Review of the Week: 21st-27th June 2007


The week at a glance:

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This week's rare and scarce birds

Wheldrake Ings, N. Yorks Excessive amounts of rainfall fell in many areas, turning rivers into raging torrents. Here wildlife rich hay meadows lie under several feet of flood water - a familiar scene in many areas (photo: Russell Slack).

For many of us the weather was the unfortunate talking point of the week, causing widespread flooding across large swathes of northern and central Britain. Despite the midsummer date, if not weather, there were plenty of birds still being found, plus a number of long-staying rarities continued their residence.

Little Bittern: Titchwell, Norfolk (photo: Steve Evans).

Little Bittern: Titchwell, Norfolk (photo: Steve Evans).

Great White Egret: Tamworth, Staffs (photo: Steve Seal).

The continued presence of the male Little Bittern at Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk) proved popular, though he was often typically elusive, but showed well on occasion. A Squacco Heron at Abbotsbury (Dorset) on 27th was presumably a wandering bird from earlier in the spring, and there were Glossy Ibis reports from Alvecote Pools (Warwickshire) on 18th and Blakeney (Norfolk) on 21st, plus the reliable long-staying individual still in Lancashire, at Newton Marsh. Several Great White Egrets included birds at Ham Wall (Somerset) on 22nd, Waxham (Norfolk) on 24th, Tamworth (Staffs) on 26th and Saltholme Pools/Dorman's Pool (Cleveland) from 27th.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: Ballycotton, Co. Cork (photo: Sean Cronin).

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: Ballycotton, Co. Cork (photo: Sean Cronin).

A trickle wader of movement was already evident, and scarcities included a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Ballycotton (Co. Cork) from 22nd-25th, an American Golden Plover on the Boyne Estuary (Co. Louth) on 26th and a White-rumped Sandpiper at Freiston Shore (Lincs) on 25th. The Hudsonian Whimbrel continued to draw visitors to Walney Island (Cumbria) throughout the week, and on Shetland the long-staying Killdeer was still present at Clevigarth. Away from breeding areas a Red-necked Phalarope was present on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 27th.

White-winged Black Tern: Cley, Norfolk (photo: Ian Hirst).

White-winged Black Tern: Cley, Norfolk (photo: Mick Green).

Laughing Gull: Grafham Water, Cambs (photo: Jono Leadley).

Laughing Gull: Grafham Water, Cambs (photo: Simon Stirrup).

Bonaparte's Gull: South Uist, Outer Hebrides (photo: Andrew Stevenson).

Strong winds prompted seawatchers to dabble earlier in the season than would normally be expected; east-coast observers were rewarded with small numbers of European Storm-petrels and south-coast observers with good numbers of Balearic Shearwaters, including up to 70 off Portland Bill (Dorset). A Leach's Storm-petrel was off the Skellig Islands (Co. Kerry) on 24th, and a handful of single Pomarine Skuas were logged, but the prize seabirds were Long-tailed Skuas, with one off Melvaig (Highland) on 26th and another passing Craster (Northumberland) on 27th. In Norfolk stunning White-winged Black Terns were present at Welney 25th-26th and Cley from 26th-27th, a 2nd-summer Laughing Gull was a good find at Grafham Water (Cambs) on 24th, and the 1st-summer Bonaparte's Gull remained on South Uist (Outer Hebrides).

Alpine Swift: Titchwell, Norfolk (photo: Will Bowell).

An Alpine Swift at Titchwell (Norfolk) late on 24th relocated to nearby Hunstanton (Norfolk) on 25th and early on 26th, plus another was reported at Frogmore (Devon) on 25th. A Roller was reported from Seacombe Cliff (Dorset) on 26th and a Hoopoe was present in Harston (Cambs). Migrant Golden Orioles included singles at Bockhill Farm (Kent) and Rusper (W. Sussex), a Red-breasted Flycatcher was at Portland (Dorset) on 23rd and a Marsh Warbler trapped on Fair Isle (Shetland) on 25th, where the long-staying Lesser Grey Shrike also remained. A Black-headed Bunting was in an Exeter (Devon) garden on 22nd, a Subalpine Warbler on the Isle of May (Fife) from 21st-26th and a Rose-coloured Starling at Rousay (Orkney) on 24th. Five Red-backed Shrikes were noted, plus there were Common Rosefinches at Flamborough Head (E. Yorks) on 21st and Northam Burrows (Devon) on 23rd. There were two Serin at Portland (Dorset) on 22nd and one there on 27th with one at Selsey Bill (W. Sussex) on 26th. On the Outer Hebrides a probable Ashy-headed Wagtail was on Benbecula.

