Review of the Week: 16th-22nd December 2004


Happy Christmas to everyone from all of us at BirdGuides.

Sora: Attenborough NR, Notts. (Photo: Kit Day)

Sora: Attenborough NR, Notts. (Photo: John Malloy) Sora: Attenborough NR, Notts. (Photo: Dean Eades)

Sora: Attenborough NR, Notts. (Photo: Steve Valentine) Sora: Attenborough NR, Notts. (Photo: John Dickenson)

It was pretty much 'as you were' for rarity enthusiasts this week. In Nottinghamshire the adult Sora continued to show superbly on occasion for visitors to Attenborough NR. Similarly, the Desert Lesser Whitethroat was still present in Aberdeen during the week and the exilipes Arctic Redpoll at Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk) remains a star attraction for visitors to the county. In Suffolk the Dusky Warbler is still at Kessingland and the individual at Bawdsey was last reported on the 18th. The Blyth's Pipit continues to entertain at Land's End (Cornwall) but the Richard's Pipit at Mereclough (Lancs) was last reported on 19th. In Aberdeenshire the 1st-winter male Bluethroat has not let all the media attention go to his head and is still at Loch of Strathbeg. and in Devon there are two Yellow-browed Warblers on MOD land near Plymouth. Several Siberian Chiffchaffs were claimed, one of which was trapped on Bardsey Island (Gwynedd), and Great Grey Shrikes were just into double figures. The record-breaking Waxwing influx continues to provide entertainment for large numbers of observers, and small numbers of Northern Bullfinches were detected inland.

Arctic Redpoll: Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk. (Photo: Kit Day) Arctic Redpoll: Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk. (Photo: Kit Day)

Arctic Redpoll: Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk. (Photo: Josh Jones) Arctic Redpoll: Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk. (Photo: Becky Searle)

Bluethroat: Loch of Strathbeg, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: T Keith Bruce) Bluethroat: Loch of Strathbeg, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: T Keith Bruce)

Desert Lesser Whitethroat: Aberdeenshire, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Chris Jones) Desert Lesser Whitethroat: Aberdeenshire, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Ian Broadbent)

A white Gyr Falcon was noted at Balranald (Outer Hebrides) on Tuesday 21st and another again at Loch Gruinart (Argyll) on 20th. On Shetland a Dark-breasted Barn Owl was at Reawick on Saturday 18th. A Night Heron was at Bockhill Farm (Kent) on Monday 20th. A Great White Egret was on the Grain Foreshore (Kent) on 19th and in Hampshire one was still at Mockbeggar Lakes early in the week and Harbridge on 19th. In Norfolk the Lesser Yellowlegs remained at Stiffkey and was another another important component of a weekend birding trip to the county for most.

Lesser Yellowlegs: Stiffkey, Norfolk. (Photo: Chris Mayne)

Ivory Gull: Kyle of Tongue, Highland. (Photo: William Sutherland) Ivory Gull: Kyle of Tongue, Highland. (Photo: William Sutherland)

Caspian Gull: Meadowhall, S. Yorks. (Photo: Martin Garner) Iceland Gull: Old Moor, S. Yorks. (Photo: Keith Pickering)

A juvenile Long-tailed Skua was noted past Brandon Head (Co. Kerry) on Thursday 16th with another off Flamborough Head (E. Yorks) on Sunday 19th. Also on 16th, a Balearic Shearwater was seen off Brandon Head and on 19th a Leach's Storm-petrel was off Downderry (Cornwall), before succumbing to a local Herring Gull. The 1st-winter Ivory Gull is still at Kyle of Tongue (Highland), the Forster's Tern again at Skerries (Co. Dublin) and the 2nd-winter American Herring Gull at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway). In addition, the total of both Iceland Gulls and Glaucous Gulls was each in the mid-teens; around a dozen Caspian Gulls were noted and a handful of Ring-billed Gulls.

Redhead: Kenfig Pool, Glamorgan. (Photo: SG Crimp) Redhead: Kenfig Pool, Glamorgan. (Photo: SG Crimp)

Ferruginous Duck: Craigavon, Armagh. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly) Ferruginous Duck: Craigavon, Armagh. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly)

Green-winged Teal: Slimbridge, Glos. (Photo: Simon Mackie) Ring-necked Duck: Lower Windrush GPs, Oxon. (Photo: Stephen Burch)

There was plenty of interest for duck-watchers. The Redhead continues to winter in Glamorgan at Kenfig, as do the male Lesser Scaup at Scotney GPs (E. Sussex) and 1st-winter drake at Abberton Reservoir (Essex). King Eiders remain in residence off Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk), Loch Ryan (Dumfires and Galloway) and off Cruden Bay (Aberdeenshire). The Black Scoter was offshore at Llanfairfechan (Conwy) and there were 5 Surf Scoters, including one on Scilly. Also on Scilly, the drake and female Black Duck remain, American Wigeons were in Cornwall, Highland and Dublin and there were 8 drake Green-winged Teals. Ferruginous Ducks remained in Co. Armagh, Co. Galway and Bedfordshire and 8 Ring-necked Ducks were well spread. Around 90 Smew brightened up the wildfowl counts on many waters, 35 of these being resplendent drakes. The continued presence of a number of Tundra Bean Geese as part of the exceptional recent influx continues to provide a mid-winter bonus for goose enthusiasts, and 80 were noted at Oxley Marshes (Suffolk) during the week.

Smew: Toft Newton Res, Lincs. (Photo: Russell Hayes) Smew: Mugdock CP, Clyde. (Photo: Ian Fulton)

Tundra Bean Goose: Whitemoor Haye, Staffs. (Photo: Steve Valentine)

Tundra Bean Goose: Whitemoor Haye, Staffs. (Photo: Steve Valentine) Tundra Bean Goose: Whitemoor Haye, Staffs. (Photo: Alan Dean)

Firecrest: Spital, Cheshire. (Photo: Steve Round)
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: http://angusbirding.homestead.com/
Kit Day: http://www.kitday-uk.com/
Lee Dingain: http://www.leedingain.co.uk
Jon Dunn: http://www.surfbirds.com/blogs/Stercorarius/
Sean Gray: http://www.grayimages.co.uk
Peter Hadfield: http://www.manxbirdphotography.co.uk
Josh Jones: http://www.geocities.com/blgp_birder
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
Jerry O'Brien: http://www.BirdsofBerkshire.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
Deryk Shaw/FIBO: http://www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk
Tom Shevlin: http://wildlifesnaps.com/
Matt Slaymaker: http://www.freewebs.com/slaymaker
Oliver Smart: http://www.smartimages.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
Chris Wormwell: http://www.iombirding.co.uk
Dylan Wrathall: http://www.planetthanet.org
Written by: Russell Slack