Regional round-up: January 2022


January 2022 proved a settled month in terms of weather and therefore birding, with no cold-weather movements to show and a relatively lack of notable finds on the back of the month's storms. The month began in blustery fashion, with exceptionally mild temperatures driven by a strong southerly airflow from North Africa. In fact, January was generally mild, with the occasional cold snap being relatively brief in its duration, and a period of high pressure mid-month once again gave way to mild and breezy conditions in the final week.

Ring-necked Duck once again stood out as a species that is enjoying a particularly fruitful winter for records, with Siberian Chiffchaff experiencing what appears to be its best-ever winter showing on these shores. Glossy Ibis also enjoyed an exceptional month, with a large influx depositing tens, if not hundreds, of birds nationwide, but especially across south-west England and Ireland. 

Although it remains another poor winter for Waxwing, evidence of a small arrival came early in the month, but this quickly fizzled out. Other species thin on the ground this winter include Great Grey Shrike, Rough-legged Buzzard and white-winged gulls, all of which endured meagre showings.


Scottish mainland

On 23rd, a juvenile Kumlien's Gull was in Scrabster harbour, Caithness, and an adult was at Loch Portree, Skye. The winter continues to be poor for both Glaucous and Iceland Gulls, although a scattering of both were on offer. Both Ring-billed Gulls remained largely reliable at Strathclyde Loch, Clyde, and Eastfield, Lothian, with a second individual unearthed in Edinburgh. An adult Caspian Gull photographed at Pow Burn, Ayrshire, on 9th is thought to be the first county record.

Caspian Gull (front bird), Pow Burn, Ayrshire (Dougie Edmond).

Three Snow Geese remained near Lossiemouth, Moray & Nairn. Ring-necked Duck were logged at no fewer than 10 sites and Green-winged Teal from four – including the two drakes at Tain Links, Highland. Smew also had a good showing with birds at nine sites, including three showy redheads at Loch of Fyvie, Aberdeenshire.

Smew, Fyvie, Aberdeenshire (Ron Macdonald).

A female American Wigeon was a one-day bird at Loch Skerrols, Islay, on 2nd and a drake was at Crook of Baldoon, Dumfries and Galloway, from 10th. At least two Surf Scoter remained off Musselburgh, Lothian, and to the east, up to three were on the sea off Gullane Point. Two were still off Lossiemouth, Moray. The ever-present Ruddy Shelduck was again reported at Udale Bay, Highland, on 22nd and the Slamannan Taiga Bean Goose flock peaked at 128 on 3rd.

American Wigeon, Crook of Baldoon, Dumfries & Galloway (Sam Northwood).

An unseasonal Curlew Sandpiper was reported from Musselburgh on 21st. Six Black-necked Grebes were noted, including a showy individual at Monikie CP, Angus.

Black-necked Grebe, Monikie CP, Angus & Dundee (Ron Macdonald).

Waxwings were few and far between with just eight sites reporting birds, making the 150 at Croy, Highland, on 18th all the more impressive. The flock in Elgin, Moray, peaked at 14 on 3rd. Great Grey Shrike were also thin on the ground, with birds continuing at Glen Feshie, Highland, and Backwater Reservoir, Angus. Five Siberian Chiffchaffs were up for grabs.

Dan Owen

Waxwing, Elgin, Moray & Nairn (John Henderson).


Northern Isles and the Hebrides

The turn of the year saw another Glossy Ibis in Shetland, this time a lone individual at Hillwell. Three Mainland lochs reported Ring-necked Duck, although two birds were likely to be involved; the young drake remained at Loch of Tingwall, with others at Loch of Asta and Loch of Brow. The first-winter Grey Phalarope lingered off Ireland, Mainland, until 11th. Glaucous Gulls were recorded at 19 sites, with Iceland Gulls at 16. Single White-billed Divers were on the sea off Gloup, Yell, and Skaw, Unst, while the adult continued at South Nesting Bay. In a lean year for them, a Waxwing at Lerwick, Mainland, on 7th was welcome. 

Snow Goose (centre), Bay of Carness, Mainland, Orkney (Steven J Charlton).

In Orkney, the drake Surf Scoter reappeared off Quanterness, Mainland, on 14th. Drake Green-winged Teal were at Mill Dam RSPB, Shapinsay, and Inganess Bay, Mainland; at least two adult Snow Geese remained mobile. The White-billed Diver returned to Papa Westray for another winter from 20th. Westray held onto its Glossy Ibis flock until 21st, with as many as eight still being reported on 18th. The young European Turtle Dove lasted at Orphir, Mainland, throughout the month and two Waxwings were at Kirkwall on 8th. Glaucous Gulls were at seven sites and Iceland Gulls at six.

European Turtle Dove, Orphir Bay, Mainland, Orkney (Steven J Charlton).

A juvenile Kumlien's Gull at Allasdale, Barra, plus a second-winter at Rubh' Arnal, North Uist, headlined the white-winger action in the Outer Hebrides. Elsewhere, Glaucous Gulls were at 15 sites and Iceland Gulls at seven. American ducks had a fair showing: drake Ring-necked Duck were at Coot Loch, Benbecula, and Loch an Tiumpan, Lewis, two Green-winged Teal remained at Aird Mhor, Barra, another drake moved between Loch nam Fèithean and Loch Grogary, North Uist, and the young drake Surf Scoter was still off Allasdale, Barra. A mobile Snow Goose continued near Sollas, North Uist. The Glossy Ibis lasted on Barra until 7th, with one on Benbecula from 10th.

