Review of the Week: 15th-21st June 2006


The week at a glance:

Scops Owl: Thrupp, Oxon (photo: Ashley Banwell).

The territorial Scops Owl in Oxfordshire continued to be a major draw during the week attracting visitors from near and far. Recalling the Dummer (Hants) record of 1980, this popular bird has entertained birders, local residents and the media, though it can be elusive at times.

Great Reed Warbler: Sandwich Bay, Kent (photo: Dave McIntosh).
Bee-eater: Yell, Shetland (photo: Dougie Preston).
Red-backed Shrike: Burnham Overy, Norfolk (photo: Dave Hockey). Red-backed Shrike: Burnham Overy, Norfolk (photo: Dave Hockey).

A possible River Warbler was heard, but not seen, on Fair Isle (Shetland) on 15th, whilst the Great Reed Warbler remained in residence at Loch of Kinnordy (Angus/Dundee) and another was at Sandwich Bay (Kent) on 15th. As would be expected passerine interest was relatively quiet, but there were enough scattered reports to ensure that rarity-finders had not yet had enough of bashing the coastal fields and bushes. The Short-toed Lark was still on Fair Isle on 17th and an Ortolan Bunting was at Port Eynon Point (Glamorgan) briefly on 18th. In a poor summer for the species so far, a belated report of a gaudy Rose-coloured Starling at Eastfield (N. Yorks) on 4th and 5th June was of interest, and kaleidoscopic Bee-eaters were at Yell (Shetland) from 19th-20th and briefly over Titchfield Haven (Hants) and Bockhill Farm (Kent). Seven Red-backed Shrikes included five between Norfolk and Shetland, plus singles in Dorset and Gloucestershire. Migrant Golden Orioles were accounted for by singles at North Benfleet (Essex) and Reighton Sands (N. Yorks) and a trio of Marsh Warblers included one at Rutland Water (Leicestershire).

Laughing Gull: Unst, Shetland (photo: G. Bullivant).

Laughing Gull: Unst, Shetland (photo: G. Bullivant). Laughing Gull: Unst, Shetland (photo: G. Bullivant).

An elusive Whiskered Tern was at Gibraltar Point (Lincs) on 20th and 21st, whilst White-winged Black Terns paused briefly at Snettisham (Norfolk) on 19th and Harris (Outer Hebrides) on 16th. A Gull-billed Tern passed Worthing (W. Sussex) on 21st and the yellow-billed tern remained at Cemlyn (Anglesey). Seawatchers logged the first Cory's Shearwater of the year on 20th with singles past Cape Clear and Ballycotton (Co. Cork), whilst a scatter of Balearic Shearwaters were seen in Cornish waters and three Sooty Shearwaters passed Brandon Head (Co. Kerry). The latter also accounted for an early land-based sighting of Wilson's Storm-petrels with two passing on 21st, though more expected was a single from the Scilly pelagic on 16th followed by an impressive 8 on the 18th. Three Pomarine Skuas passed Brownstown Head (Co. Waterford) on 18th and another at Mother Ivey's Bay (Cornwall) on 21st. A Laughing Gull was on Unst (Shetland) on 19th, with a Ring-billed Gull still on Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 20th and 21st and four well-spread Glaucous Gulls were noted plus an Iceland Gull on Fair Isle. A White-billed Diver was reported from Gairloch (Highland) three times during the week.

Night Heron: Tacumshin, Co. Wexford (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).
Spoonbill: Rutland Water, Leics (photo: Andy Booth). Spoonbill: Walthamstow Reservoirs, London (photo: Fraser Simpson).

It was a good week for herons and storks, though few were on offer to the masses. A Black Stork passed over the Alford (Lincs) on 20th and three White Storks included one still on the Isle of Man on 20th. A Squacco Heron was at Shapwick Heath (Somerset) on 17th and early on 18th, whilst the Night Heron remained at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) through the week. In Lincolnshire, the 'county of the moment' for rarities, a Purple Heron was at Messingham Sand Quarry on 17th and perhaps the same at Huttoft Bank Pit on 20th. The only rare egret of the week was a Great White Egret reported from the Montrose Basin (Angus/Dundee) on 16th. It's still a tad early for those rare waders to start turning up, but the Marsh Sandpiper remained at Dungeness RSPB (Kent) to 15th and the Lesser Yellowlegs continued to grace Gibraltar Point (Lincs) through the week. The pair of Black-winged Stilts were still at Martin Mere (Lancs), though reports from the reserve suggest their breeding attempt has probably failed, and one passed over Samlesbury (Lancs) on 21st. Two Red-necked Phalaropes were seen briefly on 20th with singles at Hauxley NR (Northumbs) and Forfar Loch (Angus/Dundee).

Lesser Yellowlegs: Gibraltar Point, Lincs (photo: Dave Hockey).

Red-necked Phalarope: Fetlar, Shetland (photo: Micky Maher).
Curlew Sandpiper: Steart, Somerset (photo: James Packer).

A Snowy Owl was a surprise find at Scourie (Highland) on 19th and a possible dark-morph Gyr Falcon was over North Uist (Outer Hebrides) the same day. The Red-footed Falcon frequented Marston Vale Millennium CP (Beds) to 16th and others were seen on 17th at Budby (Notts) and St. Ishmael's (Pembrokeshire). Four Black Kites were typical fly-overs. The King Eider continued its stay in Ayrshire, a Surf Scoter was off Lossiemouth (Moray/Nairn), Ring-necked Ducks were at Vane Farm (Pert) and Avonmouth (Somerset) and a drake Green-winged Teal was still at Inner Marsh Farm (Cheshire), with the drake American Wigeon in Cardiff Bay (Glamorgan).

Nightjar: Teddington, London (photo: Andrew Moon).
Woodlark: Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).
Puffin: Farne Islands, Northumbs (photo: Richard Bedford).
Common Redstart: Llandrindod Wells, Powys (photo: Kev Joynes).
Whinchat: Withen's Clough, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).
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: 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