Review of the Week: 26th May-1st June 2005

Audouin's Gull: Beacon Ponds, E. Yorks. (Photo: Adam Hutt)

The second British Audouin's Gull was found at Beacon Ponds (E. Yorks) mid-afternoon on Wednesday 1st. Unfortunately the 2nd-summer remained for less than half an hour before it headed west up the Humber estuary. Whether it will be relocated in the same area, or elsewhere in Britain, is yet to be determined. Those who missed the first British record at Dungeness (Kent) in early May 2003 were to be disappointed as there was no further sign by nightfall. During its short stay it was photographed, yet again enabling many to see images of a mega rarity on the Internet within hours of its discovery - how long before mega rarities are only believed or accepted with supporting evidence of a digi-photograph? Interestingly, an adult Audouin's Gull was at St Ouen's Pond (Jersey) on Tuesday 31st.

Collared Pratincole: Blakeney, Norfolk. (Photo: Pete Wragg) Collared Pratincole: Blakeney, Norfolk. (Photo: Steve Evans)
Spotted Sandpiper: Belvide Res, Staffs. (Photo: Steve Nuttall) Black-headed Bunting: The Mounts, Devon. (Photo: Paul Boulden)

A 1st-summer female Pallid Harrier passed through West Bolden (Durham) on Saturday 28th, and would have been a popular Bank Holiday distraction had it lingered. A Collared Pratincole made a brief appearance at Wicken Fen (Cambs) on the morning of Saturday 28th, and was then relocated at Cley (Norfolk) later that morning, before favouring Blakeney Freshmarsh for the rest of the week. A Snowy Owl was on St. Kilda (Outer Hebrides) on Thursday 26th, with an immature male then on South Uist (Outer Hebrides) from 30th-31st, whilst the immature female was on North Uist (Outer Hebrides) to 27th. A summer plumaged Spotted Sandpiper was at Belvide Res (Staffs) from Monday 30th-31st (perhaps the West Midlands bird from last spring?) and a Broad-billed Sandpiper was on Tiree (Argyll) from 31st-1st. Two Black-winged Stilts were again at Old Hall Marshes (Essex) on Tuesday 31st. A male Black-headed Bunting was at The Mounts (Devon) on Thursday 26th.

American Golden Plover: Cemlyn, Anglesey. (Photo: Richard Jones)

Of recent major rarities, the Trumpeter Finch stayed at Landguard NR (Suffolk) until the 26th and the male Barrow's Goldeneye remains at Loch of Strathbeg (Aberdeenshire). The Gull-billed Tern was relocated at Shoreham-by-Sea (W. Sussex) from Thursday 26th onwards, proving obliging for those who missed out earlier in the spring. The Whiskered Tern at Cotswold WP (Glos) remained to the 26th and the Whiskered Tern at Staines Res (Surrey) was last reported on 26th with presumably the same at Moor Green Lakes (Berks) on 27th. The Terek Sandpiper was last reported from Cliffe Pools (Kent) on 27th and the American Golden Plover at Cemlyn (Anglesey) was last seen on 26th. In Bedfordshire the Great Reed Warbler is still at Willington GPs.

Greenish Warbler: Flamborough Head, E. Yorks. (Photo: Martin Garner) Greenish Warbler: Flamborough Head, E. Yorks. (Photo: Martin Garner)
Rustic Bunting: Auchmithie, Angus and Dundee. (Photo: Tom Moodie) Rose-coloured Starling: Flamborough Head, E. Yorks. (Photo: Matt Slaymaker)
Rustic Bunting: Auchmithie, Angus and Dundee. (Photo: Mark Caunt) Rustic Bunting: Auchmithie, Angus and Dundee. (Photo: Mark Caunt)

