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


The week at a glance:

Barrow's Goldeneye : Quoile Pondage, Co. Down (photo: Mike O'Keeffe). Barrow's Goldeneye : Quoile Pondage, Co. Down (photo: Mike O'Keeffe).
Barrow's Goldeneye : Quoile Pondage, Co. Down (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly). Barrow's Goldeneye : Quoile Pondage, Co. Down (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).
Barrow's Goldeneye : Quoile Pondage, Co. Down (photo: Derek Charles). Barrow's Goldeneye : Quoile Pondage, Co. Down (photo: Derek Charles).

A drake Barrow's Goldeneye at Quoile Pondage (Co. Down) from Monday 21st onwards will be the first Irish record of this attractive duck. There have been two previous British records, an accepted record at Irvine (Ayrshire) between November and December 1979 and a drake in mid-May 2005 in northeast Scotland. The recent sighting is still subject to acceptance at a national level, though of course there was no controversy over the identification and it is to be expected that it will takes its place as Britain's 2nd record in due course. The location and date should ensure that the fine Irish drake receives a straightforward passage at national level, unless further information is forthcoming at some point to cast reasonable doubt over the provenance of the bird in question.

Grey-cheeked Thrush : Northaw Great Wood CP, Herts (photo: Nigel Blake). Grey-cheeked Thrush : Northaw Great Wood CP, Herts (photo: Tristan Reid).
Grey-cheeked Thrush : Northaw Great Wood CP, Herts (photo: Steve Evans). Grey-cheeked Thrush : Northaw Great Wood CP, Herts (photo: SG Davis).
Green Heron : Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey (photo: Mike Atkinson). Green Heron : Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey (photo: Mike Atkinson).
Green Heron : Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey (photo: Josh Jones). Green Heron : Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey (photo: Will Bowell).
Upland Sandpiper : Kingston Seymour, Somerset (photo: Rich Andrews). Upland Sandpiper : Kingston Seymour, Somerset (photo: Bob Hazell).
Upland Sandpiper : Kingston Seymour, Somerset (photo: Steve Evans). Upland Sandpiper : Kingston Seymour, Somerset (photo: Steve Evans).
Upland Sandpiper : Kingston Seymour, Somerset (photo: Mark Hows).

The cold spell over much of the country effectively curtailed continued arrivals of late migrants, which the mild late autumn had facilitated into last week, and rarities were thinner on the ground. However, several long-staying crowd-pleasers did their best to entertain those inclined to pay homage to them. The crowd-pulling Grey-cheeked Thrush remained in residence at Northaw Great Wood CP (Herts), but the 1st-winter Green Heron last entertained visitors to Red Wharf Bay (Anglesey) on Sunday 20th, though it will be interesting to see if this bird is relocated again over the coming weeks. The Upland Sandpiper continued to perform impeccably at Kingston Seymour (Somerset) through the week, and lingering access issues were resolved on Friday much to the relief of weekend birders and landowners to ensure an appreciative procession of observers throughout the week.

Desert Wheatear : Caistor-on-Sea, Norfolk (photo: Becky).

Desert Wheatear : Caistor-on-Sea, Norfolk (photo: Marc Read). Desert Wheatear : Caistor-on-Sea, Norfolk (photo: Kevin Elsby).
Desert Wheatear : Caistor-on-Sea, Norfolk (photo: Scott Mayson). Desert Wheatear : Caistor-on-Sea, Norfolk (photo: Scott Mayson).

Desert Wheatear : Herne Bay, Kent (photo: Mike Buckland).

