Review of the Week: 17th-23rd May 2007


The week at a glance:

This week's rare and scarce birds

Caspian Tern: Marston Vale, Beds (photo: Steve Blain).

Caspian Tern: Marston Vale, Beds (photo: Martin Green).

Caspian Tern: Marston Vale, Beds (photo: Mark Thomas). Caspian Tern: Marston Vale, Beds (photo: Mark Thomas).

A Masked Booby reported passing St. Catherine's Point (Isle of Wight) on the 20th will, if accepted, be a first for Britain. Masked Booby is found throughout the tropical and subtropical oceans and there have been a handful of previous Western Palearctic records so it has long been expected as a potential wanderer to our waters. Seabirds typically have a rough ride through rarity committees so we might have to wait for one from a pelagic to make its impression on the national list (or another on the Bilbao ferry!). It was also a good week for skua passage if you were fortunate enough to be on the Outer Hebrides or in Cumbria. Long-tailed Skua counts included 325 passing North Uist on 18th and over a hundred there on 19th. Good numbers of Pomarine Skuas were also associated with the movement, including 250 passing Lewis on 19th, on which day good numbers passed South Uist and 150 went through Bowness (Cumbria). Four Leach's Storm-petrels were also seen from North Uist on 19th and a Balearic Shearwater was off St. Mary's (Scilly) on the 20th. Two White-billed Divers remained off Lewis and another off Unst (Shetland). A fine Caspian Tern graced Marston Vale Millennium CP (Beds) on 20th but was a typical short-stayer. The Bonaparte's Gull remained in Norfolk, as did the Laughing Gull in Devon and American Herring Gull on Lewis (Outer Hebrides). A Sabine's Gull was on Iona (Argyll) on the 19th.

Hoopoe: Bishop's Stortford, Herts (photo: Peter Simpson).

Hoopoe: Bishop's Stortford, Herts (photo: Peter Simpson).

Woodchat Shrike: Marshside, Lancs (photo: Rob Smallwood).

Rose-coloured Starling: South Uist, Outer Hebrides (photo: Steve Duffield).

Overshoots, and drift migrants, continued to be in short supply. On the Isles of Scilly a Little Swift put in a brief appearance over St. Agnes on 23rd as did a Pallid Swift over Bryher on 20th. Alpine Swifts were seen over Cromer (Norfolk) on 17th, Waxham (Norfolk) on 19th and Cottingham (E. Yorks) on 19th, and Red-rumped Swallows included birds on the 19th at Stocker's Lake (Herts) and Lundy (Devon). A Great Reed Warbler was a good find at Barton GPs (Staffs) on 20th and a Citrine Wagtail was reported from Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on 23rd. There was a Rustic Bunting on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 18th, a Red-throated Pipit on the Farnes (Northumbs) on 22nd and a Subalpine Warbler on Fair Isle (Shetland) on 23rd. The only Icterine Warbler was at Landguard (Suffolk) on 23rd, a Bluethroat on Noss (Shetland) on 21st and a Wryneck at Sandwick (Shetland) on 19th. Two Common Rosefinches were in Cornwall, at Nanjizal and Land's End, on the 23rd and a Serin passed over Bockhill Farm (Kent) on 20th. A handful of brief Bee-eaters included two on St. Mary's, there were eight Golden Orioles and four each of Red-backed and Woodchat Shrikes, plus three Hoopoes. A fine Rose-coloured Starling was on South Uist, with it, or another; also on North Uist. In Norfolk the Iberian Chiffchaff remained at Colney.

Temminck's Stint: Needs Ore, Hants (photo: Lee Fuller).

Temminck's Stint: Needs Ore, Hants (photo: Lee Fuller).

A Semipalmated Sandpiper was an excellent inland find at Over Fen (Cambs) on 19th and a Baird's Sandpiper was at Haroldswick, Unst (Shetland) on 20th. A Lesser Yellowlegs briefly visited Freiston Shore (Lincs) on 19th, a Broad-billed Sandpiper was at Breydon Water (Norfolk) on 21st and the Killdeer remained at Exnaboe (Shetland). Kentish Plovers were in W. Sussex and Devon and a Grey Phalarope passed North Uist on 23rd. A supporting cast of scarce waders included seven Temminck's Stints, five Pectoral Sandpipers and eight Dotterel.

Night Heron: Methley, W. Yorks (photo: Paul Bagguley).

