The below are additions to the UK bird sighting listings featured in the latest issue of Bird Watching...
Highlights: A Lapland Bunting flew over Peterstone Gout (8th), while a Great Northern Diver was seen offshore at the same site (18th).
Newport Wetlands Reserve: Male and female Marsh Harriers were reported on several dates throughout the month. A female Hen Harrier was also recorded (23rd). Up to four Spotted Redshanks were present (4th). A Water Pipit was reported (5th-12th). A Jack Snipe was seen (5th & 19th), while two Egyptian Geese (5th) and two Bewick's Swans were also recorded (5th). A Scaup was reported (16th) and a Short-eared Owl was present (20th). The Starling murmuration had built to several thousand birds by the end of the month.
Other sites: A female Hen Harrier was reported from Mynydd Llangatwg (6th). Four Common Scoter were present at Llandegfedd reservoir (8th). Three Scaup and two Common Scoter were seen from Peterstone Gout (18th).
Skomer: Highlights included a flock of five Great Northern Divers (26th), six Greenland White-fronted Geese (4th), up to three Hen Harriers present all month, two Siberian Chiffchaffs, a Pallas’s Warbler (the second of the autumn), a Snow Bunting (7th) and nine Lapland Bunting records.
Other significant records and counts (mostly given as maxima) include five Wigeon (3rd & 16th), 40 Teal (13th), 36 Mallard (24th) with mating observed on two occasions, six Shoveler (1st), a Tufted Duck (9th) and flocks of 18 and 15 Common Scoter (5th & 23rd respectively). A Red Kite roamed the island (24th).
There were almost daily Hen Harrier sightings with three (19th). There were four Merlin sightings but none after the 13th. Waders included 22 Oystercatchers (15th & 17th), two Lapwings (3rd), a Purple Sandpiper (10th), 10 Snipe (23rd), three Woodcock (11th), 41 Curlew (24th) and 22 Turnstone (9th).
Five Mediterranean Gulls were recorded (13th & 18th), and 290 Black-headed Gulls (13th). Common Gulls were recorded on several dates with six (28th) and there were at least 100 Kittiwakes on the same date.
Big flocks of Woodpigeons passed over the island, with 360 (13th), and 725 (23rd). Nine Short-eared Owls emerged from their roost at dusk (26th). Numbers of migrant Sky Larks peaked at 105 (13th).
Black Redstarts were recorded (1st & 3rd). Numbers of thrushes peaked at 28 Blackbirds (25th), eight Fieldfares (23rd), 24 Song Thrush (19th), 60 Redwings (23rd) and single Mistle Thrushes on four dates. Blackcaps were recorded on four dates with two (8th). Chiffchaffs were recorded on seven dates, with Siberian Chiffchaffs (8th & 25th-26th). A Pallas’s Warbler was present in South Stream (13th).
Goldcrests were seen on most days with five (8th). Up to two Blue Tits were present for most of the month. Starlings were seen migrating on several dates with the highest number being 1,200 (1st). The peak counts of finches were 90 Chaffinches (23rd), six Goldfinches (23rd), single Siskins on three dates, 67 Linnets (26th) and one Lesser Redpoll (11th). Lapland Buntings were recorded on six dates with three (7th), when a Snow Bunting also flew over.
Lower Aire Valley: A Hen Harrier, but only for around five minutes (13th), and Ravens (one heading south, 5th, and two heading north, 6th) were both new for the year. The Slavonian Grebe at Skelton Lake was last seen on 10th, with one Black-necked Grebe throughout at St. Aidan’s. A Scaup was on Bowers Lake (8th-19th), and two Common Scoters there (22nd). The Great White Egret at Skelton Lake (to 8th) then moved to St. Aidan’s (9th-30th), with a second bird (20th only). There were single Grey Plover (26th), Knot (10th), Black-tailed Godwit (23rd), Green Sandpiper (13th) and a late Common Sandpiper (13th). A Mediterranean Gull (3rd) was the only unusual gull. A Merlin zipped through (27th), with up to four Short-eared Owls regularly. There were up to four Water Pipits and a Bearded Tit occasionally, with an impressive Starling murmuration of up to 20,000 birds.