Review of the Week: 11-17th May 2006


The week at a glance:

Calandra Lark: Isle of May, Fife (photo: Graeme Stephen). Calandra Lark: Isle of May, Fife (photo: Mark Wilkinson).

The 13th Calandra Lark for Britain obliging revealed itself on Friday 12th to observers on the Isle of May (Fife). Remaining to Sunday 14th, a collectable weekend bird was always going to be a popular draw. However, it wasn't quite as easy as that as travel to the island and a generally elusive bird added to the tension. Just a handful of previous birds have lingered longer than a day, so this record, slightly more conveniently located than the usual offshore islands chosen by the species, was always going be a tempting proposition for many listers.

Isabelline Shrike: Whitburn, Durham (photo: Mark Newsome).

Scops Owl: Fair Isle, Shetland (photo: Deryk Shaw).

A male Isabelline Shrike at Whitburn (Durham) on Sunday 14th (see write-up) was of the race phoenicuroides, often referred to as Turkestan Shrike. Unfortunately it didn't remain in the area for long before moving on, otherwise it too would have been a popular weekend draw, especially for those on their way back from Fife. On the Northern Isles a Nearctic White-throated Sparrow was in the 'right place at the right time', and present at Sumburgh (Shetland) on Saturday 13th and Quendale (Shetland) on 14th. A Scops Owl trapped on Fair Isle (Shetland) on Tuesday 16th was the 2nd island record, and perhaps the 2nd on Shetland in the space of a week - how many must be missed elsewhere?

Scops Owl: Fair Isle, Shetland (photo: Deryk Shaw).

Iberian Chiffchaff: Postbridge, Devon (photo: Phil Edmonds). Short-toed Lark: Fair Isle, Shetland (photo: Deryk Shaw).
Woodchat Shrike: Torver, Cumbria (photo: Tristan Reid). Woodchat Shrike: Torver, Cumbria (photo: Tristan Reid).

Ortolan Bunting: Fair Isle, Shetland (photo: Deryk Shaw).

Backup in shape of scarcities was limited, but taken as a whole made for impressive viewing, even if the goods were well spread out. A Great Reed Warbler was at Forfar Loch (Angus/Dundee) from 13th-15th and another at Gunton (Suffolk) on 16th. A Rose-coloured Starling was rescued from a cat on Iona (Argyll) on 14th. A Red-throated Pipit was on Fair Isle from 11-12th, with it, or another, there on 16th and three brief birds were noted elsewhere. On Orkney an Icterine Warbler was at Ramsdale Quarry on 16th, and a Subalpine Warbler on North Ronaldsay on 11th. A Red-breasted Flycatcher was on Out Skerries (Shetland) on 12th, Ortolan Bunting on Fair Isle from 11th-16th and a Melodious Warbler at Beachy Head (E. Sussex) on 16th. Just 7 Bluethroats were noted, 6 of them on Fair Isle and one at Saltfleetby (Lincs); there were just 3 Wrynecks and 3 Red-backed Shrikes, plus around 25 migrant Golden Orioles, including one in Lothian and up to 3 on Dursey Island (Co. Cork), St. Agnes (Scilly) and Skomer (Pembrokeshire). Bee-eaters dazzled observers at Polgigga (Cornwall) on 11th, Sandwich Bay (Kent) on 13th and Grune Point (Cumbria) on 14th. Five Woodchat Shrikes included birds from last week still at Porthgwarra (Cornwall) and Torver (Cumbria) and new birds at Portland Bill (Dorset), Bryher (Scilly) and Boyton Marshes (Suffolk). Serins were briefly at Selsey Bill (W. Sussex) on 14th and Spurn (E. Yorks) on 17th, the only Hoopoe was at Bridge of Oich (Highland) and Short-toed Larks were on Fair Isle and St. Mary's (Scilly). An Alpine Swift passed over Southend (Essex) on 14th and four Red-rumped Swallows included one at Old Head of Kinsale (Co. Cork) from 14th-15th. Long-stayers included Iberian Chiffchaffs at Pressmennan (Lothian) to 13th and Postbridge (Devon) throughout, plus the male Northern Long-tailed Tit remained in Southend (Essex) and is now the proud father of hybrid young. Shore Larks were at Titchwell (Norfolk) and St. Combs (Aberdeenshire) and Lapland Buntings on Fair Isle and Cley (Norfolk).

