Elegant Tern – Dawlish Warren, Devon

At just after 11am on Saturday 18th May a Mega Alert reported that a Lesser Crested Tern had been found at Dawlish Warren. Lesser Crested Tern is a major rarity with only 8 accepted records, the most famous of these being ‘Elsie’ a female Lesser Crested Tern who had returned to the Farne Islands each year between 1984 to 1997. I had seen Elsie in June 1990 and so didn’t need to head down to Devon. Later that evening Peter telephoned and I could tell from his tone that he was excited about something […]

Whiskered Tern – Pennington Flash CP, Greater Manchester

After the Least Sandpiper we retraced our steps to the motorway and then headed north up the M6. Pennington Flash was well signposted and we turned into the Country Park at 10:45am. We needed to pay for the car park but between us we didn’t have the change required! I had a £5 note and began to queue at a Burger Van, although the queue was fairly short he was taking forever and I started to get a little anxious […]

Least Sandpiper – Drayton Bassett Pits, Staffordshire/Warwickshire

On Tuesday 21st May a Whiskered Tern had been found in Greater Manchester. May is the peak month for Whiskered Tern and with this species being the most commonly occurring which I still need I was keen to see one. It was assumed that this summer plumaged adult was the individual that was first seen at Lakenheath, Suffolk on 16th May. There had been an adult bird in Wiltshire at Cotswold Water Park on Sunday 14th April […]

Lesser Kestrel (and unexpected bonus!!) – St Mary’s, Scilly

At 8:36am on Wednesday 15th May a Mega Alert at work confirmed that a Kestrel which had been seen on St Mary’s the previous evening was indeed a Lesser Kestrel. The clinching feature, pale claws, had been seen well and the bird was also wearing a metal ring, presumably from a Spanish ringing programme. I texted Peter to say I was keen on going but that I couldn’t go the next day, Thursday, because of a meeting in London. I texted Dad to see if he was up for a trip to Scilly on the Friday […]

Scops Owl and Western Black-eared Wheatear – Porthgwarra & Nanquidno, Cornwall

A Scops Owl had been found in the West Cornish valley in the early hours of Monday morning. Two birders had driven down the valley at around 2:30am and had intended to get some sleep. As they turned into the car park their headlights picked out some movement along the fence posts which bordered the dense clump of trees, they also picked out 2 red eyes. Fairly quickly they realised that they had found a Scops Owl. News was released early on Monday morning […]

American Herring Gull – Corfe Mullen Tip, Dorset

It was 4 months since I last went birding, to Balvicar in Argyll for the Snowy Egret. The winter had been devoid of new birds apart from a couple of Snow Geese but the nearest of these was in Lancashire, too far for a modest rarity. Once you get into March you are beginning to improve your chances of an early spring migrant. My first real excitement, however, was not a spring migrant but a winter visitor from America which although not split as a separate species […]