Review of the Week: 24th-30th May 2007


The week at a glance:

This week's rare and scarce birds

Broad-billed Sandpiper: Saltholme Pools, Cleveland (photo: Martyn Sidwell).

Broad-billed Sandpiper: Saltholme Pools, Cleveland (photo: Martyn Sidwell).

Spotted Sandpiper: Skelton Lake, W. Yorks (photo: Paul Bagguley).

Temminck's Stint: Bellhaven Bay, Lothian (photo: Mark Darling).

Baird's Sandpiper: Tiree, Argyll (photo: John Bowler). Red-necked Phalarope: Blacktoft Sands, E. Yorks (photo: Richard Jackson).

Despite a blustery, and wet, Bank Holiday weekend there were plenty of birds on offer. Waders proved popular, the pick of the bunch a Greater Yellowlegs at Gibraltar Point (Lincs) from 30th onwards. This bird is considered to have also been seen at nearby Freiston Shore (Lincs) earlier in the spring, where it was reported as a Lesser Yellowlegs. Also on offer was a popular Broad-billed Sandpiper at Saltholme Pools (Cleveland) from 27th, plus a one-day Spotted Sandpiper at Skelton Lake (W. Yorks) on 26th and a Baird's Sandpiper on Tiree (Argyll) on 30th. The Killdeer remained at Clevigarth (Shetland), as did the American Golden Plover at Farlington Marshes (Hampshire) to the 24th. A Red-necked Phalarope was at Sidlesham Ferry (W. Sussex) from the 29th to 30th and another at Blacktoft Sands (E. Yorks) on 30th. Pectoral Sandpipers were at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford), Caerlaverock (Dumfries and Galloway) and Tiree, a total of 14 Temminck's Stints were noted and a Dotterel was at Egilsay (Orkney) on 26th. A trio of Kentish Plovers included singles at Church Norton (W. Sussex), Cardigan (Ceredigion) and on the Alaw Estuary (Anglesey).

Little Crake: Unst, Shetland (photo: Mike Pennington).

Little Crake: Unst, Shetland (photo: Mike Pennington).

Night Heron: Methley, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).

Squacco Heron: Erith, London (photo: Andrew Moon).

Purple Heron: Minsmere, Suffolk (photo: Terry McGeever). Purple Heron: Minsmere, Suffolk (photo: Andrew Easton).

A Little Crake at Burrafirth, Unst (Shetland) from 29th onwards may have been present since earlier in the month and represents the third record for the islands. The pair of Eagle Owls at Dunsop Bridge (Lancashire) continue to pull in the crowds, though less accessible were Snowy Owls in the Outer Hebrides, on North Uist and St. Kilda. The popular Scops Owl continued at Thrupp (Oxon). Four Squacco Herons included the long-staying individual on St. Mary's (Scilly), a brief bird at Lodmoor (Dorset) on 28th, and one at South Slob (Co. Wexford) on 29th, on which date a popular bird was found at Erith Marshes (London). This site also accommodated a Purple Heron and up to three birds remained at Minsmere (Suffolk). Three Cattle Egrets were at Lewes (E. Sussex) on 29th and one at Pulborough Brooks (W. Sussex) on 26th. Several Great White Egrets included one on Shetland and the presumed escaped Night Heron continued to show well at Methley (W. Yorks). The Glossy Ibis remained in Lancashire and a party of 14 passed over Addlestone (Surrey) on the 25th. A White Stork passed south over Holy Island on 27th.

Eagle Owl: undisclosed site, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).

A/the Masked Booby was belatedly reported from the Channel Light Vessel on the 17th, pre-dating last week's sighting off the Isle of Wight, and it (or another) was reported from Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 25th. A White-billed Diver passed off West Burra (Shetland) on 26th but skua passage was muted compared to recent weeks. A handful of Balearic Shearwaters were seen off east-coast watchpoints, along with others in West Sussex and Cornwall. The 1st-summer Bonaparte's Gull remained at Hickling (Norfolk) to the 26th, with it, or another, at Deeping Lakes (Lincs) on 30th. The Laughing Gull remained at Topsham (Devon) and American Herring Gulls included birds in Cornwall, Dumfries and Galloway and Argyll. A White-winged Black Tern was at Loch of Kinnordy (Angus and Dundee) on 29th and a Black Kite was seen in Lincolnshire.

Lesser Grey Shrike: Fair Isle, Shetland (photo: Mark Breaks).

Lesser Grey Shrike: Fair Isle, Shetland (photo: Mark Breaks).

Subalpine Warbler: Bardsey, Gwynedd (photo: David Beattie).

Common Rosefinch: Pilling, Lancs (photo: Stephen Menzie).

Red-backed Shrike: Flamborough Head, E. Yorks (photo: Steve Race).

Bluethroat: Spurn, E. Yorks (photo: John Hewitt).

A male Baltimore Oriole was reported from John O'Groats (Highland) during the week, and will no doubt prove popular if it can be pinned down. A Lesser Grey Shrike was on Fair Isle from 27th onwards and a Citrine Wagtail was at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on the 23rd and 24th. A Little Swift passed over St. Mary's (Scilly) on 24th and the Iberian Chiffchaff remained at Colney (Norfolk). A Subalpine Warbler was on Bardsey (Gwynedd) with another on Fair Isle, and a Rustic Bunting was at Spurn (E. Yorks) on the 28th. Small numbers of scarcities were found, mostly along the east coast, including six Common Rosefinches, five Icterine Warblers, seven Bluethroats and two Red-breasted Flycatchers, with Golden Orioles into double figures and Red-backed Shrikes into the high teens. In addition there were three Hoopoes, two Woodchat Shrikes and one Wryneck, plus several records of Bee-eaters, including 10 at Petit Port (Jersey) on the 24th. On the 28th Red-rumped Swallows were noted at both Baron's Haugh (Clyde) and Sidlesham Ferry (W. Sussex) and the Rose-coloured Starling remained on the Outer Hebrides with another on Fair Isle.

Lesser Scaup: Cresswell Pond, Northumbs (photo: Alan Gilbertson).

The pick of the ducks on offer was a pair of Lesser Scaup in Northumberland, plus Ring-necked Ducks were at Avonmouth (Somerset) and Blithfield Reservoir (Staffs) and a Green-winged Teal remained at Kidwelly (Carmarthen). A drake King Eider was off Ronachan Point (Argyll), the Surf Scoter remained off Fair Isle and another was off Musselburgh (Lothian). The Marbled Duck remained in Gloucestershire and a Red-breasted Goose was in Highland.

Photo of the week

This photograph has managed to capture this charismatic species in typical pose and habitat, with its typical spider prey. This well-lit portrait keeps the attention on the perfectly focused bird against a natural, defocused background.

Dartford Warbler: Pleinmont, Guernsey (photo: Kev Joynes).

Other notable photos from the week

Common Redstart: undisclosed site, Clwyd (photo: Richard Steel).

Corn Bunting: Crail, Fife (photo: John Anderson).

Golden Eagle and Buzzard: N. Uist, Outer Hebrides (photo: Sean Nixon).

Cuckoo: Grove Ferry NNR, Kent (photo: Marc Heath).

Yellow Wagtail: Toft Newton Reservoir, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).

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
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