Broad-billed Sandpiper: Tacumshin, Co. Wexford (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly). Black-winged Stilt: Martin Mere, Lancs (photo: Marcus Conway).
Temminck's Stint: Dungeness, Kent (photo: Marcus Lawson). Temminck's Stint: Titchwell, Norfolk (photo: David Lawrence).

Three Broad-billed Sandpipers were logged, with singles at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) from 13th-16th, Spurn (E. Yorks) from 13th-15th and Cockersands (Lancs) from 15th-17th. The 3 Black-winged Stilts continued to find Martin Mere (Lancs) to their liking as did the Pectoral Sandpiper at the same site, whilst the Buff-breasted Sandpiper was again reported at Aberlady Bay (Lothian) on 13th and a White-rumped Sandpiper at Saltfleetby NNR (Lincs) on 14th. Kentish Plovers included one at Sandwich Bay (Kent) on 12th, two at Marazion (Cornwall) on 14th and one at Pegwell Bay (Kent) from 15th-16th. Just under 70 Dotterel were located, including 20 at St. Combs (Aberdeenshire). Nineteen Temminck's Stints included three at Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk), with the rest mostly at typical east-coast locations.

Temminck's Stint: Saltfleet, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

A Gull-billed Tern was at Braunton Marsh (Devon) from 14th-17th and the Forster's Tern again at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway). The Franklin's Gull remained at Northam Burrows (Devon) to the 13th, and long-staying Laughing Gulls were still at Waterside (Co. Galway) and Cork City (Co. Cork). A 1st-summer Laughing Gull passed Dungeness (Kent) on 12th and a Laughing or Franklin's Gull passed Hilbre (Cheshire) on 14th. A Sabine's Gull off Five Mile Point (Co. Wicklow) on 12th was unseasonable. Pomarine Skua passage was still unexceptional with single figures off a number of watchpoints, and Long-tailed Skuas were noted in East Sussex and Yorkshire.

Red-footed Falcon: Walland Marsh, Kent (photo: Mike Buckland).

A mobile Black Stork proved to be a difficult bird to catch up with, passing over Aberlour (Moray/Nairn) on 13th, then Fintry (Clyde), South Shields/Whitburn (Durham) on 16th, then Fosterley (Durham) and Plenmeller Common (Northumberland) on 17th. Flyover White Storks were reported in Hertfordshire and Norfolk and Great White Egrets at Rosslare (Co. Wexford) and Boyton Marshes (Suffolk). Five Purple Herons included the adult at Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk) to 15th and a Night Heron was on St. Agnes (Scilly) on 15th. A Snowy Owl was on North Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 17th, four flyover Black Kites were reported and a 1st-summer female Red-footed Falcon was at Walland Marsh (Kent) on 14th. A Spotted Crake was calling at Arne RSPB (Dorset) from 12th to at least 14th.

Purple Heron: Frampton-on-Severn, Glos (photo: Terry Dabner). Lesser Scaup: Suffolk Water Park, Suffolk (photo: W. Plumb).

In Lancashire a possible female, or hybrid, Baikal Teal was at Seaforth from 14th-16th, the identification of which presents an interesting debate. A metal-ringed Blue-winged Teal at Longtown (Cumbria) from 16th was presumably the recent Filey (N. Yorks) and St. Mary's Island (Northumberland) bird; at least it's heading in the right direction if it was ringed in the wild! The drake Blue-winged Teal remained at Castle Espie (Co. Down) to at least the 14th. As would be expected rare ducks were at a premium, with the Lesser Scaup still at Suffolk Water Park (Suffolk), a Ring-necked Duck in Co. Tipperary and a Green-winged Teal on Lundy (Devon). Surf Scoters were in Lothian and Fife and drake King Eiders still in Aberdeenshire and Ayrshire. A Black Brant remained at Stiffkey (Norfolk) and Grey-bellied Brant in Co. Down.

Knot: Loch of Harray, Orkney (photo: John Anderson).

