Review of the Week: 23rd-29th November 2006


The week at a glance:

Falcated Duck: Bowling Green Marsh, Devon (photo: Colin Selway).

In terms of rarities there has been relatively little change in recent weeks and we seem to be descending into a period of predictability regarding what's on offer and where. Of course that can all change quickly, as it only takes a newly discovered 'sibe' or garden-dwelling Nearctic 'mega' to come to light, and 2006 will continue in much the same way as the previous 11 months! The Falcated Duck in Devon was present at Exmouth until the 23rd and it then relocated to Bowling Green Marsh from the 28th. As it is a 1st-winter bird then there is growing interest in this individual as many are questioning whether it could well be a genuine vagrant - what do you think? Could this be the bird that upgrades this beautiful duck onto Category A of the British List or are we clutching at straws and it will go the way of all other records and be deemed a likely escapee? Other rare wildfowl on offer included the two drake Barrow's Goldeneye, with both the Callander (Forth) and Quoile Pondage (Co. Down) birds still around. Likewise the drake Bufflehead remains at Loch of Snarravoe, Unst (Shetland), as does the putative female Redhead, or hybrid, still on Loch of Spiggie (Shetland). In Norfolk the Black-eared Kite was claimed over Snettisham on the 24th and 28th.

Barrow's Goldeneye: Callander, Forth (photo: R.L. Brown).

Barrow's Goldeneye: Callander, Forth (photo: R.L. Brown).

Barrow's Goldeneye: Callander, Forth (photo: Graeme Stephen).

On the Outer Hebrides the Snowy Owl continues at Bru, Lewis, and a possible White-tailed Eagle was reported at Hickling (Norfolk) on 28th. The juvenile Night Heron remained at North Slob (Co. Wexford) as did the Glossy Ibis at Fluke Hall (Lancs) and Cattle Egret on the Otter NR (Devon). The Great White Egret was still at Blashford Lakes (Hants), with presumably it, or another, at West Parley (Dorset) on 23rd and one passed over Amwell GPs (Herts) on 27th. The Rough-legged Buzzard is still on the Harty Marshes (Kent) and another was again reported from Banks Marsh (Lancs), whilst the Osprey remained at Nayland (Suffolk) with another over Ely (Cambs) on 28th. Up to 18 Spoonbills were at large, comprised mostly of 8 on Brownsea Island (Dorset) and 6 at Isley Marsh (Devon).

Spoonbill: Kinneil Lagoon, Forth (photo: R.L. Brown).

Shore Lark: Snettisham, Norfolk (photo: Tim Corke).

An Alpine Swift was reported over Kenfig Pool (Glamorgan) on 29th, and late swifts in East Yorkshire and Dorset were treated with deserved caution, and were part of a number of late records of summer visitors still to be found in the mild conditions. The female Siberian Stonechat was still present on Goonhilly Downs (Cornwall) to the 26th and the Dusky Warbler was still at Spurn (E. Yorks) on at least the 24th. Pallas's Warblers were at Kilnsea (E. Yorks) on 26th and Durlston CP (Dorset) from 16th-27th, with six Yellow-browed Warblers for backup, with five in the southwest and one at Lancing (W. Sussex). Siberian Chiffchaffs were at Slimbridge (Glos) and Fair Isle (Shetland) and the elusive Little Bunting was again at Benacre (Suffolk) briefly on 24th and 25th. A typically late trio of Richard's Pipits included Yorkshire birds at Filey and Spurn and one at Llandudno (Conwy), whilst the only Great Grey Shrike on offer was at Burley (Hants). Typical winter visitors were also in short supply, with just 7 Scottish Waxwings, five of which were in Westill (Aberdeenshire), 27 Shore Lark, 24 of which were in Norfolk and three briefly in East Yorkshire, and just half-a-dozen Lapland Buntings.

Waxwing: Callander, Forth (photo: Graeme Stephen).

'New' rare waders included a Long-billed Dowitcher on the Alaw Estuary (Anglesey) from 28th onwards, Lesser Yellowlegs at Carnan, S. Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 28th and an American Golden Plover at Newbiggin (Northumbs) from 25th-26th. Long-staying waders included the Spotted Sandpiper on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall), along with the Lesser Yellowlegs at Rosscarbery (Co. Cork) and Long-billed Dowitcher on the Oare Marshes (Kent), plus an American Golden Plover was again on Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 27th. White-rumped Sandpipers included birds at Cley (Norfolk) and Ballycotton (Co. Cork), plus one was still at Kilcoole (Co. Wexford) with it, or another, at North Slob. A Dotterel was at Cley from 28th-29th and Grey Phalaropes included brief birds at Mudeford (Dorset) on 25th and Maidens (Ayrshire) on 26th, one at West Thurrock (Essex) on 28th with perhaps the same at Rainham Marshes (London) the same day. The long-staying bird at Abberton Reservoir (Essex) was last seen on the 26th.

