Review of the Week: 18th-24th January 2007


The week at a glance:

American Robin: Bingley, W. Yorks (photo: Steve Evans).

American Robin: Bingley, W. Yorks (photo: Steve Evans).

American Robin: Bingley, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).

American Robin: Bingley, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).

American Robin: Bingley, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).

American Robin: Bingley, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).

There was a time when American Robin was an exceptionally rare bird, but with the 'glut' of sightings in the past few years one can be forgiven for thinking differently. One on Bardsey (Gwynedd) in autumn 2003 broke the mould, and was the first since one on Scilly for three days in 1998, which in turn was the only bird since a wintering record in Northeast Scotland in 1988. Modern perceptions were changed during the winter of 2003/2004 when long-stayers lured admirers to Cornwall, and then Lincolnshire. An apparent wintering bird in London in early 2006 did not present itself to the masses, but visitors to Scilly last autumn were treated to another long-stayer. So, news of one in Bingley (W. Yorkshire) on the 24th might not have had the impact of its predecessors, but will no doubt prove to be a very popular draw should it hang around over the coming weeks. Apparently present for three weeks, its presence was only confirmed by local birdwatchers yesterday - a bonus for anyone's Garden Birdwatch this coming weekend!.

Bonaparte's Gull: Whitehead, Co. Antrim (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

Glaucous Gull: Scarborough, N. Yorkshire (photo: Dave Mansell).

Kumlien's Gull: Culmore Dump, Londonderry (photo: Derek Charles). Kumlien's Gull: Culmore Dump, Londonderry (photo: Derek Charles).

Little Auk: Llandrindod Wells, Powys (photo: Paul Leafe).

Elsewhere it was pretty much 'as you were'. A 1st-winter Franklin's Gull was briefly off Aberystwyth (Ceredigion) on the 19th, whilst the 1st-winter Laughing Gull in Devon was at Kingsteignton to the 20th, and presumably the same bird at Stover CP on 24th. The Bonaparte's Gulls remained at Whitehead (Co. Antrim) and Ferryden (Angus/Dundee), with the 1st-winter last reported from St. Mary's (Scilly) on 19th. The 4th-winter American Herring Gull remained at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway), which was also responsible for four of the 18 Ring-billed Gulls on offer. Glaucous Gull numbers were easily eclipsed by Iceland Gulls, which accumulated counts of 19 at Killybegs (Co. Donegal), 13 at Scalloway (Shetland) and 12 at Nimmo's Pier. Several Kumlien's Gulls were reported, including two at Culmore Dump (Londonderry). Caspian Gulls included the continued presence of the first confirmed Scottish record at Dunbar (Lothian). Despite the weather conditions there was precious little in the way of seawatching on offer. A trickle of Little Auks were seen off a few northeast watchpoints, 7 off Whitburn (Durham) the maximum, though one found in Powys was apparently the 2nd county record. In Hampshire a Leach's Storm-petrel was off Milford-on-Sea on 18th, and it, or another, was off Hayling Island on the 20th. A Balearic Shearwater passed St. Ives (Cornwall) and two were off the Isles of Scilly.

Penduline Tit: Rainham Marshes, London (photo: Mark Priest).

Penduline Tit: Rainham Marshes, London (photo: Mark Priest).

Richard's Pipit: Tanybwlch, Ceredigion (photo: Kev Joynes).

Richard's Pipit: Tanybwlch, Ceredigion (photo: Kev Joynes).

Shore Lark: Holkam Gap, Norfolk (photo: John Dickenson).

Up to three Penduline Tits were present at Rainham Marshes (London) during the week and the Red-throated Pipit remained on the Rogerstown Estuary (Co. Dublin). The Rose-coloured Starling was again reported from Kidwelly (Carmarthen) and an unconfirmed report involved one at Rainworth (Notts). A Hoopoe was at Ballyferriter (Co. Kerry) on 21st and 23rd, and there were unconfirmed reports of a possible Pallas's Warbler at The Lodge (Bedfordshire) and an Ortolan Bunting at Holmes Chapel (Cheshire) on 21st. The Richard's Pipit remained at Tanybwlch (Ceredigion) and Yellow-browed Warblers could still be found at Hawley (Hants), Poole and Portland (Dorset) and Plymouth (Devon), whilst the only confirmed Siberian Chiffchaffs were the two still at Kempsey southwest (Worcs). Four Great Grey Shrikes were representative of this species' below-par showing, likewise a scatter of Waxwings along the east-coast counties could muster just one 'sizeable' flock, that of 28 at Longforgan (Perth/Kinross). Six Lapland Buntings included two in Cornwall, and Shore Larks could still be found at Cley and Holkham Gap (Norfolk) and Reculver (Kent).

