Review of the Week: 18th-24th March 2004


Early summer migrants were bolstered further by continued arrivals with a number of species widespread in southern Britain - please remember to send your records of all migrants (including departing winter species) to the BTO at www.bto.org/migwatch. In addition there were several rarities, plus many of the long-stayers remained in situ.

Alpine Swift: Abbots Worthy, Hants. (Photo: Simon Woolley) Alpine Swift: Abbots Worthy, Hants. (Photo: Anthony Blunden)

Two brief Alpine Swifts were reported during the week, with one over Cley (Norfolk) on Friday 19th and another over Oxford on Wednesday 24th. In North Yorkshire the Alpine Swift remains in residence around Oliver's Mount in Scarborough. Present since Sunday 14th, this makes for quite an exceptional stay of this typically brief species, especially so early in the year when such overshoots usually quickly reorientate themselves. In Hampshire the bird first found at Abbots Worthy on Thursday 18th remained until Monday 22nd, again a 'lengthy' stay for this notoriously tricky species to see. Other 'airborne' rarities included two Red-rumped Swallows, with one at Newcastle (Co. Wicklow) from Friday 19th-Sunday 21st and another (or the same?) at Swithland Reservoir (Leicestershire) from Monday 22nd onwards.

Penduline Tit: Clennon Valley, Devon. (Photo: John Judge)

A male Penduline Tit found at Clennon Valley, Paignton (Devon) on Saturday 21st was present to at least Monday 22nd. This bird was a ringed adult male and is presumably the bird from Slapton Ley (Devon) which was last reported on 23rd February; it was ringed in The Netherlands. Another was at Lodmoor (Dorset) on Monday 22nd and Wednesday 24th and was perhaps one of the birds present at the site in early January. A splash of colour was provided by five Hoopoes: Seacroft (Lincs) on Friday 19th; Sandown (Isle of Wight) on Saturday 20th; Colyford Common LNR (Devon) from Saturday 20th onwards; St. Mary's (Scilly) from Saturday 20th onwards and; Ham Common (Dorset) on Wednesday 24th. The final 'overshoots' were a Serin over St.Mary's (Scilly) on Sunday 21st and a Black Kite over Keynsham (Somerset) on Tuesday 23rd.

It was not all about spring rarities this week. A white Gyr Falcon was reported 'recently' from Weisdale (Shetland) and a White-tailed Eagle was over North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on Thursday 18th. White-billed Divers were reported from Bluemull Sound (Shetland) on Tuesday 24rd and Sallachan Point(Highland) on Wednesday 24th. The long-staying Forster's Tern in Galway was joined by a 2nd bird at Kinvarra Bay on Friday 19th. In Suffolk up to 5 Northern Long-tailed Tits were relocated at Minsmere RSPB. At least 14 Great Grey Shrikes were noted and over 200 Waxwings are still present, the majority in Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire with 70 in Mansfield and at least 40 in Sheffield.

Franklin's Gull: Radipole, Dorset. (Photo: Mike Lockyear) Franklin's Gull: Radipole, Dorset. (Photo: John Judge)

Ring-billed Gull: Radipole, Dorset. (Photo: Mike Buckland) Iceland Gull: Ayr, Ayrshire. (Photo: Kevin McCormick)

The 1st-winter Franklin's Gull has proved a popular attraction at Radipole Lake RSPB (Dorset) all week and the roll-call of long-staying rarities seems quite familiar. The Harlequin Duck is still present on Lewis (Outer Hebrides), consorting with Mallards at Griais. The American Coots are still present on South Uist and Shetland. The Dusky Warbler remains in Devon and Hume's Warblers can still be seen in London and Co. Wexford, plus the Pallas's Warbler remains in Kent as does the Little Bunting on Anglesey.

Wheatear: Red Rocks, Cheshire. (Photo: Steve Round) Little Ringed Plover: Baston and Langtoft Pits, Lincs. (Photo: Josh Jones)

Brambling: Moore NR, Cheshire. (Photo: Steve Round) Smew: Chorley, Lancs. (Photo: Sue Tranter)

Little Gull: Seaforth, Lancs. (Photo: Andy Tomlinson)
Written by: Russell Slack