Review of the Week: 15th-21st December 2005


The week at a glance:

Penduline Tit: Rainham Marshes, London (photo: Lynne Demaine). Penduline Tit: Rainham Marshes, London (photo: Sean Nixon).

Penduline Tit: Rainham Marshes, London (photo: Lynne Demaine). Penduline Tit: Rainham Marshes, London (photo: Sean Nixon).

At Rainham Marshes (Greater London), birdwatchers watching the Sociable Lapwing stumbled across one, then three, Penduline Tits on 18th, with four present the following day and possibly up to six reported on-site. Birds were still present on subsequent days but note that there is no access to the site until New Year's Day. Multiple sightings in Britain are not unprecedented but six birds would certainly represent a significant gathering of these gorgeous birds.

Sociable Lapwing: Rainham Marshes, London (photo: Fraser Simpson). Sociable Lapwing: Rainham Marshes, London (photo: Alan Gilbertson).

On Shetland, the BrĂ¼nnich's Guillemot remained at Lerwick to 15th, before going missing until it was again relocated on 20th, much to the chagrin of those who had undertaken a weekend expedition to see this obliging individual. In Greater London, the 1st-winter Sociable Lapwing remained at Rainham Marshes to at least 20th. As might be expected, given mild conditions at this time of year, new arrivals were at a premium. A Cattle Egret at Pagham Harbour (West Sussex) from 16th-20th was an addition to the tally for an excellent number of sightings this year. Less obliging were an Arctic Redpoll reported from Aberlady Bay (Lothian) on 19th and a Kentish Plover reported from West Mersea (Essex) the same day. A Northern Long-tailed Tit was reported from Cowfold (West Sussex) on 20th. Long-staying rarities included the Hume's Leaf Warbler in Church Ravine, Filey (North Yorkshire) throughout the week and the generally elusive Forster's Tern in Galway (Co. Galway). In Norfolk, the Little Bunting remained at Morston and has been present since mid-October.

Shore Lark: Ramsgate, Kent (photo: Dylan Wrathall). Waxwing: Tetney, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

The Yellow-browed Warbler remained at Clennon Valley (Devon), with others found at Broadsands (Devon) from 17th, Newbury (Berks) on 17th, Bodmin (Cornwall) on 19th and Lound Water Works (Suffolk) on 21st. The only Richard's Pipit during the week was one at Polgigga (Cornwall) on 20th. Ten Great Grey Shrikes continued the poor midwinter showing. Three of these were in the New Forest (Hants) with singles at Caistor (Lincs), Soham (Cambs), Berrick Prior (Oxon), Weather Heath (Suffolk), Catholme (Staffs), Walton-on-Trent (Derbys) and Fenn's Moss (Clwyd). Chiffchaffs considered to show features of Siberian Chiffchaff were reported from Weybourne (Norfolk) and Upton-upon-Severn (Worcs). The only Lapland Buntings reported were in Lincolnshire where four were noted at three locations, though a slight increase in Shore Larks took the weeks total to 13. These included 6 at Holkham (Norfolk), 3 at Great Yarmouth (Norfolk), singles at Ramsgate (Kent) and Minsmere (Suffolk) and two at East Newton (E. Yorks). Waxwing numbers showed little variation from previous weeks, with peak counts being 80 in Sheffield (S. Yorks) and 80 at Port Clarence (Cleveland).

Laughing Gull: Glaslyn Marshes, Gwynedd (photo: Matt Latham). Laughing Gull: Glaslyn Marshes, Gwynedd (photo: Matt Latham).
Laughing Gull: Porthcawl, Glamorgan (photo: Wayne Morris). Laughing Gull: Brixham, Devon (photo: Phil Stidwill).
Iceland Gull: Grimsby, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades). Iceland Gull: Grimsby, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).
Iceland Gull: Ayr, Ayrs Iceland Gull: Belfast, Co. Antrim (photo: Derek Charles).

The recent influx of Laughing Gulls continued to provide motivation for gull watchers, providing Staffordshire with its first-ever record through a brief bird at Westport Lake on 17th. A possible was reported from Escomb Lake (Durham) on 18th, on which day the Berkshire bird again put in an appearance, this time at Moatland's GP and another was at Ayr (Ayrshire) on 19th. A 1st-winter was in Dingle (Co. Kerry) on 15th, another at North Bull Island (Co.Dublin) from 17th and two at Polgigga (Cornwall) on 19th. Long-stayers included birds at Porthcawl (Glamorgan), Glaslyn Marshes (Gwynedd), Brixham (Devon) and Waterside (Co. Galway). The 2nd-winter Kumlien's Gull was again at Culmore Dump (L'derry) from 15th-16th and a 1st-winter American Herring Gull was at Cobh (Co. Cork) on 17th with a possible 2nd-winter at Sennen Cove (Cornwall). Around 16 Ring-billed Gulls were reported, including three at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway). Caspian Gulls retained a high profile with at least 35 detected, including a superb gathering of seven at Dungeness (Kent) on 16th. White-winged gulls remained in short supply, with 13 Glaucous Gulls and 16 Iceland Gulls, including several on Lewis (Outer Hebrides).

