Review of the Week: 23rd-29th December 2004

Killdeer: Knockintorran, Outer Hebrides. (Photo: Michael McKee) Killdeer: Knockintorran, Outer Hebrides. (Photo: Michael McKee)

A Killdeer at Knockintorran, N. Uist (Outer Hebrides) was a Christmas Day bonus for the lucky finder. Fortunately it remained to Tuesday 28th allowing those able to escape their Christmas commitments the opportunity to travel and see this rare Nearctic wader. Despite the fact that there have been nearly 60 British and Irish records, long-stayers are few and far between, the only one to linger since the early to mid-1990s (when several proved obliging), was one on St. Agnes (Scilly) from 4th-10th November 2002. The North Uist record constitutes the 4th for the Outer Hebrides and the 10th for Scotland.

Short-billed Dowitcher: North Bull Island, Dublin. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly) Short-billed Dowitcher: North Bull Island, Dublin. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly)

As would be expected 'new' rarities were thin on the ground. A male Penduline Tit was at Grove Ferry (Kent) on Wednesday 29th with 3 the same day at Rainham Marshes (London). An immature White-tailed Eagle over Massingham Heath (Norfolk) on Sunday 26th will prove popular if relocated and a Night Heron was noted over Burton Mill Pond (W. Sussex) on Tuesday 28th. In Co. Dublin the Short-billed Dowitcher again put in an appearance at North Bull Island on Thursday 23rd and was present intermittently to the end of the week - presumably this is the bird seen at the same site at the end of October and early November.

Sora: Attenborough NR, Notts. (Photo: Nigel Blake)

Sora: Attenborough NR, Notts. (Photo: David Dack) Sora: Attenborough NR, Notts. (Photo: Will Bowell)

The cohort of long-staying rarities remained quite stable, though there were a few departures. In Nottinghamshire the adult Sora continues to entertain at Attenborough NR. The exilipes Arctic Redpoll at Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk) continues to perform well and in Suffolk the Dusky Warbler is still at Kessingland. The Blyth's Pipit was last reported on 23rd at Land's End (Cornwall) and in Aberdeenshire the 1st-winter male Bluethroat was last reported on 28th at Loch of Strathbeg. The dark-breasted Barn Owl was again at Reawick (Shetland). Several Siberian Chiffchaffs were noted and the cumulative number of Great Grey Shrikes was in single figures. Northern Bullfinches were reported in North Yorkshire, London, Norfolk and Essex, where 13 birds were at Warley CP and Thorndon CP. Just 17 Firecrests made their way onto the news services, and four single Lapland Buntings was a meagre showing, whilst the only Shore Larks were 3 in Lothian at John Muir CP and 28 at Holkham (Norfolk).

Arctic Redpoll: Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk. (Photo: Josh Jones) Rough-legged Buzzard: Whitley Bay, Northumbs. (Photo: John Malloy)

Great Grey Shrike: Wimpole Hall Farm, Cambs. (Photo: Jonathan Theobald) Great Grey Shrike: Hurworth Burn, Durham. (Photo: Ian Forrest)

Shore Lark: John Muir CP, Lothian. (Photo: John Molloy) Snow Bunting: Covenham Res, Lincs. (Photo: Russell Hayes)

The Forster's Tern was again at Strangford Lough (Co. Down) on 29th and the Skerries (Co. Dublin) individual continued to prove elusive. The 2nd-winter American Herring Gull is still in Galway (Co. Galway) and the 1st-winter at Cobh (Co. Cork), as is the Ivory Gull at Kyle of Tongue (Highland). There was an upturn in numbers of white-winged gulls at last, with around 35 Iceland Gulls and over 20 Glaucous Gulls. Around 20 Ring-billed Gulls were reported, the majority in Ireland and just over a dozen Caspian Gulls were detected. A Grey Phalarope was off Lower Largo (Fife) on 28th and the Lesser Yellowlegs is still at Stiffkey (Norfolk).

Ferruginous Duck: Craigavon, Co. Armagh. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly) Ring-necked Duck: Long Eaton, Derbys. (Photo: Bob Hazell)

Tundra Bean Goose: North Warren, Suffolk. Black Brant: Holkham, Norfolk. (Photo: Will Bowell)

The Redhead was still at Kenfig (Glamorgan) and the male Lesser Scaup still at Scotney GPs (E. Sussex) and 1st-winter drake at Abberton Reservoir (Essex). The King Eider was still off Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk) mid-week, and another reported off Holy Island (Northumberland). The Black Scoter remained at Llanfairfechan (Conwy) as did the drake and female Black Duck on Tresco (Scilly). The American Wigeon remained in Cornwall and there were 9 drake Green-winged Teals. Ferruginous Ducks remained in Co. Armagh and Bedfordshire, with another reported in Essex. Seven Ring-necked Ducks were seen, but just one Surf Scoter. Several sizeable Tundra Bean Geese flocks were still to be found, with 60 at Walland Marsh (Kent), 47 North Warren (Suffolk), 30 Hickling Broad (Norfolk), 27 Hayling Island (Hants) and 21 Greylake RSPB (Somerset). Smaller numbers were still at large at a number of sites in the southeast of England.

Waxwing: Bolton, Gtr Manchester. (Photo: Sue Tranter) Waxwing: Norwich, Norfolk. (Photo: Kevin P Elsby)

Red-necked Grebe: Ferry Meadows, Cambs. (Photo: Will Bowell) Smew: Colwick CP, Notts. (Photo: Darren Chapman)
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://www.nigelblake.co.uk
Will Bowell: http://www.geocities.com/wbowell/
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.geocities.com/blgp_birder
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: Russell Slack