03/04/2022
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Regional round-up: March 2022

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The storms of February gave way to milder and more settled conditions in March, with the first spring migrants arriving in the first week. The often clear conditions continued for much of the month an icy blast arrived in the final few days, which put migration on halt somewhat.

The month will long be remembered for the best influx of Garganey for many years, with a staggering 275 British and Irish sites hosting this most handsome of ducks and some highly impressive counts made, both from south-coast headlands and wetlands. Presumably many will now go on to breed here. Black Redstart also put in an excellent showing during easterly winds in the final week of the month, but the largely settled conditions meant that, unlike the past couple of years, overland Common Scoter migration wasn't as heavy as it might have been.


Garganey, Pennington Marshes, Hampshire (Matthew Barfield).

 

Scottish mainland

Spring was felt across Scotland by the end of the month, with classic early migrants marching north. The first Sand Martin was at Strathclyde Loch, Clyde, on 3rd, where 50 were present on 16th, and the first Northern Wheatear made landfall at Laggan Bay, Mull, on 11th. Western Ospreys were well-reported, with many back on territory by the month's end. The first Ring Ouzel returned to Cairn Gorm, Highland, on 24th and a Swallow was near Loch Gorm, Islay, on 26th.

Garganey were logged at eight sites, with a peak count of 10 at Cameron Reservoir, Fife, on 31st hinting there should be more on the way. The first, however, was a drake at Capringstone Flash, Ayrshire, on 4th. A single drake found its way to Loch Lierary, Caithness, on 26th.


Garganey, St Andrews, Fife (Keith Simpson).

Nearctic wildfowl continued to dominate the headlines. Nine Ring-necked Duck remained on offer, including three at Kings Myre Loch, Perth & Kinross, and three at Loch Bhasapol, Tiree. Meanwhile, Green-winged Teal were at seven sites. At least three Surf Scoter were off Musselburgh, Lothian, and an immature drake was off Roseisle, Moray & Nairn. The drake American Wigeon was last reported at Crook of Baldoon, Dumfries & Galloway, on 8th. The three white-morph adult Snow Geese could still be found at Loch Spynie, Moray & Nairn, with another was at Drumlemble, Argyll, from 13-31st. Todd's Canada Geese were at Sandaig, Tiree, Mersehead RSPB, Dumfries & Galloway, and Stewarton, Argyll.


Green-winged Teal, Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire (Ron Macdonald).

Smew were at seven sites, including three redheads at Loch of Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, and two at Lochwinnoch RSPB, Clyde. A Ruddy Shelduck was reported sporadically by Cromarty Bridge at Culbokie, Highland. Elsewhere, a Tundra Bean Goose was at Culmaily, Highland, on 1st before relocating to Golspie on 25th, with another at The Wilderness, Fife, on 5-6th. The spring arrival of White-billed Divers in the Moray Firth was underway from 7th, when the first was off Burghead. At least two were off Burghead thereafter, with seven more off Cullen by 21st and eight off Portsoy, Aberdeenshire. Red-necked Grebes were at 10 sites, a Black-necked Grebe was on the Eden Estuary, Fife, from 6-15th and the Monikie CP bird loitered until 19th.

A first-winter Ring-billed Gull was at Hough, Tiree, from 22nd, while the regular adults were still reported in Lothian at Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, and Penicuik. The adult Kumlien's Gull was again at Loch of Portree, Skye, on 3rd. Iceland Gulls were at 28 sites and Glaucous Gulls were at 15. The wintering Glossy Ibis was reported sporadically at Milton, Caithness. Perhaps to be expected these days, but five sites reporting Avocet was a good turn-out. Five were at Browhouses, Dumfries & Galloway, late in the month, while one at Loch of Wester, Caithness, was the most northerly. A Little Stint was at Riverside Nature Park, Angus & Dundee, on 2nd.


Waxwing, Nethy Bridge, Highland (Jay Hutchins).

The only Great Grey Shrike report in Scotland this month came from a re-appearance of the bird at Backwater Reservoir, Angus & Dundee, on 23rd. A Hoopoe was reported from Belhaven Bay, Lothian, on 2nd. The first-winter Rosy Starling was still at Grangemouth, Forth, on 3rd, while Waxwings were reported from just three sites: up to five at Nethy Bridge, Highland, one at Alford, Aberdeenshire, on 2-3rd, and one at Kingsteps, Moray & Nairn, on 28th. Single Siberian Chiffchaffs were at Shewalton Wood, Ayrshire, and Portree, Skye.

Dan Owen

 

Northern Isles and the Hebrides

Spring is always that bit later in the far north and, while birders wait for most spring migrants, Northern Wheatears were true to form. Orkney's first was on North Ronaldsay on 19th, males were at Brevig, Barra, and Carinish, North Uist, on 20th, while a male on Fair Isle on 26th was Shetland's first.

The circus seemingly paid Shetland a visit on 27th, leaving behind an Egyptian Goose at Sandwick, Mainland, where it remained until 29th. Great Egrets were at three sites in March, one at West Sandwick, Yell, on 3rd, while the 14th saw one at Loch of Spiggie and two at Brow Marsh, Mainland. The Spiggie bird was a regular fixture by the month's end. Iceland Gulls were at 13 sites, with Glaucous Gulls at just six. Regular White-billed Divers were again off South Nesting Bay, Mainland, and Lamba Ness, Unst, while one off Fair Isle on 27th was just the third for the isle since 1979 (the other two both recorded last year).

