Review of rare birds in Berkshire in 2004
4 January 2005 | Marek Walford
This report only covers the rarer species reported in Berkshire in 2004. These records may not have been verified or subjected to scrutiny by the relevant rarities committee. Reports of possibles/probables have been excluded. Every effort has been made to ensure the information is correct but if you notice any mistakes please let me know.
One found at Queen Mother Res. late morning on 16th October (C D R Heard) was watched for about three hours by the few birders that weren't on Scilly before it flew off west at about 14:30.
Leach's Storm-petrel: Queen Mother Res. (Photo: Gary Randall)
A second-summer bird was found in the evening of 2nd July (L Martyn) on Black Swan Lake at Dinton Pastures. It was seen by just two observers that evening (and another at 00:30 in torch light!). It was still present the following morning and although it made frequent flights in an apparent effort to leave it's condition deterioated rapidly and it was taken into care late morning in a moribund state. Sadly it died over night. A post mortem found that there was no food in the stomach. It was also covered in lice and had leeches on it's eyes. This is apparently indicative of sitting on freshwater for a long time. It had been ringed as a pulli (i.e. in the nest) on 26th June 2002 on Great Saltee Island, County Wexford, Ireland.
Gannet: Dinton Pastures (Photo: Marek Walford)
Great White Egret
One at Theale GP on 27th April flushed from the Field Farm pit and then flew low over Mill Road towards Calcot (T Barnes).
One flying over the M4 near Bray on 31st March seen from the observer's car! (B T Bennett). It was seen the following day flying over several sites in east Berks. It's thought to be the long-staying Kent bird of unknown origin.
Seventeen "Tundra" birds at Cold Harbour on 13th and 14th December (G Brookes). One bird bearing a yellow neck collar enscribed "7U6" was ringed as a juvenile male on 24th December 2002 at Lith Noord-Brabandt in the Netherlands (51,766°N / 5,4°E). The same flock was re-located 110 miles north-west at Whitemoor Haye (Staffs) on 15th.
Bean Goose: Cold Harbour (Photo: Marek Walford)
A flock of 25 (probably mis-counted) flying low north-east over Moatlands, Theale GP on 1st December (P M Cropper) and presumably the same flock (but counted as 27) seen about 35 minutes later flying north-east over Summerleaze GP (C D R Heard, D J Barker).
Drake at Slough SF/Dorney Wetlands from 24th to 26th February (J O'Brien) then at Bray GP on 4th March (D J Barker). Third county record.
Green-winged Teal: Dorney Wetlands (Photo: Jerry O'Brien)
Female on the southern pit at Burnthouse Lane, Pingewood GP on 14th March (K Spring).
One soaring over Streatley Hill then flew off north on 13th May (R Addison). One flying south over Widbrook Common on 28th August (B D Clews). There was a pager report of one flying south over Dorney Common on 6th June which would probably have flown over Berkshire.
One circling over Cookham Rise on 29th February (B D Clews) with two Common Buzzards and a female Sparrowhawk, mobbed by crows then drifted off north.
Juvenile at a private site in east Berks on 9th and 10th September (C D R Heard).
Singles at Pingewood GP on 2nd April (M G McCarthy), Dorney Wetlands on 16th April (C Reeve), flying over Burghfield GP on 25th April (J Walling) and at Moatlands, Theale GP on 14th December (K E Moore).
Avocet: Dorney Wetlands (Photo: Jerry O'Brien)
One at Bury Down on 17th and 18th May (F Lucas, M Shurmer). Only the third modern day record and the first since 1990.
Dotterel: Bury Down (Photo: Jerry O'Brien)
Adult at Burnthouse Lane, Pingewood GP from 26th August to 3rd September (K Spring). Same bird previously seen at Staines Res. (Surrey).
Pectoral Sandpiper: Pingewood GP (Photo: Adam Bassett)
Five flying over Queen Mother Res. on 23rd September (D, Morris, P Naylor, P Whiteman, J Wilczur).
Juvenile at Queen Mother Res. from 22nd (D K Parker) to 27th September when found dead. On the evening of the 22nd the bird was very distant and the weather was atrocious leading to the bird being reported as a "skua sp.". The same evening another observer reported the bird as an Arctic Skua. It wasn't till midday the following day that the bird was finally identified as a Great Skua. This goes to show the potential difficulty of juvenile skua identification, especially out of context at an inland reservoir!
Great Skua: Queen Mother Res. (Photo: Jerry O'Brien)
Second-winter at Queen Mother Res. on 11th April (C D R Heard) and presumably the same bird but in second-summer plumage in the roost on 21st, 24th and 26th July. The same bird was seen at Little Marlow GP (Bucks) in July.
First-summer on the Smallmead Landfill, Reading on 26th April (P M Cropper). Possibly the same first-summer at Queen Mother Res. on 28th April (C D R Heard), also seen at Staines Res. (Surrey) on 30th. A very early returning adult at Queen Mother Res. on 5th December (C D R Heard). A Kumlien's Gull was at Lower Farm GP on 2nd March (J Crispin) and presumably the same bird at Pingewood GP on 3rd March (C D R Heard).
Iceland Gull: Smallmead Landfill, Reading (Photo: Paul Cropper)
Adult on Newbury Tip on 29th December (C D R Heard).
One at Queen Mother Res. on 9th September (C D R Heard).
One at Forest Park, Bracknell on 4th and 5th December then eight on 6th and 7th (T Powell) and seven on the 19th (T Sweetland). Eleven at Hawthorn Hill on 19th (M Whitaker) was a different flock as they were reported at the same time as the flock of seven at Forest Park.
Waxwing: Forest Park, Bracknell. (Photo: Jerry O'Brien)
One at Moor Green Lakes on 1st May (C Dell).
The bird found at Theale GP on 30th December 2003 was last seen on 21st February.
First-winter female at Queen Mother Res. on 8th November (C D R Heard). Male and female at Combe Gibbet from 13th to 15th November (B Rickwood).
Snow Bunting: Combe Gibbet. (Photo: Jerry O'Brien)