Settled would be an understatement when describing the weather of July 2022. Officially the driest July since 1935, the month was dominated by warm conditions with a frankly terrifying heatwave seeing 40°C reached for the first time in recorded history.
On the birding front it was typically steady, with the conditions meaning seasonal features often associated with the month – such as wader passage and seawatching in the South-West – were a touch hit and miss. That said, a notable arrival of White-rumped Sandpipers saw birds at 11 sites, including a memorable county first for landlocked Buckinghamshire. This influx was also seen at a smaller scale across Europe with one in Iceland, two in Norway, one in Sweden and one in Italy.
A small arrival of young Purple Herons – twos at both Stodmarsh NNR, Kent, and Catcott Lows, Somerset, alongside singletons at six further locations – was also significant. Undiscovered British-born birds or Continental individuals wandering further than usual in this long, hot summer?
Scotland enjoyed a scattering of new 'rares' this month. Bonaparte's Gulls were reported from three sites: an adult at Firemore, Highland, on 5th; an adult at East Wemyss, Fife, on 22-23rd; and an adult at Loch Spelve, Mull, on 29th. An adult Franklin's Gull turned up with a migrant flock of Black-headed Gulls at Broadford Bay, Skye, on 31st – has it spent the summer lurking undetected in a colony? A Terek Sandpiper at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB, Aberdeenshire, finished the month off. Sadly, the bird didn't hang around and there was no further sign after the initial sighting. Elsewhere, the (presumed) returning adult drake Black Scoter was off Blackdog, Aberdeenshire, on 31st.
A drake Surf Scoter was off Lunan Bay, Angus & Dundee, from 1st until at least 22nd, in which time it showed well on occasion. An adult White-rumped Sandpiper was alongside a Pectoral Sandpiper at Letham Pools, Fife, on 19th and was still present early on 20th before flying south-west. An adult White-rumped Sandpiper was also at Montrose Basin, Angus & Dundee, on 21-22nd, with a Ruddy Shelduck for company. Another Pectoral Sandpiper was a long stayer at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB from 13th until at least 31st. A Spotted Crake was noted at a private site east of Perth on 31st.
A moulting adult Wilson's Storm Petrel was photographed at sea between Barra and Tiree on 20 July. It isn't often that you get a twitchable Cory's Shearwater in Scotland, so one lingering off Kinghorn, Fife, between 25-29th proved popular.
Northern Isles and the Hebrides
An eclipse drake King Eider was new in at Basta Voe, Yell, on 27th, although it is unclear how this fits in with the birds earlier in the season. A couple of Nearctic waders were on offer mid-month; firstly an adult White-rumped Sandpiper was at Pool of Virkie, Mainland, on 17-18th followed by a Pectoral Sandpiper at Loch of Gards, Mainland, on 20th. A Long-tailed Skua was noted from a boat 4 km south-east of Isle of Noss on 25th. At least two immature White-tailed Eagles marauding South Mainland, largely centred around Hoswick. Other reports came from Gloup, Yell, on 29th and Sullom Voe, North Mainland, on 31st. All was still on Fair Isle until 31st when two Common Rosefinches were on the island.
Two Rosy Starlings were on offer on Mainland Orkney, with an adult at Holm all month and a first-summer at Birsay Moors RSPB on 20th. A Pectoral Sandpiper was a one-day bird at Mill Dam of Rango, Mainland, on 18th. North Ronaldsay's seawatching peaked with a Cory's Shearwater north on 27th. Otherwise, a brief first-summer Sabine's Gull on 18th and a pair of Red-necked Phalaropes on 21st were best of the rest.
Offshore records produced some quality off the Outer Hebrides in July. An adult Pectoral Sandpiper was photographed from RV Celtic Explorer c 45 km NNW of St Kilda on 19th while a Great Shearwater was logged 22 km east of St Kilda on 30th. A brief Rosy Starling was at Kilbride, South Uist, on 17th and an adult Sabine's Gull was at Loch an t-Saile, South Uist, on 18th. A flock of 14 skuas past Tiumpan Head, Lewis, on 29th were thought to be Long-tailed Skuas but went unconfirmed.