Dan Owen


North-East England

There was a classic spread of mid-winter scarcities in Northumberland during the month. In the north of the county, at least one White-billed Diver was off Stag Rocks, a couple of Shore Larks lingered on Holy Island and there was a belated report of a Lesser Yellowlegs at Budle Bay on 31 December. A Eurasian Dotterel in a field at Beal on 16th was a surprise and the county's first winter record. A group of Common Cranes was heard at Alnmouth on the evening of 5th.

Eurasian Dotterel, Beal, Northumberland (Ross Ahmed).

A drake Green-winged Teal was at Colt Crag Reservoir and the drake American Wigeon continued its stay at Big Waters. A Corn Bunting at St Mary's Island from 2-6th was notable, while a lingering Eurasian Spoonbill at Castle Island was the first to winter in Northumberland. A single Hawfinch was still in Morpeth and a Whimbrel was at Cambois. 

Corn Bunting, St Mary's Island, Northumberland (Alan Jack).

A few Iceland and Glaucous Gulls were seen along with a scattering of Water Pipits and Red-necked Grebes. The redhead Smew continued at Widdrington Moor Lake, in addition to the adult Greenland White-fronted Goose at Grindon Lough, Hooded Crow at Linton Lane, and Spotted Redshanks at Castle Island and Bothal Pond. It was a poor month for other unusual geese, with just a few reports of Russian White-fronts and Tundra Bean Geese. Three localities scored Lapland Buntings and small numbers of Greater Scaup included a particularly showy first-winter drake at Killingworth Lake. Waxwings were at five sites, with two at Prudhoe the only multiple occurrence. 

Iceland Gull, North Shields, Northumberland (Jack Bucknall).

The wintering Red-flanked Bluetail at Middleton-in-Teesdale was the stand-out highlight in Durham. A Richard's Pipit was heard at Trow Point, South Shields, on 1st and a probable Rough-legged Buzzard was reported at Westgate on 12th. As many as three Siberian Chiffchaffs were at Fishburn STW, with another at Lamesley on 28th. At Bishop Middleham, a Hawfinch proved popular, a Caspian Gull was a brief visitor, and a couple of Ruddy Shelduck lingered. Two more were at Hurworth Burn Reservoir. 

Red-flanked Bluetail, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Durham (Sam Northwood).

Hawfinch, Bishop Middleham, Durham (Mark Stokeld).

The Iceland Gull continued at Silksworth and a Water Pipit frequented Whitburn Steel. Little Auk, Red-necked Grebe and Manx Shearwater all flew past Whitburn Coastal Park. A Waxwing was at Bishop Auckland on 10th and a Spotted Redshank visited Nightingale Ponds on 25th. Low Barns hosted a Great Egret on 1-2nd. 

Waxwing, Guisborough, Cleveland (Dave Ward).

In Cleveland, a Black-throated Diver, Red-necked Grebe, Glaucous Gull and at least three Velvet Scoter frequented Hartlepool Fish Quay. Three other localities produced Black-throated Divers and a particularly showy Velvet Scoter was off South Gare. A Eurasian Bittern visited Coatham Marsh. The Spotted Redshank remained at Greatham Creek and a Eurasian Spoonbill was at nearby Saltholme RSPB.

Jonathan Farooqi


North-West England

A Red-necked Grebe at Barrow-in-Furness docks was a smart find for Cumbria, where a Ruddy Shelduck wa on the Kent Estuary at Arnside on 19th. Two female Ring-necked Duck continued at Longtown, while up to two Todd's Canada Geese were again at Rockcliffe Marsh on 5th and one again on 23rd. Last year's Great Grey Shrike was again reported at Killington Reservoir on 15th, while the Eurasian Spoonbill lingered at Askam-in-Furness.

Ring-necked Duck, Longtown, Cumbria (Sam Northwood).

A brief Waxwing at Warton Crag LWT on 13th was one of Lancashire best birds in January. A first-winter Rosy Starling in a garden at Layton, Blackpool, on 18th proved just as fleeting. The Snow Goose again proved mobile but eventually settled at Plex Moss from 13-17th. The Todd's Canada Goose was again roaming widely across the Ribble Marshes, with up to four Russian White-fronted Geese there from 6th. Pleasingly, the run of Bewick's Swan records continued with 12 at Thurnham Moss, five at Marshside RSPB and up to four in the Hundred End area. A drake Green-winged Teal was at Martin Mere WWT in the opening week and a female Ring-necked Duck was at Borwick from 30th. A drake Smew made a brief stop at Belmont Reservoir on 26th. A juvenile Glaucous Gull roosted perennially at Fishmoor Reservoir. Siberian Chiffchaffs were at three sites, with at least three at Martin Mere WWT.

