Review of the Week: 15th–21st January 2004

Dusky Warbler: Taunton, Somerset. Three have been found during the winter so far. Wintering 'sibes' appear to be becoming a much more frequent event in recent times. (Photo: Paul Bowyer)

It was generally a quiet week in the continued mild weather, but birds are still there to be found. The presence of an impressive array of autumn vagrants wintering in the country continues to be exposed with several newly detected birds. A Dusky Warbler was present at Polgigga (Cornwall) from Saturday 17th to the 18th at least and supplements the two other wintering birds at Taunton (Somerset) and Paignton (Devon). Wintering birds used to be unheard of, but the past decade has provided a number of birds doing just that, the majority in the southwest.

Penduline Tit: Slapton Ley, Devon. Present since late December; although initially elusive, it has been showing daily since the 15th. (Photo: Andy Warr) Penduline Tit: Slapton Ley, Devon. This is the 2nd county record following one at the same site in October 1996. (Photo: Andy Warr)

Penduline Tit: Slapton Ley, Devon. (Photo: Richard Jackson) Penduline Tit: Slapton Ley, Devon. (Photo: Paul Bowyer)
Baltimore Oriole: Headington, Oxfordshire. Present since at least 14th December 2003, this 1st-winter male appears to have made his final appearance on the 16th. (Photo: Paul Bowyer)

A Little Bunting was at Newborough Warren (Anglesey) on Wednesday 21st, and there were still half-a-dozen Yellow-browed Warblers in southern England along with Hume's Warblers still at Fairlop CP (London) and Caernarfon (Gwynedd). A Richard's Pipit was at Lansallos (Cornwall) on Sunday 18th but there were no reports of the bird in Glamorgan during the week. The cracking male Penduline Tit performed well at times for visitors to Slapton Ley (Devon) and 4 Rose-coloured Starlings were reported, with long-stayers in Co. Antrim and Scilly with a 1st-winter in Penzance (Cornwall) from Saturday 17th onwards and another in Cobh (Co. Cork) from Monday 19th onwards. The American Robins at Godrevy (Cornwall) and Grimsby (Lincs) continue to delight birders and digiscopers alike, but it would appear that the Baltimore Oriole in Headington (Oxfordshire) sadly put in his last performance on Friday 16th. News of a Turtle Dove at Mereworth (Kent) since December was notable, and proved that not all wintering 'Turtle Doves' are Rufous Turtle Doves!

Ring-necked Duck: Gwent Levels, Gwent. So far records have been relatively few and far between this winter, with the majority in Ireland. (Photo: Richard Newton) Green-winged Teal: Buckenham Marshes, Norfolk. 13 during the week included 3 together at Vane Farm RSPB, Perth (Photo: R. McIntyre)

Spoonbill: Bowling Green Marsh, Devon. Nine during the week were all in the southwest, with the exception of one in Lancs. (Photo: Andy Warr) Glossy Ibis: Bowling Green Marsh, Devon. This bird looks in no hurry to go anywhere and is well and truly on the year-lister's itinerary. (Photo: Andy Warr)

Cackling Canada Goose: Farlington Marshes, Hants. An attractive bird that is relatively common in captivity and most are presumed to be escapes. Breeding in western Alaska and wintering in California, a true vagrant is a bit of a long shot, but not impossible, but it would ideally need to be ringed. (Photo: Bob Chapman) Richardson's Canada Goose: Caerlaverock, Dumfries and Galloway. Breeding in Arctic Canada and wintering on the Gulf Coast of Texas and Mexico, Richardson's is the most likely (and frequent) of the vagrant Canada Geese to reach our shores. (Photo: Allan Sumner)

A 1st-winter male King Eider was at Laxfirth (Shetland) on Tuesday 20th and the drake remains at Loch Ryan (Dumfries and Galloway). Other rare ducks comprised 4 Lesser Scaups, 5 Ring-necked Ducks, 4 Ferruginous Ducks, 7 American Wigeons, 13 Green-winged Teals and 9 Surf Scoters, including 4 together in the Sound of Taransay (Outer Hebrides). On Shetland the American Coot remains at Lerwick whilst at the other end of the country the Glossy Ibis continues to extend its stay in Devon. The Lesser Yellowlegs is still present on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) and the Forster's Tern likewise at Nimmo's Pier (Galway). Fare for gull-watchers was still in relatively short supply, but adult Kumlien's Gulls were on Benbecula (Outer Hebrides) and again at Calne (Wilts) and 13 Ring-billed Gulls were reported. There were 23 Balearic Shearwaters off St. Ives (Cornwall) on Monday 19th but there was little else to distract gazers at the sea elsewhere.

Common Crane: Newton Marsh, Cumbria. A rare species away from the regular Norfolk population during the winter. (Photo: Tristan Reid) Common Crane: Newton Marsh, Cumbria. This is the same bird that was around the Campfield Marsh area last summer/autumn, but illustrates that if a Crane can go undetected, what else can? (Photo: Tristan Reid)
Bittern: Potteric Carr, S. Yorks. With a cold spell forecast, there could be opportunity to view this elusive species when birds are forced away from their daytime haunts. (Photo: Brian Irvine) Water Rail: Conwy RSPB, Conwy. Not a rarity, but another species susceptible to the cold weather, during which times superb views can often be had. (Photo: Sue Tranter)
Written by: Russell Slack