Review of the Week: 19th-25th January 2006


The week at a glance:

Black-throated Thrush: Swansea, Glamorgan (photo: Steve Evans).

Black-throated Thrush: Swansea, Glamorgan (photo: Steve Evans). Black-throated Thrush: Swansea, Glamorgan (photo: Kev Joynes).
Hume's Leaf Warbler: Whitley Bay, Northumbs (photo: Craig Shaw). Hume's Leaf Warbler: Whitley Bay, Northumbs (photo: Peter Macdonald).

The Buff-bellied Pipit again put in an appearance at Frampton Marsh (Lincs) on Tuesday 24th. This bird was first found there in early December, and was last reported on the 13th of the month. The fact that it has not been reported since illustrates how easily rare birds can remain undetected in large underwatched areas. Many will hope that it eventually gives itself up, though with no further sightings by the end of the review week that is perhaps wishful thinking! The fine Black-throated Thrush remains in Swansea (Glamorgan), but can often be elusive in back gardens where it is out of view for long periods of time. A Hume's Leaf Warbler was at Horsey (Norfolk) from 24th onwards, the Hume's Leaf Warbler in gardens at Whitley Bay (Northumberland) remained in residence and the controversial Hume's Leaf Warbler or Yellow-browed Warbler remained at Bridge (Cornwall) throughout.

Great Grey Shrike: Grendon Underwood, Bucks (photo: Garth Clarke).

Little Bunting: Morston, Norfolk (photo: Garth Clarke). Little Bunting: Morston, Norfolk (photo: Garth Clarke).
Hoopoe: Gosport, Hampshire (photo: Lionel Smith). Waxwing: Nocton Fen, Lincs (photo: Matt Latham).
Richard's Pipit: West Kirby, Cheshire (photo: Sean Gray). Richard's Pipit: West Kirby, Cheshire (photo: Sean Gray).
Firecrest: Lynford Arboretum, Norfolk (photo: Peter Simpson). Firecrest: Lynford Arboretum, Norfolk (photo: Peter Simpson).
Shore Lark: Holkham, Norfolk (photo: Adrian Galley). Snow Bunting: Worcestershire Beacon, Worcs (photo: Chris Cook).

A possible Arctic Redpoll was at Sence Valley Forest Park (Leicestershire) on the 23rd and the long-staying bird remained at Aberlady Bay (Lothian). A Little Bunting was at Dalton Moor, Murton (Durham) on 24th, though it has been present since early January, whilst the wintering bird remains at Morston (Norfolk). A Richard's Pipit was at Holkham Gap (Norfolk) briefly on 21st, and the wintering bird remains at West Kirby (Cheshire). The Hoopoe was last reported at Gosport (Hampshire) on 22nd, and wintering Great Grey Shrikes struggled into double figures, with all but one of them from the Midlands south. The wintering population of Shore Larks continues to be represented by 6 at Holkham Gap and one at Minsmere (Suffolk), and small numbers of Lapland Buntings were reported, the exception 12 at Choseley Drying Barns (Norfolk). The elusive Northern Long-tailed Tit was again seen in Easington (E. Yorks), and 40-50 Waxwings were seen in Essex, Greater Manchester and Lothian, with 75 in Aberdeen.

American Herring Gull: Culmore Dump, L'derry

Laughing Gull: Brixham, Devon (photo: Gary Thoburn). Laughing Gull: Nimmo's Pier, L'derry (photo: Dermot Breen).
Laughing Gull: Ardrossan, Ayrshire (photo: Jim Woods). Laughing Gull: Ardrossan, Ayrshire (photo: Jim Woods).
Caspian Gull: Poolsbrook, Derbyshire (photo: Martin Garner). Caspian Gull: Poolsbrook, Derbyshire (photo: Martin Garner).
Yellow-legged Gull: Peterhead, Aberdeenshire (photo: Chris Jones). Iceland Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway (photo: Derek Charles).
Forster's Tern: Ballycotton, Co. Cork (photo: Sean Cronin). Forster's Tern: Ballycotton, Co. Cork (photo: Sean Cronin).

There was still plenty of gull activity to keep enthusiasts on the look-out. Laughing Gull numbers are well down on their peak earlier in the influx, but 'new' adults were found at Ardrossan (Ayrshire) from 24th onwards and Arklow (Co. Wicklow) on 25th. Site-faithful adults remained at Brixham (Devon) and Glaslyn Marshes (Gwynedd), as did the roosting bird in Berkshire. A 1st-winter was again at Llanelli (Carmarthen) and the 2nd-winter remained at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway). The 3rd-winter American Herring Gull was still at Nimmo's Pier early in the week, and a 2nd-winter was at Culmore Dump (L'derry) on 24th. An adult Kumlien's Gull was at Chew Valley lake (Somerset) and Cotswold Water Park (Wiltshire) and the 3rd-winter remained at Nimmo's Pier with a 2nd-winter at Culmore Dump. At least 16 Ring-billed Gulls were reported, Glaucous Gulls reached the mid-20s with similar numbers of Iceland Gulls, though 5 of the former were off Peterhead (Aberdeenshire) and 6 of the latter at Culmore Dump. Similar numbers of Caspian Gulls included 6 in the Dungeness (Kent) vicinity, and an adult still in Co. Wexford. The 1st-winter Forster's Tern was again seen at Ballycotton (Co. Cork) and the adult remained at Nimmo's Pier. The only seawatching record of note was 4 Balearic Shearwaters passing St. Ives (Cornwall) on 20th. A Grey Phalarope was a surprise on Windermere (Cumbria) from 23rd, and both the Long-billed Dowitcher on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) and Lesser Yellowlegs at Clonakilty (Co. Cork) continued their winter residencies. A White-billed Diver was off Brettabister (Shetland) on 21st.

