Review of the Week: 11th-15th August 2006


The week at a glance:

Stilt Sandpiper: Brownsea Island, Dorset (photo: Steve Evans).

White-rumped Sandpiper: East Chevington, Northumbs (photo: Alan Gilbertson). Red-necked Phalarope: Newport Wetlands, Gwent (photo: Keith Roylance).

The second Stilt Sandpiper of the autumn was found at the weekend, following the earlier bird in Conwy from 11th-13th July. An adult at Brownsea Island (Dorset) from 12th onwards represented the first county record and was still present at the time of writing. After a dearth of national records during the 1990s, several collectable individuals have been seen in recent years to create a false illusion of 'abundance' for this superb Nearctic wader. Scarce wader back-up was limited, but White-rumped Sandpipers were at Snettisham (Norfolk) on 13th and East Chevington (Northumbs) on 15th and a Lesser Yellowlegs was at Dundrum Bay (Co. Down) on 15th. Long-billed Dowitchers remained at Shannon (Co. Clare) and Gibraltar Point (Lincs), and Pectoral Sandpipers were at Salthouse (Norfolk) on 12th, Southwold (Suffolk) to 13th and Hanningfield Reservoir (Essex) on 13th. A Red-necked Phalarope was at Sandbach Flashes (Cheshire) from 14th-15th and another at Newport Wetlands (Gwent) on 15th.

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Paddyfield Warbler: Kilnsea, E. Yorks (photo: Garry Taylor).

Wryneck: Portland, Dorset (photo: Mark Trott).

A low pressure system centred over northern Europe at the weekend brought a distinctly autumnal feel to the weather and delivered a scatter of scarce passerines to the east coast. The pick of these was a Paddyfield Warbler trapped at Kilnsea (E. Yorkshire) on 13th, constituting the 3rd county record. Support came in the shape of a Greenish Warbler on the Farne Islands (Northumbs) on 14th, 5 Barred Warblers, including three in Norfolk, and 4 Wrynecks, including one on Dursey Island (Co. Cork). An Icterine Warbler was on Fair Isle (Shetland) on 11th and Portland (Dorset) maintained its near-monopoly of Melodious Warblers with its 5th of the autumn trapped on 14th. Aquatic Warblers were trapped on 15th at Uskmouth (Gwent) and Sandwich Bay (Kent), the latter originally colour-ringed as a nestling in southern Belarus two months ago; one of last week's birds on Jersey was also re-trapped on 15th. A Marsh Warbler was on Fair Isle on 11th and a Common Rosefinch on Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 14th. The male Red-backed Shrike remained at Waltham Brooks (W. Sussex) and the Woodchat Shrike was at Friskney (Lincs) until the 11th. Finally, an Ortolan Bunting was reported at Llanbradach (Glamorgan) on 15th.

Laughing Gull: Brora, Highland (photo: Sandy Morrison).

Continuing the recent theme of rare gulls, another Laughing Gull was located, this time at Brora (Highland) on 13th; there were 9 Ring-billed Gulls, the majority in Ireland and Caspian Gulls were again into double figures with Paglesham Lagoon (Essex) contributing 4 birds. The strong northerlies along the North Sea coastline brought seawatchers out in force. At least a couple of Cory's Shearwaters were seen between Yorkshire and Durham, and single-figure counts of Long-tailed Skuas passed many watchpoints, with one reported inland at Rutland Water (Leics) on 14th. Sabine's Gulls passed Southwold (Suffolk) and Minehead (Somerset) on 12th and another was seen off Hartlepool (Cleveland) on 13th. The only Great Shearwater was off Pendeen (Cornwall) on 13th and the peak Balearic Shearwater count was 35 off Hartland Point (Devon) on 11th. Scilly pelagics notched up single Wilson's Storm-petrels on 13th and 3 on 14th.

Cattle Egret: Summer Leys, Northants (photo: Richard Bedford).

Cattle Egret: Summer Leys, Northants (photo: Matt Slaymaker). Great White Egret: Blashford Lakes, Hants (photo: Bob Chapman).

Spoonbill: Titchwell, Norfolk (photo: Darren Chapman).

A juvenile Cattle Egret at Summer Leys (Northants) from 11th-13th was, perhaps surprisingly, the first record for the county. The Great White Egret reappeared at Blashford Lakes (Hants) on 11th and 13th and another passed over Reepham (Norfolk) on 13th. The escaped Great White Pelican was at Bough Beech Reservoir (Kent) to the 14th. Four Spotted Crakes included birds at Grove Ferry (Kent), Beddington SF (London), Marazion (Cornwall) and Blacktoft Sands (E. Yorks). On North Uist (Outer Hebrides) the long-staying male Snowy Owl continued to be reported. There was a slight upturn in the number of rare ducks this week. A female Blue-winged Teal was reported from Marbury CP (Cheshire) on 15th and a Lesser Scaup from Redmires Reservoirs (S. Yorks) on 14th. Ring-necked Ducks were seen at Loch Gelly (Fife), Over Fen (Cambs) and Barrow Gurney Reservoirs (Somerset), whilst Ferruginous Ducks remained at Loch Gelly and a drake was at Croxall GPs/Blithfield Reservoir (Staffs). The drake American Wigeon remained at Cardiff Bay (Glamorgan) and a Surf Scoter was still in Lunan Bay (Angus/Dundee).

Little Egret: Langstone Harbour, Hampshire (photo: Lee Cooper).

Black-tailed Godwit: Killingholme, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).

Wood Sandpiper: Shustoke Reservoir, Warks (photo: Mark Priest).

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: http://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