Review of the Week: 14th–20th September 2006


The week at a glance:

Wilson's Phalarope: Walmsley Sanctuary, Cornwall (photo: Phil Stidwill).

Least Sandpiper: Hayle Estuary, Cornwall (photo: Mike Barker).

Wilson's Phalarope: Walmsley Sanctuary, Cornwall (photo: Adrian Langdon). Least Sandpiper: Hayle Estuary, Cornwall (photo: Colin Selway).

Birders were able to continue gorging themselves on Nearctic waders as the range of species on offer broadened to twelve species. Pick of the bunch was a juvenile Least Sandpiper on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) from 17th onwards. A Wilson's Phalarope was at Walmsley Sanctuary (Cornwall) from 14th-16th, with presumably the same at Stithians Reservoir (Cornwall) from 17th onwards. A juvenile Western Sandpiper was reported from Keyhaven Marshes (Hants) on 20th, at which site the Semipalmated Sandpiper remained; two Semipalmated Sandpipers were still at Smerwick (Co. Kerry) and another on South Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 15th.

Dotterel: Porthgwarra, Cornwall (photo: Mike Barker).

Lesser Yellowlegs: Meikle Loch, Aberdeens (photo: Mark Caunt).

Pectoral Sandpiper: Dun's Dish, Angus/Dundee (photo: Mark Caunt).

Long-billed Dowitcher: Gibraltar Point, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

White-rumped Sandpiper: Tacumshin, Co. Wexford (photo: Eric Dempsey).

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: Tacumshin, Co. Wexford (photo: John Gallagher).

A smorgasbord of back-up quality waders were also on offer, the majority in southern Ireland and the southwest. A White-rumped Sandpiper at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) was one of five species of Nearctic wader seen at the site, with Baird's Sandpiper there from 14th-18th and other Baird's seen at Carrahane (Co. Kerry) on 16th, Cross Lough (Co. Mayo) from 18th-19th and one at St. John's Lake (Cornwall) on 20th. Three Lesser Yellowlegs included birds at Dundrum Bay (Co. Down), Lough Beg (Co. Cork) and Loch of Strathbeg/Meikle Loch (Aberdeenshire). The Spotted Sandpiper remained at Nethertown (Co. Wexford) and another was at Sutton Bingham Reservoir (Somerset) on 18th. Five American Golden Plovers included brief birds at Ferriter's Cove (Co. Kerry), Ballycotton (Co. Cork), Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) and Lewis (Outer Hebrides) and another was at Pagham Harbour (W. Sussex). The semi-resident Long-billed Dowitchers remained at Gibraltar Point (Lincs) and Shannon Airport (Co. Clare) and around 50 Pectoral Sandpipers were reported, including several multiple reports. An impressive 30 Buff-breasted Sandpipers included 6 at Tacumshin and 5 at Ardivachar Point, S. Uist (Outer Hebrides). Three Temminck's Stints included singles at Blacktoft Sands (E. Yorks), Grove Ferry (Kent) and Meare Heath (Somerset) and a Kentish Plover was reported from Church Norton (W. Sussex) on 14th. Up to 8 Dotterel included some typically obliging birds, a Red-necked Phalarope was at Ferrybridge (Dorset) on 20th and 7 Grey Phalaropes were noted from seawatches.

Red-breasted Flycatcher: Burnham Overy, Norfolk (photo: Marc Read).

Wryneck: Warham Greens, Norfolk (photo: Will Bowell).

Greenish Warbler: Cape Clear, Co. Cork (photo: Michael O'Keefe).

An easterly drift over the weekend brought a number of scarce migrants to the east coast, with Norfolk and the Northern Isles faring well. Fair Isle (where else?) accommodated two Lanceolated Warblers on 15th, plus a Pechora Pipit from 15th-20th and a Yellow-breasted Bunting from 15th-16th. An exceptionally early Olive-backed Pipit was there on 18th, with Aquatic Warbler on 16th and Red-throated Pipit on 18th thrown in for good measure, with this magical island at its best. Another Pechora Pipit was on Fetlar (Shetland) on 18th. Three Blyth's Reed Warblers turned up during the weekend period, with one trapped at Gibraltar Point (Lincs) on 16th and birds seen 'in the field' at Auchmithie (Angus/Dundee) from 16th-18th and another at Skateraw (Lothian) on 17th. A Booted Warbler was on Fetlar (Shetland) on 18th and an Arctic Warbler on St. Agnes (Scilly) from 18th-19th. Citrine Wagtails were on Out Skerries (Shetland) on 15th and site of the week Tacumshin from 16th-17th. Back on the Northern Isles, a Black-headed Bunting was at Toab (Shetland) from 16th-19th and a Siberian Stonechat on Whalsay (Shetland) on 18th.