The drake Green-winged Teal was still at Loch of Hillwell, Mainland, as was the drake Ring-necked Duck at Loch of Spiggie, Mainland. A Woodlark was a smart find at Mulla, Mainland, on 29-31st, a female Hawfinch was at Ocraquoy, Mainland, from 24-26th and a Siberian Chiffchaff was at Clickimin, Lerwick.

Non-avian news concerned a male Sperm Whale, which spent just over a week in the latter half of the month in South Whiteness Voe, Mainland. Thankfully a rescue attempt on 30th was successful and the mammal was last seen past Hildasay that afternoon.


Sperm Whale, Nesbister, Mainland, Shetland (Andrew Harrop).

Impressively, up to three Glossy Ibis remained on Westray, Orkney, largely favouring the area around Loch of Burness. The drake Green-winged Teal was still on his pool at Inganess Bay, Mainland, though the month. A white-morph adult Snow Goose was with the Greylags at Loch of Boardhouse, Mainland, on 19th. The White-billed Diver was seen sporadically off Papa Westray, and one was off North Ronaldsay on 27th. Iceland Gulls were at six sites and Glaucous Gulls at four.


White-billed Diver, Papa Westray, Orkney (Jonathan Ford).

In the Outer Hebrides, two juvenile Kumlien's Gulls were between Rubh' Arnal and Kyle's Paible, North Uist, on 27th, alongside 17 Iceland and two Glaucous Gulls. A third-winter was at Bayhead, North Uist, on 23rd, while the regular juvenile Kumlien's Gull was also still present on Barra. Nine sites reported Iceland Gulls and Glaucous Gulls were at eight. The white-morph adult Snow Goose remained on North Uist, the drake American Wigeon was again at Loch Bee, South Uist, and the drake Green-winged Teal remained at Loch nam Fèithean. The two Green-winged Teal lingered at Aird Mhor, Barra. Two Siberian Chiffchaffs were at Brevig, Barra, while another was at Askernish, South Uist. A White-billed Diver was off Port Skigersta, Lewis, on 28th.

Dan Owen

 

North-East England

Several of Northumberland's winter highlights were still in place at the start of the month, including the White-billed Diver at Stag Rocks, Shore Larks on Holy Island, Grey Phalarope at Dunstanburgh Castle, and Green-winged Teal at Colt Crag Reservoir. What may have been the same Green-winged Teal was found at Grindon Lough on 17th, with the returning drake American Wigeon there the following day. Further Grey Phalaropes flew past Stag Rocks and Boulmer, and a drake Northern Eider was in Seahouses harbour on 21st. A Common Crane flew over three sites between 25th and 28th. 


Northern Eider, Seahouses, Northumberland (Scott Black).

Juvenile Glaucous Gulls at 11 sites included a lingering bird inland at Alnwick Recycling Centre. Two Iceland Gulls lingered in the mouth of the Tyne and others were seen at Big Waters NR and Budle Bay. The Druridge Bay area scored a drake Garganey, at least two Water Pipits and lingering Russian White-fronted Geese and Ruddy Shelduck. Two further Water Pipits were on Holy Island, as well a couple of Lapland Buntings, and released immature White-tailed Eagle 'G471' passed over a few sites in the area on 6-7th. The redhead Smew and Red-necked Grebe continued at Widdrington Moor Lake, along with the Hooded Crow at Linton Lane NR and Spotted Redshank at Bothal Pond.

Grindon Lough's Greenland White-fronted Goose remained and looks set to be the only individual of this formerly regular subspecies seen in the county this winter. A Western Osprey flew over Morpeth on 16th and a Great Egret put in sporadic appearances at Caistron NR. Three localities scored Black Redstarts and a Ring Ouzel was seen at Holywell Pond on 25th. A pair of Garganey were at Rising Sun CP on 22nd.

An immature White-tailed Eagle over Middleton-in-Teesdale on 3rd was the only scarcity in Durham during March. Juvenile Glaucous Gulls were noted at Boldon Flats NR and Whitburn Steel. Four sites recorded Iceland Gulls, although a third-winter at Washington WWT was the only one to linger. The Hawfinch at Bishop Middleham remained in place until 20th at least and Siberian Chiffchaffs were at Lamesley Reedbeds, Birtley (two) and Darlington. A Water Pipit remained at Whitburn Steel, with a Black Redstart on a nearby farm on 29th. A first-winter Caspian Gull and two Ruddy Shelduck were among the other highlights at Washington WWT and a drake Common Scoter was at Hurworth Burn Reservoir from 6th. A Great Egret was seen at Boldon Flats NR on 22nd and a Black-throated Diver was off South Shields on 28th.


Iceland Gull, Middlesbrough, Cleveland (Martyn Sidwell).

In Cleveland, a drake Green-winged Teal was found at Saltholme RSPB on 8th, although was not seen again during the month. A Common Crane that flew over the reserve on 28th may have been the same as seen in Northumberland in previous days and other highlights at Saltholme included a Glaucous Gull, Eurasian Spoonbill, Garganey, Common Scoter, Ruddy Shelduck and two Great Egrets. Five Shore Lark were again in the Skinningrove and Saltburn area with another reported at South Gare. A juvenile Glaucous Gull was at Hartlepool early in the month and two Black Redstarts remained there. A juvenile Iceland Gull at Middlesbrough's Albert Park proved popular from 20th; Black Redstart and Little Gull were at Scaling Dam Reservoir late in the month.

