Persistent westerlies have meant that it has remained a quiet month for many, with even common seasonal migrants thin on the ground. Nevertheless, the week brought a few more autumnal firsts, including a first-winter Siberian Stonechat on Eday, Orkney, on 19th and a young Brown Shrike at Pendeen, Cornwall, from 22nd.
An adult Ross's Goose was a top find at Montrose Basin, Angus & Dundee, from 20-23rd. That a member of the Anser family tops the billing in what is typically one of the busiest weeks of the year's birding calendar perhaps emphasises the paucity of overall action in October 2021 thus far, but will nevertheless be a popular fixture over the coming weeks if it tours the nation alongside its Pink-feet carriers.
Despite becoming a near-annual visitor to Britain in recent years the species still remains off the British list, with concerns around provenance stymieing its addition in the past. However, Ross's Goose is currently undergoing a review with the records committees, which may see this status change in the near future.
A Hume's Leaf Warbler was in a Boddam, Mainland, garden from 19th and the Western Bonelli's Warbler was again at Tresta, Mainland, on 22nd. A Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll remained at Norwick, Unst, too, with another trapped and ringed on North Ronaldsay, Orkney, on 22nd.
In Outer Hebrides, a new American Buff-bellied Pipit entertained at Stinky Bay, Benbecula, from 18-20th. East Yorkshire's Two-barred Warbler was last reported from Spurn on 20th; a Blyth's Pipit was reported on St Mary's, Scilly, on 24th.
In Argyll, a potential Central Asian Lesser Whitethroat visited Balephuil, Tiree, on 21-22nd, while a probable Pallid Swift overflew Portland, Dorset, on 20th and a possible Rustic Bunting was at Runswick Bay, North Yorkshire, on 18th.
Last week's Juvenile Spotted Sandpiper on St Mary's, Scilly, remained throughout. The adult Pacific Golden Plover held on at Blennerville, Co Kerry, the Semipalmated Plover lingered at Crookhaven, Co Cork, and the White-tailed Lapwing was still at Blacktoft Sands RSPB, East Yorkshire. In Co Derry, Long-billed Dowitchers remained at both ends of the River Bann.
Both the Wilson's Phalarope at Tacumshin, Co Wexford, and Baird's Sandpiper at Idle Washlands, Nottinghamshire, lasted until 19th, while the Greater Yellowlegs at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB, Aberdeenshire, and juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper at Hayle Estuary, Cornwall, disappeared after 20th.
Scilly's second Lesser Scaup – a brief juvenile – was on the sea off Gugh early on 24th, with an adult drake at Chew Valley Lake, Somerset & Bristol, the same day. A smart female Ferruginous Duck was at Belvide Reservoir, Staffordshire, from 22nd, with a brief drake at Needingworth Quarry Lakes, Cambridgeshire, the following day.
A young drake King Eider was a notable find in Lothian at Ravensheugh Sands on 23rd, although would prove a brief customer. An adult drake at Spey Bay, Moray & Nairn, on the same date was also fresh in. Elsewhere, the Blue-winged Teal was sporadically reported from Neumann's Flash, Cheshire.
On Islay, Argyll, the Red-breasted Goose was back at Loch Gruinart RSPB on 18th, with at least one Richardson's Cackling Goose still there too. In the Outer Hebrides, two more remained at Balranald RSPB, North Uist. The Grey-bellied Brant remained with Pink-feet near Balloch, Highland.
In Co Louth, the adult Forster's Tern was again at Soldier's Point on 24th.
On 23rd, Isle of May, Fife, scored a bumper Little Auk count of no fewer than 461 past the island, the same date a first-winter White-billed Diver headed inland over North Queensferry, Fife (another headed past St Andrews on 24th). Other offshore records included young Long-tailed Skuas off Tarbat Ness, Highland, on 21st and Lossiemouth, Moray & Nairn, on 23rd, while a juvenile Sabine's Gull was back off Inverbervie, Aberdeenshire, on 18th and 23rd. Five Grey Phalaropes at Fife Ness, Fife, on 22nd was a healthy count and an immature Glaucous Gull visited Lendalfoot, Ayrshire.
