Despite sustained warm spells and clear conditions August still produced the typical patch goods in most of Britain and Ireland, with passerine action well underway by the end of the month.
A bumper influx of Pied Flycatchers was enjoyed in much of England, with birds reported a massive 850 times from at least 400 sites. Marking the third August out of the last four that has seen higher than usual numbers of this species, examples were found in both inland and coastal areas as far north as Fife, providing plenty of impetus for birders to get out and about around their local patches. High counts saw 43 at Spurn, East Yorkshire, and at least 30 at Winterton Dunes, Norfolk.
It also proved an excellent month – and indeed year – for Garganey, with a broad spread of birds at wetland sites south of the Pennines during August. Birds were reported a heady 554 times from 97 sites, including five in Ireland and two in Scotland.
In coastal localities, it proved to be another excellent month for seawatchers, with a bumper showing of Great and Cory's Shearwaters seeing several 'round the top' into the North Sea. Several mainland sites in the South-West boasted flypast Wilson's Storm Petrels and rarer visitors included a number of Fea's-type petrels.
Unsurprisingly, it was the tail end of the month that proved most fruitful. Find of the month has to be Aberdeenshire's second Greater Sand Plover near St Combs on 20-21st, while a Paddyfield Warbler – just the third county record – at Mire Loch, Borders, on 31st brought up the rear. A juvenile Pallid Harrier was noted in the Knockendon Reservoir area, Ayrshire, on 28th. The adult Black Scoter remained off Blackdog, Aberdeenshire, throughout the month with the drake Surf Scoter for company. The drake Surf Scoter was still off Lunan Bay, Angus & Dundee, until at least 23rd. Meanwhile, the Pied-billed Grebe remained part of the furniture at Loch Feorlin, Argyll.
The end of the month also saw decent Long-tailed Skua passage along the east coast. Birds were logged from 10 sites, and another three sites from Highland. 31st saw the biggest movement including 12 juveniles past Inverbervie, Aberdeenshire. A smaller number of Cory's Shearwaters were also logged along the east coast.
A juvenile Purple Heron was at Teviot Haughs, Borders, on 27-28th, the most northerly of the recent influx into Britain. Pectoral and White-rumped Sandpipers were three apiece. 'Pecs' were scattered along the east coast, with an adult on the Eden Estuary off Guardbridge, Fife, on 12th, one at Spey Bay, Moray & Nairn, on 18th and one at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB, Aberdeenshire, on 24-30th. While 'White-rumped Sands' were at Kilrenny, Fife, on 5th, Musselburgh Lagoons, Lothian, on 22-25th and Aberlady Bay, Lothian, on 29-30th, although some crossover is surely likely.
A juvenile Common Rosefinch was fresh-in on the Isle of May, Fife, on 28th and lingered until 30th, while Barns Ness, Lothian, hosted a Red-backed Shrike from 15-17th. Two Rosy Starlings were unearthed at the month's end. A juvenile at Turnberry Point, Ayrshire, on 31st and another photographed in a garden at Kilchoan, Highland, the same day, having been present several days already. Sadly, a Hoopoe photographed in a Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, garden on the morning of 28th wasn't seen subsequently.
Northern Isles and the Hebrides
The month started strong with a moulting adult drake Harlequin Duck at Norwick, Unst, on 5th. The bird then lingered until 11th in which time it showed very well. Another quality quacker was the lingering eclipse drake King Eider, noted again on two dates at Basta Voe, Yell.
There was a fair scattering of the classic drift migrants across Shetland, with numerous Barred Warblers, Common Rosefinches, Red-backed Shrikes and Icterine Warblers on offer. Greenish Warblers were at three sites: one on the Isle of Noss on 23rd, one on Foula between 25-27th and one at Lerwick on 30th. Citrine Wagtails faired well with six locations reporting birds from Unst to south Mainland and Wrynecks were at three sites. A Blyth's Reed Warbler was at Haroldswick, Unst, on 30-31st. A Greater Short-toed Lark spent the 13th on Foula. The Magpie remained in gardens at Sandness, Mainland, until at least 22nd, while a more conventional 'scarce' came in the form of an adult Rosy Starling, in Lerwick gardens between 8-17th. A Cory's Shearwater was noted from the NorthLink ferry approximately 12 km SSE of Lerwick on the morning of 13th.