The Lancs Snow Goose ventured down to Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB, Cheshire, on 30th. Three Bewick's Swans were there from 23rd and the family of four remained at Frodsham Marsh. Four Ruddy Shelduck were at Burton Marsh on 4th, with at least two Russian White-fronted Geese near Wimbolds Trafford on 15-16th and two at Acre Nook Sand Quarry from 27th. At least two redhead Smew and the Black-necked Grebe remained in the Lapwing Hall Pool area throughout. A Great Northern Diver was at Mere Farm Quarry on 10-11th.  An adult Glaucous Gull flew past Frodsham Marsh on 4th and was likely the same bird reported on the Mersey off Ellesmere Port on 19th. Adult and juvenile Iceland Gulls proved unreliable at Sandbach Flashes. 

A Glossy Ibis was in the unlikely location at Cheadle Hume, Greater Manchester, on 12-13th. Unfortunately, a dead Waxwing was brought into a Timperley house by a cat on 16th. Both Red-throated Divers were in situ and a returning Water Pipit at Daisy Hill sewage works proved popular.

The Isle of Man continued to host the drake Green-winged Teal until 18th and a Lesser Whitethroat, likely of eastern origin, frequented a private garden at Gordon.

Dan Owen

Green-winged Teal, Poyllvaaish, Isle of Man (Peter Christian).


Lincolnshire and Yorkshire

As well as the White-tailed Lapwing, which lingered all month, Halton Marshes, Lincolnshire, produced a Glossy Ibis on 15th that was also seen several times between Killingholme Haven and Barton-upon-Humber before seemingly moving south over Saltfleet on 19th and ending up at Freiston Shore RSPB on 21st.

In the far south of the county, two different male Ring-necked Duck spent all month around Langtoft. A pair of Smew at Barton-upon-Humber mid-month represented the only county record in January. Greater Scaup were at North Hykeham and Tallington, with a European Shag lingering at the latter. Bewick's Swan is also becoming a precious commodity in Lincolnshire. Up to seven at Nocton Fen, a handful along Deeping High Bank and a peak of 11 at Tongue End were all gratefully received. Russian White-fronted Geese were at four sites, including a peak of eight at Anderby on 7th. Four Ruddy Shelduck were at Wroot on 22nd and a Black Brant was seen near Freiston Shore RSPB.

Smew, Barton-upon-Humber Pits, Lincolnshire (Graham Catley).

Isle of Wight White-tailed Eagles haven't spent too much time in Lincolnshire since the programme began, and 'G471' proved elusive as it moved south through the county between 11th and 15th. The only Iceland Gull was the lingering juvenile at Pyewipe. Up to two Siberian Chiffchaffs were regular at Marston Sewage Farm, with another at North Hykeham. Water Pipits were at five sites.

Ring-necked Duck, Baston & Langtoft Pits, Lincolnshire (Dan Owen).

Moving to Yorkshire, and Tophill Low NR had a great month. In addition to the Baikal Teal, which called in intermittently following its initial discovery at Hornsea Mere on 10th, the reserve held Slavonian and Red-necked Grebes, plus a Smew. Sightings from the Derwent Valley included the Dusky Warbler at Wheldrake Ings to 23rd, redhead Smew and a couple of Bewick's Swans. Nearby, one of this winter's few Great Grey Shrikes lingered at Wistow.

Glaucous Gulls have been scarce so far in 2022, thus one past Flamborough Head on 22nd was notable – as was an adult Iceland Gull at Hornsea Mere on 19th. Inland, another Glaucous was at Rufforth mid-month and at least one Iceland toured numerous West Yorkshire sites.

Richard's Pipit, Filey, North Yorkshire (Darren Chapman).

A female Ring-necked Duck near Catterick on 9th followed one at Wintersett Reservoir on 6th; the latter then returned from 15-18th. The pond at Buckton hosted a male Green-winged Teal on 2nd, with another at Old Moor RSPB on 23-24th.

Clifftop fields at Buckton hosted an impressive flock of up to 60 Lapland Buntings, with several Shore Larks also in the mix. Another Shore Lark flew over Sammy's Point on 21st. Inland, two Twite at St Aidan's RSPB were notable, while Snow Buntings featured at several sites on the moors. An impressive congregation of 1,000+ Bramblings was noted at Bawtry.

Siberian Chiffchaff, Wombwell Ings RSPB (Dearne Valley), South Yorkshire (Martin Roper).

Siberian Chiffchaff was numerous across Yorkshire, with a dozen sites scoring and up to three at Easington the most regularly reported. A Swallow was at Withernsea on 2nd, with two at Filey that day and another inland near Knaresborough on 4th. Filey also held on to its wintering Richard's Pipit. Six sites produced Waxwings, with a peak of five at Bramley on 12th.

Josh Jones


West Midlands

Two Green-winged Teal were found in Staffordshire during January: drakes at Belvide Reservoir from 15th and Middleton Lakes RSPB from 23rd. Chasewater held a redhead Smew from 17th. An adult Greenland White-fronted Goose was a smart find at Whitmore on 2nd, with Russian White-fronted Geese at Radford Meadows (five) and Blithfield Reservoir (three). Uttoxeter Quarry hosted a Ruddy Shelduck on 1st, an adult Kittiwake was at Westport Lake on 21st, and a Brent Goose flew north-west over Tittesworth Reservoir on 30th. Hawfinches were at three sites, with a Water Pipit at Doxey Marshes.

Green-winged Teal, Belvide Reservoir, Staffordshire (Steve Nuttall).