Two Dusky Warblers were recorded – at Barns Ness, Lothian, from 18-22nd and at Lower Kilminning, Fife, from 19-22nd, with the juvenile Rosy Starling at the former throughout. Nine coastal locations had Yellow-browed Warblers this week, including a west coast record at Irvine, Ayrshire, on 23rd. A rare Scottish Glossy Ibis graced Caerlaverock WWT, Dumfries & Galloway, on 23rd; Great Egrets were at Montrose Basin, Angus & Dundee, Meikle Loch and Loch of Strathbeg RSPB, Aberdeenshire, and Douglas Water, Clyde.
Burgeoning Pink-feet flocks held Todd's Canada Geese at Montrose Basin, Angus & Dundee, and Loch Eye, Highland. Meanwhile, three adult Snow Geese remained near Elgin at Loch Spynie, Moray & Nairn, and Tundra Bean Geese were at Nigg Bay, Highland, and St Abbs Head, Borders. A new drake Ring-necked Duck was at Loch Spynie on 22nd, with Surf Scoter off Musselburgh and Gullane Point, Lothian.
News from Tiree, Argyll, included a Todd's Canada Goose at Balephetrish, Great Egret at Loch a' Phuill, probable Siberian Lesser Whitethroat still at Balephuil and a number of Greenland Redpolls, while Bowmore, Islay, boasted a Little Auk on 23rd.
Northern Isles and the Hebrides
Shetland finally got an arrival of common migrants early this week, with masses of Redwing leading. Ring Ouzels also poured in, with 27 sites reporting birds – including double figures at multiple localities. Firsts of the autumn included a Pallas's Warbler at Sumburgh, Mainland, on 18th and a Great Grey Shrike at Burn of Sound, Mainland, on 19th. A Red-flanked Bluetail was at Voe, Mainland, on 22-24th and a Radde's Warbler was at Hoswick, Mainland, on 19th, when Blyth's Reed Warblers turned up at three mainland sites. Glaucous Gulls were at nine locations. On Yell, the drake Ring-necked Duck continued at Sand Water and the two Tundra Bean Geese spent 18-20th at North Sandwick. Little Auks were at Grutness and Sandwick, Mainland, on 20th.
Fair Isle also cashed in, with peak counts of 9,739 Redwing, 1,589 Blackbirds and 394 Brambling, plus a whopping 58 Ring Ouzels on 19th. Scarcer birds included Red-flanked Bluetail, Olive-backed Pipit, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Spotted Crake. The drake Surf Scoter remained until 20th.
Sanday, Orkney, had a decent showing, with a Great Grey Shrike on 18th plus two Red-breasted Flycatchers and a modest arrival of thrushes and finches, including peak counts of two Hawfinches, seven Ring Ouzels and 395 Brambling. A Bluethroat was on Papa Westray on 19th but 22nd saw two White-billed Divers past plus one Iceland and five Glaucous Gulls, while two Grey Phalaropes were offshore. Little Auks were reported from multiple seawatching sites this week, alongside a couple of Pomarine Skuas. A Pectoral Sandpiper was at Skara Brae, Mainland, on 22-23rd.
What is presumably the returning drake Green-winged Teal was on North Ronaldsay from 19th. Other sightings of note included a Little Bunting on 24th and a scattering of Ring Ouzels. A Cory's Shearwater was found dead at the lighthouse.
The adult drake Surf Scoter again spent most of the week in Sound of Taransay and a Snow Goose was at the north end of South Uist from 20-22nd. An American Golden Plover was heard at Northbay, Barra, on 18th and the Red-breasted Flycatcher continued at Morghan until 20th. Meanwhile, the Black-necked Grebe was still being reported at Coot Loch, Benbecula, until 22nd. A Grey Phalarope headlined the seawatching news past Rubha Ardvule, South Uist, and a juvenile Iceland Gull was on St Kilda on 21st.
Seabirds dominated this week's news in the North-East. The lingering Great Shearwater put in several appearances along the coast between Seaham, Durham, and Amble, Northumberland. It was a good week for White-billed Divers with as many as six sites in Northumberland scoring, two localities in Durham and a single past Hartlepool Headland, Cleveland. Small numbers of Little Auks were seen with 32 past Whitburn Coastal Park, Durham, on 23rd being the highest count. A Sabine's Gull was off Low Hauxley, Northumberland, too.