The change in wind saw a Great Snipe at Fair Isle on 22nd, with a handful of pics casting any doubt to one side. An Arctic Warbler was ringed on 30th, when a Blyth's Reed Warbler also arrived on the island and a Citrine Wagtail was present the following day. A Melodious Warbler was present in the last week of the month. Meanwhile, the typical early autumn roll call involved Wryneck, Barred, Icterine and Marsh Warblers, Barred Warblers, Red-backed Shrikes and Common Rosefinches. A Shore Lark on 23rd was on the early side. The island's first breeding record of Common Rosefinch was announced at the start of the month, with a single chick raised.
North Ronaldsay was flying the flag for Orkney this month, highlighted by a Paddyfield Warbler trapped and ringed on 29th. An adult American Golden Plover led the wader front and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull was on the island mid-month. There was a steady flow of drift migrants, including Barred and Marsh Warblers, Red-backed Shrike, Wryneck and Common Rosefinch. Seawatching was also decent, with a single Great Shearwater logged on several mornings late in the month, plus Long-tailed and Pomarine Skuas past. Sooty Shearwaters peaked with 451 past on 28th. Elsewhere, Orkney was a little quiet. An adult Pectoral Sandpiper was on Papa Westray on 23rd where a Barred Warbler was present on 27th. An Icterine Warbler was at Ness of Brodgar, Mainland, on 15th.
A second drake Harlequin Duck was at St Kilda on 23-24th, but there was no sign thereafter. Otherwise, a juvenile Wilson's Phalarope was a smart find at Loch Paible, North Uist, on 29th and the bird was still present on 31st. The same site also hosted Glaucous Gull on 23rd and Temminck's Stint on 28th. A Pectoral Sandpiper was at Northton, Harris, on 2nd only. A Snowy Owl was on the machair at Kildonan, South Uist, on 26th. A male Grey-headed Wagtail was at Ormiclate on 7th. A Balearic Shearwater was logged south past Borgh, Barra, on 20th and a Cory's Shearwater sailed past Brevig on 22nd.
Non-avian news involved a possible Bowhead Whale off Tiumpan Head, Lewis, on 6th, while two Fin Whales were offshore on 27th. Two Sei Whales were recorded in The Minch at the start of the month.
The headline act for Cleveland proved one of the national highlights; a Greater Sand Plover at Redcar late on 25th remained through to the month's end. On 19th, a Pacific Golden Plover was identified too late in the day at Saltholme RSPB for anyone to connect bar the finder. Two Glossy Ibises resurfaced at Saltholme RSPB from 4-12th. Both Great Egrets and Eurasian Spoonbills remained on the Tees Marshes for much of the month.
A Firecrest was an excellent inland find at Scaling Dam on 15th, with a first-winter Red-backed Shrike uncovered at South Gare on 24th.
Wood Sandpipers were at Saltholme RSPB, Dorman's Pool, and Greenabella Marsh, with Little Stints noted at Scaling Dam Reservoir and Dorman's Pool. Curlew Sandpipers were at both Bran Sands and Saltholme RSPB. Garganey were at Saltholme RSPB, while the unseasonal Russian White-fronted Goose remained throughout and Ruddy Shelduck were noted at the Tees Estuary.
On 15th, a Cory's Shearwater was tracked past various sites between Cowbar and Hartlepool, with others logged on three further dates. A smart adult Sabine's Gull flew past Redcar on 28th, with one off Hartlepool the following day. Other seawatching highlights included a Balearic Shearwater and Long-tailed Skuas off Hartlepool. Black Terns made appearances at five sites. Two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were logged, with a juvenile Caspian Gull at Redcar on 7th.
Durham's most notable bird was a summer-plumaged adult White-winged Tern that flew past Whitburn on 18th and 20th. It was an excellent month of seawatching along the coast, with Cory's Shearwater having its record year past Whitburn. So far this year up to 11 birds have been recorded past the headland, smashing the previous record of six in 1984. Far few in number were Great Shearwaters, with birds off Whitburn on three dates including four on 17th. Other star items included Long-tailed and Pomarine Skuas, Balearic Shearwater, Black Terns and an adult Sabine's Gull. Remaining a rare bird in Durham, records of Yellow-legged Gull are definitely increasing with birds noted off Hendon and Whitburn, with juvenile Caspian Gulls also off Whitburn. On 31st, an unseasonal Iceland Gull was at both Whitburn and Boldon Flats.
Wader passage was quite poor, although the last day of the month provided both a Red-necked Phalarope and Little Stint at Bishop Middleham. Wood Sandpipers were present at three sites. Castle Lake hosted an eclipse drake Garganey on 23rd. A reliable Great Egret was at Hurworth Burn Reservoir.