Ring-billed Gull: Bull Island, Co. Dublin (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

American Golden Plover: Northam Burrows, Devon (photo: Andrew Cunningham).

American Golden Plover: Northam Burrows, Devon (photo: Andrew Cunningham). American Golden Plover: Northam Burrows, Devon (photo: Andrew Cunningham).

An American Golden Plover was at Northam Burrows CP (Devon) from 20th onwards, and in Cornwall the 1st-winter Long-billed Dowitcher remained on the Hayle Estuary, as did the Lesser Yellowlegs at White's Marsh, Clonakilty (Co. Cork). A Grey Phalarope was off Filey Brigg (N. Yorks) on 16th and another off Salthouse/Cley (Norfolk) on 19th. The White-billed Diver remained off Kirkabister (Shetland) and there were still only two Rough-legged Buzzards in the country, with singles on Harty Marshes (Kent) and Fetlar (Shetland).

Taverner's Canada Goose: Caerlaverock, Dumfries and Galloway (photo: John Anderson). Lesser Scaup: Kilbirnie Loch, Ayrshire (photo: Brian Orr).
Aythya hybrid: Hornsea Mere, E. Yorks This bird was initially thought to be a Redhead, but is actually a hybrid, presumably with Red-crested Pochard parentage. (photo: Garry Taylor). Aythya hybrid: Hornsea Mere, E. Yorks (photo: Garry Taylor).
Aythya hybrid: Pugney's CP, W. Yorks Another hybrid, but this time one resembling a drake Ferruginous Duck. (photo: Martin Garner). Aythya hybrid: Pugney's CP, W. Yorks (photo: Martin Garner).
Green-winged Teal: Holme, Norfolk (photo: Ray Roche). Green-winged Teal: Bull Island, Co. Dublin (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

The Taverner's Canada Goose remained at Caerlaverock (Dumfries and Galloway) as did the white-morph Snow Goose at Guardbridge (Fife). A number of Black Brants continued to be reported between Lincolnshire and the south coast including three at Admiralty Point (Norfolk) and one was at Blennerville (Co. Kerry). The Taiga Bean Goose flock at Cantley Marshes (Norfolk) increased to 166 birds and a singleton was at Low Newton (Northumbs), whilst 4 Tundra Bean Geese were still at North Warren (Suffolk) and another at Holkham (Norfolk). A Yorkshire Redhead sparked a fair deal of interest on 17th until it was re-identified as a hybrid, the parentage probably involving a Red-crested Pochard - similar to one in Suffolk last winter. The drake Barrow's Goldeneye remained at Quoile Pondage (Co. Down) as did the Black Scoter offshore at Llanfairfechan (Conwy) and Blue-winged Teal at Bull Island (Co. Dublin). The 1st-winter drake King Eider was still in Bluemull Sound (Shetland) and the only Surf Scoters were two in Burghead Bay (Moray/Nairn). Lesser Scaup remained in situ at Drift Reservoir (Cornwall), Kilbirnie Loch (Ayrshire), Loch Barvas, Lewis (Outer Hebrides) and Hornsea Mere (E. Yorks) and a probable female was at Loch Leathan (Argyll). Ten Ring-necked Ducks were reported, and the drake Ferruginous Duck remained in Staffordshire as did the female at New Hythe GPs (Kent). There were 10 Green-winged Teals at large and five American Wigeon including a 'new' bird at Loch of Strathbeg (Aberdeenshire) with more familiar birds on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall), Roadford Reservoir (Devon), Angle Bay (Pembrokeshire) and Wick (Highland).

Hawfinch: Wyre Forest, Worcs (photo: John Robinson).

Hawfinch: Wyre Forest, Worcs (photo: John Robinson). Hawfinch: Wyre Forest, Worcs (photo: John Robinson).
Black Redstart: Hereford, Herefs (photo: George Ewart). Snow Bunting: Hayling Island, Hants (photo: George Spraggs).
Mediterranean Gull: Grimsby, Lincs (photo: Matt Latham). Mediterranean Gull: Grimsby, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).
Slavonian Grebe: Fairhaven Lake, Lancs (photo: Sue Tranter). Slavonian Grebe: Fairhaven Lake, Lancs (photo: Sue Tranter).
Short-eared Owl: Hanging Houghton, Northants (photo: Kenneth Plows). Tawny Owl: Rowlands Gill, Durham (photo: Steven Fryer).
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/
Andrew Easton: http://home.clara.net/ammodytes/
Graham Eaton: http://www.eatonphotography.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
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
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
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