Review of the Week: 20th-26th March 2003


High pressure continued to dictate proceedings, providing mild settled conditions that continued to produce steady birding, with the exception of some extremely early summer migrants.

Rare herons were quite evident this week. In Dorset a Cattle Egret roosted at Abbotsbury on 23rd and Purple Herons were reported in Tyrone and Cornwall. A Great White Egret was seen briefly in West Sussex on 23rd and several White Storks during the week will have provoked local debate as to their possible origin.

A white-spotted Bluethroat on Gugh was the first of the spring for this striking spring 'scarcity', whilst the number of Hoopoes reached double figures, all in the southwest and southern Ireland. In Norfolk, the Sardinian Warbler was seen throughout the early part of the week, and completed a trio of attractions for visiting birders with the Pallid Harrier and Yellow-browed Warbler still present. On Scilly the Black Duck was again on St. Martin's and, continuing with ducks, a female King Eider was on Fetlar and the drake was still in Loch Ryan.

Interesting early migrants included Sedge Warblers, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler reported during the week, with an early arrival of Willow Warblers noted in many areas too. Despite the diversity of migrants, numbers in many areas remain quite small, but the vanguard of early arrivals is providing incentive enough for local patch watchers to get out and look with purpose.

Written by: Russell Slack