In Northumberland, what is assumed to be the summering American Black Tern resurfaced at Budle Bay in active moult towards the end of the month, while an above-average summer for juvenile Black Terns in Northumberland saw them well represented. An all-too-brief Purple Heron flew up the River Tweed on the 25th and was later relocated in Borders. On 27th, a notable Corncrake record saw one found exhausted on the sea by a kayak off Cullercoats, where it was taken to shore and released on nearby rocks. A Spotted Crake dazzled at Low Newton, with the bird captured in excellent detail on a camera trap.
Autumnal passerines started to appear toward the month's end; an Icterine Warbler chose the unusual inland location of Prestwick Carr on 13th and a Wryneck was on Holy Island on 24th. A notable day on the 29th saw both a Greenish Warbler and subalpine warbler species found on Holy Island and a Barred Warbler on the Farnes.
The advent of WhatsApp and Twitter has seen seabirds readily tracked along the North-East coast. This played out in August with Cory's Shearwaters noted past no fewer than seven locations, with Great Shearwaters past four and Balearic Shearwaters past three. Avian flu appears to have had a major impact on skua numbers off the North-East coast, but still, Long-tailed and Pomarine Skuas were noted off seven and four sites apiece. On 26th, a Black Guillemot was off the Farne Islands. Sabine's Gulls were recorded on three dates, while three Yellow-legged Gulls, the regular Amble Caspian Gull 'PKCS' and a fresh juvenile at Hauxley were noted. Some 312 Mediterranean Gulls off Cresswell constituted the highest ever Northumberland count.
On 21st, a brief Pectoral Sandpiper dropped into Low Newton and a Eurasian Dotterel turned up on Holy Island before presumably relocating to Longhoughton Steel from 25th. A juvenile Temminck's Stint was at Cheswick Sands on 23rd, while both Wood and Curlew Sandpipers were at eight sites each and Little Stints were at seven.
The region's find of the month was an adult Sharp-tailed Sandpiper at Langness, Isle of Man, on 29th – the island's first record. Pictures show the bird is different to the recent Irish bird.
Cumbria was caught napping this month, although some return wader passage was underway - namely Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank. Otherwise, a Eurasian Spoonbill flew over Workington on 10th and a juvenile Black Tern flew past Silecroft on 20th. The ever-present Hooded Crow remained on Walney Island with another at Ravenglass on 2nd.
A Pectoral Sandpiper graced Stocks Reservoir, Lancashire, on the evening of 24th, the site's first since 2003. Otherwise, it was a showy juvenile Red-footed Falcon at Marton Mere that stole the show. The bird was originally identified as a juvenile Eurasian Hobby on 30th before pics the following day proved its true identity. Luckily, the bird performed brilliantly for much of the day. Otherwise, eyes were focused offshore, with a Balearic Shearwater past Formby Point on 26th and three Greater Scaup off Heysham on 28th.
Cheshire's headline came in the form of a family party of Black-winged Stilts, presumably from the successful breeding attempt at Potteric Carr, South Yorkshire. The five birds (two adults and three juveniles) were settled on a flood just south of Doddington Pool between 11-25th. The annual Spotted Crakes surfaced at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB from 17th and two (adult and juvenile) were still showing until 28th. At least two Ruddy Shelduck were along the Mersey between Hale and Widnes.
Inland patching is a tale of more lows than highs, though effort is always rewarded. This was true at Audenshaw Reservoirs, Greater Manchester, on 28th, when a juvenile Red-necked Phalarope and adult Pectoral Sandpiper both dropped in. Both birds lingered until 30th, with two juvenile Black-necked Grebes also on offer. Two juvenile Black-necked Grebes were also at High Rid Reservoir on 28th.
Lincolnshire and Yorkshire
Lincolnshire's first twitchable European Roller for 39 years was a welcome discovery near Woodhall Spa on 25th, lingering to 27th. Other county highlights included the family of Black-winged Stilts moving east from Potteric Carr to Messingham on 5-6th (before relocating to Cheshire), plus adult White-rumped and two different Pectoral Sandpipers at Frampton Marsh RSPB.
Frampton also proved the epicentre of a Curlew Sandpiper influx, with 30 counted on 29th, while a European Honey Buzzard moved south over Gibraltar Point NNR on 28th among a passage of 114 Common Buzzards. A brief Wryneck at Butterwick Low on 26th wasn't seen again, nor was a Spotted Crake at Boultham Mere on 29th. Long-tailed Skuas were noted moving off a handful of coastal watchpoints in the final few days of the month.
