Review of the Week: 14th-20th July 2005

Lesser Crested Tern: Happisburgh, Norfolk. (Photo: Kit Day) Lesser Crested Tern: Happisburgh, Norfolk. (Photo: Steve Evans)
Lesser Crested Tern: Waxham, Norfolk. (Photo: Will Bowell) Lesser Crested Tern: Waxham, Norfolk. (Photo: Will Bowell)
Lesser Crested Tern: Cley, Norfolk. (Photo: Dean Eades) Lesser Crested Tern: Cley, Norfolk. (Photo: Dean Eades)

The spate of ultra-rare tern sightings continued, turning it into something of a 'terntastic' week. The 9th-ever Lesser Crested Tern and the first for 7 years was found at Cromer (Norfolk) early on Saturday 16th, ensuring that another weekend tern-twitch was on the cards. Although many birders saw 'Elsie' the famous Lesser Crested Tern during her stay in the 1980s/1990s, following her demise the species' status returned to a 'mega' rather than guaranteed 'year-tick'. With just 8 accepted Lesser Crested Tern records, a 'new' generation of birders had been blessed with multiple opportunities to see Elegant Terns, but not Lesser. The present bird has been highly mobile along the north Norfolk coast since discovery, but did settle for long enough at sites such as Waxham, Happisburgh and Cley to entertain the masses, but was seen daily along the Norfolk coast to early on 20th, and was then relocated at Breydon Water (Norfolk) late afternoon on 20th, then re-found at Minsmere (Suffolk) early evening on the 20th. Birders in other east-coast counties will hope for just as much mobility over the coming days.

Elegant Tern: Gormanstown Strand, Co. Meath. (Photo: Eric Dempsey) Elegant Tern: Gormanstown Strand, Co. Meath. (Photo: Eric Dempsey)
Caspian Tern: Leighton Moss, Lancs. (Photo: John Malloy) Caspian Tern: Leighton Moss, Lancs. (Photo: Bill Aspin)
Caspian Tern: Leighton Moss, Lancs. (Photo: Tristan Reid) Caspian Tern: Leighton Moss, Lancs. (Photo: Bill Aspin)

In Ireland an Elegant Tern was found at Gormanstown Strand (Co. Meath) on Tuesday 19th, but then flew out to sea - there is a good chance it may turn up elsewhere though. Elegant Tern is currently the 'commonest' of the 'orange-billed' terns in British and Irish waters, and Royal Tern is the only gap in the 'set' for many birders; the only collectable individual of 5 accepted Royal Terns was in Lothian for a day on 9th August 1999. The rare tern activity was also boosted by the return of the Sooty Tern to Cemlyn (Anglesey) from 18th onwards. Interspersed with a brief visit to The Skerries (Anglesey) it has given those that missed first time another 'bite at the cherry' and now appears much more settled. In Lancashire a Caspian Tern remained at Leighton Moss for most of Saturday 16th, much to the delight of visitors to the reserve; it was the first county record since 1979 and all 4 previous county records have been at this famous reserve. Further rare terns included a Gull-billed Tern at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on Saturday 16th and a White-winged Black Tern past Shirkin Island (Co. Cork) on Tuesday 19th.

Sooty Tern: The Skerries, Anglesey. (Photo: Sean Gray)

Sooty Tern: Cemlyn, Anglesey. (Photo: Stephen Menzie) Sooty Tern: The Skerries, Anglesey. (Photo: Sean Gray)

It was a good week for seawatchers. A Fea's Petrel passed south at Filey Brigg (N. Yorks) on Wednesday 20th and was seen later at Atwick (E. Yorks). An unspecified 'Gadfly' petrel passed Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on Tuesday 19th. A Wilson's Storm-petrel was off Brandon Head (Co. Kerry) on 18th with another from the Scilly pelagic on 14th. An impressive movement of Cory's Shearwaters was noted in the South West Approaches on 19th/20th, with birds seen from watchpoints in southwest England and southern Ireland. On 19th 71 passed Hartland Point (Devon) and 121 were seen from Porthgwarra (Cornwall) On 20th 300 passed Galley Head (Co. Cork), 288 passed Prawle Point (Devon), 200+ passed Pendeen (Cornwall) and 105 passed Godrevy Point (Cornwall). Single Great Shearwaters were seen passing Porthgwarra (Cornwall) and Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) on 19th and one passed St. Mary's (Scilly) on 20th. Small numbers of Sooty Shearwaters were logged, the peak a dozen past Porthgwarra and Bridges of Ross. Balearic Shearwater records were mostly in the English Channel and southwest. Good numbers of European Storm-petrels were seen from watchpoints in the northwest off Lancashire, Cumbria and North Wales and Long-tailed Skuas were off Point Lynas (Angelsey) and Bridges of Ross on 19th.