Aquatic Warbler: Fair Isle, Shetland (photo: Deryk Shaw).

Red-backed Shrike: Thorney Island, W. Sussex (photo: Richard Ford).

There was plenty of support for the rarer species. An early Richard's Pipit was at Selsey Bill (W. Sussex) on 14th, then several others followed in Norfolk; a Tawny Pipit was at Blakeney Point (Norfolk) on 14th with another at Tacumshin on 19th. A Little Bunting was reported from Snettisham (Norfolk) on 15th and another at Dale of Walls (Shetland) on 18th and a Short-toed Lark was on Bardsey (Gwynedd) from 19th-20th. The Subalpine Warbler remained on Bryher (Scilly) to 15th and Greenish Warblers were on Cape Clear (Co. Cork) from 14th-19th and Isle of Noss (Shetland) on 17th. An early Great Grey Shrike was at Burnham Overy (Norfolk) from 16th-18th, Woodchat Shrikes were still on St. Mary's, Lundy (Devon) and Fair Isle, and around 20 Red-backed Shrikes were reported. In the region of 20 Barred Warblers were logged, mostly on Shetland; also 40 Wrynecks, 12 Red-breasted Flycatchers and nearly 30 Yellow-browed Warblers. There were 15 Common Rosefinches, 6 Ortolan Buntings, three each of Icterine Warblers and Marsh Warblers and four Melodious Warblers. Two Rose-coloured Starlings were on Cape Clear and a Golden Oriole on Bardsey. The Red-rumped Swallow remained at Hoswick (Shetland) and another at Porth Joke (Cornwall) on 15th. A Pallid Swift was reported over Skye (Highland) on 15th and two Bee-eaters over Canterbury (Kent) on 16th.

Yellow-browed Warbler: Marsden Quarry, Durham (photo: Mark Newsome). Rose-coloured Starling: Cape Clear, Co. Cork (photo: Owen Foley).

Bonaparte's Gull: Newbiggin, Northumbs (photo: Craig Shaw).

A 2nd-winter Laughing Gull roosted at Hillfield Park Reservoir (Herts) on 19th and 20th, whilst the adult Bonaparte's Gull remained at Newbiggin (Northumbs) and another was in Co. Kerry at Inch and Kilshannig. An inland Sabine's Gull at Audenshaw Reservoirs (Gtr Manchester) from 14th-15th was notable and the only seawatching count of note was 116 Great Shearwaters past Annagh Head (Co. Mayo) on 19th. A White-winged Black Tern was at Lee Valley CP (Essex) on 14th and another at Whittle Dene Reservoirs (Northumbs) from 19th-20th.

White-winged Black Tern: Long Eaton, Derbys (photo: Darren Chapman).

Great White Egret: Tetney Marshes, Lincs (photo: Steve Smith). Night Heron: Weir Wood Reservoir, E. Sussex (photo: Mark Trott).

On Scilly the Eleonora's Falcon, now considered to be a pale-morph bird, tantalized observers over St. Mary's on 14th, 15th and 18th, but refused to yield itself to the masses. Continuing the rare raptor theme, a Lesser Kestrel was reported at Little Marlow GPs (Bucks) on 17th. A Sooty Tern reported passing off Landguard (Suffolk) on 14th was also reported passing Frinton-on-Sea (Essex) and a possible was reported past Hurlstone Point (Somerset) on 17th. A Glossy Ibis was at Swadlincote (Derbys) from 17th-18th, then over Burton upon Trent (Staffs) on 18th and presumably the same at Martin Mere (Lancs) on 20th. The Snowy Owl maintained its presence on Termon Hill (Co. Mayo), a Black Kite was reported over West Linton (Borders) on 15th and a male Red-footed Falcon was reported from Winsley Hill (Wiltshire) on 19th. Several Great White Egrets were reported, but only the long-staying bird at Tetney Marshes (Lincs) was on offer; two Cattle Egrets remained in Dorset as did the Night Heron at Weir Wood Reservoir (E. Sussex). Six Spotted Crakes were noted, mostly long-staying birds from earlier in the autumn, and the White Stork remained in Durham/Cleveland. A Ferruginous Duck was on Chasewater (Staffs) on 17th and two were at Chew Valley (Somerset). Other rare ducks included a Lesser Scaup at Pine Lake (Lancs), Ring-necked Duck at Avonmouth (Somerset) and the American Wigeon at Cardiff Bay (Glamorgan). Six Surf Scoters included a reported flock of 5 in Findhorn bay (Moray/Nairn).

Little Gull: Sizewell, Suffolk (photo: Sean Nixon).

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

Snipe: Kirkby on Bain, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

Bar-tailed Godwit: Titchwell, Norfolk (photo: Richard Bedford).

Bearded Tit: Titchwell, Norfolk (photo: Richard Bedford).

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