Review of the Week: 12th-18th May 2005


Considering it is the third week of May, it was a dismal week for quantity. However, the quality more than made up for the lack of migrants, but sadly two of the three 'star' birds were offshore!

Barrow's Goldeneye: Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Chris Galvin) Barrow's Goldeneye: Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Pete Morrison)

Barrow's Goldeneye: Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: John Malloy) Barrow's Goldeneye: Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Pete Morrison)

A drake Barrow's Goldeneye frequented Meikle Loch and the Ythan Estuary in Aberdeenshire from Friday 13th-18th. The only accepted British record to date was at Irvine (Ayrshire) between November and December 1979. A number of records have occurred since, but all have been deemed to be escapes or the identification was considered unproven. The location, date and a prompt departure should ensure that this particular bird receives a less bumpy ride than some of his predecessors to take its place as Britain's second!

Dark-eyed Junco: Maersk Curlew, off Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Lenny Simpson) Dark-eyed Junco: Maersk Curlew, off Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Lenny Simpson)

On most birders' 'most wanted' lists, a superb Siberian Rubythroat was a tantalising find on board the MSV Fennica 110 miles east of Aberdeen on Thursday 12th. Also offshore, a Dark-eyed Junco was found on the oil installation Maersk Curlew 130 miles east of Aberdeen on Friday 13th and was still present at the time of writing. Interestingly, one was on the same platform in 2000 and another was 'at sea' in the North Sea in 1980 – quite why Dark-eyed Juncos have an affinity to oil installations in the North Sea is clearly one to ponder.

Great Reed Warbler: Fair Isle, Shetland. (Photo: Deryk Shaw) Great Reed Warbler: Fair Isle, Shetland. (Photo: Deryk Shaw)

Great Reed Warbler: Willington GPs, Beds. (Photo: Steve Blain)

Away from Aberdeenshire and the offshore waters of the country, proceedings were a little bit more sedate. Continuing the glut of sightings this spring, three more Great Reed Warblers were located: one was trapped and ringed on Fair Isle (Shetland) on Friday 13th; a popular, if at times elusive, individual was at Willington GPs (Beds) from Sunday 15th onwards, and; another was at Dungeness RSPB on Wednesday 18th. Further teasing reports of 'eagle sp' were noted from Ellough Airfield (Suffolk) on Sunday 15th and over Swindon (Wilts) on Wednesday 19th. The former was photographed and considered by the observers to have most probably been a Lesser Spotted Eagle– needless to say, the photographs are eagerly awaited by the birding fraternity.

Stilt Sandpiper: Burnham Norton, Norfolk. (Photo: Dean Eades) Stilt Sandpiper: Burnham Norton, Norfolk. (Photo: Tim Corke)

Stilt Sandpiper: Burnham Norton, Norfolk. (Photo: Steve Evans)

Pectoral Sandpiper: Worlaby Carrs, Lincs. (Photo: Graham Catley) Pectoral Sandpiper: Worlaby Carrs, Lincs. (Photo: Graham Catley)

Temminck's Stint: Worlaby Carrs, Lincs. (Photo: Graham Catley) Temminck's Stint: Worlaby Carrs, Lincs. (Photo: Graham Catley)

Further to last week's weekly review, the Stilt Sandpiper was indeed relocated in Norfolk, frequenting Titchwell RSPB briefly on Thursday 12th, before obligingly settling back at Burnham Norton from 12th-17th and drawing huge numbers of admirers over the course of its stay. A Broad-billed Sandpiper was at Cliffe Pools (Kent) from Saturday 14th-15th, a Collared Pratincole was reported from Alvingham (Lincs) on 12th and a Lesser Yellowlegs was reported from Minsmere (Suffolk) on 16th. Two Black-winged Stilts were at Slimbridge then Frampton-on-Severn between 12th and 15th, and, perhaps the same two were at Orford Ness (Suffolk) on 16th. In addition, the regular Black-winged Stilt at Titchwell RSPB remained in situ, obviously favouring his steady existence as opposed to the excesses of flitting around the country! A Kentish Plover was on Holy Island (Northumbs) on 12th, a Pectoral Sandpiper at Worlaby Carrs (Lincs) from 17th-18th and a Red-necked Phalarope on the Oare Marshes (Kent) from 16th-18th. Nearly 50 Temminck's Stints were reported, the majority, as would be expected, in the east and south-east. There were also just over 50 Dotterel.

Black-winged Stilt: Frampton-on-Severn, Glos. (Photo: Mike Jeffries)

Red-necked Phalarope: Oare Marshes, Kent. (Photo: Steve Nixon) Red-necked Phalarope: Oare Marshes, Kent. (Photo: George Segelbacher)

Night Heron: Holkham Park, Norfolk. (Photo: Dan Pointon)