European Storm-petrel: Hartlepool, Cleveland. (Photo: David Brown)

A White-billed Diver was at Graemeshall (Orkney) from 17th. In Co. Cork the 1st-summer Laughing Gull was at Inchydoney on 14th and adult Bonaparte's Gulls were at Veensgarth (Shetland) and Balbriggan (Dublin) on 19th. An adult Ring-billed Gull was at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway) and 1st-summer birds were on South Uist (Outer Hebrides) and in Cobh (Co. Cork).

Marsh Sandpiper: Minsmere, Suffolk. (Photo: Ian Barthorpe)

A number of rare waders were on offer. A Marsh Sandpiper was obliging at times at Minsmere (Suffolk) from Saturday 16th onwards, and a Terek Sandpiper was at Gibraltar Point (Lincs) 17th. The first Buff-breasted Sandpiper of the year was at Beacon Ponds (E. Yorks) on Wednesday 20th and a White-rumped Sandpiper was at Breydon Water (Norfolk) on 18th and 20th. A probable Red-necked Phalarope was seen from the Ullapool-Stornoway ferry (Highland) on 20th and a Temminck's Stint was on the Montrose Basin (Angus/Dundee); also on 20th. A male Kentish Plover at Minsmere from 17th-18th was a nice bonus for visitors to the reserve and another was at Pegwell Bay (Kent) on 17th. Five Pectoral Sandpipers included last week's bird at Belfast Harbour (Co. Antrim) which remained to 17th, one at Ogston Reservoir (Derbys) from 14th-15th, and others at Welney (Norfolk) 15th-17th, Lurgan Green (Co. Louth) 16th-20th and Loch of Strathbeg (Aberdeenshire) on 19th.

Bittern: Lincs. (Photo: Dean Eades)

Bittern: Lincs. (Photo: Dean Eades) Bittern: Lincs. (Photo: Dean Eades)
Spoonbill: Oare Marshes, Kent. (Photo: Sean Nixon) Little Egret: Gibraltar Point, Lincs. (Photo: Graham Catley)

Last week's Cattle Egret remained at Colyford Common (Devon) until 18th and another was at Abbotsbury (Dorset) on 15th. A Great White Egret was at Minsmere on 15th and 17th, with singles at Studland (Dorset) on 15th, Bournemouth (Dorset) on 16th and Mockbeggar Lakes (Hants) on 17th. On Scilly the Night Heron was still on St. Mary's on 14th and a Purple Heron at Minsmere on 17th was yet another excellent find on the reserve during the week. A White Stork of unknown origin was at Cayton Bay (N. Yorks) on 19th. A Ferruginous Duck was at Fen Drayton (Cambs) from 16th onwards, and other long-staying scarce ducks included the Ring-necked Duck in Somerset, American Wigeon in Angus/Dundee and Surf Scoter in Aberdeenshire.

Rose-coloured Starling: Carnoustie, Angus/Dundee. (Photo: Mark Caunt) Rose-coloured Starling: Carnoustie, Angus/Dundee. (Photo: Mark Caunt)

A Rose-coloured Starling was at Freswick (Highland) from 19th-20th and last week's bird at Carnoustie (Angus/Dundee) was present to at least 20th. A Common Rosefinch was an unseasonable find at Smerwick (Co. Kerry) on 16th and the Black-headed Wagtail remained at South Huish Marsh (Devon) to at least 17th. Bee-eaters were over Minsmere and Westleton Heath (Suffolk) on 14th and Dingle marshes (Suffolk) on 15th, with singles at Hampton Bishop (Herefordshire) on 15th and Dungeness (Kent) on 16th.

Bearded Tit: Cley, Norfolk. (Photo: Stephen North ) Crested Tit: Abernethy, Highland. (Photo: Steve Round)

Osprey: Highland. (Photo: Steve Round)

Black-necked Grebe: Farmoor, Oxon. (Photo: Steve Valentine) Black-necked Grebe: Farmoor, Oxon. (Photo: Steve Valentine)
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
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/
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/
Andrew Easton: http://home.clara.net/ammodytes/
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
Mark Newsome: http://www.whitburnbirding.co.uk
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
Simon Wilson: http://www.bakewellbirder.co.uk/
Chris Wormwell: http://www.iombirding.co.uk
Dylan Wrathall: http://www.planetthanet.org
Written by: Russell Slack