Review of the Week: 22nd-28th September 2005

The week at a glance:
Veery: Unst, Shetland (photo: Mike Pennington).

With an incessant Atlantic airflow during the week, it will come as no surprise to readers that most of the star rarities were Nearctic species. Pick of these was a Veery trapped at Northdale, Unst (Shetland) late on Thursday 22nd. Ringed and released, unfortunately it succumbed to the attentions of a local cat overnight. It is only the seventh for Britain and the first for Shetland (Accepted Veery records). Its prompt demise denied observers the opportunity to see this delightful Nearctic thrush, but fortunately three of the previous individuals have lingered long enough to attract the attention of the keener listers, notably so the bird on Lundy (Devon) in 1987 and more recent birds on the Outer Hebrides in 1995 and Orkney in 2002. Intriguingly, an unidentified Catharus thrush was seen at Lamba Ness, Unst on the 23rd.

Veery: Unst, Shetland (photo: Micky Maher).

Sora: St. Mary's, Scilly (photo: Martin Goodey). Sora: St. Mary's, Scilly (photo: Martin Goodey).

Nearctic passerine back-up came in the shape of a Blackpoll Warbler in The Parsonage on St. Agnes (Scilly) from Tuesday 27th onwards. This was the first on the islands since 1997 and only the 7th British and Irish record of the species in the last decade (to see a full list of accepted records go to Accepted Blackpoll Warbler records). In Ireland a Red-eyed Vireo was on Inish Boffin (Co. Galway) from Monday 26th-27th. Another 'biggie' came in the shape of an Upland Sandpiper at Nanjizal Valley (Cornwall) on Tuesday 27th. Present for much of the day up until dusk, if it remains it will be the first truly 'collectable' individual since 1999 (Accepted Upland Sandpiper records), when an obliging individual was on Scilly; in 2004 birds were on Foula (Shetland) in May and one in Cornwall briefly in October, though neither were accessible to the masses. Finally, an obliging Sora took up residence on Lower Moors, St. Mary's (Scilly) from Friday 23rd onwards. Hot on the heels of last winter's superb Sora in Nottinghamshire, this would be low on the desired list for many, but it is still an exceptionally rare species in Britain and Ireland with just 16 accepted records (Accepted Sora records).

Pechora Pipit: Scatness, Shetland (photo: Steve Minton). Pechora Pipit: Scatness, Shetland (photo: Steve Minton).
Lesser Grey Shrike: Spurn, E. Yorks (photo: Dean Eades). Lesser Grey Shrike: Spurn, E. Yorks (photo: Dean Eades).
Lesser Grey Shrike: Spurn, E. Yorks (photo: Steve Evans). Lesser Grey Shrike: Spurn, E. Yorks (photo: Darren AP Ward).

It wasn't all from the 'west' though. On Sunday 25th southeasterlies on the Northern Isles produced Pechora Pipit at Scatness (Shetland) and North Ronaldsay (Orkney) and an early Olive-backed Pipit on Fair Isle (Shetland). A Citrine Wagtail was on Foula (Shetland) on Saturday 24th, and a Lesser Grey Shrike was at Spurn (E. Yorks) the same day (and present for the rest of the week). The first Yellow-breasted Bunting of the year was on Foula on Tuesday 27th.

Tawny Pipit: West Runton, Norfolk (photo: RD Millard). Tawny Pipit: West Runton, Norfolk (photo: Mick Green).
Common Rosefinch: Beeston Bump, Norfolk (photo: Josh Jones). Common Rosefinch: Beeston Bump, Norfolk (photo: Chris Orders).
Richard's Pipit: Great Orme, Conwy (photo: Marc Hughes). Rose-coloured Starling: East Prawle, Devon (photo: Phil Stidwill).