With birds arriving from the east in two waves the Yorkshire coast proved busy. Part of a wider arrival of the species, 43 Pied Flycatchers were in the Spurn recording area on 15th, while a later influx of birds from 30th produced, among others, Arctic Warbler, Citrine Wagtail and Red-backed Shrike. Kilnsea Wetlands always does well for waders, holding White-rumped Sandpiper and two Red-necked Phalaropes during August, with Blacktoft Sands RSPB hosting a Pectoral Sandpiper mid-month.
A Spotted Crake was also at Blacktoft, with others at North Cave Wetlands and St Aidan's RSPB in a good month for the species. Back on the Yorkshire coast, the Red-tailed Shrike finally left Bempton after a two-month stay, while nearby Flamborough Head hosted Red-backed Shrike and Icterine Warbler. Several coastal watchpoints netted fly-by Great and Cory's Shearwaters in what was a great month for North Sea seawatching.
Filey produced Greenish Warbler and Pectoral Sandpiper as its highlights, while a Wryneck flew into a Scarborough pub on 29th and a European Honey Buzzard flew over Long Nab on 23rd. Inland, another European Honey Buzzard overflew Keighley Moor Reservoir on 13, a juvenile Eurasian Dotterel was at Ilton Moor on 27th and a Barred Warbler was sensationally trapped at Wintersett Reservoir on 27th. Sadly, the Black Stork over Moorends, South Yorkshire, on 14th was not seen again.
A brief White-rumped Sandpiper at Belvide Reservoir for 20 short minutes on 6th proved Staffordshire's star turn during August. A premier roll-call comprised a Wood Warbler, Black Tern, Wood Sandpiper and a Garganey – quite the supporting cast! An unexpected Hooded Crow overflew Belgrave on 9th, while Berry Hill Fields sedimented its reputation as one of the county's premier migration hotspots with a Pied Flycatcher, 10 Common Redstarts and 12 Whinchats on 25th. Otherwise, six Black Terns kept a Little Gull company at Blithfield Reservoir and Wood Sandpipers were at four sites.
A surprise August Tundra Bean Goose resided at Upper Bittell Reservoir, Worcestershire, from mid-month, accompanied by twos of Ruddy Turnstone and Garganey. Elsewhere, a Western Cattle Egret at Camp Lane Pools, Grimley, proved popular, while Black Terns were at two sites.
Both young drake Ferruginous Duck remained at Draycote Water, Warwickshire, until 12th, with one of those perhaps moving to Coombe Abbey CP on 29th. Elsewhere, two Earlswood Lakes hosted two juvenile Black Terns, Garganey were at Alvecote Pools and Wood Sandpipers were at both Brandon Marsh and Napton Reservoir.
A notable Red-backed Shrike record saw a female appear at Whixall Moss, Shropshire, from 17th; a Wood Sandpiper at Kenchester Pools was the highlight in Herefordshire, with two more in Shropshire and a singleton in West Midlands. Other action in West Midlands saw a European Nightjar at Marsh Lane and a Common Nightingale at Claybrookes Marsh.
Nottinghamshire was the latest county to join in the Midlands Ferruginous Duck frenzy, with a juvenile at Holme Pierrepont on 12th. Towards the month's end, Attenborough NR scored a popular Temminck's Stint and a brief Corncrake was at Idle Washlands. Two Curlew Sandpipers were there on 31st, while Spotted Redshanks were at both Collingham Pits and Langford Lowfields RSPB. At least one European Honey Buzzard continued at Welbeck watchpoint. Black Terns were at two sites, with Wood Sandpipers at four and Garganey at six. Wayward seabirds constituted a European Shag at Attenborough NR and a Northern Gannet over Barnby in the Willows.
In Derbyshire, a young Purple Heron at Willington Wetlands from 7th cut a popular figure. An adult Pomarine Skua that headed southbound through Carsington Water on 2nd would have undoubtedly done so too if it had lingered. Other Carsington features included two Spotted Redshanks, Ruddy Shelduck and a Garganey, while healthy tern passage on 25th involved 21 Arctic and five Black Terns. Other notable records saw a Sandwich Tern head over Ilkeston on 25th and a Black Redstart at Axe Edge. Highlights at Staunton Harold Reservoir comprised a Black-necked Grebe, Grey Plover and two Black Terns.
Low water levels seen across most of England's reservoirs helped create conditions responsible for depositing both White-rumped and Pectoral Sandpipers onto the shores of Eyebrook Reservoir, Leicestershire & Rutland, during August. Further afield, Rutland Water saw a notable five Little Terns on 25th and a Great Skua overhead on 18th, with a supporting cast of a Spotted Redshank, Wood Sandpiper and Ruddy Shelduck. Elsewhere, a ringtail harrier species flew high east over Thornton on 14th and a young Black-necked Grebe was at Cropston Reservoir, while a female Ruddy Shelduck was at Shawell.