Some excellent cetacean watching was had on the Ullapool-Stornoway ferry crossing on the morning of 31st. An impressive four Fin Whales, two Humpback Whales and 51 Common Minke Whales were logged on the two-and-a-half-hour journey.
Northumberland's star turn, the American Black Tern, remained throughout at the Long Nanny tern colony. Elsewhere, a European Bee-Eater was present at Monkseaton for a single evening on 1st and a male Red-backed Shrike photographed at Prestwick Carr on 2nd also didn't linger. Other brief encounters saw a smart drake Surf Scoter northbound past Howick on 4th and a Caspian Tern head north past Cresswell Pond on 16th.
No fewer than three Cory's Shearwaters were tracked along the county's coastline on 26th: one past Howick early morning followed by two tracked all the way from Yorkshire past at least six sites during the evening. Another flew north past Cullernose Point on 21st. Balearic Shearwaters flew past Newbiggin-by-the-Sea (two on 18th), Long Nanny and Cullercoats (both on 26th). Pomarine Skuas were recorded on two dates.
The locally-famous adult Caspian Gull bearing the ring 'PKCS' turned up again at Amble Harbour from 20th, with a juvenile at Black Midden Rocks late on 29th. Yellow-legged Gulls were at Long Nanny, Boulmer and Longhoughton Steel, the latter two both juveniles.
As anticipated, wader passage started up in earnest, with the highlight being a Pectoral Sandpiper at Hauxley NR on 19th. A Temminck's Stint turned up at Low Newton-by-the-Sea on the 12th. Wood Sandpipers were well represented at five sites and Little Stints were at both Druridge Pools and East Chevington NWT, while Curlew Sandpipers were at Long Nanny, Beal and Blyth.
Durham's highlight saw a Glossy Ibis fly south through SAFC Academy Pools on 24th. Seabirds picked up off Whitburn Coastal Park as the month wore on, with a Long-tailed Skua north on 18th and Pomarine Skuas on three consecutive days from 26th, the same date two Cory's Shearwaters flew north past Whitburn Coastal Park – with both later intercepted further north off Northumberland. Wood Sandpipers were at Nightingale Ponds, Rainton Meadows, Boldon Flats and Washington WWT.
Headline birds in Cleveland came in the form of two Caspian Terns, with both birds together on Greatham Creek on 12th. One of these continued to commute between various sites locally for several days; notably, it strayed into the Borough of Middlesbrough becoming the borough's first. The three Glossy Ibis at Saltholme RSPB dropped to two and then one as the month progressed, a Western Cattle Egret commuted between Saltholme RSPB and Dorman's Pool and up to four Great Egrets were present in the North Tees Marshes.
The unknown origin Red-breasted Geese departed early on while the Russian White-fronted Goose remained throughout. Seabird highlights came in the form of Cory's Shearwater past both Cowbar and Hartlepool Headland on 26th, the same day three Pomarine Skuas flew south past Hartlepool Headland. Another flew north the following day. Saltholme RSPB boasted a Pectoral Sandpiper and Wood Sandpipers, with Curlew Sandpipers and Little Stints present at both Saltholme RSPB and Dorman's Pool.
July started with a Sabine's Gull past Whitehaven on 3rd, but it was otherwise a quiet month in Cumbria. That said, a showy Pectoral Sandpiper at Wedholme Flow between 18-21st was a real local treat. This is the second record of 'Pec' at the site this year.
An unseasonal Sabine's Gull was also logged in Lancashire, with an adult commuting between Leighton Moss RSPB and Jenny Brown's Point between 5-14th. Sadly, the bird was looking a bit worse for wear with only one leg and half a foot. Still, a smart bird in flight! A European Honey Buzzard overflew Feniscowles on 10th and a Pectoral Sandpiper paid a brief visit to Marshside RSPB on 19th. Large shearwaters are never too numerous off of Lancashire, so a possible Cory's Shearwater past Southport on 12th piqued interest. A showy adult Temminck's Stint at Conder Green rounded off the month nicely.