Away from the sea, highlights included the Arctic Warbler lingering on Hartlepool Headland, Cleveland, throughout. In Northumberland, a brief Lesser Yellowlegs was at Monks House Pool on 24th and the Pectoral Sandpiper remained at Budle Bay early in the week. A Black-throated Diver joined the warbler at Hartlepool and a juvenile Glaucous Gull flew past Ryhope, Durham, on 23rd.
Cumbria had some added Mediterranean flair with a Glossy Ibis at Hodbarrow RSPB from 21st. Elsewhere it was quiet, although on 22nd a Little Auk flew past South Walney and a Yellow-browed Warbler was at Harrington Reservoir. A juvenile American Golden Plover was a new arrival at Banks Marsh, Lancashire, on 18th although sadly wasn't seen again. Meanwhile, the juvenile Ring-necked Duck remained at Fishmoor Reservoir. A juvenile Rosy Starling was a one-day bird at Blackpool Airport on 19th, with a Glossy Ibis in the Pilling Lane Ends area the same day. The Todd's Canada Goose made a return to Banks Marsh on 22nd, a Greenland White-fronted Goose was at Martin Mere WWT the same day, and the adult Snow Goose remained mobile in the Sefton area.
A Little Auk was logged north past Hilbre Island on 21st, a great Cheshire record. A Grey Phalarope flew out the Mersey at New Brighton on 22nd. The Ruddy Shelduck continued at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB, with at least three still along the Mersey at Widnes. A Glossy Ibis spent a morning at Acre Nook Sand Quarry before departing north-west. Two Common Crane overflew Failsworth, Greater Manchester, on 22nd, a juvenile Greater Scaup was at Pennington Flash that evening, and a showy Snow Bunting graced the banks of Audenshaw Reservoirs on 23-24th.
Lincolnshire and Yorkshire
Despite northerly winds on 21st, Lincolnshire could only muster single Little Auks past Crook Bank and Sutton-on-Sea, although Chapel Point produced a brief Grey Phalarope (another was at Alkborough Flats on 17-18th). A late Pectoral Sandpiper was at Frampton Marsh RSPB from 22nd and a Richard's Pipit overflew Anderby Marsh on 24th.
In South Yorkshire, a Grey Phalarope visited Adwick Washlands RSPB on 22nd, with Hawfinch, Caspian Gull and Water Pipit also in the Dearne Valley. A very quiet week in West Yorkshire produced little out of the ordinary, including the returning Caspian Gull at Redcar Tarn.
On the North Yorkshire coast, a Great Shearwater passed Staithes on 21st, while a juvenile Rosy Starling was in Filey from 19th. It was really beginning to feel a lot like winter, with Tundra Bean Geese and Iceland Gull seen passing Filey Brigg.
A push of Little Auks on 23rd saw 175 past Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire, with Glaucous Gulls there on 23-24th and another at Kilnsea Wetlands on 22nd. Other bits in the Spurn area included 1-2 Little Buntings and a Grey Phalarope. The drake Green-winged Teal was back for another winter at North Cave Wetlands from 22nd, while a Long-tailed Skua was along the Humber at Paull Holme Strays on 23rd.
The Ruddy Shelduck lengthened its stay at Blithfield Reservoir, Staffordshire, and another flew over Branston GPs on 19th, where the Spotted Redshank remained. A Greater Scaup was at Belvide Reservoir from 21st, when there was an arrival of Whooper Swans into the county. An adult Black-necked Grebe was affording great views at Ford Green NR on 23-24th. Further Greater Scaup were at Aqualate Mere and Gailey Reservoirs on 24th. In Shropshire, a Western Cattle Egret was at The Mere on the evening of 23rd only.
Worcestershire was largely quiet, with autumn seemingly on hold for many. Ring Ouzels were at two localities as were overflying Hawfinches, while two Caspian Gulls were at Throckmorton Tip. A Red-breasted Merganser at Draycote Water was Warwickshire's best offering.