Warwickshire had a busy month: a Hoopoe was at Bulkington from 18th, two Siberian Chiffchaffs were at Ladywalk NR, and a Russian White-fronted Goose graced Seeswood Pool. On 30th, a Lesser Whitethroat at Hams Hall looks all but certain to be of eastern origin, with a number of features indicative of either the blythi or halimondendri subspecies. An adult Glaucous Gull was a regular visitor to the Draycote Water roost, with two Great Northern Divers there.

Lesser Whitethroat, Hams Hall, Warwickshire (Dave Hutton).

In Worcestershire, up 10 Hawfinches at Bewdley proved popular. Elsewhere, a Snow Bunting showed well at Worcestershire Beacon and a Siberian Chiffchaff was at Kempsey sewage works. Five Bewick's Swans roosted at Ripple GPs on 7th, where a drake Common Scoter ended the month. Caspian Gulls proved numerous in Shropshire, while New Year's Day produced a county mega at Ellesmere Wharf – a female Bearded Tit. Whixall Moss hosted a Water Pipit; an estimated one million Common Starlings flew over Adderley on 11th.

Siberian Chiffchaff, Hams Hall, Warwickshire (Dave Hutton).

A juvenile Iceland Gull proved a near-daily visitor to the roost at Bartley Reservoir, West Midlands, joined by two Caspian Gulls on 23rd. Three Woodlarks in a stubbled field near Lutley proved twitchable. Herefordshire highlights included a Garganey at Brockall GPs, two Ring-necked Duck at Wellington GPs, seven Russian White-fronts at Clifford and a Hawfinch at How Caple.

Sam Viles


East Midlands

A drake American Wigeon highlighted at Idle Valley NR, Nottinghamshire, from 17th, while a new Ring-necked Duck appeared at Carburton Forge Dam from 22-25th. Two females remained at Langford Lowfields RSPB and two Great Northern Divers began the month there, decreasing to one from 4th. Others were at Girton Pits and Kilvington Lakes. Three Russian White-fronted Geese were at Hoveringham GPs from 28th, with Smew at Holme Pierrepont (three), Idle Valley NR (three) and Cromwell (two). Siberian Chiffchaffs were at three sites – Newark on Trent (two), Stoke Bardolph and Bircotes. The ringtail Hen Harrier remained at Clifton Pastures and a female Bearded Tit was still at Attenborough NR. Hawfinches included no fewer than 18 at Rufford CP, nine at Clumber Park and five at Serlby.

Ring-necked Duck, Langford Lowfields RSPB, Nottinghamshire (Paul Coombes).

In Derbyshire, a showy Snow Bunting accompanied a Black Redstart at Totley Moor, with a lingering Siberian Chiffchaff at Carr Vale. Two Smew were at Aston-on-Trent GPs and a juvenile Iceland Gull flew north over Tibshelf on 6th. Carsington Water's Red-necked Grebe count increased to two, with the young Great Northern Diver also ever-present. On 6th, a Kittiwake made a brief visit, with 13 Bewick's Swans there on 14th.

Snow Bunting, Totley Moor, Derbyshire (Peter Garrity).

Leicestershire and Rutland continued to be Britain's hotbed of Smew activity, with peak counts of 16 at Eyebrook Reservoir on 1st and 13 at Rutland Water on 27th amassing to at least 23 birds in total. The young female Ring-necked Duck remained at Eyebrook throughout. Further Rutland Water sightings included a Ruddy Turnstone, three Great Northern Divers, Slavonian Grebe and Water Pipit. Elsewhere in the county, one-day visitors included a Siberian Chiffchaff at Aylestone on 9th, Waxwing at Cropston Reservoir on 15th and two Bewick's Swans at Swithland Reservoir on 16th.

Smew (right), Pitsford Reservoir, Northamptonshire (Bethan Clyne).

The hot-spot of Pitsford Reservoir, Northamptonshire, had a productive start to 2022, with no fewer than three drake Smew, juvenile Great Northern Diver and European Shag alongside the wintering Wood Sandpiper. Russian White-fronts were at five sites and a Ruddy Shelduck was at Hollowell Reservoir, although the Thrapston GPs Ring-necked Duck wasn't reported after 12th. The young Dark-bellied Brent Goose lasted at Clifford Hill GPs until 16th. Elsewhere, a male Hen Harrier flew over Bulwick on 5th, a redhead Smew was at Thrapston GPs on 7th and a brief Glossy Ibis was at Summer Leys on 10th, while five Hawfinches were at Blatherwycke.

Sam Viles


East of England

Norfolk, always a popular destination for year listers, had a busy month. Surprisingly, the Greater Short-toed Lark reappeared at West Runton on 15th and was seen a couple of times thereafter. A female Ring-necked Duck at Welney WWT proved a one-day visitor on 28th, although up to nine Tundra Bean Geese there were more co-operative (one of 12 sites that held this species). Black Brant were at Cley, Wells and Snettisham, while the Todd's Canada Goose was seen occasionally till mid-month between Stanhoe and Burnham Market. The five Taiga Bean Geese at Buckenham Marshes RSPB weren't reported beyond 19th. A respectable 160 Russian White-fronts were tallied at Holkham, while the adult Lesser White-front of uncertain origin was with Pink-feet near Terrington St Clement early on.

White-tailed Eagle, Holkham Park, Norfolk (Seamus and Pat Griffin).