Cheshire's highlight came in the form of a Pectoral Sandpiper, with one mingling with Dunlin at Frodsham Marsh between 17-21st. A female European Honey Buzzard over Hale was a smart find on 8th, meanwhile Acre Nook Sand Quarry produced two Black Terns on 22nd. Two Roseate Terns past Leasowe on 19th were a good county record. Garganey had a good showing, with a peak count of five at Woolston Eyes NR and three at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB.
Greater Manchester saw a curious couple of reports of Eurasian Spoonbill in July, with two west over Pennington Flash CP on 21st and two over Audenshaw Reservoirs on 24th. It's unclear if these sightings involve the same birds, or perhaps more likely two separate groups of this county rarity. High Rid Reservoir hosted a drake Greater Scaup on 7-8th. Two Black Terns were at Pennington Flash CP on 22nd, with a single at Audenshaw Reservoirs on 28th.
Lincolnshire and Yorkshire
Lincolnshire claimed the all-time UK temperature record mid-month, when 40.3°C was registered at Coningsby. And, as it transpired, it was a pretty 'hot' month for birding in the county, with a Stilt Sandpiper at Alkborough Flats and a Gull-billed Tern at Baston Pits both twitchable.
Other highlights included a fly-by Caspian Tern at Anderby Creek on 26th and Cory's Shearwaters off the Anderby area on 8th, 24th and 27th. A Temminck's Stint dropped in at Rimac on 4th, with Frampton Marsh RSPB producing a Pectoral Sandpiper from 29th. Gibraltar Point NNR netted a brief Common Rosefinch on 14th and Lincolnshire's only Common Crane pair successfully fledged two young at Willow Tree Fen LWT. Part of a wider influx across inland counties that day, five Little Terns at Whisby Nature Park on 22nd was a great record. Common Quail sang at four sites.
An excellent month in South Yorkshire saw Edderthorpe Flash prosper, with up to two Temminck's Stints from 10-15th and a Pectoral Sandpiper from 23rd. The Black-winged Stilts at Potteric Carr YWT successfully raised four young and departed on 29th. A Red-footed Falcon flew over Silkstone Common on 10th, with a male Red-backed Shrike at Brodsworth the following day. A White-winged Tern was near Doncaster on 23rd and a juvenile Purple Heron visited Denaby Ings on 28th.
A hugely impressive count of four Cory's Shearwaters was tallied off Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire, on 26th, while an adult Long-tailed Skua stunned observers by sitting on a post at nearby Bempton Cliffs RSPB on 22nd. The Red-tailed Shrike and Black-browed Albatross both proved to be long stayers. The highest count of Little Gulls made at Hornsea Mere was 640 on 26th. In the Spurn area, a Rosy Starling was seen on 11-12th, while Kilnsea Wetlands hosted a White-rumped Sandpiper on 24th and a Cory's Shearwater flew past on 26th. Inland, a Hoopoe was near Sutton-upon-Derwent early on.
In North Yorkshire, further Cory's records came from Filey, Long Nab and Staithes on 26-27th. Up to four European Honey Buzzards remained on show at Wykeham Forest, while Staveley YWT had a brilliant month with Caspian Tern on 22nd and the long-staying Glossy Ibis. Around 200 Common Scoter flying over Nosterfield Quarry early on 29th must have made for an astounding sight.
Amid an expected cast of returning Common Scoter and waders, West Yorkshire produced a surprise Eurasian Stone-curlew at Fairburn Ings on 20th. A Caspian Gull returned to Redcar Tarn and a Common Quail sang at Eccup Reservoir on 8-9th.