Jonathan Farooqi

 

North-West England

As in recent springs, clear skies and light southerly winds saw spring migrants overshooting and finding themselves in the North-West, often before many southern counties had reported some species. Sand Martin were widespread (albeit in small numbers) by mid-month and Swallow started to arrive in the last few days. The 17th saw a small influx of House Martin into Cheshire, with five birds reported at three sites. Northern Wheatears were numerous along the coast by the second week of the month.

Cumbria's month began in a familiar fashion: the two female Ring-necked Duck lingered until at least 21st, while the long-staying Hooded Crow remained settled at South Walney NR. Sitting in the veranda overlooking Sizergh Castle car park early morning is the best bet to see Hawfinch locally, and indeed up to nine were on show through the month. Two Smew were one-day birds at Ennerdale Water on 8th. Western Ospreys were reported from five sites by the month's close, while the first Ring Ouzel was back on 15th. Cumbria largely avoided the glut of Garganey, although a pair were on the River Eden by Rockcliffe on 18th.


Great Northern Diver, Hodbarrow RSPB, Cumbria (Andrea Collins).

The white-morph adult Snow Goose was still mingling with Pink-feet on the Ribble Estuary throughout the month, with a particular penchant for sitting as far out on Banks Marsh as possible. Two Todd's Canada Geese were up for grabs in the area, with a handful of Russian White-fronted Geese also around. The adult Greenland White-fronted Goose remained at Myerscough Quarry throughout and a Tundra Bean Goose was at Aldcliffe Marshes on 12-14th. The female Ring-necked Duck re-appeared at Clearwater Fisheries, Borwick, on 4th and lingered until 19th. As with many counties, Garganey had a great showing in March. Seven sites had the pleasure of hosting this smart duck, with Leighton Moss RSPB recording an amazing 12 on 25th.

White-winged gulls remained thin on the ground. A juvenile Glaucous Gull overflew Liverpool on 10th, otherwise a single juvenile moved between Fishmoor Reservoir and Whinney Hill landfill site. A juvenile Iceland Gull roosted at Lower Rivington Reservoir sporadically. 14 sites logged overflying Osprey and the first Ring Ouzel was back on 16th. A showy Ring Ouzel was popular at Marton Mere on 31st, and at least two Siberian Chiffchaffs were singing at Martin Mere WWT.


Siberian Chiffchaff, Parkgate Marsh/Gayton Sands RSPB, Cheshire (Mark Woodhead).

The 5th heralded the arrival of the first Black-necked Grebes at Woolston Eyes NR, Cheshire, which is the third earliest arrival date. By the month's end at least 25 were back on site, roughly a week ahead of schedule. The singleton was still at Acre Nook Sand Quarry until 13th and another graced Astbury Mere CP on 22-24th. The two redhead Smew remained at Lapwing Hall Pool until 21st, with one still present on 23rd. Up to four Ruddy Shelduck were on at Burton Marsh until 26th. Five sites reported Garganey, with Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB having the lion's share with at least seven on 25th. Siberian Chiffchaffs were at Heswall sewage works, Silver Lane Pools and Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB.


Black-necked Grebe, Astbury Mere CP, Cheshire (Steven Seal).

In Greater Manchester, the Red-throated Diver continued to find Watergrove Reservoir to its liking, and was still present on 31st. A Black-necked Grebe stopped over at Audenshaw Reservoirs on 12th and a first-winter Kittiwake flew through Elton Reservoir on 30th. A drake Garganey was at Pennington Flash CP from 23rd and another was at Lightshaw Hall Flashes on 27th. White-tailed Eagle reports came from Bury and Mobberley on 20th.

The drake Green-winged Teal remained present and correct at Langness, Isle of Man, throughout. Meanwhile, an American Wigeon was on the aptly named 'Wigeon Pool' at Derbyhaven on 28th. The Calf of Man had a steady start to the season with Siberian Chiffchaff, Black Redstarts, and Lapland and Snow Buntings in the roll-call.

Dan Owen

 

Lincolnshire and Yorkshire

What was perhaps the male American Wigeon from Nottinghamshire visited Alkborough Flats, Lincolnshire, on 20th, with up to eight Garganey there – the latter at nine sites county-wide. In the south of the county, up to three Smew were at Langtoft, where the two Ring-necked Duck remained all month. A further drake Smew was near Whisby from 6-9th.

A movement of Woodlarks on 10th saw the species recorded at four sites. An unusual March record of Great Skua concerned a bird at Covenham Reservoir on 3rd, while a Hoopoe at Gibraltar Point NNR on 30th was early. As well as the White-tailed Lapwing, sightings from Frampton Marsh RSPB included the reappearance of the American Wigeon on several dates early on.


Smew, Langtoft, Lincolnshire (Josh Jones).

First dates for migrants in the county included Little Ringed Plover at Whisby on 7th, Sand Martin at Far Ings NR on 10th, Northern Wheatear at Deeping Fen on 14th, Swallow at Saltfleetby on 15th and Yellow Wagtail at Gibraltar Point NNR on 29th.

The wintering Great Shearwater put in another appearance at Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire, on 2nd, with the peninsula also holding Iceland Gull, Hawfinch and multiple Siberian Chiffchaffs – but all of these were upstaged by the return of the Black-browed Albatross to Bempton Cliffs RSPB on 30th. An early Ring Ouzel was at Ulrome on 3rd, with Smew and up to five Garganey at Hornsea Mere (in total, 14 sites across Yorkshire hosted the latter). A further two Smew remained at Wheldrake Ings until mid-month.


