Review of the Week: 15th-21st February 2007


The week at a glance:

Pacific Diver: Penzance, Cornwall (photo: Lee Fuller).

Pacific Diver: Penzance, Cornwall (photo: Matthew Sallis).

This week yet another Pacific Diver was found, this time an adult at Penzance (Cornwall) from 21st onwards. This was supplemented by the 'rediscovery' of the juvenile at Llys-y-Fran Reservoir (Pembrokeshire) from the 17th onwards. If you were unable to go and see the Yorkshire bird, then you have yet another opportunity to enjoy this subtle rarity. Both the Cornish and Welsh birds are helping us to understand more about the variability of Pacific Diver; neither are as 'clear-cut' as the widely appreciated Yorkshire individual. As is often the case, vagrants further our knowledge of how to identify future birds, and both of the birds presently on offer are progressing us along the identification 'learning curve'. However, these birds do throw up some interesting questions. Are the trio of records thus far part of an exceptional influx, or have Pacific Divers simply been overlooked in the past and this is a species that we may expect to occur here on a regular basis? There are precedents of difficult-to-identify birds becoming much more regular once observers become familiar with what to look for, and with Pacific Diver it will be interesting to see how the stats progress in the coming years!

Ring-billed Gull: Westcliffe-on-Sea, Essex (photo: Steve Arlow).

A possible juvenile Thayer's Gull was seen briefly at Culmore Dump (Londonderry) on 20th, and will no doubt prove popular if it is relocated and confirmed. The 1st-winter Ross's Gull remained at Portavadie (Argyll), as did the adult Forster's Tern at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway). The adult Bonaparte's Gull was still at Ferryden (Angus/Dundee), with the 1st-winter again on St. Mary's (Scilly) and the adult in Co. Cork. Twenty Ring-billed Gulls continued their recent good showing, with six at Tivoli (Co. Cork). Several Kumlien's Gulls included birds in Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire and up to 20 Iceland Gulls remained at Nimmo's Pier with 11 at Dingle (Co. Kerry). Also at Nimmo's Pier the American Herring Gull was still to be found. A White-billed Diver was off Unst (Shetland) on 18th. Just two Little Auks were noted, singles still at Carbis Bay (Cornwall) and West Voe of Quarff (Shetland).

Black-eared Kite: Snettisham, Norfolk (photo: Karl S. Mainprize).

Black-eared Kite: Snettisham, Norfolk (photo: Karl S. Mainprize).

Snowy Owl: Termon Hill, Co. Mayo (photo: Bill Aspin).

White-tailed Eagle: Ballachuan, Argyll (photo: Bill Jackson).

On Lewis (Outer Hebrides) the long-staying male Snowy Owl was joined by a second male, whilst the long-staying bird at Termon Hill (Co. Mayo) was still on offer. In Norfolk the Black-eared Kite could still be found in the Snettisham area, apart from a brief sortie across the Wash to Gibraltar Point (Lincs) on the 17th. In Kent the wintering Rough-legged Buzzard was still on the Isle of Sheppey and others were at Thorpe Marshes (Norfolk) and Colne Point (Essex). A White-tailed Eagle at Loch of Strathbeg (Aberdeenshire) on 21st was presumably a continental bird. The Glossy Ibis reappeared in Lancashire from 15th onwards frequenting an area near Lytham St. Anne's and was presumably the same bird last seen in mid-December. In Devon the Cattle Egret remained at Otterton and a Great White Egret was reported from Warton Bank (Lancs) on 17th. Spoonbills were into double figures, with up to seven still in Poole Harbour (Dorset) and one on Whalsay Shetland) the most notable.

Glossy Ibis: Lytham St. Anne's, Lancashire (photo: Andy Booth).

Long-billed Dowitcher: Inland Sea, Anglesey (photo: Mike Atkinson).

Long-billed Dowitcher: Inland Sea, Anglesey (photo: Mike Atkinson).

Spotted Sandpiper: Hayle Estuary, Cornwall (photo: Lee Fuller).

The Long-billed Dowitcher was again on the Inland Sea (Anglesey) from 16th onwards, whilst long-staying birds remained at the Oare Marshes (Kent) and Dundalk (Co. Louth). The wintering Spotted Sandpiper continued to show on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall), as did the Lesser Yellowlegs at Rosscarbery (Co. Cork).

Waxwing: Nottingham, Notts (photo: Darren Chapman).

Black-throated Thrush: Rothesay, Bute (photo: John Anderson).

Black-throated Thrush: Rothesay, Bute (photo: John Anderson).

Black-throated Thrush: Rothesay, Bute (photo: John Anderson).

The cracking Black-throated Thrush remained at Rothesay (Bute), as did the Little Bunting at Amwell GPs (Herts) and Penduline Tit at Rainham Marshes (London). Half-a-dozen Yellow-browed Warblers included two each in Hampshire and Cornwall and singles in Dorset and Devon, and the two wintering Siberian Chiffchaffs were still at Kempsey (Worcs). Several Great Grey Shrikes were reported from the New Forest (Hampshire) and others were at Eddeston (Highland), Parkend (Glos) and Perthcelyn (Glamorgan). The largest Waxwing flocks were 50 each at Skelton (Cleveland) and Cramlington (Northumbs). Four Shore Larks remained at Coldharbour (Kent), as did singletons at Cresswell (Northumbs) and inland at Holmfield (W. Yorks). In East Anglia flocks were still at Cley and Caister-on-Sea. Four single Lapland Buntings included one at Kilcoole (Co. Wexford) and others at three east-coast locations.

Waxwing: Skelton, Cleveland (photo: Bekie Spark). Great Grey Shrike: Perthcelyn, Glamorgan (photo: Jeff Slocombe).
Surf Scoter: Largo Bay, Fife (photo: John Nadin). Surf Scoter: Penzance, Cornwall (photo: Matthew Sallis).

Red-breasted Goose: Sinah Lake, Hants (photo: George Spraggs).

Rare ducks included a Black Duck at Ventry (Co. Kerry) on 21st, plus a King Eider off Sandwick (Shetland). The drake Barrow's Goldeneyes remained in Forth and Co. Down, as did the Black Scoter in Conwy and female Bufflehead in Co. Clare. Lesser Scaup included four birds on the Outer Hebrides, a 1st-winter drake at Cotswold WP (Wilts/Glos), and others at Loch Leven (Perth/Kinross), Sonning Eye (Oxon), Clea Lakes (Co. Down) and Caerlaverock (Dumfries and Galloway). The female Ferruginous Ducks were still at Elstow GPs (Beds) and New Hythe GPs (Kent) and there were 15 Ring-necked Ducks reported. Four Surf Scoters were in the Sound of Taransay (Outer Hebrides), singles in Pembrokeshire, Co. Kerry and Fife, plus the two long-staying birds in Devon and Cornwall. There were nine Green-winged Teal and seven American Wigeon. The white- and blue-morph Snow Geese remained at North Slob (Co. Wexford) as did the Taverner's Canada Goose in Dumfries and Galloway and Richardson's Canada Goose in Northumberland and the Red-breasted Goose in Dorset/Hampshire.

Grey Heron and Water Rail: Parkgate, Cheshire (photo: AEBS Limited).

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: Whitacre Heath, Warks (photo: Jon Hall).

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: Whitacre Heath, Warks (photo: Jon Hall).

Nuthatch: Eastham, Cheshire (photo: Richard Steel).

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://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://www.severnsidebirds.co.uk
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/
John Coveney: http://www.clarebirdwatching.com/index.php
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
Ian Fulton: http://www.pbase.com/ianfulton
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