Review of the Week: 1st–7th January 2004

American Robin: Grimsby, Lincs. (Photo: Bill Baston) American Robin: Grimsby, Lincs. (Photo: David Morris)

American Robin: Grimsby, Lincs. (Photo: Alan Clewes) American Robin: Grimsby, Lincs. (Photo: Mark Stirland)

Another American surprise was detected in the post-Christmas week. A new American Robin was found, this time in the unlikely surrounds of an industrial estate in Grimsby (Lincs) on New Year's Day. Still present at the time of writing, this bird shows particularly well and will have been gratefully received by those who did not fancy a lengthy drive to Cornwall for the Godrevy bird, which is also still present. Presumably this bird crossed the Atlantic during an exceptional movement of American Robins in eastern North America at the beginning of November. Perhaps this bird made landfall in Scandinavia and has only recently crossed from the continent with other thrushes? A second bird was reported from New Grimsby (coincidentally) on Tresco (Scilly) on 6th, but has not been seen subsequently. Given that the movement also contained a number of other mouthwatering American rarities, perhaps there are more surprises to be found in unlikely places this winter?

Hume's Warbler: Caernarfon, Gwynedd. (Photo: Steve Round)

Baltimore Oriole: Headington, Oxfordshire. (Photo: Mark Stirland) Baltimore Oriole: Headington, Oxfordshire. (Photo: Tristan Bantock)

Another winter Dusky Warbler was located, this time on an industrial estate in Taunton (Somerset) from 4th to at least 6th – clearly industrial estates were the place to look during the past week! In Devon the wintering Dusky Warbler at Paignton remains, as do the Hume's Warblers at Caernarfon (Gwynedd), Hook Head (Co. Wexford) and Knockadoon (Co. Cork). There were also 11 Yellow-browed Warblers reported during the week, a number of which were inland, so there is still clearly time to find a wintering bird on your local patch. In Cornwall the much-debated pipit was eventually trapped and consensus sided with Rock Pipit, but a hybrid could not be fully excluded. The 1st-winter male Baltimore Oriole continues to delight visitors to gardens in Headington (Oxfordshire), and both the male and female Sardinian Warbler are still present in Skegness (Lincs). The Richard's Pipit remains at Llanilid (Glamorgan) as does the Penduline Tit at Slapton Ley (Devon), and the Rose-coloured Starling was still on St. Agnes (Scilly). Four Arctic Redpolls were reported at Bettyhill (Highland).

Tundra Bean Goose: Dumpton Gap, Kent. (Photo: Den) Tundra Bean Goose: Kilnsea, E. Yorks. (Photo: Mark Stirland)

Lesser Scaup: Castle Loch NR, Dumfries and Galloway. (Photo: Brian Orr) Lesser Scaup: Castle Loch NR, Dumfries and Galloway. (Photo: Brian Orr)

American Wigeon: Hayle Estuary, Cornwall. (Photo: Calum Lamont) Green-winged Teal: Hayle Estuary, Cornwall. (Photo: Nick Bond)

A Forster's Tern was at North Slob and Wexford (Co. Wexford) on 4th and the wintering bird remains in Galway (Co. Galway). A Lesser White-fronted Goose was at Holkham (Norfolk) on 2nd, and Tundra Bean Geese were reported from a number of east-coast locations. There were over a dozen Black Brants reported, all consorting with Brent Geese, and vagrant Canada Geese were reported from a number of locations. Rare ducks comprised 10 Ring-necked Ducks, 3 Ferruginous Ducks, 2 Lesser Scaup, 7 Surf Scoters, one King Eider, 4 American Wigeons and around 15 Green-winged Teals. It was the best week of the winter for fans of scarce gulls, with at least 40 Iceland Gulls reported, including a Kumlien's Gull at Hempsted (Glos), with the same bird or another at Cotswold Water Park (Wilts). There were also over 35 Glaucous Gulls, just under 30 Caspian Gulls and at least 17 Ring-billed Gulls. The two Great White Egrets remained in Hampshire and others were seen in Dorset and East Sussex. On Shetland the American Coot is still at Lerwick, the Glossy Ibis remains in Devon as does the Lesser Yellowlegs in Cornwall, whilst in Norfolk 'Sammy' the Black-winged Stilt was the toast of year-listers for yet another year – how long can he keep going for?

Great White Egret: New Alresford, Hants. (Photo: Nick bond)

Caspian Gull: Dix Pit, Oxfordshire. (Photo: Nic Hallam) Caspian Gull: Woolwich, London. (Photo: Richard Jeffree)

Black-winged Stilt: Titchwell, Norfolk. (Photo: M. Gosling) Lesser Yellowlegs: Hayle Estuary, Cornwall. (Photo: Nick Bond)

So, 2004 picked-up where 2003 left off and would be year-listers were provided with a number of early bonuses to get themselves off to a good start.

Waxwing: Sheffield, S. Yorks. (Photo: Russell Hayes) Bearded Tit: Moatlands GP, Berks. (Photo: Jerry O'Brien)

Shore Lark: Lytham St. Annes, Lancs. (Photo: Sue Tranter) Snow Bunting: Kessingland, Suffolk. (Photo: Tristan Bantock)
Written by: Russell Slack