There was a good passage of Whooper Swans through Derbyshire this week, but eight Eurasian Spoonbills over Farley Moor on 20th were the highlight. In Notts, the drake Garganey lingered at Holme Pierrepont and up to three were at Langford Lowfields RSPB – where a juvenile Northern Gannet flew west on 23rd. A Ring Ouzel was at Annesley CP on 20th and a Ruddy Shelduck was at Gunthorpe Pits on 24th.
The Black-necked Grebe remained at Thrapston GPs, Northants, as did the female Ruddy Shelduck at Foxhole Fisheries. A Red-breasted Merganser was a brief visitor to Stanwick GPs on the morning of 21st and again early on 22nd. A Greater Scaup was at Sywell CP on 21st.
A Snow Bunting was photographed at Croft Quarry, Leicestershire, on 24th although there was no further sign after the initial sighting. The Glossy Ibis remained settled at Swithland Reservoir with several Great Egrets for company – once an unthinkable scene! Four Greater Scaup were also present, and two Garganey were at Rutland Water on 20th. The Wood Sandpiper was still at Eyebrook Reservoir until 23rd and a Ruddy Shelduck was at Rutland Water on 24th.
East of England
The Grey Phalarope lingered at Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk, throughout the week, while a Sabine's Gull flew past nearby Holme on 21st. Further seawatching highlights included Leach's Storm Petrel past Sheringham on 21st, Grey Phalaropes at several sites and, best of all, a White-billed Diver seen on several occasions off Winterton. Small numbers of Little Auks were noted off at least 10 sites, a Rough-legged Buzzard was reported from Holkham NNR on 21st and up to two Shore Larks were at Titchwell RSPB.
Landguard NR hosted Suffolk's only Shore Lark to 22nd, when 15 Woodlarks flew over. A Radde's Warbler visited Shingle Street on 23rd and a Rough-legged Buzzard was at Sudbourne Marshes on 18th. One of very few Pallas's Warblers this autumn was at Pakefield on 24th. Single Little Auks passed Southwold and Hollesley on 23rd.
A one-day Pallas's Warbler was at The Naze, Essex, on 18th, where a Shore Lark flew past on 24th. Another Shore Lark was at Brightlingsea on 24th, while a juvenile Rough-legged Buzzard was reported from Bowers Marsh RSPB on 22nd.
Two Red-breasted Merganser were brief visitors to Hilfield Park Reservoir, Hertfordshire, on 22nd. In Bedfordshire, a Yellow-browed Warbler was a surprise find at Brogborough Hill on 24th. Sadly, a male Ring Ouzel died when it flew into a birder's back door in Stopsley on 22nd. The American Wigeon and up to nine Glossy Ibises remained near Bluntisham, Cambridgeshire, while Lapland Bunting (20th) and Hawfinch (24th) were excellent flyover records from Smithy Fen.
Things were very quiet in the region, with persistent westerlies compounding the already underwhelming autumn. In Kent, the Hythe Rosy Starling continued, as did the Black Brant at Seasalter and up to two Glossy Ibises at Dungeness. South Foreland was the only site to host Yellow-browed Warbler, while Snow Buntings were at Broadstairs, Dumpton and Seasalter.
An adult Sabine's Gull reported up the Thames past Beckton, London, was a notable record, while a Yellow-browed Warbler was heard at Walthamstow Marsh on 24th. In Surrey, the Reigate Ring-necked Duck was reported until 23rd and three Western Cattle Egrets were at Esher from 21st.
A Pink-footed Goose was at Padworth Lane GP, Berkshire, from 23-24th. Buckinghamshire enjoyed a scattering of Ring Ouzels and Hawfinches, while notable Oxfordshire bits included a juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper at Port Meadow from 23rd and five Whooper Swans at Sutton Courtenay/Appleford GPs and Dorchester-on-Thames over the weekend.
The Normandy Marsh Pectoral Sandpiper reappeared on 22nd, the same day an impressive flock of nine Glossy Ibises were seen over Blashford Lakes. Also in Hampshire, a Grey Phalarope was at Titchfield Haven on 20th and a male Snow Bunting was in the New Forest at Leadenhall on 24th.