Purple Heron: Minsmere, Suffolk (photo: Andrew Easton).

Purple Heron: Minsmere, Suffolk (photo: Matt Wilding). Purple Heron: Minsmere, Suffolk (photo: Andrew Easton).

The Scops Owl continued to prove a popular attraction at Thrupp (Oxon), as were the Eagle Owls with three young at Dunsop Bridge (Lancs), whilst the Snowy Owl remained on St. Kilda (Outer Hebrides). A Red-footed Falcon was at Little Marlow GPs (Bucks) on 17th and a female Red-footed Falcon was noted at several Norfolk sites on 19th and 20th, with a Black Kite still present in the county and another in North Yorkshire. Minsmere accommodated at least three Purple Herons during the week and the Squacco Heron remained on St. Mary's. A Cattle Egret was at Rainham Marshes (London) on 20th and 21st and Great White Egrets included singletons at Cromer (Norfolk) on 19th and Burton Marsh (Cheshire) on 22nd with two at Paull (E. Yorks) on 23rd. A cluster of escapee Night Herons again put in an appearance in Yorkshire and Cleveland and another was at Gibraltar Point (Lincs) on the 19th and 23rd. The Glossy Ibis remained in Lancashire.

Surf Scoter: Fair Isle, Shetland (photo: Mark Breaks).

Black Duck: Colliford Lake, Cornwall (photo: Steve Votier).

A drake Black Duck was at Colliford Lake (Cornwall) on 23rd and a Green-winged Teal was at Kidwelly (Carmarthen). A Surf Scoter on Fair Isle was the first confirmed record for the isle, and others were in Lothian and Aberdeenshire. The King Eider remained at Burghead (Moray/Nairn) and Ring-necked Ducks were at Avonmouth (Somerset) and Linton Pond (Northumbs).

Photo of the week

This is a great, uncluttered portrait of a scarce species that paid only a brief visit to Marshside. Black-and-white birds are difficult to photograph well, but Paul has done a good job, making the most of the evening light and catching the shrike at the perfect moment.

Woodchat Shrike: Marshside, Lancs (photo: Paul Hill).

Other notable photos from the week

Wood Warbler: Gwynedd (photo: Steve Round).

Eider: Farnes, Northumbs (photo: Craig Nash).

Lapwing: Summer Leys LNR, Northants (photo: Richard Bedford).

Starling: Holme, Norfolk (photo: Peter Simpson).

Marsh Harrier: Minsmere, Suffolk (photo: Neil Khandke).

Common Tern: Swillington Ings, W. Yorks (photo: Lawrie Phipps).

Many of the images that appear in our weekly reviews can be purchased from the photographers, some of whom have their own websites:

John Anderson: http://www.pbase.com/crail_birder
Bill Aspin: http://billaspinsnatureblog.blogspot.com
Mike Atkinson: http://mikeatkinson.net
Richard Bedford: http://www.richardbedford.co.uk
Steve Blain: http://www.steveblain.co.uk
Will Bowell: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
Paul Bowerman: http://www.severnsidebirds.co.uk
Paul Bowyer: http://www.birdlist.co.uk
Graham Catley: http://pewit.blogspot.com/
Mark Caunt: http://www.AngusBirding.com
Dean Eades: http://www.pbase.com/dean_eades
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
Ian Fulton: http://www.pbase.com/ianfulton
Sean Gray: http://www.grayimages.co.uk
David Hatton: http://www.kowapower.com
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
Paul and Andrea Kelly: http://www.irishbirdimages.com/
Matt Latham: http://www.mattlathamphotography.com
Micky Maher: http://www.aardfoto.co.uk/
John Malloy: http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/johnmalloy
Brian Mcgeough: http://www.brianmcgeough.com/
Tony Mills: http://www.notjustbirds.com
Jerry O'Brien: http://www.BirdsofBerkshire.co.uk
Mark Newsome: http://www.durhambirdclub.org/
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
Marc Read: http://www.marcread-pix.com
Tristan Reid: http://www.atricillaimages.co.uk/
Steve Round: http://stevenround-birdphotography.com
Craig Shaw: http://craigsukbirdpictures.bravehost.com/
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
Stephen Tomlinson: http://stevesbirding.blogspot.com
Sue Tranter: http://www.suesbirdphotos.co.uk/
Damian Waters: http://www.drumimages.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