A Greenish Warbler was at Flamborough Head (E. Yorks) on Friday 27th, with a Rose-coloured Starling at the same site from Sunday 29th onwards. The Rose-coloured Starling near Padstow (Cornwall) was last reported on 26th. A fine Rustic Bunting was at Auchmithie (Angus and Dundee) from 28th-29th and Subalpine Warblers were at Dunbar (Lothian) on 28th and Fair Isle (Shetland) on 1st, where there was also a Tawny Pipit on 31st. A Short-toed Lark on Lundy (Devon) from 27th-31st was followed by others at Towyn (Conwy) from 31st-1st and Blakeney Point (Norfolk) from 1st onwards. Five Woodchat Shrikes included birds in East Yorkshire, Devon, Isle of Wight, Dorset and Scilly and around 20 Red-backed Shrikes were located, including 3 at Tarbat Ness (Aberdeenshire). Common Rosefinches were into double figures, though there were just 5 Bluethroats, including 3 on Fair Isle on 31st. There was a Marsh Warbler on Foula (Shetland) and a Grey-headed Wagtail on Fair Isle. Three Icterine Warblers were on Shetland. A splash of the exotic was provided by 15 migrant Golden Orioles, a Hoopoe on Skomer (Pembrokes) and 10 Bee-eaters, including 3 at Durlston CP (Dorset) on 27th. An Alpine Swift passed through Spurn (E. Yorks) on 29th and 7 Red-rumped Swallows included 3 at Portland (Dorset) on 27th. A possible Black-headed Wagtail was reported from Calver (Derbys) on Friday 27th.

Common Rosefinch: Whitburn, Durham. (Photo: Mark Newsome)
Red-backed Shrike: Whitburn, Durham. (Photo: Mark Newsome) Woodchat Shrike: Portland, Dorset. (Photo: David Frost)
Purple Heron: Coatham Marsh, Cleveland. (Photo: John Malloy) Great White Egret: Cowpen Marsh, Cleveland. (Photo: John Malloy)

A White-billed Diver was off North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 1st. Red-footed Falcons were reported from Breydon Water (Norfolk) on 27th, Dunbar (Lothian) on 28th and Wareham Forest (Dorset)on 31st and a handful of Black Kites included one seen on several occasions in Cumbria. A Rough-legged Buzzard was at Loch of Strathbeg on 1st. A Pectoral Sandpiper was at Neumann's Flash (Cheshire) from 31st-1st, there were 5 Temminck's Stints and two Red-necked Phalaropes were on Fetlar (Shetland). A calling Spotted Crake was in Aberdeenshire, and a Purple Heron was still in Norfolk with one at Coatham Marsh (Cleveland) from 27th-28th. The long-staying Great White Egret was still in Cleveland and another possible was reported in Essex and one in Gwynedd. A Night Heron was at Nanquidno (Cornwall) on 28th and another over Santon Downham (Suffolk) on 29th. A Cory's Shearwater passed Cape Clear (Co. Cork) on 28th. Rare ducks comprised a female Blue-winged Teal at Loch of Stenness (Orkney) from 27th-1st, an American Wigeon on Shetland and Ring-necked Ducks in Co. Armagh, Scilly and Gwent. King Eiders were still in Aberdeenshire and Shetland.

What will the next great rarity of spring 2005 be? With Great Black-headed Gull recently in Belgium, this is a species long overdue to reacquaint itself with our shores - the first, and last, was in 1859!

Corncrake: Balranald, Outer Hebrides. (Photo: Steve Round)

Lesser White-fronted Goose: Boldon Flats, Durham. (Photo: Mark Newsome) Corncrake: Balranald, Outer Hebrides. (Photo: Steve Round)
Garganey: Cley, Norfolk. (Photo: Nick Crouch) Red-crested Pochard: Cotswold WP, Glos. (Photo: Steve Walton)
Grey Plover: Gibraltar Point, Lincs. (Photo: Russell Hayes) Sanderling: Balranald, Outer Hebrides. (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
Ian Barnard: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/sussex.birder
Bill Baston: http://billbaston.com
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/
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/
Lee Dingain: http://www.leedingain.co.uk
Jon Dunn: http://www.surfbirds.com/blogs/Stercorarius/
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
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
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
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
George Spraggs: http://www.bird-watching.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