Black-browed Albatross, Bempton Cliffs RSPB, East Yorkshire (Andy Hood).

The Black Brant continued in the Spurn area, with Lapland Bunting and Hooded Crow among the other highlights. A Richard's Pipit was at Welwick Saltmarsh from 15-19th. Both scarce commodities this winter, a Great Grey Shrike at Cropton Forest and a Waxwing in Whitby were notable. An early Tree Pipit flew over Scarborough on 15th.


Great Grey Shrike, Cropton Forest, North Yorkshire (Brian Martin).

West Yorkshire had a fairly subdued March, with arriving Sand Martins and Northern Wheatears, plus improving Common Scoter passage in the final few days of the month, the best on offer. Continuing the good winter for Snow Bunting records in inland Yorkshire, Orgreave Lagoons scored one on 15th. A White-tailed Eagle was west of Sheffield on 15th, with other South Yorkshire records included an early Willow Warbler at Potteric Carr YWT on 24th, plus an assortment of Black-necked Grebes and Water Pipits, as well as modest visible Whooper Swan migration mid-month.

Josh Jones

 

West Midlands

Last seen in Staffordshire on 6 February, the female Ferruginous Duck was back at Belvide Reservoir on 30th and appeared to be paying particularly intimate attention to a drake Common Pochard … Love was in the air elsewhere in the county too, as a number of spring migrants made movements towards their breeding quarters. Eight Garganey were split between four sites, while Branston GPs was gifted early returning Little Ringed Plover (on 8th) and Yellow Wagtail (on 24th). On 23-24th, Little Gulls arrived at Blithfield Reservoir, Belvide Reservoir and Aqualate Park, and, on 27th, a White Stork – likely from the Knepp reintroduction scheme – flew south over Yarnfield. At the start of the month, an adult Iceland Gull roosted at Chasewater on 3-4th and two Hawfinches held on at Keele.

Early spring delights in Worcestershire saw a White Stork reported over Doverdale on 28th and three Little Gulls – all adults –at Camp Lane Pools, Grimley, on 24th, while a Kittiwake briefly dropped into Upton Warren on 29th before heading off north-west. Migrant Garganey are always popular – birds were at Pirton Pool (three), Redditch (two) and Upton Warren. Meanwhile, Ruddy Shelduck were reported from both Camp Lane Pools and Upton Warren, Siberian Chiffchaffs enjoyed sewage works at Powick and Kempsey (two) early doors, and a Black Redstart was at North Hill on 23-24th. 

Garganey visited four Warwickshire sites during the month. The 'eastern' Lesser Whitethroat performed on and off at Hams Hall until 8th, when the Siberian Chiffchaff was recorded in song. The two Great Northern Divers held out at Draycote Water, where Glaucous Gulls roosted on two dates (a second-winter on 4th and a juvenile on 15th) and three Avocet dropped in on 24th. Another Glauc – a juvenile – flirted with the Northamptonshire border at Hillmorton on 9th.


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

White-wingers were the order of the day in the West Midlands. The juvenile Glaucous Gull at Frankley Reservoirs commuted to Lifford Reservoir on two dates but was otherwise reliable, while no fewer than three Iceland Gulls were logged – the Staffordshire adult was at Stubber's Green on 4th and two juveniles were at Bartley and Edgbaston Reservoirs. Caspian Gulls also visited Frankley and Bartley Reservoirs, with a Black Redstart a brief visitor to Edgbaston Reservoir on 25th. A ringtail Hen Harrier flew south near Dudley on 17th, Babbs Mill Park hosted a drake Garganey and a Russian White-front was at Allesley. On 19th, a Lesser Whitethroat was reported singing at Allesley.

Two continuing Ring-necked Duck at Wellington GPs highlighted in a quiet Herefordshire month. Otherwise, Caspian Gulls were at Lugg Meadows and Brockhall GPs, a Ruddy Shelduck visited Bodenham Lake and 20 Pink-footed Geese were at Lugg Meadows. Hawfinch were noted at Walford (four) and Shobdon.

Sam Viles

 

East Midlands

A plethora of Ring-necked Duck proved Nottinghamshire's March highlight, including an honourable three at Cromwell and a lingering female at Carburton. Two Common Cranes overflew Sherwood Forest on 3rd; two White Storks flew north-east over Attenborough NR on 26th. A singing Siberian Chiffchaff at Attenborough NR was another notable visitor, with early migrants including a Little Ringed Plover at Collingham Pits on 6th and a House Martin over Trowell on 17th.

Trios of Russian White-fronted Geese were at Hoveringham GPs and Girton Pits, Ruddy Shelduck were reported from Gunthorpe, Hoveringham and Attenborough NR, and Smew lingered at Holme Pierrepont (three) and Idle Valley NR (two), with another a brief visitor to Hoveringham on 24th. Garganey were at three sites – Idle Washlands, Idle Valley NR and Langford Lowfields RSPB – and the juvenile Great Northern Diver continued at Spalford Pit.


Smew, Holme Pierrepont, Nottinghamshire (Alan Clewes).