Despite the exceptional influx of White-winged Black Terns just across the North Sea in Denmark, just one made it to Britain, a single at Cotswold WP (Glos) on Saturday 14th. In Kent, the Gull-billed Tern was present at Dungeness to the 15th. A Snowy Owl was again on North Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 18th and a Bonaparte's Gull was on South Uist the same day, with the only other rare gull reported bring the long-staying American Herring Gull in Dingle (Co. Kerry). The Great White Egret remained at Kiloughter (Co. Wicklow) and another passed over Minsmere (Suffolk) on 17th. Several Purple Herons included birds at North Warren (Suffolk), Kenfig (Glamorgan) on 14th, Wotton-under-Edge (Glos) on 15th, Runham (Norfolk) and Stanpit Marsh (Dorset) on 17th. A Night Heron was at Holkham Park (Norfolk) on 15th, with presumably the same over Thornham (Norfolk) on 16th and a possible over Stanpit Marsh on 17th. A Black Kite passed over Stainton (S. Yorks) on 14th and another Black Kite was over Leiston (Suffolk) on 16th, whilst late Rough-legged Buzzards included singles over Fair Isle and Sumburgh Head (Shetland) on 13th, Holme Pierrepont (Notts) on 15th and Holkham (Norfolk) on 15th. The drake Black Duck remained on Tresco (Scilly), a Ring-necked Duck was in Somerset, a Green-winged Teal on Shetland and Surf Scoter in Lothian. A Spotted Crake was at Loch of Kinnordy (Angus/Dundee), migrant Corncrakes were on Bardsey (Gwynedd) and Easington (E. Yorks) and calling Quail numbers were into the high teens.

Woodchat Shrike: Burnham Norton, Norfolk. (Photo: David and Harry Hatton) Woodchat Shrike: Burnham Norton, Norfolk. (Photo: Darren AP Ward)

Woodchat Shrike: Burnham Norton, Norfolk. (Photo: Ian Esland) Woodchat Shrike: Burnham Norton, Norfolk. (Photo: Richard Jackson)

Red-backed Shrike: Dungeness, Kent. (Photo: Mike Buckland)

Scarce migrants were at best 'scarce'! A Northern Long-tailed Tit was trapped in Wiltshire on Sunday 15th, a Red-throated Pipit was reported from Huggin Carr (S. Yorks) on Wednesday 18th and a Richard's Pipit was reported from Curbar (Derbys) on Sunday 15th. A Red-rumped Swallow performed well on St. Mary's (Scilly) on Wednesday 18th. A Woodchat Shrike was a popular distraction for visitors to Burnham Norton (Norfolk) over 14th-15th, and Red-backed Shrikes were at Dungeness from 13th-14th, Minsmere from 16th-17th and Hindringham (Norfolk) on 18th. A Hoopoe was on St. Agnes (Scilly) on 16th, there were around a dozen migrant Golden Orioles including a male in Nottinghamshire, and a Bee-eater was heard over Burham Norton on 15th on which date 7 more flew over Dunwich Heath (Suffolk); one was at Holme NWT (Norfolk) on 17th. Waxwings included 40 at Bridge of Don (Aberdeenshire) on 12th with one on Fair Isle the same day and 2 were at West Hagbourne (Oxon) on 16th. A male Bluethroat was at Spurn (E. Yorks) on 14th, with a Serin at the same site on 15th and 18th. Wrynecks were on Fair Isle on 14th and Kelling Heath on 16th, with one on the Maersk Curlew on 13th. A Melodious Warbler was at Land's End (Cornwall) on 16th, there was a report of a Marsh Warbler at Marton Mere (Lancs) on 16th and a Shore Lark was on Fair Isle on 13th. Late reports for last week included Rose-coloured Starlings on 11th, with birds on Coll (Argyll) and Callow End (Worcs).

Red-necked Grebe: Knowsley Park, Lancs. (Photo: Steve Tomlinson) Long-tailed Duck: Slimbridge, Glos. (Photo: Chris Cook)

Turtle Dove: Chambers Farm Wood, Lincs. (Photo: Russell Hayes) Lesser Whitethroat: Attenborough NR, Nottss. (Photo: John Dickenson)

Common Sandpiper: Hayling Island, Hants. (Photo: George Spraggs) Turnstone: Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey. (Photo: Alan Redley)
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
Ian Barnard: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/sussex.birder
Bill Baston: http://billbaston.com
Steve Blain: http://www.steveblain.co.uk
Nigel Blake: http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/birdphotos/index.htm
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/
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/
Lee Dingain: http://www.leedingain.co.uk
Jon Dunn: http://www.surfbirds.com/blogs/Stercorarius/
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
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
John Judge: http://www.draycotebirding.co.uk
Paul and Andrea Kelly: http://www.irishbirdimages.com/
Jack Levene: http://www.birdingimages.com
John Malloy: http://mysite.freeserve.com/JohnMalloyBirdPhotos
Brian Mcgeough: http://www.pbase.com/bmcgeough/british_birds
Jerry O'Brien: http://www.BirdsofBerkshire.co.uk
Charlie Moores: http://www.charliesbirdblog.com
James Packer: http://www.somersetbirder.co.uk
Mike Pennington: http://www.nature.shetland.co.uk
Marc Read: http://www.marcread-pix.com
Tristan Reid: http://www.solwaybirder.org.uk
Steve Round: http://stevenround-birdphotography.com
Deryk Shaw/FIBO: http://www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk
Tom Shevlin: http://wildlifesnaps.com/
Matt Slaymaker: http://www.freewebs.com/slaymaker
Oliver Smart: http://www.smartimages.co.uk
George Spraggs: http://www.bird-watching.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
Chris Wormwell: http://www.iombirding.co.uk
Dylan Wrathall: http://www.planetthanet.org
Written by: Russell Slack