Wrynecks starred in Northamptonshire, with birds at both Woodend on 21-22nd and Stanford Reservoir on 30th – the latter the fifth to be caught be the site's ringers. A young drake Ferruginous Duck held on at Daventry Reservoir throughout, while a Eurasian Bittern was at Stanwick GPs and a European Honey Buzzard flew south over Islip. In Towcester, a remarkable record concerned a juvenile European Shag photographed at a goldfish pond in a private garden on 13th. Wood Sandpipers and Garganey were at two sites apiece, with Black Terns passing through four.
East of England
Norfolk had a typically busy month, with waders right at the fore. A White-rumped Sandpiper was at Snettisham RSPB intermittently to 15th, Titchwell RSPB scored Temminck's Stint on 26th and a flyover Eurasian Dotterel on 24th (one of six noted in the county during the second half of August), with the Cley area claiming an adult Pectoral Sandpiper and another Temminck's. On 16th, a juvenile White-winged Tern past Sheringham was later tracked past Cley. Three Spotted Crakes were noted in the county.
As well as a good arrival of Pied Flycatchers along the coast, scarcer migrants included two apiece of Wryneck and Icterine Warbler, with the first Red-backed Shrike of autumn at Burnham Overy Dunes on 20th. Other news from the county concerned the successful fledging of up to four juvenile European Bee-eaters at Trimingham late on, a mobile dark-morph Eleonora's Falcon that gave itself up at Hickling Broad on a couple of occasions and the long-staying Caspian Tern. A Hooded Crow at Warham Greens was popular.
Almost all of Suffolk's action was focused on the coast, with Long-tailed Skuas seen off eight sites and a Cory's Shearwater passing Southwold on 31st. A Temminck's Stint spent several days at Trimley Marshes from 25th, with Curlew Sandpipers at six sites. A Wryneck trapped and ringed at Landguard NR on 19th was later relocated in Surrey. Others were at Dunwich and Benhall, while a Blyth's Reed Warbler was trapped near Hollesley on 30th and four European Bee-eaters passed over Minsmere RSPB on 14th. Meanwhile, inland at Lakenheath Fen RSPB, the Purple Heron was noted again on 1st.
August's standout record in Essex was the Cory's Shearwater seen flying up the Thames Estuary past Canvey Point on 17th. A Pectoral Sandpiper was at Hanningfield Reservoir on 21-22nd, while up to three Eurasian Stone-curlews continued to visit East Tilbury, although also spent time in Kent. The unringed White Stork resurfaced at Stanway Green, also visiting nearby Abberton Reservoir. Old Hall Marshes RSPB chipped in with Red-necked Phalarope on 17th and Wryneck on 30th, with Holland Haven CP hosting a juvenile Sabine's Gull all day on 31st. Another Wryneck was at The Naze on 23rd, with that area also producing Eurasian Dotterel and Eurasian Stone-curlew.
Grafham Water had a fantastic month – the Cambridgeshire hot-spot not only held the first-for-Britain Cape Gull, but numerous Caspian Gulls and a good spread of waders, including juvenile Temminck's Stint on 31st and Red Knot. Stourbridge Common, on the Cambridge outskirts, produced Wryneck on 31st, plus a showy Pied Flycatcher – the latter one of five seen in the county. With its favoured Smithy Fen having dried up, the unringed White Stork was seen at several sites during August, while a European Honey Buzzard was photographed at roost at Holme Fen NNR on 13th. At least 30 Caspian Gulls – most juveniles – were seen at Tanholt GPs.
In Hertfordshire, a European Bee-eater flew over near Pitstone Hill on 10th. No fewer than nine Pied Flycatchers were found in the county. However, it was the Pink-barred Eublemma moth at Royston on 16th – a potential first for Britain – that was the outstanding wildlife highlight in the county in August.
A Wryneck reported from a Harlington garden on 17th and an Ortolan noc-migged over Biggleswade in the early hours of 27th were Bedfordshire's rarest birds. Pied Flycatchers were at six sites, two Black Terns dropped in at Stewartby Lake on 24th and two Little Gulls did the same at Broom GPs on 17th.
Prolonged periods of warm, settled conditions reduced migration action a touch – especially wader passage. Despite this it was still an entertaining August, even if new national rarities were non-existent, with only continuing individuals recorded. The Hampshire Whiskered Tern, found on the last day of July, remained at Fishlake Meadows until 7th. In Sussex, the Pagham Harbour Squacco Heron was last seen on 19th, the Bonaparte's Gull at Oare Marshes, Kent, was present up to 27th and the London Iberian Chiffchaff lingered until 23rd in Regent's Park.