In Leicestershire & Rutland, Eyebrook Reservoir retained its Ring-necked Duck until 15th, alongside up to seven Smew and a Slavonian Grebe. Best at Rutland Water was five Common Cranes, Ruddy Turnstone, Garganey, eight Smew, two Russian White-fronted Geese, three Black-necked Grebes and two Great Northern Divers. Shawell, meanwhile, played host to two Glaucous Gull and an Iceland Gull. Garganey were at four sites, with those at Cossington Meadows especially popular. Elsewhere, a released White-tailed Eagle overflew Stanford Reservoir and a Ruddy Shelduck continued at Cossington Meadows. 

Thin on the ground this winter, a Great Grey Shrike lingered at Bonsall Moor, Derbyshire. Elsewhere, two White Storks were reported at Ingleby on 6th and early spring migrants included a Northern Wheatear at Ingleby on 10th and a Ring Ouzel at Hayfield on 14th. Hawfinches were at Cromford (four) and Allestree Park (two), with two Snow Buntings at Bleaklow and a Black Redstart at Bamford. Two Tundra Bean Geese at Ingleby from 6-13th proved popular, while Russian White-fronted Geese were at three sites and two Garganey graced Carr Vale NR. Action at Carsington Water looked much the same as February – two Red-necked Grebes and a Great Northern Diver lingered.


Tundra Bean Goose, Ingleby, Derbyshire (Tony Davison).

A released White-tailed Eagle flew over Harlestone, Northamptonshire, on 1st, with a White Stork logged over Stanwick GPs and Clifford Hill GPs on 21st. Summer Leys LNR hosted a Spotted Redshank and up to six Garganey. Eight more were at Storton's GPs, with Pitsford Reservoir hosting a redhead Smew, Great Northern Diver and Garganey. A Ring-necked Duck at Titchmarsh NR until 8th was replaced by one at Ringstead GPs on 30th, Lilbourne bagged a Glaucous Gull-Eurasian Spoonbill double act, a Glossy Ibis was at Stanwick GPs throughout, and Russian White-fronted Geese lingered at two sites.

Sam Viles

 

East of England

Norfolk did well for reorienting 'Sibes', with two popular Little Buntings at Kelling Heath from 21-25th, a Red-flanked Bluetail at Wild Ken Hill on 26th and then a Dusky Warbler at Stiffkey from 27th. Meanwhile, the Greater Short-toed Lark was last reported at West Runton on 17th.

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Little Bunting, Kelling Heath, Norfolk (Peter Simpson).

Cantley Beet Factory played a blinder late in the month, with Norfolk's first twitchable Bonaparte's Gull in many years on 26th following a Lesser Yellowlegs there. A Glossy Ibis at the nearby marshes was one of several sites in the county that had the species this month, with another being popular as it toured sites on the western outskirts of Norwich.

Back on the north coast, both the Red-breasted Goose and Black Brant lingered in the Cley area, with the Shore Lark flock still at Holkham to at least 29th. More notable for this winter at least was a Great Grey Shrike at Sparham on 29-30th. A glut of Garganey saw 21 sites in the county score this species, while other early migrants included Northern Wheatear at Blakeney on 11th, Ring Ouzel at Weybourne on 15th and Swallow at Cromer on 22nd.


Garganey, Cley Marshes NWT, Norfolk (Michael Taylor).

A further dozen sites in Suffolk hosted Garganey, but spring migrants were otherwise late to arrive in the county – Sand Martin wasn't seen until 25th, for example. Black Redstarts were well represented, with 25 sites logging the species.

The county's main lingering highlights were the Ring-necked Duck at Aldringham to 15th and Lesser Yellowlegs at Minsmere RSPB to 28th, with the Shore Lark again at Kessingland until at least 28th. Scanning the skies produced several sightings each of White Stork, Common Crane and White-tailed Eagle. The pair of Smew continued at Minsmere and a Glaucous Gull was off Landguard NR on 13th, with two Iceland Gulls seen in the Brecks.


Black Redstart, Benacre, Suffolk (Jake Gearty).

The Red-breasted Goose remained around Essex's Crouch Estuary until 14th, with at least three Black Brant still in the county. A White-tailed Eagle was at Old Hall Marshes RSPB on 17th. Hawfinch congregations included 20 still near Danbury on 11th and eight at Ongar Park Wood.

Essex's first Northern Wheatear of 2022 was at Orsett on 10th, while this March's vogue species – Garganey and Black Redstart – were at eight and 12 sites respectively. The first Yellow Wagtail was at Abberton Reservoir on 24th, that site also boasting a length roll call that included two apiece of Red-necked and Slavonian Grebes, as well as up to four Smew and 11 Greater Scaup. Another Smew remained in the Lee Valley.

Hertfordshire had a good month. The wintering European Serin was last noted at Maple Cross on 18th, while Wilstone Reservoir hosted a confiding Green-winged Teal from 24-30th and an early Common Tern on 28th. A Eurasian Stone-curlew was a terrific find at Stanborough Pits on 29th, a Glossy Ibis flew over King's Meads on 8th and the Cambridgeshire Kumlien's Gull visited Reed on 1st. A very early Yellow Wagtail overflew Watford on 21st. Garganey were at three sites and an Isle of Wight White-tailed Eagle passed over Panshanger Park on 29th.


Green-winged Teal, Wilstone Reservoir, Hertfordshire (Mark Rayment).

Bedfordshire's Green-winged Teal remained at Meadow Lane GPs until 10th. It was an otherwise steady month in the county, with Garganey at four sites, two Common Scoter at Broom GPs on 1st, the first Ring Ouzel at Warden Hill on 29th, plus Avocets at three sites and Greater Scaup at two.