One of the more interesting records anywhere during July saw a remarkable two drake Ferruginous Duck at Draycote Water, Warwickshire, from 23rd. This age class at such an early date is rare, so for it to happen at the same site two years in a row is itself an incredible coincidence, let alone with two birds … Other attractions at Draycote Water included a Black Tern, two Garganey and Red Knot. A European Honey Buzzard overflew Morton Bagot on 10th and Ladywalk NR hosted both a Ruddy Shelduck and Garganey. Two further Garganey were at Alvecote Pools.
In Staffordshire, a Little Tern at Tittesworth Reservoir on 2nd and Spotted Redshank at Branston GPs on 13th highlighted. Other wader action saw Wood Sandpipers and Sanderling at four sites apiece, Ruddy Turnstone at three sites and two Red Knot at Blithfield Reservoir. Two smart Black-necked Grebes were at Chasewater on 25th and a female Garganey was reliable at Belvide Reservoir from 15th, with a Black Tern there on 22nd. Grounded Common Scoter were logged at Chasewater, Blithfield Reservoir and Westport Lake; two Ruddy Shelduck were at Tucklesholme Quarry. Penkridge hosted a Channel Wagtail.
A quiet Worcestershire month saw two Black Terns and a Garganey at Clifton Pits, with a Wood Sandpiper at Camp Lane Pools. Wader action at Upper Bittell Reservoir comprised Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling and Red Knot. A European Honey Buzzard was logged over Earlsdon, West Midlands, on 20th, with a Little Tern alongside two Black Terns at Bartley Reservoir.
It was a month of terns in Nottinghamshire: the Idle Washlands Caspian Tern lingered until 2nd, while one flew through both Holme Pierrepont and Netherfield Lagoons on 20th. Holme Pierrepont also scored three Sandwich Terns and a Black Tern; other Black Terns comprised four at Attenborough NR and one at Idle Valley NR. Other notable bits included a Black-headed Wagtail reported at Hayton on 11th, a Glossy Ibis at Holme Pierrepont on 10th and a Eurasian Spoonbill at Langford Lowfields RSPB on 30th. The Langford Great Reed Warbler was last noted on 1st. At least one European Honey Buzzard remained at Welbeck watchpoint, with another logged over Idle Valley NR on 26th.
Wader passage was best in the Idle Valley, with a brief Pectoral Sandpiper at Idle Washlands (on 24th) and both a Spotted Redshank (on 3rd) and Curlew Sandpiper (on 31st) at Idle Valley NR, with Wood Sandpipers at both sites. Black-necked Grebes were noted at Kilvington (three) and Idle Washlands, Garganey were at three sites and a Ruddy Shelduck was at Holme Pierrepont.
A Purple Heron at Carsington Water, Derbyshire, on 28th starred in an impressive month for the site. Other highlights included six Black Terns (on 22nd), three Ruddy Turnstones, two Red Knot, a Wood Sandpiper, Ruddy Shelduck and three Garganey. Elsewhere in the county, a probable White Stork flew over Brailsford on 7th, a Wood Sandpiper was at Willington GPs and another Ruddy Shelduck was at Kedleston Park. Black Redstarts were at both Foremark and Staunton Harold Reservoirs.
The roll call at Rutland Water included up to three Wood Sandpipers, two Sanderling, Continental Black-tailed Godwit, four Black Terns, Little Gull, Black-necked Grebe, Ruddy Shelduck and four Garganey. Cropston Reservoir played host to a Sandwich Tern and two Black Terns, with two Black Terns and a Ruddy Turnstone at Eyebrook Reservoir.
A drake Ferruginous Duck at Daventry Reservoir on 31st was Northamptonshire's rarest visitor, with a Pectoral Sandpiper at Lilbourne on 2-3rd worthy of an honourable mention. An unseasonal Redwing at Wellingborough on 17th was somewhat of a surprise, with a Black Redstart at Harrington Airfield on 28th. Wader passage included a healthy seven Bar-tailed Godwits at Clifford Hill GPs on 9th, with a Wood Sandpiper at Summer Leys and two Sanderling at Hollowell Reservoir. Garganey were at both Titchmarsh NR and Stanford Reservoir and at least two Ruddy Shelduck toured the county.