Also at Holkham, up to five Shore Larks remained, with an outlier at Happisburgh on 22nd. In an often-windy month, Grey Phalaropes were noted off Cley on 7th and 31st (two). Cley also produced a Glossy Ibis on 19th, it later flying over Kelling Heath on 21st. Up to three were at Welney WWT mid-month. Released White-tailed Eagles remained prominent, with at least two in the north and west of the county.

A Lesser Yellowlegs that took up residence at Minsmere RSPB from 16th was arguably Suffolk's highlight, although a Black Brant reported there on 8th was a surprise. Perhaps the same Glossy Ibis was seen at four separate sites: flying over Minsmere RSPB and Aldeburgh on 6th, a bird later commuted between Oulton and Carlton Marshes from 9th. Minsmere was the place to see wild swans, with up to seven Bewick's and 14 Whoopers.

A single Shore Lark remained in the Kessingland area and three Common Cranes flew over Reydon and Carlton Marshes on 9th. The second-winter Glaucous Gull was seen around the Blyth Estuary, with an Iceland Gull in the Lowestoft area. Just three Tundra Bean Geese were seen across two sites, but Siberian Chiffchaffs appeared at seven localities.

In Essex, Smew could be found in the Lee Valley (three) and at Abberton Reservoir (five). Abberton remained the county's premier birding location, with all three scarce grebes, Long-tailed Duck, up to seven Greater Scaup and 31 Russian White-fronted Geese among the many highlights. Five sites reported Black Brant and a Green-winged Teal was near Coryton on 31st. A highly impressive 40 Hawfinches were noted in Hatfield Forest on 25th, with up to 27 at Blake's Wood, Danbury. Two Little Auks were off Southend Pier on 7th.

Black Brant, Marsh Farm CP, Essex (Paul Chamberlain).

A European Serin at Maple Cross from 27th was Hertfordshire's unequivocal highlight and the first county record in two decades, although a Green-winged Teal at Wilstone Reservoir on New Year's Day was very welcome, as were 11 Russian White-fronted Geese there. A Smew was reliable at Amwell NR throughout. Six sites held Hawfinches, with the reliable Bramfield flock peaking at 10.

In Bedfordshire, the American Wigeon was seen again at Kempston Hardwick on 1st only. A drake Smew was a welcome visitor to Broom GPs on 28th, while Greater Scaup continued near Langford and at Grovebury Sand Pit. Several sites held Russian White-fronted Geese, with a peak of 24 at Priory CP.

Up to 65 Common Cranes and 156 Bewick's Swans were counted across the Nene Washes, Cambridgeshire, with a Glossy Ibis entertaining at Eldernell in the final days of the month. A Ring Ouzel at Star Point, Dogsthorpe, from 14-23rd gave stunning views at times – as did a Snow Bunting at Grafham Water from 1-4th. Grafham also hosted Red-throated and Great Northern Divers, plus up to two Smew.

Ring Ouzel, Star Pit, Cambridgeshire (Ian Curran).

Further Smew included two at Paxton Pits and up to 10 at Fen Drayton RSPB. The Great Grey Shrike reappeared near Comberton, with both Kumlien's and Iceland Gulls in the Heydon area. Less seasonal were a Hoopoe at Duxford from 13-24th and a Willow Warbler at Godmanchester STW on 9th; the Yellow-browed Warbler lingered at Milton CP and Sibe Chiffs were at four sites.

Josh Jones


South-East England

Rarities in the region were rather few and far between but did include a national mega, with Sussex's first Brown Booby found at Hove on 3rd. Wintering Hume's Leaf Warblers were at St Margaret's at Cliffe, Kent, and Eastbourne, Sussex, while two drake Ferruginous Duck were available: the returning bird at Blashford Lakes, Hampshire, and the winterer at Thorpe Park, Surrey.

A few lingering goodies in Kent allowed year listers to begin 2022 with a bang, as the Fordwich Dusky Warbler and Sheppey Shore Larks (up to seven) remained present all month. Black Brant were at Hoo St Werburgh, Oare Marshes and Reculver, while no fewer than nine sites recorded Glossy Ibises. A Rough-legged Buzzard was a surprise report at Shellness on 1st but wasn't noted subsequently; a female Ring-necked Duck visited Cliffe Pools on 28-29th. During the early part of the month both Dungeness and Sandwich Bay hosted Tundra Bean Geese, with the former site managing a paltry one Smew from 1st. A decent nine sites were visited by Bewick's Swan, including a herd of up to 42 in the Dungeness area. The Swalecliffe Black Guillemot was present and correct, seven sites scored Snow Buntings and Lapland Buntings were noted at four locales.

Shore Lark, Leysdown-on-Sea, Sheppey, Kent (Alex Perry).

Like Kent, Sussex held wintering Shore Lark, with a singleton in the Pevensey area for much of the month. The Iping Common Little Bunting was present until 14th only. The Arun Valley Bewick's Swan herd reached 16, three Tundra Bean Geese were at Iford Brooks near the end of the month and Russian White-fronted Geese were at eight sites. The Polegate Hooded Crow proved popular throughout, four sites hosted Glossy Ibises and two scored Lapland Bunting. It's been a much better winter than in recent years for wintering Slavonian Grebes off Church Norton, with a peak count of 24 there on 29th.