Cambridgeshire enjoyed an excellent March. As well as a female Blue-winged Teal at Berry Fen from 30th, drake Green-winged Teal were at Smithy Fen to 8th and Eldernell from 24th – the latter site also hosted at least 14 Garganey and a wild White-tailed Eagle that day. After such a good winter for the species, a drake Ring-necked Duck appeared on the Ouse Washes right on cue on 19-20th. A drake Red-breasted Merganser visited Etton Pits on 4th.


Red-breasted Merganser, Etton-Maxey Pits, Cambridgeshire (Josh Jones).

Following a couple of appearances at Smithy Fen, the regular Kumlien's Gull moved north to Peterborough on 8th before returning to the former site on 12th. Up to two Iceland Gulls were also noted in Peterborough. Lingering from the winter were the Hoopoe at Duxford to 22nd, Yellow-browed Warbler at Milton CP to 23rd, Great Grey Shrike at Comberton to 28th and five Smew at two sites.

Josh Jones

 

South-East England

Sussex stole the national rarity headlines this month with three standout finds in the county: a Bonaparte's Gull at Chichester GPs, a Desert Wheatear at Goring-by-Sea and a White-spotted Bluethroat at Charleston Reedbed. The wintering Hume's Leaf Warbler remained in Eastbourne, while the Kent individual was still to be found in St Margaret's at Cliffe. Buckinghamshire enjoyed a rare moment in the limelight when a female Blue-winged Teal pitched up at Marlow. In Oxfordshire, the Ferruginous Duck at Dorchester-on-Thames was still present. It was an exceptional month for Garganey in the region and a decent one for Black Redstart as well.


Desert Wheatear, Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex (Adam Huttly).

The month began with a bang in Kent when a female Black-winged Stilt appeared at Cliffe Pools on 3rd, although it appeared to be a one-day bird. The same site hosted an exceptionally early Temminck's Stint from 26th – perhaps a wintering bird having previously gone unnoticed. Oare Marshes was visited by a drake Green-winged Teal from 5-15th and a European Serin sang at South Foreland on 22nd. Lingering scarcities included the Fordwich Dusky Warbler (until 23rd), the Black Brant at Seasalter and the eight Shore Larks on Sheppey. As many as eight Glossy Ibises were in the county and some 11 sites cashed in on the Garganey influx, including some impressive counts off Dungeness, where the redhead Smew lingered until 20th. A Lapland Bunting was at Foreness Point on 16th, Dunge and Seasalter scored Iceland Gull records and a Black Guillemot flew past Swalecliffe on 8th.


Shore Lark, Leysdown-on-Sea, Sheppey, Kent (Mark Leitch).

In Sussex, a Green-winged Teal at Rye Harbour from 2-16th represented a smart discovery – the first in the county for nearly two decades. The Iceland Gull was in the area during the first few days of the month as well. At Thorney Island the Black Brant was seen on one date mid-month, up to six Glossy Ibises were in the Pagham area all month and the Poundgate Little Bunting was last reported on 12th. An impressive 21 sites logged Garganey and the Iford Brooks Tundra Bean Geese hung around until 9th.


Little Bunting, Poundgate, East Sussex (Stephen Webb).

A selection of spring overshoots made it to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight at the end of the month, with an Alpine Swift at Brownwich and Chilling on 29th a highlight. On the Isle of Wight, a European Serin flew over St Catherine's Point on 21st, a Black Kite was at Brighstone on 20th and a Eurasian Stone-curlew visited Ventnor on 23rd. Lingering bits in Hants included the Blashford Lakes Ring-billed Gull until 19th and the New Forest Great Grey Shrike at Bratley Inclosure until 15th. Two sites hosted Glossy Ibis and 13 had Garganey. A Russian White-fronted Goose was at Harbridge from 8-12th.


Ring-billed Gull, Blashford Lakes HWT, Hampshire (Matthew Barfield).

A Glossy Ibis toured three Berkshire sites from 20th until the end of the month. The Padworth Lane GP Pink-footed Goose was present until 7th; presumably this bird was the one at Theale GPs on 9th. Two sites hosted Garganey.

In Buckinghamshire, the second-winter Iceland Gull put in intermittent showings at Little Marlow GPs until 19th. Garganey were recorded at two locations, a Kittiwake was at Willen Lake on 30th, where seven Avocets dropped in on 20th.

No fewer than eight Oxfordshire sites scored Garganey and included a count of nine at Dorchester-on Thames on 25th. The female Ring-necked Duck at Sutton Courtenay/Appleford GPs and the drake at Radley GPs continued throughout, as did the Farmoor Great Northern Diver. The latter site hosted a Scandinavian Rock Pipit on 17th and 30 Little Gulls on 23rd.

The wintering Dusky Warbler at Walthamstow Marshes, London, was present all month. A Glossy Ibis flew over Staines Reservoirs on 7th and a Sandwich Tern visited Brent Reservoir on 26th. King George V Reservoir hosted the continuing Red-necked Grebe and drake Smew throughout. Five sites hosted Garganey and four had Greater Scaup.


Caspian Gull, Thamesmead, London (Richard Bonser).

In Surrey, a Glossy Ibis over Molesey Heath on 10th was probably the bird seen at Staines on 7th. The Reigate Ring-necked Duck was a regular fixture at Priory Pond until 30th, when she moved to Mercers CP, the Thorpe Park Greater Scaup continued and a single site hosted Garganey. A Scandinavian Rock Pipit was at Tice's Meadow on 9th and a Russian White-fronted Goose flew over Buckland on 29th.