East of England
In Norfolk, up to four European Honey Buzzards remained on show at Swanton Novers throughout July, while the European Bee-eaters at Trimingham were feeding chicks by the end of the month. A family of six Black-winged Stilts spent three days at Welney WWT from 12th, having successfully nested elsewhere in west Norfolk.
Snettisham RSPB can be excellent in July and duly produced White-rumped Sandpiper, Eurasian Stone-curlew and Kentish Plover this month. Titchwell RSPB didn't fare badly, either, with White-rumped Sandpiper, Temminck's Stint and a lingering Lesser Yellowlegs all noted, plus a flyover Montagu's Harrier on 28th. Another Temminck's was at Cley Marshes NWT to 3rd, with a popular Black-crowned Night Heron making regular appearances on the reserve and a Cory's Shearwater flying past on 7th, this later seen past Sheringham and Trimingham. The Caspian Tern hung around in the Hickling Broad area, where there was also a Glossy Ibis. Cromer produced what is perhaps the earliest-ever juvenile Caspian Gull on British shores with a bird on 8th. A Hooded Crow was a bit of surprise at Warham Greens from 30th.
A first-summer Purple Heron was seen at Lakenheath Fen RSPB, Suffolk, on 31st, following another there back in April. A Golden Oriole sang near Hintlesham on 17th, while European Bee-eaters over Felixstowe on 4th and Shottisham on 10th were perhaps from the Norfolk colony. Glossy Ibises were in the Minsmere RSPB area and at Carlton Marshes SWT, while a Pectoral Sandpiper was a brief visitor to Hazlewood Marshes SWT on 23rd. A European Honey Buzzard over Flatford on 17th was notable.
Rarity-wise, a Kentish Plover at The Naze on 13th was Essex's headline bird, although the Wood Warbler there on 31st would no doubt have been greatly appreciated. A Eurasian Stone-curlew was popular at East Tilbury on 31st. Best of the rest included a Common Quail singing near Maldon on 2nd and a Little Stint at Hanningfield Reservoir on 27th.
A couple of excellent records from Hertfordshire involved a singing Golden Oriole at Wilstone Reservoir on 3rd and European Honey Buzzard over Elstree on 14th. A Sandwich Tern was twitchable at Fairlands Valley Park on 14th, where the Caspian × Herring Gull returned on 27th. A Eurasian Spoonbill visited Stocker's Lake on 1st.
A released White-tailed Eagle near Haynes on 24th was one of Bedfordshire's standout birds in July, with Broom GPs producing a co-operative Wood Sandpiper and Blunham Lake hosting a Common Scoter on 29th.
With Smithy Fen having largely dried out, Cambridgeshire's unringed White Stork moved up to Eldernell on 27th. Up to 11 Glossy Ibises were at large in the Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB area. A Black Kite flew over Waterbeach on 11th. Dernford Farm Reservoir attracted a Black-necked Grebe on 24th, while Grafham Water's highlights included another Black-necked Grebe and an exceptional flock of 13 Little Terns on 22nd. A Little Stint at Etton-Maxey Pits on 30th was that site's second of the year.
A dry and largely hot July was typically steady in the region, with the month bookended in terms of national rarities. On 3rd, perhaps the same Caspian Tern was seen in flight at Dell Quay, Sussex, and then at Normandy Marsh, Hampshire, a little over two hours later. The adult Bonaparte's Gull returned to Oare Marshes for its ninth summer from 7th and was pretty reliable throughout; on 20th a Gull-billed Tern visited Oare and was seen on and off until the end of the month, also visiting Graveney Marshes, but proved a slippery customer. A Squacco Heron arrived at Pagham Harbour from 29th, favouring the exact same fields and ditches around Halsey's Farm as a bird in early August 2019 – could it be the same individual? In London, the Iberian Chiffchaff saw out the month at Regent's Park. The month was rounded off by yet another rare tern – a Whiskered Tern – which graced Fishlake Meadows in Hampshire on 31st.
