Review of the Week: 26th January-1st February 2006


The week at a glance:

Black-throated Thrush: Swansea, Glamorgan (photo: Paul Bowden).

Black-throated Thrush: Swansea, Glamorgan (photo: Garth Clarke). Black-throated Thrush: Swansea, Glamorgan (photo: Steve Morgan).

The Buff-bellied Pipit was again seen at Frampton Marsh (Lincs) on 27th and 29th, but remains exceptionally elusive. Given that the field it favoured has now been ploughed, it seems that further views will be unlikely. The fine Black-throated Thrush remains in the Townhill area of Swansea (Glamorgan), but can be elusive in back gardens, where it is out of view for long periods of time. The Hume's Leaf Warbler is still in the plantation by the Horsey Mill NT car park (Norfolk) whilst the controversial Hume's Leaf Warbler or Yellow-browed Warbler remains at Bridge (Cornwall). Four Penduline Tits were again at Rainham Marshes (Gtr London) from 30th onwards.

Common Rosefinch: Sheffield, S. Yorks (photo: Nick Roe). Little Bunting: Morston, Norfolk (photo: Bill Plumb).
Hoopoe: Gosport, Hants (photo: SG Davis). Great Grey Shrike: Catholme, Staffs (photo: Kev Joynes).

A 1st-winter Common Rosefinch was a surprise Garden Birdwatch find in the suburbs of southern Sheffield (S. Yorks) where it favours feeders bordering Graves Park; winter occurrences are not without precedent but are certainly noteworthy. The Little Bunting remains at Morston (Norfolk) and another was reported from Aldcliffe Marshes (Lancs), and in East Yorkshire the Northern Long-tailed Tit can still be found in Easington. The Arctic Redpoll remains at Aberlady Bay (Lothian) and another was at Woodwalton Fen (Cambs) on 28th with 'possibles' reported from Eldernell (Cambs) and Gringley Carr (Notts). Good numbers of Mealy Redpolls continue to be found, with single figures associated with Lesser Redpoll flocks in many parts of southern Britain. On Shetland the Black-bellied Dipper was relocated at Voe from 28th. A Yellow-browed Warbler was on the Camel Trail (Cornwall) on 29th, with one again putting in an appearance at Stafford (Staffs) the same day. The wintering Richard's Pipit is still at West Kirby (Cheshire), but the number of wintering Great Grey Shrikes remains at a low ebb with just 8 reported. The same could be said of Shore Larks with just the regular flock of 6 at Holkham Gap (Norfolk) and one at Minsmere (Suffolk) on offer, though there was an upturn in numbers of Lapland Buntings with 17 at Frampton Marsh (Lincs), 15 at Choseley (Norfolk) and 6 at Beal (Northumbs). Waxwings topped the hundred mark in Edinburgh (Lothian) and Glasgow (Clyde), with 80 in Sheffield (S. Yorks) and Aberdeen. The Hoopoe remained at Gosport (Hants) to at least 30th. A Wheatear was at Thurlestone (Devon) on 1st and a signal that spring is perhaps not all that far away.

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Franklin's Gull: Dundrum Bay, Co. Down (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

Laughing Gull: Glaslyn Marshes, Gwynedd (photo: Stephen Tomlinson). Laughing Gull: Ardrossan, Ayrshire (photo: Brian Orr).
Laughing Gull: Ardrossan, Ayrshire (photo: Brian Orr). Laughing Gull: Ardrossan, Ayrshire (photo: Jim Duncan).

A 1st-winter Franklin's Gull was present at Dundrum Bay (Co. Down) from 28th-1st and another at Carrigaline (Co. Cork) on 29th and 30th. An adult Laughing Gull was at Rosscarbery (Co. Cork) on 29th and 30th and long-staying Laughing Gulls included adults at Ardrossan (Ayrshire), Brixham (Devon) and Glaslyn Marshes (Gwynedd) and the 2nd-winter at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway). An American Herring Gull was reported from Sennen (Cornwall) on 28th and adult Kumlien's Gulls were at Dargan Bay (Co. Antrim) and Cotswold WP (Glos), plus the 3rd-winter remained at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway). Just over 20 Ring-billed Gulls were reported, though white-winged gulls remained in short supply with just under 20 Glaucous Gulls and over 25 Iceland Gulls. The Forster's Tern remained at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway) and a 1st-winter was at Kilmore Strand (Co. Cork) on 29th.