Ed Stubbs

 

South-West England

Early March was quiet on Scilly, with the Glossy Ibis still on Tresco on 7th and the female Surf Scoter lingering offshore until 11th, but it wasn't long before the islands had a taste of spring. There was decent Black Redstart and White Wagtail passage, with highs of 25 of the former on Bryher and 42 of the latter on St Martin's respectively. 

Birders will have been frustrated by the sad news on 2nd that a moribund Brown Booby had recently been picked up at Perranporth and quickly expired. There were plenty of other delights, though, including a pair of European Serins at Treleaver Farm on 22nd, increasing to four by 27th, and 11 Hoopoes in the latter part of the month. These were topped off nicely by a Black-crowned Night Heron in Nanjizal Valley on 31st. Hangovers from winter included the Rosy Starling in Lower Boscaswell to 20th, with another seen in St Just on 18th, and the Surf Scoter off Pentewan till 11th. Five Ring-necked Duck lingered on, including three at Siblyback Lake. The three Tundra Bean Geese ventured onto the Cornish side of Upper Tamar Lake on 11th. The Ring-billed Gull made appearances on the Hayle Estuary to 23rd, while the Kumlien's Gull stayed in Newlyn Harbour till 25th.


European Serin, Coverack, Cornwall (Joe jones).

Following the bizarre Devon news of a male Pine Grosbeak in a garden in Woolacombe on 15th, there was a claim of a Black Kite north over Galmpton on 19th. The most popular bird of the month, though, was an obliging Spotted Crake at Exminster Marshes from 28th to the month's end. Other spring arrivals included a Hoopoe in Plymouth on 30th and a flurry of Garganey, including 26 off Thurlestone on 19th. Lingering wildfowl included the three Tundra Bean Geese at Upper Tamar Lake and six Ring-necked Duck.


Ring-necked Duck, Bowling Green Marsh RSPB, Devon (Alex Farris).

Gulls were the flavour of the month in Dorset and Lodmoor was naturally the hotspot, picking up a juvenile Kumlien's Gull on 8th then an adult Bonaparte's Gull on 9th, while the second-winter Iceland Gull lingered till 17th. Lingering wildfowl were the other main interest, with the Lesser Scaup still at Abbotsbury Swannery to 8th and the three Tundra Bean Geese lingering at Wareham till 11th, as well as Black Brants at Ferrybridge and Goathorn Point. A showy Yellow-browed Warbler spent 21st onwards in Bridport.


Glossy Ibis, Stanpit Marsh, Dorset (Jeremy Mcclements).

The Baikal Teal finally left Greylake, Somerset & Bristol, with the last sighting on 14th. Two Eurasian Penduline Tits were happy to remain at Weston Airfield till 29th, though, and the Kentish Plover kept appearing at Burnham-on-Sea till 20th. Other headliners included the Ring-billed Gull at Chew Valley Lake till 21st and the Tundra Bean Goose still at Westhay Moor till 15th. The Ring-necked Duck remained at Shapwick Heath.


Ring-billed Gull, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset & Bristol (Andrew Jordan).

A juvenile Iceland Gull at Torr Reservoir quickly switched to Chew Valley Lake on 23rd and was relocated a week later at Farrington Gurney. Eight Garganey at Ham Wall on 26th was the peak count in a generous helping of the species in the second half of March.

In Gloucestershire, there was still plenty on offer at Slimbridge, with the Glossy Ibis, two Greenland White-fronted, two Pink-footed and three Snow Geese there all month, as well as two of both Eurasian Spoonbills and Little Stints. News from the Severn included an adult Iceland Gull upriver at Upper Framilode on 25th.


White-tailed Eagle, Langford Lakes, Wiltshire (Luke Hepples).

The month ended on a high in Wiltshire with a Glossy Ibis at Langford Lakes on 31st. The released White-tailed Eagle remained at Langford Lakes until 8th, with Siberian Chiffchaffs reported at Langford Lakes and Westbury sewage works.

David Campbell

 

Wales

Glamorgan's spectacular Ring-necked Duck sextuplet at Kenfig Hill remained the country's most popular draw. The species was again well-spread, with others in Clwyd, Pembrokeshire, Gwynedd, Anglesey and elsewhere in Glamorgan.


Ring-necked Duck, Kenfig Hill, Glamorgan (Sam Viles).

It is said that one Swallow does not make a summer, but they are a staple feature of spring – early migrants were at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB, Clwyd, on 15th and Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire, on 18th; Carmarthen's wintering individual remained at Kidwelly early doors. Five House Martins were an early arrival over Pontardawe, Glamorgan, on 18th.

Northern Wheatears began to trickle in from 7th, when an early arrival was at Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey. The first Ring Ouzel, meanwhile, was at World's End, Clwyd, on 13th. Artro Estuary, Gwynedd, scored the first Western Osprey of the spring on 23rd.

Early Willow Warblers were reported in Glamorgan on 15-16th; late Siberian Chiffchaffs were at Trefin, Pembrokeshire (two), and both Newton (two) and Cardiff Bay, Glamorgan. An 'eastern' Lesser Whitethroat was in gardens at Chirk, Clwyd; migrant Firecrest visited Penrhos Coastal Park, Anglesey, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Bardsey Island, Gwynedd, and Skomer, Pembrokeshire.


Snow Bunting, Aled Isaf Reservoir, Conwy (Tony Pope).