In Sussex, the Pagham Harbour Purple Heron was still present on 19th but wasn't reported subsequently. A Hoopoe was in gardens in Brighton on 24th, while Pulborough Brooks hosted its second Pectoral Sandpiper of the autumn on 22nd. A Sooty Shearwater flew past Fairlight Cove on 18th, the Hooded Crow continued at Polegate and a Snow Bunting was at Rye Harbour on 24th.
On Scilly, a Blyth's Reed Warbler, Greater Short-toed Lark and Hoopoe were new on St Agnes. St Mary's also produced a Hoopoe alongside Olive-backed and Richard's Pipits, European Serin and a couple of Red-breasted Flycatchers. Other new arrivals included a Little Bunting, Red-backed Shrike and Richard's Pipit on Bryher and a Red-breasted Flycatcher on Tresco. The Bluethroat on Bryher remained at the beginning of the week and St Agnes held onto another Red-breasted Flycatcher.
A Radde's Warbler at Cadgwith, Cornwall, on 22nd remained until the following day. Four Ring-necked Duck were at Dozmary Pool, with another two at Siblyback Reservoir. Other new scarcities included a Richard's Pipit at Porthcurno, Rosy Starling at St Merryn and several Siberian Chiffchaffs. The juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs remained at Clapper Marshes, with Glossy Ibises at Walmsley Sanctuary and Camel Estuary. A couple of Great Shearwaters were noted past Pendeen, with several Grey Phalaropes and Sabine's Gulls also seen on seawatches in the county.
Two Red-breasted Flycatchers were found in Devon: one on Lundy and another at Shaugh Prior. Lundy also produced a Little Bunting and a Wryneck was found dead in Bishopsteignton at the start of the week. The Rosy Starling in Paignton and Glossy Ibis at Fremington Poll both remained in place and a seawatch at Bolt Head on 20th produced a single Sabine's Gull.
In Dorset, Hoopoes were found at Lytchett Bay and Lyme Regis. Black Brant were at three localities and the Pectoral Sandpiper continued its stay at Lytchett Fields RSPB. A Common Rosefinch trapped and ringed on 23rd and two flyover Glossy Ibis on 21st were Portland's highlights. A couple more Glossy Ibis put in appearances at Lodmoor RSPB and Middlebere and a possible Sabine's Gull was off Peveril Point.
The juvenile American Golden Plover at Steart WWT, Somerset, reappeared on 21st, with three sites in the county producing Glossy Ibis. Both a Siberian Chiffchaff and Yellow-browed Warbler were seen in Yeovil and a possible Green-winged Teal was reported from Ham Wall RSPB. In Wiltshire, Marlborough's Dipper count increased to two and the Ruddy Shelduck continued at Langford Lakes.
A new drake Ring-necked Duck was the country's best new bird, present at Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion, from 22nd. Meanwhile, the female lingered at Cardiff Bay, Glamorgan, throughout. Perhaps the same Greater White-fronted Goose overflew Aberdaron and Bardsey Island, Gwynedd, on 21st. Garganey were at Conwy RSPB, Conwy (two), and Llanelli Wetland Centre WWT, Carmarthen. In Carmarthen, a late Little Stint was at Ginst Point on 17th, with a Western Cattle Egret at Gann Estuary, Pembrokeshire, on 21-22nd.
Just three Snow Buntings were noted – at Mewslade Bay, Glamorgan, Point Lynas, Anglesey, and Great Orme, Conwy – with a lone Lapland Bunting also at the latter site. The Gower scored a Yellow-browed Warbler at Middleton, Glamorgan, on 21st, when at least one Hooded Crow held on at South Stack RSPB, Anglesey
Another decent week of seawatching included a Long-tailed Skua off Point Lynas, Anglesey, and Leach's Storm Petrels past Great Orme, Conwy, and Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire, while Strumble Head and Point Lynas scored Sabine's Gulls. Best off Bardsey Island, Gwynedd, was a Grey Phalarope on 21st; a first-winter at Newport, Pembrokeshire, the previous day was somewhat more accommodating.
Stand-out record of the week was a Dartford Warbler on Cape Clear, Co Cork, on 21st, although it proved brief and wasn't seen again. This was the first Irish record since 2003. Cape Clear also hosted a Red-breasted Flycatcher, while Mizen Head produced Common Rosefinch, and Dursey Island both Barred Warbler and Red-breasted Flycatcher.