A trio of Desert Wheatears conformed to the late autumn arrival pattern associated with this delightful species, with a stunning male at Caistor-on-Sea (Norfolk) performing well from 19th-23rd, a female at Herne Bay (Kent) from 19th-21st and one at Helston Loe Pool (Cornwall) on 20th. The Olive-backed Pipit once again put in an appearance at Sumburgh (Shetland) on the 22nd, and the Northern Long-tailed Tits were still present in Easington (Yorks) on the same day. Other lingering stragglers included the Little Bunting at Stiffkey to 21st and the surprisingly late male Golden Oriole at Leighton Moss (Lancs) from last week remained to the 19th. A Dark-breasted Barn Owl at Withernsea (Yorks) on 21st may well have been the same bird seen at Spurn/Kilnsea (Yorks) at the end of last month, whilst also in Yorkshire a white falcon at Ellerby on 18th was thought to possibly be a Gyr Falcon and ties in well with the recent report of a Gyr Falcon of unknown origin at nearby Port Mulgrave.

Golden Oriole: Leighton Moss, Lancs (photo: David Barker).
Richard's Pipit : Musselburgh, Lothian (photo: John Anderson). Richard's Pipit : Musselburgh, Lothian (photo: Jim Duncan).
Great Grey Shrike : Garreg-ddu-Reservoir, Powys (photo: Kev Joynes). Lapland Bunting : Ynyslas, Ceredigion (photo: Jon Turner).
Waxwing : Sea Palling, Norfolk (photo: Kevin Elsby). Waxwing : Sea Palling, Norfolk (photo: Kevin Elsby).

Of the scarcities, a total of 10 Richard's Pipits were reported, including three still at Huntspill (Somerset) and two at West Kirby (Cheshire). Singletons were reported from Flamborough Head (Yorks) on 18th, Carmel Head (Anglesey) on 19th, Pennington Marshes (Hants) and Blakeney Point (Norfolk) on 20th, plus the long-staying bird remained at Musselburgh (Lothian) and possibles were over Carlton (Notts) and Holmpton (Yorks). Five Yellow-browed Warblers were confined to the Southwest, with one in Somerset, one in Devon, two in Cornwall and one on Scilly. Rose-coloured Starlings included singles at Somercoates Warren (Lincs) on 18th and Rame (Cornwall) on 19th, and eight Great Grey Shrikes were noted, the most northerly of which was in Lancashire. Waxwing numbers continued to remain steady, but some movement along the east coast was noted, though the largest count was 199 in Aberdeen on 18th. Scarce winter visitors remained in short supply. A dozen Shore Larks were noted, seven of which were at Holkham (Norfolk), though one at Abberton Reservoir (Essex) on 22nd and 23rd was notable, as was a Lapland Bunting over Westport Lake (Staffs) on 23rd (one of 17 reported during the week; the maximum gathering though was just four birds at Saltfleetby (Lincs) on 22nd). Over 20 Mealy Redpolls were reported, though nearly all of this total was made up of three small flocks and four singletons elsewhere.

Laughing Gull: Pembroke, Pembrokeshire (photo: Lyndon Lomax).

Laughing Gull: Glaslyn Marshes, Gwynedd (photo: Steve Round). Laughing Gull: Drift Reservoir, Cornwall (photo: Mike Barker).
Glaucous Gull : Killybegs, Co. Donegal (photo: Derek Charles). Iceland Gull : Killybegs, Co. Donegal (photo: Derek Charles).

Laridophiles still had in the region of 25 Laughing Gulls on offer, still nearly all in the southwest, though four were reported from Ireland and one still on Lewis (Outer Hebrides). The 1st-winter Franklin's Gull remained at Rossaveal (Co. Galway). A juvenile Sabine's Gull was at Langton Herring (Dorset) from 18th-21st and another found dead at Sandy Point (Hants). Just three Glaucous Gulls were reported and seven Iceland Gulls, three of which were at Killybegs (Co. Donegal) and an adult Kumlien's Gull was at Belfast North Foreshore Dump (Co. Antrim) on 19th. Ten Ring-billed Gulls were reported, nearly all familiar adults and the cumulative number of Caspian Gulls reached the mid-teens, including potentially the first for Scotland at St John's Loch (Highland), if accepted. It was a quieter week for seawatchers: a possible White-billed Diver passed Seaton Sluice (Northumbs) on 17th, and a Leach's Storm-petrel past Spurn (Yorks) the same day was the only one reported. Small numbers of Little Auks were logged from the east coast, peak counts 23 past Cley (Norfolk) and Spurn on 17th. Small numbers of Pomarine Skuas were noted, though nine off Whalsay (Shetland) on 8th was a notable report.