Although none would prove twitchable, Lapland Buntings flew over South Stack RSPB, Anglesey (on 23rd), and Great Orme, Conwy (on 26th). Snow Buntings were at seven sites, including inland birds at Llyn Aled, Conwy, and Pen-y-Fan, Powys.

The Great Grey Shrike at Bryn Trillyn, Conwy, remained; Hawfinch counts peaked at two traditional locations – 18 at Llanrwst, Conwy, and 10 at Llanelltyd, Gwynedd. Five sites held Water Pipits, with a high count of seven at Peterstone Wentlooge, Gwent. Hooded Crows visited Skokholm and Gann Estuary, Pembrokeshire, and Dinas Dinlle, Gwynedd, with up to three on Anglesey.

Four Glossy Ibis from this winter's influx remained: at Llanelli Wetland Centre WWT, Carmarthen, Llansamlet, Glamorgan, Goldcliff Pools, Gwent, and Dale, Pembrokeshire. White Storks – likely from the Knepp reintroduction scheme – were logged over Buckley, Clwyd, on 11th and nearby Queensferry on 27th, while a released White-tailed Eagle from the Isle of Wight flew north-west over Penhow, Gwent, on 30th.


Glossy Ibis, Dale, Pembrokeshire (Robert Cox).

A wider Garganey influx across Britain from mid-month delivered birds to eight sites in Glamorgan, Pembrokeshire, Clwyd, Conwy and Anglesey – counts of six at Malltraeth, Anglesey, and four at Conwy RSPB, Conwy, were particularly impressive.

A drake Red-crested Pochard brightened up Kenfig Pool, Glamorgan, from 10th, with a brief excursion to Cosmeston Lakes CP on 21st. Pendine, Carmarthen, continued to host up to four Surf Scoter, with the same number still off Llanddulas, Conwy. In Gwent, a brief Tundra Bean Goose at Goldcliff Pools provided additional interest.

A popular second-winter Bonaparte's Gull was in the Cardiff Bay, Glamorgan, roost until 12th. Iceland Gulls included birds at Little Orme and Conwy RSPB, Conwy, Teifi Estuary, Pembrokeshire, and Sker Point and Cardiff Bay, Glamorgan, the latter accompanied by a first-winter Caspian Gull on several dates. A second-winter Glaucous Gull flew east over Skokholm, Pembrokeshire, on 20th. Five Little Gulls were recorded – two at Cardiff Bay, Glamorgan, and singletons at Connah's Quay, Clwyd, Sandy Water Park, Carmarthen, and Lisvane Reservoir, Glamorgan.

The first Little Ringed Plover of the spring was reported in Glamorgan on 14th.

Sam Viles

 

Ireland

A busy month was enjoyed across Ireland, with plenty of lingering rarities bolstering the number of birders in the field. Ring-necked Duck was again a staple, with at least 17 birds dotted across Ireland including peak counts of four at Lough Yganavan, Co Kerry, and Tamur Lough, Co Donegal. Three Lesser Scaup comprised lingering males in Cos Armagh and Sligo and a female at Lough Clubhir, Co Cork, on 31st.

Green-winged Teal were seen in four counties, but the only American Wigeon was the male near Ennis, Co Clare. A drake Blue-winged Teal was at Tacumshin, Co Wexford, on 28th, with American Coot, Lesser Yellowlegs and Bonaparte's Gull also noted there. The resident American Black Duck remained on the Mullet, Co Mayo, and a Surf Scoter was off Co Louth. Reedy Flats on Lough Neagh, Co Armagh, hosted two great Irish birds – Black-necked Grebe and Smew. Three blue-morph Snow Geese were on the Wexford Slobs.


Brambling, Lismore, Waterford (Andrew Malcolm).

At least seven sites hosted Garganey, including fours in Cos Cork and Wexford. First dates for migrants included Swallow at Seafield, Co Clare, on 3rd, Northern Wheatear in Galway City on 9th, Sand Martin at Oxford Island NNR, Co Armagh, on 11th and Western Osprey at Askeaton, Co Limerick, on 12th. A Hoopoe reached Sherkin Island, Co Cork, on 26th, but the clear passerine highlight was Ireland's first spring Red-flanked Bluetail, which offered excellent views on Great Saltee Island, Co Wexford, on 26-27th.

A notable influx of Bramblings occurred mid-month, particularly in Co Cork, with the first migrant Ring Ouzel in the county at Galley Head on 28th (the wintering bird was last seen in Co Armagh on 15th), as well as a good showing of Black Redstarts. A Cetti's Warbler at White's Marsh from 21st got Co Cork birders going, while the regular bird at Cahore, Co Wexford, was reported on several occasions.


Iceland Gull, Sligo, Sligo (Rik Addison).

Ring-billed Gull numbers scraped into double figures for the month, with a new adult at Dingle, Co Kerry, and up to three in the Cork City/Harbour area. A handful of Kumlien's Gulls were noted, with around 30 Iceland and 20 Glaucous Gulls tallied. A first-winter Bonaparte's Gull was at Harbour View, Co Cork, on 4th.

Glossy Ibises were noted at 16 sites, including a few new individuals unearthed, with perhaps 10 Great Egrets seen. The Lesser Yellowlegs was still at Rahasane Turlough, Co Galway, to 18th, while an Avocet was new at Rosslare Backstrand, Co Wexford, from 20th (Co Cork bird still in situ at Kinsale to at least 27th).

Josh Jones

Written by: BirdGuides news team