Review of the Week: 17th-23rd March 2005


With the prevailing southerly airflow, migrants continued to arrive and several species were quite widespread by the end of the week. As would be expected given the time of year and weather conditions there were a number of scarce migrants too.

Bluethroat: Landguard NR, Suffolk. (Photo: Kit Day) Bluethroat: Landguard NR, Suffolk. (Photo: Nigel Blake)

Bluethroat: Landguard NR, Suffolk. (Photo: Kit Day) Bluethroat: Landguard NR, Suffolk. (Photo: Steve Evans)

Bluethroat: Landguard NR, Suffolk. (Photo: Kelvin Lewis) Bluethroat: Landguard NR, Suffolk. (Photo: Sean Nixon)

An Alpine Swift was over Polzeath (Cornwall) on Sunday 20th and a Serin passed over Foreness Point (Kent) on Friday 18th. Two male white-spotted Bluethroats at Landguard NR (Suffolk) from Sunday 20th proved a deservedly popular attraction, a Wryneck was at Land's End (Cornwall) on 23rd and a possible Wryneck was reported calling at Portland (Dorset) on 22nd. A handful of Hoopoes brightened up proceedings, the first at Guildford (Surrey) on Saturday 20th, followed by others in Scilly, Glamorgan, Cornwall and West Sussex (for more information on Hoopoes and where to see them, see Focus On: Hoopoes - this page is available for subscribers only). Migrant Firecrests occurred in modest numbers, with just over 30 noted during the week. Many of the expected summer visitors had put in an appearance, though there were also reports of Common Swift, House Martin, Common Redstart, Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Tree Pipit and Sedge Warbler to send observers searching through county and local bird reports for past early records. Black Redstarts arrived in good numbers, as did Ring Ouzels, whilst Wheatears, Sand Martins and Chiffchaffs were quite widespread with small numbers of Willow Warblers, Swallows and Yellow Wagtails for good measure. Stone Curlews were noted in Dorset and East Sussex and Little Ringed Plovers, Garganey and Ospreys were reported from a growing number of locations by the end of the week. It wasn't all summer visitors: of nine Lapland Buntings the most unexpected was an inland bird at Pugney's CP (W. Yorks) and 10 Shore Larks were in East Yorkshire and 4 in Lincolnshire. There were around 18 Great Grey Shrikes and Waxwings continued to be present in good numbers, though a reduction in number was evident.

Firecrest: Aylesbury, Bucks. (Photo: Ken Plows) Firecrest: Aylesbury, Bucks. (Photo: Ken Plows)

Little Bunting: Caunsall, Worcs. (Photo: Josh Jones) Great Grey Shrike: Latchmore Bottom, Hants. (Photo: Nigel Gidney)

A Snowy Owl was on Harris (Outer Hebrides) on Saturday 19th, and a Gyr Falcon over Sullom Voe (Shetland) on Sunday 20th. An adult Franklin's Gull was reported from Newnham (Glos) on Wednesday 23rd and a Long-billed Dowitcher took up residence at Goldcliff Pools NR (Gwent) from Sunday 20th onwards. A Grey-bellied Brant was on North Uist (Outer Hebrides), having been present since early February. An immature Night Heron was at Ballycotton (Co. Cork) on Tuesday 22nd and Great White Egrets were over Ramsey Island (Pembs) on 19th, then the National Wetlands Centre (Carmarthen) from 20th onwards, with another over Lawling Creek (Essex) on 20th. The White-tailed Eagle passed over Humberston (Lincs) on Wednesday 23rd, and a Siberian Stonechat was reported from Easington Colliery (Durham) on Saturday 19th. A possible Northern Long-tailed Tit was at Carsington Water (Derbys) on Monday 21st and a possible Richard's Pipit at Waxham (Norfolk) on Wednesday 23rd.

Great White Egret: National Wetlands Centre, Carmarthen. (Photo: Barry Stewart) Great White Egret: National Wetlands Centre, Carmarthen. (Photo: Barry Stewart)

Lesser Scaup: Farnborough, Warks. (Photo: Jim Milne) Lesser Scaup: Beesands Ley, Devon. (Photo: Mike Lockyear)

Thayer's Gull: Barnatra, Co. Mayo. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly) Thayer's Gull: Barnatra, Co. Mayo. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly)

Long-stayers included the Dusky Warbler in Suffolk, Arctic Redpoll in Norfolk and Little Bunting in Worcestershire, plus the Lesser Yellowlegs remained in Norfolk. The Thayer's Gull was last reported from Co. Mayo on Saturday 19th and both the 2nd-winter American Herring Gull and Forster's Tern were at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway). American Coots remained on the Outer Hebrides and Shetland. Black Ducks remained on Tresco (Scilly) and Achill Island (Co. Mayo), and there were two King Eiders in Shetland and the drake in Dumfries and Galloway. Ferruginous Ducks were in Staffordshire and Essex, with Lesser Scaup in Devon, Warwickshire and Co. Antrim. There were 6 Ring-necked Ducks, single Surf Scoter, 9 Green-winged Teal and one American Wigeon.

Iceland Gull: New Swillington Ings, W. Yorks. (Photo: Paul Bagguley) Glaucous Gull: Maughold Head, Isle of Man. (Photo: Peter Hadfield)

Spoonbill: Cresswell Pond, Northumberland. (Photo: Alan Gilbertson) Black Brant: Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk. (Photo: Connor Rand)

Scandinavian Rock Pipit: Cresswell Pond, Northumberland. (Photo: Gary Smith) Chough: St. Bees Head, Cumbria. (Photo: Tristan Reid)

Black-winged Stilt: Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk. (Photo: David H Hatton) Waxwing: Comberbach, Cheshire. (Photo: Alan Redley)
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://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/birdphotos/index.htm
Will Bowell: http://www.wanderingbirders.co.nr/
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/
Katie Fuller: http://bogbumper.blogspot.com
Sean Gray: http://www.grayimages.co.uk
Peter Hadfield: http://www.manxbirdphotography.co.uk
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.co.near/
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