As well as the aforementioned rarity duo, Oare was also treated to a first-summer Black-crowned Night Heron, which showed on several evenings until the month's end. A male Montagu's Harrier flew over on 23rd. Up to two juvenile Purple Herons were in the Stour Valley from 23rd, at either Grove Ferry or Stodmarsh – locally bred or from the Near Continent? Another flew inland at Pegwell Bay on 27th. Kingsdown and Dungeness both scored European Bee-eaters, while a European Serin flew over Foreness Point on the first day of the month. A Eurasian Stone-curlew at Cliffe Pools from 16-27th was popular. Other wader highlights included Pectoral Sandpipers at Dungeness (17th) and Worth Marsh (28th) and a Temminck's Stint at Sandwich Bay on 29th. On 21st a Balearic Shearwater flew past Foreness Point. Glossy Ibises were logged at both Cliffe and Dunge.
Rare herons were the flavour of the month in Sussex with, as well as the Pagham Squacco, records of Black-crowned Night Heron – an adult at Waltham Brooks at dawn and dusk on 4th – and a Purple Heron at Rye Harbour on 28th. Rye also boasted two Roseate Terns on 24th and the summering Russian White-fronted Goose. A Hoopoe was in Cocking on 13th, a European Serin flew over Hastings CP on 5th and Brighton hosted a Rosy Starling on 25th. On 26th, in a remarkable turn of events, the Selsey peninsula scored two different White-rumped Sandpipers, with an individual at Medmerry lingering until 29th and another present for just the day on the Ferry Pool at Sidlesham and Breach Pool along the North Wall. These constitute the first Pagham peninsula records since 1995. Common Quail were recorded at Litlington and Washington, with the sole Glossy Ibis occurrence coming at Medmerry on 29th.
It was a quiet month in Hampshire, where a Lesser Yellowlegs proved popular following its arrival at Normandy Marsh on 13th. It lingered until the month's end. Hill Head, Sturt Pond and Titchfield Haven all scored Roseate Terns and a Common Quail was singing at Meon on 24th. An impressive six sites logged Glossy Ibis, with the highest count four at Hook-with-Warsash LNR from 30-31st. On the Isle of Wight, a fleeting juvenile Purple Heron graced Brading Marshes RSPB on 22nd.
The inland gold medal for July, without any doubt, goes to Buckinghamshire, which hosted its first White-rumped Sandpiper. The bird, a smart adult, was with only a single Dunlin at a flash at Dorney Common from 21-22nd. An inspirational inland find … other bits in the county included a Black-necked Grebe at Foxcote Reservoir on 1st and three Avocet at the same site on 8th.
The White-rumped Sandpiper made a couple of brief forays to the Berkshire side of Dorney Common as well, with the county also scoring five flyover Eurasian Spoonbills at Finchampstead on 25th.
Oxfordshire enjoyed a peppering of Little Tern records, namely a bird at Farmoor on 1st and 4th, one (or the same?) at Port Meadow on 3rd and another at Farmoor on 20th. The three Avocet at Farmoor on 8th were likely the same as in Buckinghamshire. Two Great Bustards were at Letcombe Regis on 27th – not far from the Wiltshire border – and a Common Quail was singing at Otmoor on 4th. Churn hosted a Dartford Warbler on 17th.
A Red-necked Grebe at Staines Reservoirs, London, was an excellent midsummer record when it was found on 2nd. It lingered all month but was typically distant. Another notable occurrence for the time of year was a Eurasian Bittern at London Wetland Centre from 25th – the earliest returning date for the site by some distance. The Wetland Centre also hosted Avocet on 28th, while four graced King George V Reservoir on 11th. The first Pied Flycatcher of the autumn was at Trent CP on 29th.