Kumlien's Gull: Culmore Dump, L'derry (photo: Derek Charles).

Iceland Gull: Culmore Dump, L'derry (photo: Derek Charles). Iceland Gull: Killybegs, Co. Donegal (photo: Derek Charles).

Little Auk: Snettisham, Norfolk (photo: Lee Johnson).

Gull enthusiasts were able to embrace their subject matter further this week with increased numbers of scarcer gulls, including in the region of 35 Iceland Gulls, 15 Glaucous Gulls and 25 Caspian Gulls; there were also Kumlien's Gulls at Culmore Dump (L'derry) and a possible at Scalloway (Shetland). Rare gulls were in short supply though. Last week's Laughing Gull in Cambridgeshire was presumably the same bird in the roost at Amwell GPs (Herts) on 26th and early on 27th, with a 1st-winter Bonaparte's Gull at Marazion (Cornwall) on 23rd and an adult at Montrose (Angus/Dundee) on 26th. A Sabine's Gull passed Southwold (Suffolk) on the 25th and the Forster's Tern remained at Cruisetown (Co. Louth). A handful of Little Auks were reported, including the ever-popular, and obliging, bird at Snettisham. Balearic Shearwaters included one off Gorleston-on-Sea (Norfolk) on 25th and, in Devon, one passing Prawle Point on 26th and Berry Head on 27th. The cumulative number of inland Great Northern Diver reports reached into the teens, most of which were in the Midlands including several multiple records.

Lesser Scaup: Knock Lake, Co. Dublin (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

Lesser Scaup: Knock Lake, Co. Dublin (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

Lesser Scaup: Knock Lake, Co. Dublin (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

Red-breasted Goose: Saltfleet, Lincs (photo: Graham Catley).

Red-breasted Goose: Saltfleet, Lincs (photo: Graham Catley).

The remainder of the wildfowl interest was provided by the long-staying Black Scoter off Llanfairfechan (Conwy), and there was a Lesser Scaup at Caerlaverock (Dumfries and Galloway) on 27th, with another identified at Knock Lake (Co. Dublin) and the long-staying 1st-winter drake on North Uist (Outer Hebrides). A dozen Ring-necked Ducks included three at Lough Fern (Co. Donegal) whilst the female Ferruginous Duck was still at New Hythe GPs (Kent) and another was reported from Druridge Pools (Northumbs) on 23rd, with birds re-identified as hybrids at Pine Lake (Lancs) and Blyford (Suffolk). The only Surf Scoters were off Co. Kerry and Lothian, with four American Wigeon and 11 Green-winged Teal at large. The Red-breasted Geese remained in Lincolnshire and Dorset, half-a-dozen Black Brant were between Lincolnshire and Dorset, and both blue- and white-morph Snow Geese were in Norfolk with the white morph still in Highland.

Long-eared Owl: undisclosed, Lincs (photo: Graham Catley). Long-eared Owl: undisclosed, Lincs (photo: Graham Catley).

Red Kite: Amersham, Bucks (photo: Andrew Moon).

Twite: Warley Moor, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).

Stonechat: Worlaby Carrs, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).

Turnstone: Marshside, Lancs (photo: Sue Tranter).

Teal: Martin Mere, Lancs (photo: Sue Tranter).

Pochard: Welney, Cambs (photo: Peter Simpson).

Goldfinch: Summer Leys, Northants (photo: Richard Bedford).

Purple Sandpiper: New Brighton, Cheshire (photo: Steve Round).

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/
John Coveney: http://www.clarebirdwatching.com/index.php
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/
Dean Eades: http://www.pbase.com/dean_eades/root
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
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/
Matt Latham: http://www.pbase.com/latho/root
Jack Levene: http://www.birdingimages.com
Micky Maher: http://www.aardfoto.co.uk/
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
Ken Plows: http://www.kenswildlifepics.co.uk
Ray Purser: http://www.pbase.com/02purser/images
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