Meanwhile, fascinating records from the RV Celtic Explorer off Co Cork included a Ring-billed × Lesser Black-backed Gull on 22nd and Siberian Chiffchaff on 24th.
Wildfowl included a Green-winged Teal at Kilcoole, Co Wicklow, on 24th, returning male Ring-necked Duck at Moylan Lough, Co Monaghan, and Knockaderry Reservoir, Co Waterford, plus two at Inch Island Lake, Co Donegal.
Several American Golden Plovers remained at large, with two at Cashen Estuary, Co Kerry, and another nearby at Blennerville. Further juveniles were at Omey Strand, Co Galway, Loop Head, Co Clare, and Rosscarbery, Co Cork. New Lesser Yellowlegs were at Lough Gash, Co Clare, from 18th, and Tramore, Co Waterford, on 19th in addition to the long stayer at Kilcoole, Co Wicklow. The only Pectoral Sandpiper was at Annagh Marsh, Co Mayo, on 21st.
Other bits and bobs included the Ring-billed Gull still at Blackrock, Co Lough, several Western Cattle Egrets including one as far north as Toome, Co Antrim, on 24th, Glossy Ibises in Cos Limerick and Waterford, a European Turtle Dove in a private Sandymount garden in Co Dublin, plus a surprise Vagrant Emperor dragonfly on Rathlin Island, Co Antrim, on 21st, thought to be a first for Northern Ireland.
A male Black-throated Blue Warbler was the best of the week's finds on Corvo, just the ninth for Azores and 11th for the region. Other highlights there included Scarlet Tanager, two Red-eyed Vireos, two American Buff-bellied Pipits, Semipalmated Plover, Spotted Sandpiper and Semipalmated Sandpiper. Elsewhere in the archipelago, a young female Belted Kingfisher at Praia da Vitória, Terceira, alongside two Great Blue Herons, while the Green Heron at Ribeira do Ferreiro, Flores, and Laughing Gull at Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, both lingered.
On 18th, two Norwegian thirds were recorded, starting with a female Siberian Rubythroat trapped and ringed on Frøya. An adult Semipalmated Plover trapped and ringed at Giske followed, banded with a very distinctive set of colour rings – might it be picked up elsewhere, perhaps? Meanwhile, a Brown Shrike was on Kvitsøy on 17-19th and the Veery lasted on Utsira until 18th.
A Black-throated Accentor at Utö, Finland, on 19th was a notable record, as was a juvenile Baird's Sandpiper at Blåvand, Denmark, on 21st. A returning drake Black Scoter was off Tisvilde Hegn on 24th. In Iceland, the Northern Harrier was last noted at Sandgerði on 18th; a drake Stejneger's Scoter flew past Cape Põõsaspea, Estonia, on 23rd.
Two locations recorded Eastern Olivaceous Warblers – at St Ouen's Pond, Jersey, Channel Islands, on 17th and Nieuwvliet-Bad, The Netherlands, from 19-23rd. Elsewhere, The Netherlands' fifth Cream-coloured Courser was at Bergen aan Zee on 24th, the female Walrus resurfaced at Den Helder on 21st and the Pygmy Cormorant was still near Utrecht. Jersey's first Spotted Sandpiper – a juvenile – was at St Ouen's Pond from 19-21st.
In Germany, a Northern Hawk Owl delighted near Lämershagen, Bielefeld, on 24th – this early, southerly record sparking hopes of a potential influx. The same date saw the third American Buff-bellied Pipit for France on Île de Sein, while the White-throated Sparrow continued on neighbouring Ouessant throughout. Sociable Lapwings were at Salin-de-Giraud, France, and Akrotiri, Cyprus, and a Franklin's Gull was photographed at sea off Nieuwpoort, Belgium, on 22nd.
Turkey's first Swinhoe's/Pin-tailed Snipe was an excellent find at Milleyha, Samandağ, on 19th. A male House Bunting at Europa Point, Gibraltar, four days prior is just the second record for the British Overseas Territory, while in neighbouring Spain a juvenile Long-legged Buzzard was at Els Plans de Sió on 21st and a Brown Booby flew past Estaca de Bares on 23rd.