Lesser Yellowlegs: Thornham, Norfolk (photo: Dean Eades).

Lesser Yellowlegs: Thornham, Norfolk (photo: Peter Simpson).

Lesser Yellowlegs: Thornham, Norfolk (photo: Garth Peacock).

The obliging Lesser Yellowlegs at Thornham was a popular distraction for visitors to Norfolk, and in Co. Cork the 1st-winter Lesser Yellowlegs remained at Rosscarbery. An American Golden Plover consorted with Golden Plovers at Maer Lake (Cornwall) from 19th-20th, and long-stayers included the Spotted Sandpiper on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) and Long-billed Dowitchers on the Oare Marshes (Kent) and Dundalk (Co. Louth). Three Grey Phalaropes remained off Liscannor (Co. Clare) as did the bird at Rainham Marshes, with others off Flamborough Head (E. Yorks) on 23rd and Drift Reservoir (Cornwall) on 24th.

Waxwing: Jarrow, Durham (photo: Mark Newsome).

Night Heron: Northallerton, N. Yorkshire (photo: Dave Mansell).

A Night Heron at Gosforth (Northumbs) on 22nd and a ringed adult at Northallerton (N Yorkshire) pointed more to displaced roofs on aviaries rather than natural vagrancy, whilst the female Great Bustard on Kennard Moor (Somerset) is a known 'fence-hopper' from the reintroduction scheme. The Cattle Egret continued as part of the scenery at Otterton (Devon) as did the Great White Egret at Blashford Lakes (Hants), with another at Walberswick (Suffolk). Five Spoonbills were in Dorset and others were at Fremington Quay (Devon) and Foryd Bay (Gwynedd). The Black-eared Kite returned to Snettisham (Norfolk) and the 'ex-rehab' Rough-legged Buzzard of the Nearctic race (Rough-legged Hawk) remained on Shetland. The wintering Rough-legged Buzzard remained at Capel Fleet (Kent) and others were in Norfolk at Snettisham and Martham Broad.

Barrow's Goldeneye: Callander, Forth (photo: Ian Fulton).

Red-breasted Goose: Horse Shoe Point, Lincs (photo: Andrew Huyton).

There was little change in the composition of rare ducks to be found. Buffleheads continued in Co. Clare and Shetland, as did Barrow's Goldeneyes in Co. Down and Forth. A drake Falcated Duck was at Strumpshaw Fen (Norfolk) on 20th and a drake still at Cliffe (Kent) on 21st. The female Blue-winged Teal remained at Bull Island (Co. Dublin) and there were 9 American Wigeon and 8 Green-winged Teal reported through the week. The Surf Scoter remained off Beer (Devon) and another off Tolcarne (Cornwall) plus the drake off Fife. Female Ferruginous Ducks remained in Kent and Bedfordshire, four Lesser Scaup were noted and 16 Ring-necked Ducks. Drake Northern Eiders were still in Shetland and Aberdeenshire. Amongst the geese, Islay (Argyll) yielded both Lesser Canada Goose and Richardson's Canada Goose, the Red-breasted Geese remained in Dorset and Lincolnshire and white-morph Snow Geese were in Argyll and Lancashire, with both white- and blue-morph birds in Co. Wexford.

Goldcrest: Stainland, W. Yorkshire (photo: Sean Gray).

Little Gull: Crosby, Lancashire (photo: Richard Steel).

Long-eared Owl: Houghton-le-Spring, Durham (photo: Mark Newsome).

Water Rail: Hetton Lyons, Durham (photo: Mark Newsome).

Dipper: undisclosed, Clwyd (photo: Richard Steel).

Magpie: Formby, Lancashire (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
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://www.severnsidebirds.co.uk
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/
John Coveney: http://www.clarebirdwatching.com/index.php
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/
Dean Eades: http://www.pbase.com/dean_eades/root
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
Peter Hadfield: http://www.manxbirdphotography.co.uk
David Hatton: http://www.kowapower.com
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
John Judge: http://www.draycotebirding.co.uk
Paul and Andrea Kelly: http://www.irishbirdimages.com/
Matt Latham: http://www.pbase.com/latho/root
Jack Levene: http://www.birdingimages.com
Micky Maher: http://www.aardfoto.co.uk/
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
Ken Plows: http://www.kenswildlifepics.co.uk
Ray Purser: http://www.pbase.com/02purser/images
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