Review of the Week: 13th–19th September 2007


The week at a glance:

Rare and scarce birds

Sooty Shearwater: Fife Ness, Fife (photo: John Anderson).

There was definitely something in the air on the 16th, with several 'megas' reported including a potential first for Britain. Unfortunately, though, all were brief. A White-rumped Swift found over Cresswell Pond mid-morning quickly flew south and will, if accepted, be a first for Britain. Later the same day another, or the same, swift with a white rump was reported flying over West Kirby (Cheshire) and was suspected of being a Pacific Swift, a species with just four previous records. Also on the 16th a pale-morph Booted Eagle flew over Grove Ferry (Kent), but could not subsequently be relocated. Later that evening a Madeiran Storm-petrel was watched for 45 minutes off Pendeen (Cornwall) - it was only a matter of weeks ago that only the 2nd British record, following one 96 years ago, was documented off the Isles of Scilly.

Barred Warbler: Winterton, Norfolk (photo: Alan Wadsworth).

Aquatic Warbler: Uskmouth NR, Gwent (photo: Bob Duckhouse).

Wryneck: Fort Hommet, Guernsey (photo: Mark Guppy).

Red-breasted Flycatcher: Easton Bavents, Suffolk (photo: Mike Parker).

Shore Lark: Unst, Shetland (photo: Mike Pennington).

The dearth of rare and scarce passerines continued, however. A Citrine Wagtail was on the Isles of Scilly from 15th onwards and another was reported from Polgigga (Cornwall), and there was a Red-throated Pipit on Tresco (Scilly) on 13th. The Aquatic Warbler was at Uskmouth NR (Gwent) to the 15th and another was at Dibden Bay (Hants) on 19th, whilst a Bluethroat was at Blakeney Point (Norfolk) on 18th. Red-breasted Flycatchers included singles at Sea Palling (Norfolk) on 18th and Easton Bavants (Suffolk) from 18th onwards, and there was an Icterine Warbler on Tresco (Scilly) on 17th. A Melodious Warbler was at Gosport (Hants) on 13th and the long-staying bird remained on Unst (Shetland), where there was also a Short-toed Lark on 19th; the Marsh Warbler and Shore Lark remained. Just 10 Wrynecks, nine Common Rosefinches, five Ortolan Buntings and seven Red-backed Shrikes were reported, plus a Woodchat Shrike on St. Martin's (Scilly). A total of three Barred Warblers was well below average, and a Serin was reported from Walton-on-the-Naze (Essex). A Rose-coloured Starling was on Lundy (Devon) on 12th, but the long-staying adult on Unst was found dead. Around 30 Lapland Buntings were reported and 'Northwestern' Common Redpolls on Scottish islands were into the mid-teens.

American Golden Plover: Keadew Bar, Co. Donegal (photo: Dermot Breen).

Pectoral Sandpiper: Dewsbury, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).

Pectoral Sandpiper: Titchwell, Norfolk (photo: Peter Simpson).

Baird's Sandpiper: Esha Ness, Shetland (photo: Brydon Thomason).

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: St. Mary's, Scilly (photo: Martin Goodey).

Grey Phalarope: Hope Carr, Manchester (photo: Rob Smallwood).

Dotterel: Great Orme, Conwy (photo: Adrian Foster).

Waders still featured prominently on our news reports, notably an influx of at least 19 Buff-breasted Sandpipers including eight on Tiree (Argyll). A Baird's Sandpiper was on North Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 18th whilst one remained at Esha Ness (Shetland); also on Shetland, the Killdeer continued to be reported from the Pool of Virkie. A Lesser Yellowlegs was at Loch of Tankerness (Orkney) on 19th and the Wilson's Phalarope remained at Belfast Lough (Co. Antrim) to 17th. The Spotted Sandpiper remained on St. Mary's (Scilly). American Golden Plovers were seen at Keadew Bar (Co. Donegal), Balgray Reservoir (Clyde) and Lewis (Outer Hebrides), a Dotterel was on Great Orme (Conwy) on 15th and three Temminck's Stints included one at Colyford Common (Devon). Around 17 Pectoral Sandpipers were reported and a handful of Grey Phalaropes included inland birds at Hope Carr (Manchester), Bartley Reservoir (W. Midlands) and Staines Reservoir (Surrey). Red-necked Phalaropes were at Pennington Flash (Gtr Manchester) and Gibraltar Point (Lincs).

Long-tailed Skua: Shelford, Notts (photo: Steve Morgan).

Long-tailed Skua: Shelford, Notts (photo: Leigh Wright).

Sabine's Gull: Bridlington, E. Yorks (photo: Chrys).

Sabine's Gull: Bridlington, E. Yorks (photo: Lawrie Phipps).

Ring-billed Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Galway (photo: Tom Cuffe).

