Review of the Week: 22nd December 2005-4th January 2006


The weeks at a glance:

Black-throated Thrush: Curload, Somerset (photo: James Packer). Black-throated Thrush: Curload, Somerset (photo: Steve Evans).
Black-throated Thrush: Curload, Somerset (photo: AG Adams). Black-throated Thrush: Curload, Somerset (photo: Steve Evans).

A male Black-throated Thrush at Curload (Somerset) on Saturday 24th December was a fine Christmas bonus for its finder. A county first, the bird remained in the area until at least 3rd January, allowing year-listers a non-environmentally-friendly repeat visit. Inland 'wintering' Black-throated Thrushes were a feature of the mid-to-late 1990s, when several long-staying birds were well watched, but since early 1999 records have been largely confined to islands, especially Shetland (Black-throated Thrush records).

Ross's Gull: Cley, Norfolk (photo: Stuart Elsom). Ross's Gull: Cley, Norfolk (photo: Stuart Elsom).
Ross's Gull: Cley, Norfolk (photo: Kevin Elsby). Ross's Gull: Cley, Norfolk (photo: Kevin Elsby).
Ross's Gull: Cley, Norfolk (photo: Dave Appleton). Ross's Gull: Cley, Norfolk (photo: Dave Appleton).

A fine adult Ross's Gull lured observers to Cley/Blakeney Point (Norfolk) between Saturday 31st December and 1st January. In a good couple of weeks for scarcer gulls there was also an adult Bonaparte's Gull at Scurdie Ness/Lunan Bay (Angus/Dundee) on 3rd and a 1st-winter Franklin's Gull on the Douglas Estuary (Co. Cork) on 22nd. Thirteen Laughing Gulls were reported, most still in southern Wales and the southwest, plus one was again in Co. Durham, the adult in Berkshire, and an adult reported from Crosby (Lancs) on 2nd. In Ireland singles remained at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway) and Dublin/Bull Island (Co. Dublin) and one was at Blennerville (Co. Kerry) on the 1st and 2nd.

Laughing Gull: Porthcawl, Glamorgan (photo: David Carrington). Laughing Gull: Porthcawl, Glamorgan (photo: Steve Evans).
Laughing Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly). Laughing Gull: Glaslyn Marshes, Gwynedd (photo: Kev Joynes).

Bonaparte's Gull: Lunnan Estuary, Angus/Dundee (photo: Stuart Green).

American Herring Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly). American Herring Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway (photo: Derek Charles).

A 3rd-winter American Herring Gull was at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway) from 29th and a 2nd-winter at Blennerville (Co. Kerry) on 3rd. A 3rd-winter Kumlien's Gull was also at Nimmo's Pier and several short-staying adults were also reported, with birds at Ogston Reservoir (Derbyshire), Angler's CP (W. Yorks), Chew Valley Lake (Somerset) and Dargan Road Landfill (Co. Antrim). White-winged gulls remained in sort supply with around 25 Glaucous Gulls and 30 Iceland Gulls over the period, though there were over 30 Ring-billed Gulls, two-thirds of which were in Ireland. Good numbers of Caspian Gulls remain at large to educate and frustrate would-be observers and the Forster's Tern remains in the Nimmo's Pier area of Co. Galway.

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Iceland Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly). Glaucous Gull: Langstone Rock, Devon (photo: A. Cunningham).
Ring-billed Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly). Ring-billed Gull: Gosport, Hants (photo: Marc Read).

Kumlien's Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

Forster's Tern: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

Forster's Tern: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly). Kumlien's Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway (photo: Derek Charles).

Cattle Egret: Piddinghoe, E. Sussex (photo: Marc Read).

An exceptional influx of Cattle Egrets involved a remarkable 8 birds at Piddinghoe (E. Sussex) from 2nd onwards and two more at Britford Water Meadows (Wiltshire) from 24th onwards. Additionally, the long-staying Cattle Egret remains at Pagham Harbour (W. Sussex). A Great White Egret over Chichester (W. Sussex) on 23rd was presumably the bird at Pagham Harbour (W. Sussex) on 24th. On the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) the Long-billed Dowitcher remained in residence as did the Lesser Yellowlegs on White's Marsh (Co. Cork), but the American Golden Plover was last seen at Northam Burrows (Devon) on 22nd. The only Grey Phalarope of the period was at Lamb Holm (Orkney) on 23rd.

Arctic Redpoll: Aberlady Bay, Lothian (photo: Ray Wilson).

Arctic Redpoll: Aberlady Bay, Lothian (photo: Ray Wilson). Arctic Redpoll: Aberlady Bay, Lothian (photo: Ray Wilson).