In Kent, the first-summer Black-crowned Night Heron continued to be rather hit and miss at Oare Marshes up until 20th. A Purple Heron was there on 8th, with a Wryneck present on 18th and a Glossy Ibis on 11th. Over on the Hoo Peninsula, Cliffe Pools hosted an impressive trio of Eurasian Stone-curlews from 25th. Cliffe also scored a Pectoral Sandpiper from 22nd and a Glossy Ibis. Kent did well for Eurasian Dotterel records this month, including one at Faversham on 29th. A Purple Heron was at Seasalter on 27th and Long-tailed Skuas were logged past Foreness Point and Swalecliffe on 18th and Cliftonville on 31st. Another dotterel was at Reculver on 23rd. Grove Ferry and Stodmarsh had a decent month with Purple Heron, Black Kite and Temminck's Stint all recorded. A Common Rosefinch trapped and ringed at Sandwich Bay on 30th was a notable Kent record; other bits at Sandwich included European Serin, Red-backed Shrike and Eurasian Stone-curlew. Presumably the same Eurasian Dotterel was logged at South Foreland and Langdon Cliffs, with the latter site hosting a Wryneck on 25th. Pectoral Sandpiper, Eurasian Dotterel and Glossy Ibis highlighted in the Dungeness area.
A juvenile Purple Heron graced Weir Wood Reservoir, Sussex, on 28th, with a Red-backed Shrike at Alfriston water meadows on 21st. Seaford Head, Sheepcote Valley and Telscombe all scored Wrynecks, while Beachy Head was treated to Eurasian Dotterel on two dates. Pagham was rather quiet, with a Temminck's Stint on Ferry Pool mid-month. Four sites scored Glossy Ibis. A Wood Warbler was at Shoreham-on-Sea on 6th.
Blashford Lakes, Hampshire, scored a White-winged Tern on 20th, rounding off a fine summer for terns in the county. European Bee-eaters were reported at Bedhampton and Gammon's Hill and Wrynecks were at Alice Holt, Hook-with-Warsash and Ober Heath. Pennington Marshes hosted a Pectoral Sandpiper from 28th; the Normandy Marsh Lesser Yellowlegs hung around until 5th. Glossy Ibises were at five sites. On the Isle of Wight, a European Bee-eater flew over Ventnor on 24th and a Eurasian Dotterel was at West High Down on 29th.
A quiet month in Berkshire saw Lavell's Lake host a Pied Flycatcher on 28th and a Kittiwake graced Newbury on 18th. Buckinghamshire's excellent 2022 continued with a juvenile Purple Heron present at Weston Turville Reservoir from 22-26th. A Wood Warbler was found at Little Marlow GPs, three Pied Flycatchers were discovered and three Sandwich Terns flew over Dropmore on 17th.
In Oxfordshire, a European Honey Buzzard flew over Gallowstree Common on 14th. Farmoor hosted a juvenile Black-necked Grebe from 15-22nd, a Glossy Ibis was at Cassington GPs on 28th and Pied Flycatchers were at Burford and Cholsey. The two released Great Bustards remained at Letcombe Bassett until 6th.
A Wryneck at Rainham Marshes, London, was popular from 22-25th. The same site logged a flyover European Honey Buzzard on 10th. Wood Warblers were at Richmond Park and Walthamstow Wetlands, Hampstead Heath recorded a Common Nightingale and an impressive 29 sites hosted Pied Flycatchers.
In Surrey, a Wryneck at Thursley Common from 24-26th appeared to be the same bird trapped and ringed at Landguard, Suffolk, on 19th. Wisley Common was visited by a Wood Warbler and six Pied Flycatchers were recorded.
Not surprisingly, seabirds stole the headlines in the region this month. Cornwall bagged four Fea's-type petrels, with the first past Pendeen on 2nd, followed by two past Porthgwarra on 18th and singles there on 20th and 21st. An incredible 46 Wilson's Storm Petrels were seen off the Cornish coast, including around 10 past Lizard Point on 22nd, while pelagics out of Scilly produced 89 Wilson's (assuming no duplication between dates), and a Fea's/Desertas petrel on 26th. All this came alongside a generous side-serving of Cory's and Great Shearwaters, Sabine's Gulls and Grey Phalaropes.
The adult Laughing Gull first seen off St Martin's, Scilly, in early July essentially became twitchable on Scilly pelagics for the first half of the month, encountered about 5 km south-west of the island a few times. A Caspian Tern flew west past Lizard Point, Cornwall, on 3rd.