Cattle Egret: Warblington, Hampshire (photo: Trevor Guy).

Green-winged Teal: Bull Island, Co. Dublin (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).
Ring-necked Duck: Craigavon, Co. Armagh (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly). Ring-necked Duck: Grasmere, Cumbria (photo: Craig Shaw).
American Wigeon: Hayle Estuary, Cornwall (photo: Phil Stidwill). Red-crested Pochard: Gamston, Notts (photo: John Dickenson).

Tundra Bean Goose: Herringfleet, Suffolk (photo: Mike Parker).

A Snowy Owl was seen again at Baleshare, North Uist (W. Isles) on 23rd, and multiple Rough-legged Buzzard reports were in Norfolk and Kent, with another in Cumbria. Up to 8 Cattle Egrets were still at Piddinghoe (E. Sussex) during the week, as were two at Britford Water Meadows (Wiltshire), and two were seen at Warblington (Hampshire) on 21st, though one remained afterwards. Wintering Black Brants associated with Brent Geese totalled 10 birds between Norfolk and Hampshire, and the Snow Goose remained on the Eden Estuary (Fife). Small numbers of Tundra Bean Geese were reported, 10 at Welney (Norfolk) the largest flock, whilst the Taverner's Canada Goose remained at Caerlaverock (Dumfries and Galloway), a Todd's Canada Goose was on Islay (Argyll), as was a Richardson's Canada Goose with Richardson's Canada Goose also at Holkham (Norfolk) and Glencaple (Dumfries and Galloway). Wintering rare ducks included the drake Barrow's Goldeneye at Quoile Pondage (Co. Down), Blue-winged Teal at Bull Island (Co. Dublin) and Black Scoter off Llanfairfechan (Conwy). A drake Lesser Scaup was again on Barr Loch (Clyde) and others remained at Caerlaverock WWT (Dumfries and Galloway), Kilbirnie Loch (Ayrshire) and Drift Reservoir (Cornwall). A drake Ferruginous Duck was again at Coole Park, Gort (Co. Galway) on 22nd, with long-stayers still at Elstow (Beds), Craigavon (Co. Armagh) and New Hythe GPs (Kent). Eleven Ring-necked Ducks were noted, Surf Scoters were off Fife and Lothian and King Eiders once again off Peterhead (Aberdeenshire) and Mousa Sound (Shetland). A 'new' American Wigeon was at Shader Beach, Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 25th, with others still at Hayle (Estuary (Cornwall), Roadford Reservoir (Devon), Loch of Strathbeg (Aberdeenshire), North Slob (Co. Wexford) and The Mullet (Co. Mayo), and 14 Green-winged Teal were reported, including two at Inner Marsh Farm (Cheshire). The White-headed Duck was still at Broadwater GP (London), though minus a few tail feathers.

Northern Bottlenose Whale: River Thames, London (photo: David Hatton).

Of course, the event of the week was the unfortunate Northern Bottlenose Whale which made its way up the River Thames as far as Chelsea on 19th. This once-in-a-lifetime event ensured there were large crowds lining the banks of the Thames hoping for a close encounter with a whale. Under the scrutiny of the media, attempts to repatriate the whale through a rescue barge were unfortunately unsuccessful, and this hugely popular animal died late on 20th.

Slavonian Grebe: Whitlingham GPs, Norfolk (photo: Mike Parker). Great Northern Diver: Brixham, Devon (photo: Mike Lockyear).
Brambling: Bough Beech, Kent (photo: Andy Vidler). Hawfinch: Clumber Park, Notts (photo: Lynne Demaine).
Crossbill: Walesby Moor, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes). Crossbill: Walesby Moor, Lincs (photo: Matt Latham).
Mealy Redpoll: Gringley Carr, Notts (photo: Martin Garner). Mealy Redpoll: Gringley Carr, Notts (photo: Martin Garner).
Short-eared Owl: Northants (photo: Richard Bedford). Short-eared Owl: Northants (photo: Richard Bedford).

Mediterranean Gull: Great Yarmouth, Norfolk (photo: Tony Mills).
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
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/
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