Greenish Warblers were at Wester Quarff (Shetland), Cape Clear (Co. Cork) and St. Agnes (Scilly) during the week, and there were over 50 Yellow-browed Warblers reported, the majority on the Northern Isles, including 15 on Fair Isle and 8 on North Ronaldsay on 15th; there was an inland bird briefly at Chew Valley Lake (Somerset). The total of Barred Warblers was in the mid-teens, mostly on Shetland, and a Melodious Warbler was on St. Mary's. Red-breasted Flycatchers crept into double figures, as did Wrynecks. The Northern Isles accommodated 5 Bluethroats, the first 'fall' of the species this autumn! Common Rosefinches were into double figures too, most on Shetland apart from one in Norfolk and two in the southwest. An Eastern Yellow Wagtail was on Fetlar (Shetland) on 24th. There were 11 Little Buntings, all of which were on the Northern Isles except for one at Gibraltar Point (Lincs) on 26th. A Short-toed Lark was present on North Ranldsay on 25th, and Ortolan Buntings were on Fair Isle, in the Nanjizal valley (Cornwall) and on Bardsey Island (Gwynedd). An obliging Tawny Pipit was at West Runton (Norfolk) from 25th onwards and at least 9 Richard's Pipits were reported, including an inland bird at Annesley (Notts) on 26th. A Red-throated Pipit was at Elmley Marshes (Kent) on 25th.

Hoopoe: Great Billing, Northants (photo: Nick Broome). Wryneck: Hayling Island, Hants (photo: George Spraggs).
Red-backed Shrike: Prawle Point, Devon (photo: Phil Stidwill). Red-backed Shrike: Astwood, Bucks (photo: Ken Plows).

The Hoopoe at Great Billing (Northants) was last reported on 25th and Hoopoes were briefly in Norfolk at Burnham Thorpe on 23rd and Cromer on 26th. On Shetland the Bee-eater was at Helendale until at least 24th and a Golden Oriole was at South Walney (Cumbria) on 23rd and 24th. A handful of Red-backed Shrikes included the juvenile at Pinner (London) through the week and the Astwood (Bucks) juvenile to 23rd. Juvenile Rose-coloured Starlings were still present at East Prawle (Devon) and Helston Loe Pool/Marazion (Cornwall).

Black-winged Stilt: Gweek, Cornwall (photo: Derek Julian). Black-winged Stilt: Gweek, Cornwall (photo: Mike Barker).
Wilson's Phalarope: Tacumshin, Co. Wexford (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly). Wilson's Phalarope: Tacumshin, Co. Wexford (photo: Tom Shevlin).
Long-billed Dowitcher: Drift Res, Cornwall (photo: Mike Barker). Long-billed Dowitcher: Drift Res, Cornwall (photo: Mike Barker).
Lesser Yellowlegs: Out Skerries, Shetland (photo: Mike McKee). Lesser Yellowlegs: Swords, Co. Dublin (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).
Baird's Sandpiper: Kirkby on Bain GPs, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades). Baird's Sandpiper: Kirkby on Bain GPs, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

Wader enthusiasts had plenty of quality fare to feast themselves on. A juvenile Black-winged Stilt was at Gweek (Cornwall) from 24th-27th and a Spotted Sandpiper on St. Mary's (Scilly) from 27th onwards. A Wilson's Phalarope was at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) from 24th-25th, and the Wilson's Phalarope on South Uist (Outer Hebrides) was last reported on 23rd. Seven Long-billed Dowitchers were located: two at Doonbeg (Co. Clare), singles at Shannon (Co. Clare), Port Carlisle (Cumbria), Drift Res (Cornwall), Old Hall Marshes (Essex) and Annagh Head (Co. Mayo). No fewer than 10 Lesser Yellowlegs were reported: Clonakilty (Co. Cork), Lady's Island Lake and North Slob (Co. Wexford), Swords (Co. Dublin), Kingston Seymour (Somerset), Colonsay and Islay (Argyll), Out Skerries (Shetland) and Filey Dams (N. Yorks). Baird's Sandpipers were on Scilly, Islay and in Lincolnshire, a White-rumped Sandpiper remained on North Ronaldsay to 23rd, and American Golden Plovers were on Foula, Colonsay and Lewis (Outer Hebrides). At least 9 Buff-breasted Sandpipers were reported and there were just under 20 Pectoral Sandpipers at large. A Temminck's Stint was at Titchwell (Norfolk), 18 Dotterel included a report of 10 in Lancashire, 4 Red-necked Phalaropes included several obliging birds, and a scatter of Grey Phalaropes were seen on the west coast, easily the largest number passing the Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) which totalled 45 on 23rd, 18 on 28th and 19 on 27th.