Baikal Teal: Belfast Lough, Co. Antrim (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly). Baikal Teal: Belfast Lough, Co. Antrim (photo: Tom Shevlin).
Baikal Teal: Belfast Lough, Co. Antrim (photo: Gerry O'Neill). Baikal Teal: Belfast Lough, Co. Antrim (photo: Gerry O'Neill).

A Temminck's Stint was a most unseasonable find on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) from 28th onwards, and would appear to be only the 2nd-ever winter record of the species in Britain. A Little Ringed Plover was at Ballycotton (Co. Cork) from 29th-30th. The Grey Phalarope was present at Windermere (Cumbria) to 27th, and the Long-billed Dowitcher remains on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) as does the Lesser Yellowlegs at Clonakilty (Co. Cork). A White-billed Diver was off Flotta (Orkney) on 29th and one remained in Mousa Sound (Shetland). The only seawatching reports of note were a Balearic Shearwater past Pendeen and Sennen (Cornwall) on 27th, several Little Auks seen off Orkney, and a Pomarine Skua past Flamborough Head (E.Yorks) on 29th. The remnants of the recent Cattle Egret influx to the south coast show little signs of moving on and up to 7 were still at Piddinghoe (E. Sussex), two at Pagham Harbour (W. Sussex), two at Britford Water Meadows (Wiltshire) and one at Warblington (Hants). A Quail was another out-of-season sighting at Choseley (Norfolk).

Redhead: Tiree, Argyll (photo: John Bowler). Ring-necked Duck: Drogheda, Co. Louth (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).
Lesser Scaup: Caerlaverock, Dumfries and Galloway (photo: Craig Shaw). Lesser Scaup: Caerlaverock, Dumfries and Galloway (photo: John Anderson).
King Eider: Peterhead, Aberdeenshire (photo: Chris Jones). King Eider: Peterhead, Aberdeenshire (photo: Chris Jones).
American Wigeon: Westfield Point, Cumbria (photo: Craig Shaw). American Wigeon: Westfield Point, Cumbria (photo: Tristan Reid).
Smew: Paxton Pits, Cambs (photo: Garth Peacock). Red-crested Pochard: Martin Mere, Lancs (photo: Gordon Eaton).

A Snowy Owl was at Spiddal (Co. Galway) on 31st and a possible Gyr Falcon was at Scaling Dam (Cleveland) on 26th, though was presumably one of the birds seen at several sites in the northeast in recent months, and more likely to be escaped falconers' birds or hybrids. A White-tailed Eagle was reported from Gouthwaite Reservoir (N. Yorks) on 30th and several Rough-legged Buzzards included records on Orkney, plus others in Bedfordshire and Cumbria, the wintering bird in Kent and several in Norfolk. A drake Baikal Teal of unknown origin was at Belfast Lough RSPB (Co. Antrim), whilst the Barrow's Goldeneye remained at Quoile Pondage (Co. Down) as did the apparent female Redhead on Tiree (Argyll) and drake Black Scoter off Llanfairfechan (Conwy). King Eiders were noted off Peterhead (Aberdeenshire) and Mousa Sound (Shetland), though the only Surf Scoters were in Fife and Orkney. A Lesser Scaup was on the Ouse Washes (Cambs), with others at Drift Reservoir (Cornwall) and a showy individual at Caerlaverock WWT (Dumfries and Galloway). A dozen Ring-necked Ducks were well spread, three long-staying Ferruginous Ducks included birds at New Hythe (Kent), Gort (Co. Galway) and Elstow GPs (Beds), though an addition to these was a female at Linlithgow Loch (Lothian) on 28th. Seven American Wigeon included a 'new' birds on the Ouse Washes and Westfield Point (Cumbria). Eight Green-winged Teals completed the scarcer ducks on offer this week, though an influx of Smew was apparent and around 200 birds were reported from many waters during the week, mostly in the Midlands and Southeast. Richardson's Canada Geese were in Norfolk and Dumfries and Galloway, plus a Taverner's Canada Goose also in Dumfries and Galloway, whilst a Todd's Canada Goose or Lesser Canada Goose was in Perth and Kinross.

Mealy Redpoll: Elvington, N. Yorks (photo: Russell Slack). Hawfinch: Wyre Forest, Worcs (photo: John Robinson).
Black Redstart: Little Orme, Conwy (photo: Steve Round). Snow Bunting: Pensarn, Conwy (photo: Steve Round).
Water Rail: Conwy RSPB, Conwy (photo: Steve Round). Water Rail: Tetney, Lincs (photo: Dave Bradbeer).
Crossbill: Willingham, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes). Crossbill: Willingham, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

Red Kite: Gigrin Farm, Powys (photo: Mark Priest).
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