Review of the Week: 20th-26th January 2005


The highlight of the week, albeit a brief one, was a Killdeer at the mouth of the River Esk at Musselburgh on Saturday 22nd. It was flushed by the rising tide and at 09:30 flew off high southwest calling. Could this have been the North Uist bird from earlier in the month continuing its southerly migration? Although this would be the first record for Lothian, many older-generation birders will remember the bird at Bo'ness (Forth) just a few miles from the Lothian border which stayed for 9 weeks in early 1983.

Elsewhere the American Coot remained at Loch of Benston (Shetland) to at least Sunday 23rd and the Pine Bunting was still at Wadborough (Worcs) to at least Monday 24th but continued to be elusive. The immature White-tailed Eagle continued its tour of East Anglia, visiting several sites in west Norfolk and Cambridgeshire from 20th-23rd and on the latter date was seen heading into Northamptonshire airspace. What was presumed to be the same bird was then seen flying north over Venus Pool (Shropshire) on Wednesday 26th.

Pine Bunting: Wadborough, Warks. (Photo: Steve) White-tailed Eagle: Great Bircham, Norfolk. (Photo: Paul Bowyer)

The two rare herons remained in the south of England, the Cattle Egret at Kings Seymour (Somerset) and the Great White Egret in the Avon Valley (Hants), while the long-staying Glossy Ibis settled down at Belton Marshes (Norfolk).

Glossy Ibis: Belton Marshes, Norfolk. (Photo: Andrew Easton)

There were at least 6 Black Brants present along the coast between Hampshire and Lincolnshire with 2 adults seen together on the Norfolk coast. Just 3 Ferruginous Ducks were reported, along with 2 Lesser Scaup including a returning drake at Milton Loch (Dumfries). There were 4 American Wigeon, 8 Ring-necked Duck, 8 Green-winged Teal and 10 Surf Scoter including 2 together at Weston (Devon) on 25th-26th and a party of 5 in the Sound of Taransay (Outer Hebrides) on 23rd. Two typical reports of King Eider came from Loch Ryan (Dumfries) and Whalsay (Shetland). The white-morph Gyr Falcon was seen again briefly on Fetlar (Shetland) on 20th and up to 5 Rough-legged Buzzards were present along the east coast with 2 together at Shottisham Creek (Suffolk).

An American Golden Plover at Slimbridge WWT (Glos) on 20th was an exceptional winter find, with just one previously accepted January record, on St. Marys (Scilly) in 1985. The first-winter Lesser Yellowlegs remained at Stiffkey (Norfolk) throughout. Gull-watchers were not left wanting this week with the adult Bonaparte's Gull still present at Thurso (Highland) throughout, the adult Ross's Gull near Loch of Hillwell (Shetland) present to at least 24th, and the second-winter American Herring Gull still at Nimmo's Pier (Galway). These were supported by up to 13 birds showing characteristics of Kumlien's Gull including 3 in Stornoway Harbour (Outer Hebrides). There were at least 14 Ring-billed Gulls reported including 3 in Cobh Harbour (Cork) and 6 Caspian Gulls. Numbers of white-winged gulls remained high, especially in the west with 20 Iceland Gulls at Nimmo's Pier (Galway) and 12 Glaucous Gulls at Culmore Dump (Londonderry).

The Dark-breasted Barn Owl was present again at Reawick (Shetland) and the unseasonable Richard's Pipit remained at Kinmel Bay (Conway). Up to 19 Great Grey Shrikes were present throughout England and Wales during the week whilst both the Dusky Warbler at Kessingland (Suffolk) and the exilipes-race Arctic Redpoll at Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk) remained throughout.

Great Grey Shrike: Harpley, Norfolk. (Photo: A R Dean) Arctic Redpoll: Titchwell, Norfolk. (Photo: Steve Seal)
Siberian Chiffchaff: Coleshill, Warks. (Photo: A R Dean) Siberian Chiffchaff: Coleshill, Warks. (Photo: Steve Seal)

Waxwings continued their relentless push south and west, with 14 birds reaching Cornwall on 25th (with a single bird as far south as Marazion) and a flock of 72 in Exeter on 22nd.

Waxwings: Liverpool. (Photo: Dave Brassey) Waxwings: Easton, Bristol. (Photo: Simon Mackie)
Waxwings: Chepstow, Gwent. (Photo: Steve Walton)
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
Ian Barnard: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/sussex.birder
Bill Baston: http://billbaston.com
Steve Blain: http://www.steveblain.co.uk
Nigel Blake: http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/birdphotos/index.htm
Will Bowell: http://www.wanderingbirders.co.nr/
Paul Bowerman: http://mysite.freeserve.com/severnsidebirds
Paul Bowyer: http://www.ukbirds.net
Andy Brett: http://www.freewebs.com/andybrett/
Martin Cade: http://www.portlandbirdobs.btinternet.co.uk
Mark Caunt: http://angusbirding.homestead.com/
Kit Day: http://www.kitday-uk.com/
Lee Dingain: http://www.leedingain.co.uk
Jon Dunn: http://www.surfbirds.com/blogs/Stercorarius/
Sean Gray: http://www.grayimages.co.uk
Peter Hadfield: http://www.manxbirdphotography.co.uk
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.co.near/
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
Jerry O'Brien: http://www.BirdsofBerkshire.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
Deryk Shaw/FIBO: http://www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk
Tom Shevlin: http://wildlifesnaps.com/
Matt Slaymaker: http://www.freewebs.com/slaymaker
Oliver Smart: http://www.smartimages.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
Chris Wormwell: http://www.iombirding.co.uk
Dylan Wrathall: http://www.planetthanet.org
Written by: Tim Barker