Montagu's Harrier: Digby Fen, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

The pair of Montagu's Harriers at Digby Fen (Lincs) proved to extremely popular, allowing birders another privileged opportunity to watch these birds at close quarters in Britain. Three Surf Scoters were located off Aberdeenshire, a female American Wigeon was at Glaslyn Marshes (Gwynedd) and Ring-necked Ducks were at Avonmouth (Somerset) and Blithfield Reservoir (Staffs). On the Outer Hebrides a possible Lesser Scaup was on South Uist and the long-staying Marbled Duck remained in Gloucestershire.

Spoonbill: Minsmere, Suffolk (photo: Scott Mayson).

Photo of the week

It's always unusual to see flight shots taken head-on, but to capture such an uncommon and majestic species from this angle is very rare. You can certainly feel for the many small creatures who would have seen this as their final sight. With perfect composition and a plain white background, Sean has created a bold, graphic image.

Hen Harrier: Lancashire (photo: Sean Gray).

Other notable photos from the week

Reed Warbler: Otmoor, Oxon (photo: Nigel Forrow).

Grey Heron: Clumber Park, Notts (photo: Brian Irvine).

Guillemot: Bempton, E. Yorks (photo: Steve Round).

Puffin: Farne Islands, Northumbs (photo: Garth Peacock).

Dipper: Cleddau Estuary, Pembrokeshire (photo: Mark Hancox).

Hen Harrier: Lancashire (photo: Sean Gray).

Many of the images that appear in our weekly reviews can be purchased from the photographers, some of whom have their own websites:

John Anderson: http://www.pbase.com/crail_birder
Bill Aspin: http://billaspinsnatureblog.blogspot.com
Mike Atkinson: http://mikeatkinson.net
Richard Bedford: http://www.richardbedford.co.uk
Steve Blain: http://www.steveblain.co.uk
Will Bowell: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
Paul Bowerman: http://www.severnsidebirds.co.uk
Paul Bowyer: http://www.birdlist.co.uk
Graham Catley: http://pewit.blogspot.com/
Mark Caunt: http://www.AngusBirding.com
Dean Eades: http://www.pbase.com/dean_eades
Andrew Easton: http://home.clara.net/ammodytes/
Graham Eaton: http://www.eatonphotography.co.uk
Stuart Elsom: http://www.stuartelsom.co.uk
Steve Evans: http://www.powow.com/birds2004/
Katie Fuller: http://bogbumper.blogspot.com
Ian Fulton: http://www.pbase.com/ianfulton
Sean Gray: http://www.grayimages.co.uk
David Hatton: http://www.kowapower.com
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
Paul and Andrea Kelly: http://www.irishbirdimages.com/
Matt Latham: http://www.mattlathamphotography.com
Micky Maher: http://www.aardfoto.co.uk/
John Malloy: http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/johnmalloy
Brian Mcgeough: http://www.brianmcgeough.com/
Tony Mills: http://www.notjustbirds.com
Jerry O'Brien: http://www.BirdsofBerkshire.co.uk
Mark Newsome: http://www.durhambirdclub.org/
James Packer: http://www.somersetbirder.co.uk
Mike Pennington: http://www.nature.shetland.co.uk
Ken Plows: http://www.kenswildlifepics.co.uk
Ray Purser: http://www.pbase.com/02purser
Marc Read: http://www.marcread-pix.com
Tristan Reid: http://www.atricillaimages.co.uk/
Steve Round: http://stevenround-birdphotography.com
Craig Shaw: http://craigsukbirdpictures.bravehost.com/
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
Richard Steel: http://wildlifephotographic.bblogspot.com/
Stephen Tomlinson: http://stevesbirding.blogspot.com
Sue Tranter: http://www.suesbirdphotos.co.uk/
Damian Waters: http://www.drumimages.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