In Cornwall, Drift Reservoir continued to host the adult Least Sandpiper until 3rd, when it was flushed never to return. Dorset produced a White-rumped Sandpiper on the beach at Ferrybridge on 5th.
Other wader action included the lingering Lesser Yellowlegs on Tresco, Scilly, till 14th, where two or three Pectoral Sandpipers dropped in at the end of the month. Two more 'Pecs' turned up at Siblyback Reservoir, Cornwall, on 28th, and another visited Stanpit Marsh, Dorset, only briefly. Six Eurasian Dotterel in Cornwall towards the end of the month included two on the deck on The Lizard, while further singles were logged in Devon and Scilly. Further treats included a juvenile Temminck's Stint at Maer Lake, Cornwall, on 28th and a juvenile Red-necked Phalarope at Chew Valley Lake, Somerset, on 26th, where it remained for four days.
Scilly drew in two Spotted Crakes, with St Mary's and Tresco both bagging one. Others appeared in Cornwall, Somerset and Devon. A report of four Purple Herons in-off the sea at St Martin's, Scilly, on 28th seemed remarkable but was shortly followed by two past St Mary's. Another juvenile had been found at Coward's Marsh, Dorset, on 7th.
Two Black Kite sightings in Cornwall involved a bird photographed nicely over Drift Reservoir on 14th and another north over Bartinney Downs on 28th. A migrant European Honey Buzzard flew high south over Tresco, Scilly, on 7th.
Seven of the region's eight Aquatic Warblers of the month were ringing records, the first making its way into a net at Longham Lakes, Dorset, on 7th. Lytchett Bay, which is gaining an envious reputation for the species, had netted one on 12th and two the next day. Others were ringed in the Nanjizal Valley, Cornwall, on 15th (lingering till 26th), and Slapton Ley and Totnes, both Devon, mid-month. Nanjizal followed up with a Paddyfield Warbler on 29th.
Scilly boasted a Booted Warbler on St Mary's from 28-30th and two each of Icterine Warbler and Melodious Warbler. There were two of the latter in Cornwall during the month and a popular Icterine Warbler at Kynance Cove on 13th. Ringers at Portland handled both a Melodious and an Icterine in the second half of the month.
A wagtail on the Great Pool on Tresco, Scilly, from 28-30th was initially identified as a Citrine, before opinion swayed towards Eastern Yellow on 31st. A Citrine Wagtail was seen briefly at Portland Bill, Dorset, on 25th, when a juvenile Montagu's Harrier flew through there.
An Ortolan Bunting was mobile at Porth Hellick on St Mary's, Scilly, on 30th and another was found at Skewjack, Cornwall, on 28th. In Devon, a Woodchat Shrike spent a day at East Prawle on 21st, while two Red-backed Shrikes were found on Scilly, and one in Cornwall, during the month.
Scilly came up trumps for Wryneck, with nine birds, while there were six in Cornwall, three in Dorset, two in Wiltshire (both trapped and ringed on Salisbury Plain), and others in Gloucestershire and Devon. An adult Rosy Starling appeared in St Buryan, Cornwall, on 9th, and Hoopoes turned up on St Mary's, Scilly, from 25-29th and Torquay, Devon, on 29th. Three Chough appeared at Prawle Point, Devon, on 15th, staying to the end of the month.
Wilson's Storm Petrel has long been considered an extremely rare visitor to Welsh waters. Pelagics in recent years, however, look to dramatically change the status of the taxon in Wales, with further exploration likely to show the species to be an annual, albeit uncommon, visitor to deeper areas offshore. On 19th, a pelagic out into the Celtic Deep approximately 40 km south-west of St Anne's Head, Pembrokeshire, produced three in a feeding frenzy of 40 European Storm Petrels, while one off Strumble Head the same day made for a rare Welsh land-based sighting. A follow-up pelagic on 24th generated views of a Great Shearwater.
Cory's Shearwaters were logged off Rhoscolyn, Anglesey, and Skokholm, Pembrokeshire, with both an adult Sabine's Gull and Black Tern off Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire. Other Black Terns were recorded in Powys, Gwynedd and Anglesey. Balearic Shearwaters were numerous, recorded off 11 coastal sites, and a Pomarine Skua scythed past Bardsey Island, Gwynedd. On the Laridae front, an impressive Mediterranean Gull count saw no fewer than 1,250 logged in fields near Llanon, Ceredigion, with a smart juvenile Caspian Gull photographed at Cardiff, Glamorgan.