It was very quiet in Surrey, with perhaps the standout observation a new county record count of 95 Mediterranean Gulls flying over West Molesey on 20th.
Pelagics off the Isles of Scilly turned up an impressive total of 16 Wilson's Storm Petrels, assuming no duplication over the seven successful trips. Two others were seen off Cornwall on 25th, off Newquay and Pendeen, the latter site seeing another on 30th. Numbers of Great and Cory's Shearwaters in Scilly waters and from Cornish headlands simmered nicely towards the end of the month, including 363 of the latter past Porthgwarra on 24th. Devon and Dorset just about got in on the large shearwater action, with a small number seen. A Long-tailed Skua was seen from the Scilly pelagic of 31st and another passed Lizard Point, Cornwall, on 2nd.
A male Red-footed Falcon flew over St Martin's, Scilly, on 8th, before cropping up again on 10th, when the same island produced an adult Laughing Gull, a bird which reappeared on Tresco on 27th. Black Kites drifted over Hartland Point, Devon, on 12th and Predannack Airfield, Cornwall, on 14th.
Nanjizal Valley, Cornwall, scored a Purple Heron from 12-16th, perhaps the same bird which appeared at Porth Reservoir on 18th. Two juvenile Purple Herons came into view of the hide at Catcott Lows, Somerset, on 30th. Flushed at Bread and Cheese Cove on St Martin's on 21st, a Common Quail was a good bird for Scilly. A total of 12 singing male Common Quail were logged on the east side of Salisbury Plain on 17th.
Waders included a popular Least Sandpiper at Drift Reservoir, Cornwall, from 27th–31st, a Lesser Yellowlegs on Tresco, Scilly, on 31st and Pectoral Sandpipers were at Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire, on 18th and at Lytchett Fields, Dorset, on 26th.
In Dorset, a Caspian Tern spent a short while at Stanpit Marsh on 13-14th and another dropped in to Brownsea Island on the latter date. Gloucestershire enjoyed a Caspian Tern floating around the Severn Estuary from 12-22nd. Also in Dorset, Roseate Terns made appearances at Ferrybridge, Stanpit Marsh and Abbotsbury Swannery, while another appeared at Shapwick Heath, Somerset, on 3rd. A Black Guillemot reappeared in Plymouth Sound, Devon, on 1st, while a Chough near Burrator Reservoir was another superb Devon record on 31st.
A male Black-headed Wagtail was quite a catch in the mist nets of Nanjizal Valley, Cornwall, on 26th, where it went on to show in fields into the evening. Another interesting ringing record was a Wryneck at Slapton, Devon, on 30th, but this was trumped by an Icterine Warbler trapped in Wiltshire on 24th. In Somerset, a European Serin flew south over Burnham-on-Sea on 4th.
The territorial male White-spotted Bluethroat at Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire, was singing to 5th. Elsewhere in the county, a Rosy Starling visited a garden in Cirencester on 22nd and a European Turtle Dove sang behind The Anchor Inn in Epney from 11th.
A decent showing for Cory's Shearwaters elsewhere in the South-West Approaches saw four noted off Welsh coastlines – off both Strumble Head and Skokholm, Pembrokeshire, on 25th, Great Orme, Conwy, on 25th, and Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey, on 29th. Otherwise, two Balearic Shearwaters flew past Skokholm, Pembrokeshire, on 24th and a Long-tailed Skua blogged past Bardsey Island, Gwynedd, on 26th.
On 14th, a probable Caspian Tern over West Pill, Gwent, perhaps relates to wanderings from the bird lingering along the River Severn near Epney, Gloucestershire. Pleasingly, Roseate Terns at Afon Wen, Gwynedd, Rhos Point, Conwy, and Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey, included a juvenile at the latter site. Black Terns included birds at at Llangorse Lake, Powys (three), and The Skerries, Anglesey.