Pectoral Sandpiper: Draycote Water, Warks (photo: Mark Priest). Pectoral Sandpiper: Waters Edge, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

Temminck's Stint: Titchwell, Norfolk (photo: Barrie Hanson).

Red-necked Phalarope: Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria (photo: Tristan Reid). Red-necked Phalarope: Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria (photo: Steve Round).
Dotterel: Malvern Hills, Worcs (photo: Oliver Wadsworth). Dotterel: Malvern Hills, Worcs (photo: Lee Johnson).

It was a productive week for seawatchers. A Black-browed Albatross passed south off Bardsey Island on Sunday 25th and Little Shearwaters were reported from Iona (Argyll) on Friday 23rd and Rumps Point (Cornwall) on Wednesday 28th. A Wilson's Storm-petrel passed Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) on 25th. Reasonable numbers of large shearwaters were reported, with a maximum count of 676 Great Shearwaters past Annagh Head (Co. Mayo) on 27th, though Cory's Shearwaters were in single figures. Sabine's Gulls and Leach's Storm-petrels were also seen from many west-coast watchpoints, and a Leach's Storm-petrel was inland on Bough Beech Reservoir (Kent) on 25th. A Laughing Gull was reported from Galley Head (Co. Cork) on 26th.

American Coot: Loch of Benston, Shetland (photo: Craig Holden). American Coot: Loch of Benston, Shetland (photo: Dougie Preston).
Little Crake: Slimbridge, Glos (photo: Rob Laugton). Spotted Crake: Old Moor, S. Yorks (photo: Keith Pickering).

On Shetland the American Coot returned to Loch of Benston on 24th, whilst the Little Crake continued to show at Slimbridge WC (Glos) through the week, and there were 9 Spotted Crakes reported. A Cattle Egret was at Elmley Marshes (Kent) from 22nd, and Great White Egrets remained at Blashford Lakes (Hants) and Orchardleigh (Somerset), with another reported from the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) on 22nd. The Snowy Owl was again reported on North Uist (Outer Hebrides) and a Dark-breasted Barn Owl was at Trimley Marshes (Suffolk). A Black Brant was at Strangford Lough (Co. Down) and Snow Geese comprised two birds (blue and white morph) at Meikle Loch (Aberdeenshire) and a blue morph at Miltonhill (Moray/Nairn) and a Lesser Canada Goose was on Islay. The Redhead returned to Kenfig NNR (Glamorgan) on 24th, a Ferruginous Duck was in Somerset, and Ring-necked Ducks were in Cornwall, Co. Donegal and Scilly. A Blue-winged Teal was at Tacumshin, with another at Smerwick (Co. Kerry), Green-winged Teal were in Cheshire and South Yorkshire, and a female American Wigeon was reported from Hilbre (Cheshire) on 23rd. Two King Eiders remained in Shetland and Surf Scoters were in Moray/Nairn.

Snow Goose: Meikle Loch, Aberdeenshire (photo: Chris Jones). Green-winged Teal: Inner Marsh Farm, Cheshire (photo: Julie Rogers).
Hen Harrier: Warks (photo: Brian Mcgeough). Hen Harrier: Warks (photo: Brian Mcgeough).
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
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/
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
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
George Spraggs: http://www.bird-watching.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