recently reported Lesser Yellowlegs – again to no avail. Will retry tomorrow morning, the Yellowlegs is too good a bird to leave behind. Same pool as the hiding Yellowlegs we did however connect with our first American tick for the year – a nice male Green-winged teal.
Two really nice birding sanctuaries visited today, lot’s of winter birds, Godwits, Chuffinches, Dunnocks etc.
Tomorrow, we’ll find those Yellowlegs, and then move on towards the Bonaparte’s gull at Exeter.