Review of the Week: 15th-21st July 2004

Fea's Petrel: (Photo: Ashley Fisher)

Late summer and early autumn Fea's Petrels are nowadays to be expected in British and Irish waters, so one passing Galley Head (Co. Cork) on Wednesday 21st will have come as little surprise to followers of rarity trends. Numerically, reports might be on the increase, but they are still one of the crown jewels for seawatchers. Seeing one on the other hand takes time, patience and a slice of luck, though 6 weeks' solid seawatching from mid-July perched on one of the Irish headlands or North Sea watchpoints might just yield the prize!

Seawatchers have provided much of the interest over the last week. A Wilson's Storm-petrel was noted past Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) on Wednesday 21st, and another was in The Minch (Highland) the same day, the latter quite a rarity in Scottish waters. A Little Shearwater was reported passing Pentire Head (Cornwall) on Friday 16th and both large shearwaters featured this week, though only in small numbers. Great Shearwaters were noted from the Scilly pelagic on Sunday 18th and Monday 19th (two birds) and in Co Cork, one passed Galley Head on Monday 19th, three likewise at Mizen Head on Tuesday 20th and four the same day at Cape Clear. As for Cory's Shearwater, 6 were seen from the Pembroke-Rosslare ferry on Sunday 18th, singles from the Scillonian crossing and Mizen Head on Tuesday 20th and birds past Cape Clear and Bridges of Ross on Wednesday 21st. Balearic Shearwaters crept into double-figures with one past Porthgwarra on Sunday 18th with five on Tuesday 20th, singles from the Scilly pelagic on Sunday 18th and Monday 19th, one past Galley Head on Monday 19th and two past Cape Clear on Tuesday 20th. Sooty Shearwaters are still scarce, with 11 reported during the week, 3 passing Rubha Ardvule, South Uist (Outer Hebrides) on Sunday 18th the maximum count. Tape-luring of European Storm-petrels is in full swing, with small numbers trapped so far in the North Sea and 220 trapped at Porthgwarra overnight on 17th/18th. An inland Manx Shearwater was found at Rutland Water (Leics) on Friday 16th, with two birds on 17th, both remaining through the weekend, with one found dead on 20th. Another was over Brockholes Quarry (Lancs) on 17th July.

European Storm-petrel: Filey, N. Yorks. (Photo: Darren AP Ward) Manx Shearwater: Rutland Water, Leics. (Photo: John Galletly)

White-rumped Sandpiper: Trimley Marshes, Suffolk. (Photo: Kit Day) Pectoral Sandpiper: Loch of Strathbeg, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Graham Morrice)

Not surprisingly, rare and scarce waders continued to feature on Bird News Extra through the week. Pick of the bunch was a summer-plumaged Pacific Golden Plover at Spurn (E. Yorks) on Friday 16th-17th, with back-up provided by a White-rumped Sandpiper at Trimley Marshes (Suffolk) on Thursday 15th and a Broad-billed Sandpiper inland at Aston-on-Trent GPs (Derbyshire) on Sunday 18th. The Exe Estuary Broad-billed Sandpiper from last week was relocated at Dawlish Warren (Devon) from Friday 16th-17th. A Red-necked Phalarope was at Breydon Water (Norfolk) on Thursday 15th. There were 9 Pectoral Sandpipers: two at Musselburgh (Lothian) from Thursday 15th onwards; East Chevington (Northumberland) from Thursday 15th onwards; Loch of Strathbeg (Aberdeenshire) from Friday 16th onwards; Dawlish Warren on Sunday 18th; Oare Marshes (Kent) on Sunday 18th; The Cunnigar (Waterford) from Monday 19th; Titchwell (Norfolk) from Tuesday 20th; and Dungeness (Kent) from Tuesday 20th. In addition, the long-staying Short-billed Dowitcher remains at Lady's Island Lake (Co. Wexford) and Long-billed Dowitcher likewise at Gibraltar Point (Lincs).

Ring-billed Gull: Little Marlow GPs, Bucks. (Photo: Marek Walford) Ring-billed Gull: Little Marlow GPs, Bucks. (Photo: Marek Walford)

Black Tern: Hanningfield Res, Essex. Summer-plumaged birds moult the throat and eye area first, followed by rest of the head and then the breast. (Photo: Ben Lewis) Yellow-legged Gull: Gormanstown, Co. Meath. Late summer numbers are starting to increase at favoured locations. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly)

A White-winged Black Tern was at Girton Pits (Notts) on Tuesday 20th and a small arrival of Black Terns was noted on Wednesday 21st with 14 located in the Midlands and East Anglia. An 'orange-billed tern' was reported from Wicklow Harbour (Co. Wicklow) on Thursday 15th and the 1st-summer Laughing Gull was reported from Lough Beg (Co. Cork) on Tuesday 20th. A 2nd-summer Ring-billed Gull was located at Little Marlow GPs (Bucks) on Friday 16th and others were on South Uist (Outer Hebrides) and Lough Beg (Co. Cork) during the week, plus the American Herring Gull is still present at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway). The Glossy Ibis remains at Berney Marshes (Norfolk) and 3 Purple Herons were reported heading west over Langham (Norfolk) on Wednesday 21st. The female Blue-winged Teal remains in residence at Trimley Marshes (Suffolk), the Lesser Scaup was again reported at Pennington Flash CP (Gtr Manchester), whilst a drake Surf Scoter was off Murcar (Aberdeenshire) on Thursday 15th.

Common Rosefinch: Hunmanby, N. Yorks. (Photo: Barry Byatt)

Scarce passerines remain at a premium. A male Black-headed Bunting was reported from Shoreham-by-Sea (W. Sussex) on Saturday 17th and a Hoopoe reported from Carsington Water (Derbyshire) on Tuesday 20th. News of a 1st-summer Woodchat Shrike present for a month or so at Kennard Moor (Somerset) filtered through and the bird is still present, a Marsh Warbler was trapped at Portland (Dorset) on Sunday 17th and up to two Serins have been seen on St. Mary's (Scilly). Finally, the Common Rosefinch remains at Hunmanby (N. Yorks).

Ruddy Shelduck: Port Carlisle, Cumbria. Over half-a-dozen birds were reported across Britain during the last week. (Photo: Tristan Reid) Blue-winged Teal: Trimley Marshes, Suffolk. If the upperwing pattern can be noted, females have a narrower greater covert bar than eclipse drakes. (Photo: Pete Merchant)

Spoonbill: Grove Ferry, Kent. 18 were noted in England, one in Wales and one in Ireland, with 10 at Trimley Marshes, Suffolk on 15th. (Photo: Dylan Wrathall) Black-tailed Godwit: Killinghome Pits, Lincs. Several three-figure gatherings were reported, including 700 on the Oare Marshes, Kent. (Photo: Russell Hayes)
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://www.nigelblake.co.uk
Will Bowell: http://www.geocities.com/wbowell/
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
Mark Caunt: Kit Day: http://angusbirding.homestead.com/
Kit Day: http://www.geocities.com/christophe_41/
Peter Hadfield: http://www.manxbirdphotography.co.uk
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
Jerry O'Brien: http://www.BirdsofBerkshire.co.uk
James Packer: http://www.somersetbirder.co.uk
Tristan Reid: http://www.solwaybirder.org.uk
Steve Round: http://stevenround-birdphotography.com
Tom Shevlin: http://wildlifesnaps.com/
Matt Slaymaker: http://www.freewebs.com/slaymaker
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
Chris Wormwell: http://www.iombirding.co.uk
Dylan Wrathall: http://www.planetthanet.org
Written by: Russell Slack