Review of the Week: 1st-7th December 2005


The week at a glance:

Sociable Lapwing: Rainham Marshes, London (photo: Barry Wright). Sociable Lapwing: Rainham Marshes, London (photo: Barry Wright).

A Sociable Lapwing at Rainham Marshes (London) from Sunday 4th onwards was an excellent midwinter bonus and the first British record since one in East Sussex in 2001 (Sociable Lapwing records). Reports in the last few months in France, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Hungary gave hope that one might make it to our shores, which this long-staying individual has answered. With a sharply declining breeding population, and latest population estimates put at 200 pairs, Sociable Lapwing is a highly threatened species. However, a recent winter count of over a thousand birds provided a renewed glimmer of hope for the species. In line with declining numbers it is to be expected that Sociable Lapwing will become increasingly rare in Europe, and of course Britain, where there have been just half-a-dozen records in the last decade.

Brünnich's Guillemot: Lerwick, Shetland (photo: Steve Minton). Brünnich's Guillemot: Lerwick, Shetland (photo: Steve Minton).
Brünnich's Guillemot: Lerwick, Shetland (photo: Steve D Keightley). Brünnich's Guillemot: Lerwick, Shetland (photo: Steve D Keightley).

On Shetland the Brünnich's Guillemot continued to perform well throughout the week at Lerwick much to the delight of those birders that it enticed to venture north. It was still present on the 7th, and many will hope that it remains for a second weekend. Make the most of this one as the next live and healthy bird might be a few years off!

Hume's Leaf Warbler: Filey Brigg, N. Yorks (photo: Dave Mansell).
Rose-coloured Starling: Llangristiolus, Anglesey(photo: Rhys Thomas).

Waxwing: Grimsby, Lincs (photo: Graham Catley). Waxwing: Reydon, Suffolk (photo: Mike Parker).

The discovery of a Radde's Warbler at a private site near Basingstoke (Hants) on 7th was an unexpected surprise: this is easily the latest date ever for this species in Britain, for which records are virtually confined to late September and October. However, given the increasing regularity of overwintering Dusky Warblers in recent years perhaps it was only a matter of time before a Radde's was discovered. It will be interesting to see if it remains for any period of time – it is the first county record. A Hume's Leaf Warbler was a good find at Filey Brigg (N. Yorks) on 7th and the Hume's Leaf Warbler at Seaton Hole (Devon) was last reported on 3rd. The late 'sibe' theme was enhanced by a Pallas's Warbler on St. Mary's (Scilly) on 2nd, and single Yellow-browed Warblers in Dorset and Devon. The two Richard's Pipits remained at West Kirby (Cheshire) through the week and another flew south over Landguard NR (Suffolk) on 5th. A Rose-coloured Starling was found dead in an Anglesey garden on 1st. Five Great Grey Shrikes were a meagre showing, though Waxwings continued to push south with decent-sized flocks in Cleveland and South Yorkshire, though the largest count was a 100+ in Lothian. Nine Shore Larks comprised the usual seven at Holkham (Norfolk) and singletons at Minsmere (Suffolk) and Spurn (E. Yorks), whilst 11 Lapland Buntings were nearly all accounted for by a flock of seven at Frampton Marsh (Lincs).

Laughing Gull: Porthcawl, Glamorgan (photo: David Brassey). Laughing Gull: Porthcawl, Glamorgan (photo: Tristan Bantock).
Laughing Gull: Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire (photo: David Astins). Laughing Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway (photo: Dermot Breen).

Around 18 Laughing Gulls were reported and following last week's inland bird came others, with a brief bird at Ladywalk NR (Warks) and a more obliging individual in the Reading area (Berks). There was also a brief bird at Shibdon Pond (Durham) – doubtless keen gull-watchers will pick out more in the coming weeks. An adult Bonaparte's Gull was at Salcombe (Devon) on 2nd and a 1st-winter at Wembury (Devon) on 3rd. A 2nd-winter American Herring Gull was at Sandymount (Co. Dublin) on 5th. Of the scarce gulls there were just over a dozen each of the white-wingers, Iceland Gull and Glaucous Gull, and the 2nd-winter Kumlien's Gull was last reported in Worcestershire on 1st. An impressive 40 or more Caspian Gulls were noted, including six at Paglesham Lagoon (Essex) and five at Dungeness RSPB (Kent). Fourteen Ring-billed Gulls referred mostly to regular long-staying individuals. The adult Forster's Tern remained at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway) as did the White-billed Diver off Kirkabister (Shetland). Long-tailed Skuas were noted off Mains of Usan (Angus and Dundee) and off Winterton (Norfolk) and around 10 scattered Pomarine Skuas were detected. A European Storm-petrel passed Spurn (E. Yorks) and a southerly movement of 115 Little Auks was logged from Filey Brigg (N. Yorks).

