Twitching Action in the UK

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Twitching Action in the UK
From: knightl <>
Date: Thu, 1 Jan 2004 16:35:34 +1000
For some strange reason, there are no orange bellied parrots in the UK at the moment.
Regards, Laurie.

Climate change and transatlantic winds bring the exotic North American birds

By Brian Unwin

01 January 2004

Exotic birds from distant corners of the world are enriching the midwinter wildlife of the British Isles. The main attraction will be the Baltimore oriole, an orange-yellow breasted songbird, that should be enjoying the heat of tropical Venezuela but accidentally flew across the Atlantic to Oxford.

People of Northfield Road, Headington, on the city's outskirts, are feeding the bird through the winter with of sunflower seeds and orange segments and thousands of twitchers have come to see it.

And an American robin, a blackbird-sized bird with brick red underparts, continues to pull crowds at Godrevy Point, near Hayle, Cornwall. An American coot, which also made an unscheduled ocean crossing, is the big focus of interest on Loch of Clickimin, near Lerwick, Shetland.

"It is extremely unusual to have three such rare visitors to Britain present simultaneously at this time of year and they will be in particular demand", said Lee Evans, known as the "twitcher king" after setting a record for the largest number of different birds seen in Britain in a year. When they disappeared it could be years before there are further chances to see these species in Britain

Mr Evans, of Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, who runs the UK400 twitcher organisation, added: "And there are many other birds you wouldn't normally expect to see here in winter, perhaps through climate change giving us milder weather, so this means this is one of the best starts to a year." The most determined twitchers are starting at Oxford, seeing the oriole after daybreak then make a 200-mile dash to Cornwall to catch up with the American robin.

If all goes well, they will then have the chance of three other species from North America, an American wigeon, a green-winged teal and a lesser yellowlegs which are all in the nearby Hayle estuary. South-west England offers an even greater range of rare or unusual birds, including a great white egret at New Alresford, Hampshire, and two more American ducks, a lesser scaup at Studland Little Sea, Dorset, and a surf scoter off Loe Beach near Helston, Cornwall.

There are also several Siberian songbirds which should be in South-East Asia: a rare dusky warbler in the Clennon Valley, Paignton, Devon, and yellow-browed warblers at Branscombe, Devon, Lytchett Bay, Dorset, Titchfield Haven, Hampshire, and Berrow, Somerset.

More yellow-browed warblers are in the Midlands, at Colwick country park, near Radcliffe, Nottinghamshire, at Bloxwith, West Midlands and Upton Warren, Worcestershire. Two more are in the South- east, Stodmarsh, near Canterbury, Kent, and Chichester gravel pits, West Sussex.

Another big draw in Kent is the birds of prey assembly on the Isle of Sheppey's Harty Marshes including a rough-legged buzzard from the Arctic, 20 marsh harriers and eight hen harriers. In East Anglia, there have also been rough-legged buzzard sightings at Burnham Market and Holkham.

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