Ring-billed Gull is a bird of great rarity in the South-East these days, so the return of the adult to Blashford Lakes, Hampshire, from 2nd was welcome. A Richard's Pipit well inland at Newnham from 17th was an excellent find. Incredibly, the New Forest Great Grey Shrike is the only one wintering in the South-East and, having gone missing during December, it was handily back at Bratley Inclosure on 1st. A Leach's Storm Petrel was off Netley and Weston on 4th, while Pennington Marshes and Vyne Park scored Russian White-fronted Geese. Hook-with-Warsash hosted a Yellow-browed Warbler from 20th and a Snow Bunting on 22nd. No fewer than eight sites scored Glossy Ibis, including groups of six (Broadlands) and three (Farlington/Warblington); these figures were eclipsed by up to 12 at Brading Marshes on the Isle of Wight. Other bits on the island included a surprise Great Grey Shrike in a Roslin garden on 8th and two Russian White-fronted Geese at Brading until 9th.

Richard's Pipit, Newnham, Hampshire (Rik Addison).

Geese were the headline makers in Berkshire, with five sites hosting Russian White-fronts, including an impressive flock of 18 seen at multiple sites. The Padworth Lane Pink-footed Goose lingered throughout and a spectacular flock of 50 Brent Geese was reported over Lea Farm GPs on 1st. A drake Smew was at Wraysbury GPs on 22nd.

In Buckinghamshire, a Glossy Ibis at Latimer from 23-26th was a super record. Elsewhere in the county the Caldecotte Lake Great Northern Diver lingered until 9th, a drake Red-breasted Merganser was at Stowe Park on 6th and Floodplain Forest hosted a Russian White-front on 2nd. A Pink-footed Goose was at Eythrope on a couple of dates mid-month.

One of the birds of the month came in Oxfordshire, where the county's first Pallas's Warbler proved immensely popular at Abingdon sewage works following its discovery on 5th. The Henley Road GPs Velvet Scoter made it into 2022, lingering until 2nd, both the Radley GPs and Appleford GPs Ring-necked Duck were present more or less throughout, the Great Northern Diver continued at Farmoor and the wintering Garganey remained at Standlake. Up to 22 Russian White-fronted Geese were at Long Wittenham mid-month.

Pallas's Warbler, Abingdon, Oxfordshire (Joe Owen).

London's special 'Sibe' duo were still available for year listers, with the Bexley Little Bunting present all month and the Dusky Warbler hanging on at Walthamstow Marshes until 9th at least. Presumably the same two Pink-footed Geese accounted for a spate of records in East London from 23rd, with five sites scoring; Russian White-fronts were noted at the same number of locations. The KGV Reservoir Red-necked Grebe and Staines Reservoir Great Northern Diver were present throughout, and three sites hosted Smew.

In Surrey, a Glossy Ibis at Holmethorpe SP on 26th was a ninth county record. Unfortunately, as is the trend with this species in Surrey, it was a brief visitor. The female Ring-necked Duck remained at Reigate throughout, albeit with a brief venture to Holmethorpe mid-month. Nearby, an impressive flock of 1,100 Bramblings proved popular at Reigate Heath. Dorking and Westfield both hosted Russian White-fronted Geese.

Ed Stubbs


South-West England

On Scilly, the Spotted Sandpiper lasted on St Mary's until 5th and may have finally moved on. Year-listing residents will have been equally glad the Lesser Scaup and Surf Scoter stuck around, the former present on Tresco throughout and the latter usually off Skirt Island. The Glossy Ibis also remained on Tresco and a Eurasian Spoonbill frequented Samson, joined briefly by a second on 24th. Five Pink-footed Geese were also on Tresco. On St Mary's, a lone wintering Yellow-browed Warbler continued at Lower Moors till 3rd. A scattering of Siberian Chiffchaffs included five on St Mary's.

While nothing earth-shattering was found in Cornwall this month, there was a great variety of quality winter birds on offer. The Dusky Warbler near Goldsithney resurfaced on 19th, while the palm trees of Lower Boscaswell sustained the Rosy Starling all month. Little Buntings were found at Skewjack on 24th and Goss Moor on 30th. Just two Yellow-browed Warblers were seen but there was a good scattering of Siberian Chiffchaffs, the peak count being 12 trapped at Brew Pool.

At Devoran, the Green-winged Teal remained till 4th. At least five Ring-necked Duck were on the lakes of Bodmin Moor during the month, with another drake at Walmsley Sanctuary. Pentewan hosted Surf and Velvet Scoter from 23rd. Five Tundra Bean Geese at Grade increased to eight on 11th, with one at Upper Tamar Lakes from 9th and two at Walmsley Sanctuary on 12th. Russian White-fronted Goose flocks included 16 on The Lizard and five at Walmsley Sanctuary.

Hayle Estuary held the regular adult Ring-billed Gull and at least three Caspian Gulls. An adult Kumlien's Gull flew over Pendeen on 24th. Newlyn harbour hosted two of the county's five Glaucous Gulls. Glossy Ibises were noted at Chapel Amble and Walmsley Sanctuary, peaking at 18 early on. Unseasonal sightings included five Swallows in Penzance, Curlew Sandpiper at Maer Lake on 14th, Ring Ouzel at Porthgwarra on 22nd and a Garganey at Walmsley Sanctuary on 18th.

Glaucous Gull, Newlyn, Cornwall (Martin Webb).