An adult male Rosy Starling in a garden at Llangwyryfon, Ceredigion, was perhaps the nation's most popular bird during July. Not hanging round for the masses, however, was an Alpine Swift over Elegug Stacks, Pembrokeshire, on 3rd. A sprightly adult male Woodchat Shrike was on Skomer, Pembrokeshire, on 12th, with a probable Blue-headed Wagtail there the following day. On 31st, a Black Kite lingered at Glaslyn, Powys. Two European Turtle Doves were in Glamorgan gardens – at Penllergaer and Southgate.
Fleeting herons comprised an adult Purple Heron at Valley Lakes RSPB, Anglesey, on 19th and a Glossy Ibis at Llanilid Opencast, Glamorgan, on 21st. Elsewhere, Western Cattle Egrets were reported from Penclawdd, Glamorgan, Alaw Estuary, Anglesey, and Conwy Estuary, Conwy (two). A Eurasian Spoonbill was at Goldcliff Pools, Gwent.
A Pectoral Sandpiper at Llangorse Lake, Powys, from 19-21st was well-watched, with a brief individual at Newport, Pembrokeshire, on 21st. Curlew Sandpipers were at Newport, Pembrokeshire, and Alaw Estuary, Anglesey, with a Little Stint at the latter site.
In Anglesey, an eclipse drake Ring-necked Duck was unearthed at Valley Lakes RSPB from 22nd. An unseasonal Whooper Swan hung out with the Cardiff Bay, Glamorgan, Mute Swan herd and an impressive six Garganey were at Gann Estuary, Pembrokeshire, with a singleton at Goldcliff Pools, Gwent. Connah's Quay, Clwyd, held a Ruddy Shelduck.
There was another big seabird movement off Co Cork on 24th, with 995 Cory's and 134 Great Shearwaters passing Galley Head, as well as two Fea's-type petrels. The Fea's were also seen later passing Cape Clear, where 760 Cory's passed in just three hours. Large shearwaters were typically much scarcer elsewhere, but on 24th five Cory's passed Brandon Point, Co Kerry, with one past Carnsore Point, Co Wexford.
Cork pelagic trips scored heavily with Wilson's Storm Petrels: at least five were seen on 20th and 21st, with nine on 30th. Another Wilson's was seen from a pelagic out of Rossaveel, Co Galway, on 5th. The only Sabine's Gull was an adult off the Skellig Islands, Co Kerry, on 12th.
Shorebirds included the continuing American and Pacific Golden Plovers at Tacumshin, Co Wexford, to 7th and 9th respectively, with another American flying over nearby Killinick on 15th. Pectoral Sandpipers were at Clogheen Marsh, Co Cork, Poulaphouca Reservoir, Co Wicklow, and on the Inishkea Islands, Co Mayo. The only White-rumped Sandpiper was at Inny Strand, Co Kerry, on 31st. Highlight of the month was the showy Greater Yellowlegs in north-east Co Kildare from 29-31st.
Greater Yellowlegs, Maynooth, Ireland (Fergal Stanley).
Lough Beg did well for wildfowl, with two American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck and several Garganey during the month. Another Ring-necked was on Achill Island, Co Mayo, while the American Black Duck and a Garganey were on the adjacent Mullet peninsula. Further Garganey were in Co Kerry and Co Wexford.
Late news concerned a Black-crowned Night Heron sound-recorded in the early hours of 22 June at Lissagriffin, Co Cork. At least two Glossy Ibises were in Co Wexford throughout July.
The month's only Ring-billed Gull was a first-summer in northern Co Clare, while an adult Bonaparte's Gull was at Harper's Island, Co Cork, from 27th. Both Forster's and Elegant Tern were seen at Inishroo, Co Galway, and the Least Tern put in regular appearances on the Co Dublin coast. An adult Black Tern was at Blanket Nook, Co Donegal, for the first week of July and a juvenile appeared at Belfast Lough RSPB on 27th.
It was a much quieter summer for Rosy Starlings than 2021, with just one seen this month at Ferriter's Cove, Co Kerry, on 3rd.