A bumper run of Aquatic Warblers in southern England delivered a rare Welsh record to Newport Wetlands, Gwent, late on 13th, with a possible at Marloes, Pembrokeshire, on 17th. Surprisingly, the first Citrine Wagtail of the autumn anywhere in Britain and Ireland pitched up just a short distance away at Goldcliff Pools from 18th. Proving popular, it was widely enjoyed until the month's end.
The highlight on Skomer, Pembrokeshire, saw a Western Bonelli's Warbler discovered on 29th. Two Wrynecks were logged mid-month, with another on neighbouring Skokholm. Near Fishguard, a Melodious Warbler-Firecrest duo in a Tresinwen garden proved frustratingly elusive; a Marsh Warbler was trapped and ringed on Bardsey Island, Gwynedd. In Ceredigion, a Rosy Starling narrowly avoided mist nests as it came into roost at Teifi Marshes on 2nd.
A surprise Black Kite dropped in at the Red Kite feeding station at Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian, Ceredigion, on three dates between 1st and 9th, although would prove agonisingly unpredictable. Another overflew Llyn Coron, Anglesey, on 7th. Wayward Chough found themselves high in the Brecon Beacons, with four at Llyn y Fan Fawr, Powys, and one at Fan y Big.
In Anglesey, an elusive Purple Heron showed on and off at Cors Ddyga RSPB until mid-month, while up to five Eurasian Spoonbills wandered the Dee Estuary, Clwyd. In Ceredigion, a Spotted Crake was at Ynys-Hir RSPB on 21st.
An adult American Golden Plover which rocked up at Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey, on the last day of the month headlined August's shorebird action. A wide scattering of Wood Sandpipers saw birds at eight sites and Little Stints were at two, while Curlew Sandpipers at six sites included one inland at Llyn Aled, Conwy. Towards the month's end, migrant Eurasian Dotterel cropped up at three sites – Foel Grach, Conwy (four), Great Orme, Conwy (two), and Waun Fach, Powys.
There was some outstanding seawatching to be had in western Ireland in August, with a particularly memorable day at Brandon Point, Co Kerry, producing an eye-watering 2,500 Cory's Shearwaters in eight hours, plus Wilson's Storm Petrel, 32 Great Shearwaters, several each of Sabine's Gull and Long-tailed Skua – oh, and a Black-browed Albatross!
Wilson's were also seen off Bridges of Ross on four dates, with the famous hot-spot also having a couple of great days for large shearwaters on 20-21st. Co Waterford's first Wilson's – nine of them – were seen from a pelagic out of Dungarvan on 15th, with another seen in Co Galway waters. Peak counts came from Co Cork pelagics, with a peak of 20 on 21st. Those pelagics also netted Ireland's first Scopoli's Shearwater on 13th, with three-figure numbers of Great and Cory's Shearwaters also seen.
Surprisingly, the only Fea's-type petrel of August was a bird past the Skellig Islands, Co Kerry, on 24th, while a Barolo-type shearwater passed Carnsore Point, Co Wexford, on 20th.
Wildfowl news included a female American Wigeon at Lough Beg, Co Derry, on 23rd (with up to three Black Terns and five Garganey there), as well as the continuing Ring-necked Duck on Achill Island, Co Mayo.
Two American Golden Plovers were in Co Wexford, with a third at Trawmore Bay, Co Mayo, on 2nd. No fewer than eight Pectoral Sandpipers were noted, with an early juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs at Dundalk, Co Louth, from 26th, a Long-billed Dowitcher at Doonbeg, Co Clare, on 29th and an adult Semipalmated Sandpiper inland at Poulaphouca Reservoir, Co Wicklow, on 1-2nd. However, it was the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper at Clogheen Marsh, Co Cork, from 17-19th that was the star shorebird.
The Azores Gull reappeared near Belmullet, Co Mayo, on 18th, with another likely candidate noted in Cork City on 28th. The Ring-billed Gull returned to Blackrock, Co Louth, on 21st, while an adult Bonaparte's Gull was in Wexford Harbour on 7th. The Forster's Tern was back in Co Louth this month, with the Least Tern last noted on 13th and the Elegant Tern on 8th.
Aquatic Warbler is an absolute mega in Ireland, so it was galling for listers that the bird at Galley Head, Co Cork, on 18th lingered long enough only to be seen by the finder. Fortunately, a Citrine Wagtail at Tacumshin from 27-29th was far better behaved. Meanwhile, an apparent Iberian Wagtail drew birders to Rathlin Island, Co Antrim, from 6-24th. Rosy Starlings were seen in Co Dublin and Co Galway.