A Water Pipit accompanied the American Buff-bellied Pipit at Maelcombe Beach, Devon. Beesands Ley held onto its drake Ring-necked Duck till 14th, after which it appeared to switched to Slapton Ley – where both Lesser Scaup had moved on by mid-month, one of which reappeared in Dorset. Another Ring-necked was at Roadford Reservoir from 25-27th. West Charleton Marsh was visited by two Tundra Bean Geese on 5th and 10th; a light scattering of Russian White-fronted Geese included five at South Huish Marsh. Whooper Swans were at three sites. Many Glossy Ibises included 10 at Exminster Marshes on 21st. Singles of Glaucous and Iceland Gulls were seen, while a couple of Pomarine Skuas lingered in Tor Bay.

Axmouth attracted a European Serin from 25th. Exminster had a Yellow-browed Warbler early in the month and, in Efford, a Lesser Whitethroat, likely of an eastern form, was seen on 26th. Hawfinch sightings were regular in Haldon Forest, reaching six on 24th. At least 11 Siberian Chiffchaffs were reported.

Snow Bunting, Slapton Sands, Devon (Martin Bennett).

The female Lesser Scaup at Abbotsbury Swannery, Dorset, from 7th was also seen at nearby West Bexington. Three Tundra Bean Geese appeared at Lytchett Fields RSPB on 29th. Lone Black Brant were recorded on The Fleet and in Poole Harbour. At Longham Lakes, the wintering Whooper Swan stayed and nine Russian White-fronted Geese were seen on 1st; 37 of the latter flew over Tincleton on 3rd and Charminster Water Meadows held a small flock all month. Glossy Ibises appeared at four sites. The Iceland Gull lingered around Weymouth throughout. A Grey Phalarope was off Lyme Regis on 3rd. Stubble fields at West Bexington supported three Cirl Buntings. A Ring Ouzel was reported at Sturminster Newton on 15th. Six sites held Water Pipits and Hawfinches were at three; nine Siberian Chiffchaffs were noted across the county.

Greater (left) and Lesser Scaup, Abbotsbury Swannery, Dorset (Steve Groves).

In Somerset, Greylake RSPB's Baikal Teal drew crowds all month. The Kentish Plover at Burnham-on-Sea from 18th proved to have been ringed in Germany; three Eurasian Penduline Tits at Weston Airfield all month were very popular, too. The Tundra Bean Goose remained at Tealham Moor all month, as did the drake Ring-necked Duck at Ham Wall RSPB and returning Long-tailed Duck at Barrow Gurney Reservoirs. A drake Garganey appeared at Sutton Bingham Reservoir on 30th. Chew Valley Reservoir had six Greater Scaup. Up to seven Russian White-fronted Geese visited Greylake RSPB, with others at Tealham and Curry Moors. Several sites had Whooper Swans, the highest count being 11 at Hay Moor. Glossy Ibis sightings came mainly from the Levels, including three near Sharpham Park on 22nd.

Two lucky birders had a Yellow-browed Warbler in their Weston-super-Mare garden from 13-19th. Eleven Siberian Chiffchaffs were noted, while a male Ring Ouzel was a surprise at Brean Down from 13th. West Monkton had the county's only Hawfinch.

Eurasian Penduline Tit, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset & Bristol (Daniel Gornall).

Gloucestershire's standout record of January was a Leach's Storm Petrel off Shaft Beach on 3rd. Otherwise, Slimbridge provided much of the action, offering a Glossy Ibis, three Greenland White-fronted Geese and four Pink-footed Geese, as well as the usual Russian White-fronted Geese and Bewick's Swans.

At Cotswold Water Park, two Greater Scaup remained for course of the month, with two juvenile Great Northern Divers there and others at Lechlade-on-Thames and Bourton-on-the-Water. Gloucester Cathedral, Sharpness and Oldbury Power Station allowed year-listers the chance to catch up with Black Redstart, with three at the latter site on New Year's Day. Siberian Chiffchaffs were reported at Shorncote, Aust and Kempsford (two). A peak of 19 Hawfinches were at Parkend on 21st.

Hawfinch, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire (Derek Lees).

At Mere, Wiltshire, the Snow Bunting was on offer all month, plus a Black Redstart there on 30th. Four sites had Hawfinches, with an impressive 35 at Savernake Forest on 25th. Westbury sewage works held up to two Siberian Chiffchaffs, but the rarest bird for the county was a Red-throated Diver on Corsham Lake on 17th. A Whooper Swan flew over Westbury on 10th and four Russian White-fronted Geese were at Langford Lakes on 16th.

David Campbell



A sprightly male Cirl Bunting at Marcross, Glamorgan, from 12th stands out as one of the month's best finds. With a small breeding population in south-west England, vagrants elsewhere are few and far between, with the last record for Wales on Bardsey Island, Gwynedd, in April 2004. Glamorgan's last record dates as far back as January 1982 (five males at Burry Green, Gower), while it is the first for East Glamorgan since May 1934.

Cirl Bunting, Marcross, Glamorgan (Darren Coombs).

It is proving to be a bumper year for Siberian Chiffchaff in Wales. The taxon proved most widespread in the south-west of the country, with three in Carmarthen and no fewer than seven in Pembrokeshire. Probable 'eastern' Lesser Whitethroats added to the Siberian flair, present in gardens at West Cross, Glamorgan, and Holyhead, Anglesey.