The Arctic Redpoll remains at Aberlady Bay (Lothian) and another was found at Icklingham (Suffolk) from 31st onwards. It continues to be a relatively unexceptional winter for wintering 'sibes', but six Yellow-browed Warblers during the period included long-stayers in Devon at Clennon Valley, Broadsands and Countess Weir, with another found at Newlyn (Cornwall) from 2nd onwards. Less co-operative were singles at Stafford (Staffs) on 23rd and Holkham Park (Norfolk) on 2nd. The Hume's Leaf Warbler was last reported from Filey (N. Yorks) on 30th, and the Richard's Pipit remained at West Kirby (Cheshire) throughout. A handful of Siberian Chiffchaffs were claimed, the Little Bunting is still at Morston (Norfolk) and just one Northern Long-tailed Tit remains at Easington (E. Yorks). Two Penduline Tits were still present at Rainham Marshes (London) on 29th, and the male Golden Oriole was again reported from Leighton Moss (Lancs) on 25th. There were reports of a Hoopoe present for several days at Clipston (Northants) prior to 23rd and a Rose-coloured Starling was reported from Warley (W. Midlands) on 4th. Just seven Shore Larks were available over the festive period, 6 at Holkham (Norfolk) and one at Minsmere (Suffolk), and 17 Lapland Buntings were confined to the east coast with the exception of one at Talacre (Clwyd). Waxwing numbers have dwindled recently, the largest recent gathering being 70 in Sheffield (S. Yorks) and a dozen Great Grey Shrikes remains a rather modest midwinter showing.

Great Grey Shrike: Santon Downham, Suffolk (photo: Jonathan Theobald).

Waxwing: Nocton Fen, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes). Waxwing: Benton, Northumbs (photo: Stu Fenwick).

White-tailed Eagle: Altnahinch Dam, Co. Antrim (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

A grey-morph Gyr Falcon was reported from Doonbeg (Co. Clare) on 26th, and an escaped white morph was in the Great Kelk (E. Yorks) vicinity prior to Christmas – perhaps the bird seen in North Yorkshire earlier in the winter. A wing-tagged White-tailed Eagle was at Altnahinch Dam (Co. Antrim) on 24th, 26th and 27th, whilst the count of wintering Rough-legged Buzzards now numbers just three, with the addition of a Norfolk bird to those already residing in Shetland and Kent.

Blue-winged Teal: Bull Island, Co. Dublin (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly). Blue-winged Teal: Bull Island, Co. Dublin (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

A female or hybrid Redhead is present at Loch Bhasapol, Tiree (Argyll), having been first reported on 14th December. Lesser Scaup remain in Cornwall, Ayrshire and East Yorkshire with a probable 1st-winter male in Devon and four Ferruginous Ducks comprise long-stayers in Kent, Bedfordshire, Staffordshire and Co. Armagh. Sixteen Ring-necked Ducks was a good showing, though five Surf Scoter was indifferent. A drake King Eider was off Peterhead (Aberdeenshire), with the drake again in Mousa Sound (Shetland) on 3rd, whilst the Black Scoter remained off Conwy, as did the Barrow's Goldeneye in Co. Down. A Northern Eider was off Lendalfoot (Ayrshire) and the 1st-winter female Blue-winged Teal remained in Co. Dublin. Seven drake American Wigeon were reported, including 'new' birds at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford), Loch of Strathbeg (Aberdeenshire) and Welney (Norfolk). The Taverner's Canada Goose remained at Caerlaverock WWT (Dumfries and Galloway) and another was on Islay (Argyll), where there was also three Richardson's Canada Geese. In Lancashire the Lesser or Todd's Canada Goose remained at Downholland Moss. A number of Black Brants continue to winter between Norfolk and Hampshire and one was still at Blennerville (Co. Kerry). Away from wintering areas Taiga Bean Geese were reported from Loch of Hundland (Orkney), two still at Mountnorris (Co. Armagh), six at Loch Connell (Dumfries and Galloway) and three reported from Haverton Hole (Cleveland), with one of unknown origin at Staunton Harold Reservoir (Derbyshire). Three Tundra Bean Geese were reported from Wicken Fen (Cambs), one from Salthouse (Norfolk), three at Welney (Norfolk) and four at Herringfleet (Suffolk). The long-staying Snow Goose remains at Guardbridge (Fife) and one was at Aberlady Bay (Lothian).

Black Brant: Shotley Marshes, Suffolk (photo: Nick Crouch).

Caspian Gull: Poolsbrook CP, Derbys (photo: Keith Pickering). Caspian Gull: Poolsbrook CP, Derbys (photo: Martin Garner).
Great Northern Diver: Draycote Water, Warks (photo: Bob Hazell). Black-throated Diver: Freiston Shore, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).
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
Mike Atkinson: http://mikeatkinson.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/
Andy Bright: http://www.Digiscoped.com
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
David Hatton: http://www.kowapower.com
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
Gerald Segelbacher: http://www.digiscoping.uk.md
Deryk Shaw/FIBO: http://www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk
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
Simon Stirrup: http://www.simonstirrup.co.uk/
Garry Taylor: http://www.spurnbirdobservatory.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