Caspian Gull: Poolsbrook CP, Derbys (photo: Steve Mann).

An American Golden Plover was at Mullaghmore (Co. Sligo) on 18th and another was at Waxham (Norfolk) from 21st-22nd. The Lesser Yellowlegs was still at North Killingholme (Lincs) on 22nd and the Long-billed Dowitcher again on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) from 22nd-23rd with another at Ballycotton (Co. Cork) on 20th. Grey Phalarope reports were in the high teens, mostly in the North Sea, though some duplication is probable; the largest gathering was three off Scarborough (Yorks) on 23rd and one remained inland at Covenham Reservoir (Lincs) for most of the week. A Spotted Crake was at Gibraltar Point (Lincs) on 17th and a possible was reported from Lavell's Lake (Berks) on 20th. A Cattle Egret at Portland (Dorset) on 17th was the second for the island, and the Elmley (Kent) bird again put in an appearance on the 18th. A White Stork was seen at several Dorset sites between 18th and 23rd, and the only Common Cranes away from the Norfolk population were singles in Carmarthen and Ceredigion; of up to 10 Spoonbills, three were still on Brownsea Island (Dorset) and 3 were at Isley Marsh (Devon). Five Rough-legged Buzzards included birds still on Fetlar (Shetland) and Isle of Sheppey (Kent).

Green-winged Teal: Montrose Basin, Angus/Dundee (photo: Tristan Reid ). Green-winged Teal: Montrose Basin, Angus/Dundee (photo: Tristan Reid ).

Taiga Bean Geese numbered 285 at Fannyside Lochs (Clyde) and 50 at Cantley Marshes (Norfolk) and five unspecified birds were on North Uist (Outer Hebrides). Over half-a-dozen Black Brants included birds with hybrid young in Norfolk and a Todd's Canada Goose was on Islay (Argyll) with two 'small-race' birds at Loch of Strathbeg (Aberdeenshire). The drake Black Scoter continued to tease visitors to Llanfairfechan (Conwy) with distant views and the drake White-headed Duck of unknown origin was still at Broadwater GP (Gtr London). Ring-necked Ducks were into double figures, a drake Ferruginous Duck was at Brookleys Lake (Staffs) with females still at Elstow GPs (Beds) and Radipole Lake (Dorset). Lesser Scaups remained at Drift Reservoir (Cornwall) and Hornsea Mere (Yorks), a drake King Eider was in Mousa Sound (Shetland) and six Scottish Surf Scoters were reported. The Blue-winged Teal was still on Bull Island (Co. Dublin), though there were just four well-scattered Green-winged Teal reports. Five American Wigeon included drakes at Southfield Reservoir (Yorks), Needingworth Quarries (Cambs) and Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) with birds still at in Highland and Pembrokeshire.

Twite: Point of Ayr, Isle of Man (photo: Pete Hadfield). Snow Bunting: Normandy Marshes, Hants (photo: Linda Miller).
Song Thrush : The Lodge, Beds (photo: Peter Simpson). Hawfinch : Fermyn CP, Northants (photo: Ken Plows).
Black Guillemot : Troon, Ayrshire(photo: John Anderson). Smew : Craigavon, Co. Armagh (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).
Slavonian Grebe : Far Ings, Lincs (photo: Graham Catley). Red-necked Grebe : Priory CP, Beds (photo: Ray Roche).

Black-necked Grebe: QMR, Berks (photo: Jerry O'Brien).
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/
Andrew Easton: http://home.clara.net/ammodytes/
Graham Eaton: http://www.eatonphotography.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
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
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
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
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