Iceland Gull: Killybegs, Co. Donegal (photo: Derek Charles). Iceland Gull: Ayr, Ayrshire (photo: John Anderson).

Grey Phalarope: Covenham Reservoir, Lincs (photo: Mike Ambler).

White-billed Diver: Kirkabister, Shetland (photo: Roger Riddington). White-billed Diver: Kirkabister, Shetland (photo: Roger Riddington).

Other rare waders were in short supply. The American Golden Plover was still present on Lewis (Outer Hebrides) and a possible was reported from Barnham Broom (Norfolk). In Cornwall the Long-billed Dowitcher remained in residence on the Hayle Estuary and a Dotterel was at Fen Drayton GPs (Cambs) on 4th and 6th. Five Grey Phalaropes included an inland bird at New Swillington Ings (W. Yorks) on 2nd and the long-staying individual was still at Covenham Reservoir (Lincs). Rough-legged Buzzards were reported in Kent, Norfolk and Lancashire and the wintering bird remained on the Isle of Sheppey (Kent). A total of seven Spoonbills comprised three each in Devon and Dorset and one in Co. Waterford, and White Storks remained in Dorset and East Yorkshire.

Hooded Merganser: Chilham, Kent (photo: Gary Stewart). Hooded Merganser: Chilham, Kent (photo: Gary Stewart).
Ring-necked Duck: Chew Valley, Somerset (photo: James Packer). American Wigeon: Needingworth Quarries, Cambs (photo: Barry Byatt).
Surf Scoter: Rerwick Head, Orkney (photo: Keith Hague). Surf Scoter: Rerwick Head, Orkney (photo: Keith Hague).

A female or 1st-winter Hooded Merganser at Chilham (Kent) from 4th stimulated the usual debate as to its origin and the drake White-headed Duck remained at Broadwater GP (London). Less contentious was a 1st-winter drake King Eider in Bluemull Sound (Shetland) and the drake remained off Leebotten (Shetland). In Co. Down the drake Barrow's Goldeneye was at Quoile Pondage to at least the 6th and the drake Black Scoter was still off the North Wales coast. Seven Surf Scoters were all in Scottish waters except for one off Dawlish Warren (Devon) on 6th and Lesser Scaups remained at large in Cornwall, East Yorkshire and Ayrshire. Thirteen Ring-necked Ducks were well spread and a drake Ferruginous Duck was at Tittesworth Reservoir (Staffs) on 4th and the regular female was still in Bedfordshire. Ten Green-winged Teals were reported and there were five American Wigeons, plus a possible female and two hybrid drakes.

Taiga Bean Goose: Mount Norris, Co. Armagh (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).
Taiga Bean Goose: Mount Norris, Co. Armagh (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

Great Northern Diver: Paxton Pits, Cambs (photo: Garth Peacock). Great Northern Diver: Paxton Pits, Cambs (photo: Stuart Elsom).
Slavonian Grebe: Fairhaven Lake, Lancs (photo: Andy Pryce). Slavonian Grebe: Fairhaven Lake, Lancs (photo: Philip Tomkinson).
Red-necked Grebe: Bredon's Hardwick, Worcs (photo: Andy Warr). Long-tailed Duck: Grafham Water, Cambs (photo: Jim Milne).
Smew: Toft Newton Reservoir, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades). Smew: Toft Newton Reservoir, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).
Hawfinch: Callow Hill, Worcs (photo: John Robinson). Hawfinch: Draycote Water, Warks (photo: Bob Hazell).
Snow Bunting: Rimac, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes). Snow Bunting: Theddlethorpe, Lincs (photo: Graham Catley).

Golden Plover: Clifford GPs, Northants (photo: Richard Bedford).
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