Sanderling: Toft Newton Reservoir, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).

Little Ringed Plover: Ringstone Reservoir, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).

Grasshopper Warbler: Snettisham, Norfolk (photo: Gary Thoburn).

Many of the images that appear in our weekly reviews can be purchased from the photographers, some of whom have their own websites:

Bill Aspin: http://www.eastlancashirebirding.net
Mike Atkinson: http://mikeatkinson.net
Ian Barnard: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/sussex.birder
Bill Baston: http://billbaston.com
Richard Bedford: http://www.richardbedford.co.uk
Steve Blain: http://www.steveblain.co.uk
Nigel Blake: http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/birdphotos/index.htm
Paul Boulden: http://southdevonbirds.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/
Will Bowell: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
Paul Bowerman: http://mysite.freeserve.com/severnsidebirds
Paul Bowyer: http://www.ukbirds.net
Andy Brett: http://www.freewebs.com/andybrett/
Andy Bright: http://www.Digiscoped.com
Martin Cade: http://www.portlandbirdobs.btinternet.co.uk
Graham Catley: http://pewit.blogspot.com/
Mark Caunt: http://angusbirding.homestead.com/
Kit Day: http://www.kitday-uk.com/
Eric Dempsey: http://www.birdsireland.com/
Lee Dingain: http://www.leedingain.co.uk
Jon Dunn: http://www.surfbirds.com/blogs/Stercorarius/
Dean Eades: http://www.pbase.com/dean_eades/root
Andrew Easton: http://home.clara.net/ammodytes/
Graham Eaton: http://www.eatonphotography.co.uk
Stuart Elsom: http://www.stuartelsom.co.uk
Steve Evans: http://www.powow.com/birds2004/
Katie Fuller: http://bogbumper.blogspot.com
Sean Gray: http://www.grayimages.co.uk
Peter Hadfield: http://www.manxbirdphotography.co.uk
David Hatton: http://www.kowapower.com
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
John Judge: http://www.draycotebirding.co.uk
Paul and Andrea Kelly: http://www.irishbirdimages.com/
Matt Latham: www.pbase.com/latho/root
Jack Levene: http://www.birdingimages.com
Micky Maher: http://www.aardfoto.co.uk/
John Malloy: http://mysite.freeserve.com/JohnMalloyBirdPhotos
Brian Mcgeough: http://www.pbase.com/bmcgeough/british_birds
Tony Mills: http://www.notjustbirds.com
Jerry O'Brien: http://www.BirdsofBerkshire.co.uk
Charlie Moores: http://www.charliesbirdblog.com
Mark Newsome: http://www.whitburnbirding.co.uk
James Packer: http://www.somersetbirder.co.uk
Mike Pennington: http://www.nature.shetland.co.uk
Ken Plows: http://www.kenswildlifepics.co.uk
Ray Purser: http://www.pbase.com/02purser/images
Marc Read: http://www.marcread-pix.com
Tristan Reid: http://www.solwaybirder.org.uk
Steve Round: http://stevenround-birdphotography.com
Gerald Segelbacher: http://www.digiscoping.uk.md
Deryk Shaw/FIBO: http://www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk
Tom Shevlin: http://wildlifesnaps.com/
Peter Simpson: http://www.blueskybirds.co.uk
Matt Slaymaker: http://www.mattslaymaker.co.uk
Oliver Smart: http://www.smartimages.co.uk
George Spraggs: http://www.bird-watching.co.uk
Simon Stirrup: http://www.simonstirrup.co.uk/
Garry Taylor: http://www.spurnbirdobservatory.co.uk/
Glen Tepke: http://www.pbase.com/gtepke
Phillip Tomkinson: http://www.philliptomkinson.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk
Stephen Tomlinson: http://www.digitalbirds.co.uk
Sue Tranter: http://www.suesbirdphotos.co.uk/
Steve Williams: http://www.hilbrebirdobs.co.uk
Simon Wilson: http://www.bakewellbirder.co.uk/
Chris Wormwell: http://www.iombirding.co.uk
Dylan Wrathall: http://www.planetthanet.org
Written by: Russell Slack