Siberian Chiffchaff, Hook, Pembrokeshire (David Ord).

Unseasonal Swallows at Kidwelly, Carmarthen, and Bodorgan, Anglesey, proved somewhat out of place; the Great Grey Shrike at Bryn Trillyn, Conwy, remained. Six coastal sites scored Snow Bunting, with two inland at Pen-y-Fan, Powys, a notable occurrence. Water Pipits were at regular winter locations, including Newport and Ynys-Hir RSPB, Camarthen, Burry Inlet, Glamorgan/Carmarthen, Rumney Great Wharf, Glamorgan, and Tanybwlch, Ceredigion. Notable Hawfinch counts comprised at least nine at Mitchel Troy, Gwent, nine at Llanelltyd, Gwynedd, and six at Llanbedr-y-cennin, Conwy.

On 30th, a white-morph Snow Goose accompanied Pink-footed Geese at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB, Clwyd. Nearby, a scarce Welsh visitor – Bewick's Swan – made an appearance, with a small family party along the English border near Shotwick, Clwyd. Also popular were three Tundra Bean Geese, split between Tanybwlch, Ceredigion, and Goldcliff Pools, Gwent, with Russian White-fronts at four sites. An Egyptian Goose was at Goldcliff Pools, Gwent, on 18th; four Ruddy Shelduck flew over Shotwick Fields, Clwyd, on 3rd.

Snow Goose, Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB, Clwyd (Andrew Wallbank).

Ring-necked Duck were spread between five Glamorgan sites, with outliers at Bala Lake, Gwynedd, and Rosebush Reservoir, Pembrokeshire. Surf Scoter comprised two drakes at Old Colwyn, Conwy, two drakes at Pendine, Carmarthen, and a juvenile at Broad Haven, Pembrokeshire. Eighty-two Northern Pintail at Angle Bay on 5th is a new Pembrokeshire record count.

Inland wanderers included a Red-throated Diver at Gresford Flash, Clwyd, Dark-bellied Brent Goose at Llyn Coed-y-Dinas, Powys. On the coast, a Grey Phalarope was off Ogmore-by-Sea, Glamorgan, on 3rd.

The midwinter Glossy Ibis influx deposited birds to 14 sites, including high counts of five over Pwll, Carmarthen, on 5th and trios at Angle, Pembrokeshire, Llyn Maelog, Anglesey, and Eglwys Nunydd Reservoir, Glamorgan. The latter was especially notable – it is the first record for the Neath Port Talbot area.

Glossy Ibis, Eglwys Nunydd Reservoir (no general access), Glamorgan (Gary Thoburn).

A young Iceland Gull at Little Orme, Conwy, proved popular, while, in Pembrokeshire, two sporadically roosted at Llys-y-Fran Reservoir, a mobile adult was along the coast between Newport and Cardigan, and another was at Haverfordwest. First-winter Caspian Gulls were logged at Newport, Gwent, and Cardiff Bay, Glamorgan.

Sam Viles



There's little doubt it's another excellent winter for Ring-necked Duck, with 17 sites across Ireland producing records in January. A peak of nine was noted at Lough Gara, Co Sligo, with other flocks including four at Lough Yganavan, Co Kerry. No fewer than seven Lesser Scaup were seen, including three in Co Cork alone.

Green-winged Teal were also well represented, with 13 seen. By contrast, just a single American Wigeon – at Ballyalia Lake, Co Clare – could be found. At least three Surf Scoter were in Brandon Bay, Co Kerry, with two off the Co Meath coastline.

Green-winged (top) and Eurasian TealKinsale Marsh, Cork (Richard Mills).

The white-morph Snow Goose continued in Co Sligo, with at least two Cackling Geese there (others of the latter in Cos Mayo and Clare) and Todd's Canada Geese in Cos Mayo and Donegal. Two Tundra Bean Geese were along the Suir valley on the Waterford-Kilkenny border from 16th, while a young Russian White-fronted Goose was an excellent find near Belmullet, Co Mayo, late on. Just two Bewick's Swans could be found in Co Wexford – this species' disappearance from Ireland looks imminent.

The Siberian Chiffchaff influx reached Ireland, with close to 20 localities noting the species. Among these were a staggering 10-15 individuals at Killarney STW, Co Kerry, with small groups also in Co Dublin and Co Wexford. The only Irish Yellow-browed Warbler was at Dungarvan, Co Waterford; found on 6th, it lingered thereafter. A Water Pipit was at Clahane Strand, Co Clare, with two sites in Co Wexford and single localities in Cos Cork and Waterford also scoring.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Dungarvan, Waterford (Tom Murphy).

In excess of 40 sites held Glossy Ibises this month, with several small flocks noted and a high count of 21 in Co Cork. Wintering Lesser Yellowlegs remained at Rahasane Turlough, Co Galway, and Tacumshin, Co Wexford.

Glossy Ibis, Dublin, Dublin (Grzegorz Burkowski).

Around 15 Ring-billed Gulls were noted across Ireland, with a small arrival of first-winters in Co Cork (at least four). Four Kumlien's Gulls included the returning adult at Blennerville, Co Kerry. Perhaps 30 Glaucous and 20 Iceland Gulls were noted.

Josh Jones

Written by: BirdGuides