There was still plenty of activity to entice seawatchers to stare out to sea. An albatross sp. was reported 10.5 miles off Strumble Head (Pembrokeshire) on 12th and a Fea's Petrel passed Kilcummin Head (Co. Mayo) on 14th. There were no large Great Shearwater counts but single-, or double-, figure counts were logged at number of locations, though Cory's Shearwaters continued to be in short supply, being reported only from Porthgwarra (Cornwall) this week. A whopping 6,000 Sooty Shearwaters passed Kilcummin Head (Co. Mayo) on 14th. Good numbers of Sabine's Gulls were seen, with many reported from North-Sea watchpoints, though, as usual, the largest numbers came from Ireland where 21 passed Kilcummin on 14th, 18 passed Ramore Head (Co. Antrim) the same day and 12 passed the Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) on 16th. Small numbers of Leach's Storm-petrels were also seen and a Little Auk flew past Long Nab, Burniston (N. Yorks) on 18th.

Spotted Crake: Farlington Marshes, Hants (photo: Richard Ford).

A Snowy Owl was again on Lewis (Outer Hebrides) and a Black Kite was present at South Slob (Co. Wexford) on 13th and 14th. A Black Stork was over Porthcurno (Cornwall) on 16th and the long-staying Glossy Ibis continued at Marshside (Lancs). Several Great White Egrets were on offer, including one still at Leighton Moss (Lancs), and there were Purple Herons at Meare Heath (Somerset), Inland Sea (Anglesey) and Nene Washes (Cambs). A juvenile Night Heron was on Bressay (Shetland) and the adult and 1st-summer were again reported from Fairburn Ings (W. Yorks). A Snow Goose was tracked with Pinkfeet along the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire coast on 15th, and was presumably the same bird present in Norfolk later the same day. The Blue-winged Teal remained at Haverton Hole (Cleveland), as did the Marbled Duck in Lowestoft (Suffolk). There were American Wigeon at Angle Bay (Pembrokeshire) and Tacumshin (Co. Wexford). A Lesser Scaup was at Rutland Water (Leics) from 16th to 18th and a Ferruginous Duck was at Cantley (Norfolk) on 19th; the regular bird remained at Chew Valley (Somerset). In Shetland the King Eider remained off Wester Quarff and a Surf Scoter passed north of Fishtown of Usan (Angus and Dundee).

Photo of the week

It's hard to appreciate how tiny Little Stints are: even smaller than a sparrow! To capture any detail in a whole-bird photograph of this species is a challenge, requiring a close approach and excellent technique. Dean has gone further than this by achieving a sharp head-and-shoulders shot (the whole image frame being only four inches wide). Not only that, though, he's caught the bird holding a cranefly in perfect position, as if posed for the camera. A unique photograph.

Little Stint: Covenham Reservoir, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).

Other notable photos from the week

Knot: Titchwell, Norfolk (photo: Garth Peacock).

Little Egret: Snettisham, Norfolk (photo: Garth Peacock).

Knot: Salthouse, Norfolk (photo: Nigel Pye).

Curlew Sandpiper: Salthouse, Norfolk (photo: Peter Simpson).

Alpine Chough: Vaud, Switzerland (photo: Joel Brueziere).

Mute Swan: Leighton Moss, Lancashire (photo: Sue Tranter).

Twite: Cant Clough Reservoir, Lancashire (photo: David Cookson).

Egyptian Goose: Attenborough NR, Notts (photo: John Dickenson).

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

John Anderson: http://www.pbase.com/crail_birder
Bill Aspin: http://billaspinsnatureblog.blogspot.com
Mike Atkinson: http://mikeatkinson.net
Richard Bedford: http://www.richardbedford.co.uk
Steve Blain: http://www.steveblain.co.uk
Will Bowell: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
Paul Bowerman: http://www.severnsidebirds.co.uk
Paul Bowyer: http://www.birdlist.co.uk
Graham Catley: http://pewit.blogspot.com/
Mark Caunt: http://www.AngusBirding.com
Dean Eades: http://www.deaneadeswildlifephotography.co.uk
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.isabelline.co.uk
Katie Fuller: http://bogbumper.blogspot.com
Ian Fulton: http://www.pbase.com/ianfulton
Sean Gray: http://www.grayimages.co.uk
David Hatton: http://www.kowapower.com
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
Paul and Andrea Kelly: http://www.irishbirdimages.com/
Matt Latham: http://www.mattlathamphotography.com
Micky Maher: http://www.aardfoto.co.uk/
John Malloy: http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/johnmalloy
Brian Mcgeough: http://www.brianmcgeough.com/
Tony Mills: http://www.notjustbirds.com
Jerry O'Brien: http://www.BirdsofBerkshire.co.uk
Mark Newsome: http://www.durhambirdclub.org/
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
Marc Read: http://www.marcread-pix.com
Tristan Reid: http://www.atricillaimages.co.uk/
Steve Round: http://stevenround-birdphotography.com
Craig Shaw: http://craigsukbirdpictures.bravehost.com/
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
Richard Steel: http://wildlifephotographic.bblogspot.com/
Stephen Tomlinson: http://stevesbirding.blogspot.com
Sue Tranter: http://www.suesbirdphotos.co.uk/
Damian Waters: http://www.drumimages.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