Review of the Week: 27 September-3 October 2021


A scattering of quintessential autumn rarities and a moulting drake Baikal Teal meant Shetland rounded off September with a late pulse of action, while October got off to a breathless start with three new mega alerts on 1st.

On 29th a double bill of top-drawer rarities appeared on Fair Isle (read the full story here). Foreshadowed by a brief Pechora Pipit the previous day, Wednesday morning got off to an impressive start when a White's Thrush made its way into one of the island's Heligoland traps. Staying put until 1st, the isle enjoys an enviable reputation with the species with no fewer than 18 records to date, including two in 2020.

White's Thrush, Fair Isle, Shetland (Daniel Gornall).

Shetland's first Baikal Teal at Da Water later that same afternoon rounded off the day with aplomb, lingering until the week's end and allowing several of the keenest Shetland listers a chance to catch up with this mega rare East Asian vagrant. You would be hard-pressed to find an individual with better credentials than this one – arriving with an influx of Eurasian Teal on the same day as a White's Thrush! The island potentially hosted another back in 1954, with a bird on 30 September-1 October of that year rejected by the records committees.

Baikal Teal, Fair Isle, Shetland (Alex Penn).

As October began the island's hot streak continued, with an adult male Isabelline Shrike trapped and ringed on 1st. The current records committee position of only accepting mature birds means that the species enjoys an inflated rarity status in Britain, with just 12 accepted birds on record despite the vast majority of annual young isabelline shrike species almost certainly belonging to the taxon.

Isabelline Shrike, Fair Isle, Shetland (Daniel Gornall).

Ireland's Mullet peninsula scored the best reward from recent Atlantic depressions, with a Solitary Sandpiper at Clogher, Co Mayo, on 1-2nd supported by a Red-eyed Vireo at nearby Blacksod. The Tringa was an eighth for Ireland as well as the second for the Mullet, following one in September 2009.

Solitary Sandpiper, Clogher, Mayo (Josh Jones).

With just one previous Co Cork record before 2021 – that as long ago as October 1993 – a Semipalmated Plover at Crookhaven, Co Cork, from 1st is perhaps likely to be the bird responsible for noc-mig records over neighbouring Lissagriffin on 2 July and 1 August.

Semipalmated Plover (centre left), Crookhaven, Cork (Richard Mills).

A first-winter male Rose-breasted Grosbeak at Balephuil, Tiree, on 30th was Argyll's first and hot on the heels of another in Shetland last week.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Balephuil, Tiree, Argyll (Jim Dickson).

Incredibly, a Greater Yellowlegs at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB, Aberdeenshire, from 28th was joined by a Lesser Yellowlegs from 30th, providing unbeatable views of the species pair on this side of the Atlantic. The pair were joined by a brief probable Long-billed Dowitcher on 2nd, with a Pectoral Sandpiper also present – quite the collection!

Greater Yellowlegs (left) and Lesser Yellowlegs, Loch of Strathbeg RSPB, Aberdeenshire (Tim Marshall).

With a significant proportion of the British birding community currently encamped on Shetland, it was perhaps unsurprising that the number of new rarities discovered saw a similar upturn, although it was far from a vintage autumn week. Perhaps most popular of the week's visitors was a first-winter Eastern Yellow Wagtail at Noss, Mainland, from 29th, with another at Haroldswick, Unst, the same day. On 3rd, a Western Bonelli's Warbler rocked up at Easter Quarff, Mainland.

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Loch of Spiggie, Mainland, Shetland (Peter Garrity).

Western Bonelli's Warbler, Easter Quarff, Mainland, Shetland (Mike Edgecombe).

A one-day Great Reed Warbler visited Culsetter, Mainland, on 29th, with a Booted Warbler at Skaw, Unst, the previous day similarly brief. On 29th, a Great Snipe was at Tresta, Fetlar, with a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll at East Burra on 2nd.

Booted Warbler, Skaw, Unst, Shetland (Alan Tate).

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll, East Burra, Shetland (Peter Moore).

Two Lanceolated Warblers – at Halligarth, Unst, and Ristie, Foula – were a pleasing start to October, although the latter was unfortunately found dead the following morning. A forlorn-looking Rustic Bunting at Sandness, Mainland, on 30th was missing its tail, although other individuals at Symbister, Whalsay, and Out Skerries were in better shape.

Lanceolated Warbler, Foula, Shetland (Marek Walford).

Rustic Bunting, Symbister, Whalsay, Shetland (John Irvine).

On 2nd, a Red-eyed Vireo at Brae, Mainland, and a juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper at Pool of Virkie, Mainland, added some Nearctic flair.

Semipalmated Sandpiper, Pool of Virkie, Mainland, Shetland (Pete Morris).

Other Red-eyed Vireos were at Glenn, Barra, on 27th and Bardsey Island, Gwynedd, on 2-3rd, while an American Horned Lark graced Inishmore, Co Galway, at the week's end.

Red-eyed Vireo, Bardsey Island, Gwynedd (Edward Betteridge).

American Horned Lark, Inishmore, Galway (Mike Sylvia).

St Kilda's American Buff-bellied Pipit count increased to two, with another on St Agnes, Scilly, on 3rd.

American Buff-bellied Pipit, St Kilda, Outer Hebrides (Craig Nisbet).

Away from Shetland, passerine highlights included a Rustic Bunting trapped and ringed at Kilnsea, East Yorkshire, on 28th. In Scilly, a probable Eastern Yellow Wagtail was a brief visitor to St Agnes on 25th, while the Western Bonelli's Warbler on St Martin's and Balearic Woodchat Shrike on St Mary's both remained in place. A possible Pallid Swift overflew Willsbridge Mill, Somerset & Bristol, on 27th and a possible Desert Wheatear was reported from Penryn, Cornwall, on 3rd;

No fewer than two Hen × Pallid Harrier hybrids were recorded – at Sidlesham Ferry, West Sussex, on 28th and Watermead Lake, Buckinghamshire, a day later. This was rather unfortunate for Bucks, as Pallid Harrier would have been a county first! Five obvious primary 'fingers' (matching Hen rather than Pallid, which shows four), a less well-defined boa than Pallid and faintly streaked underparts all point towards a hybrid origin. Meanwhile, the Snowy Owl remained on Hirta, St Kilda, too.

Hen × Pallid Harrier, Sidlesham Ferry, West Sussex (Andy Wilkes).

Snowy Owl, St Kilda, Outer Hebrides (Craig Nisbet).

The East Yorkshire Black-browed Albatross was reported from both Spurn and Flamborough Head on 27th, while the White-tailed Lapwing held on at Blacktoft Sands RSPB throughout.

White-tailed Lapwing, Blacktoft Sands RSPB, East Yorkshire (Ian Bollen).

Black Rock Strand, Co Kerry, scored a new Baird's Sandpiper on 30th, with others hanging on at Clonakilty, Co Cork, and Bryher, Scilly. Norfolk's Long-billed Dowitcher remained at Potter Heigham Marshes.

Long-billed Dowitcher (centre), Potter Heigham Marshes, Norfolk (Tom Whiley).

In Highland, the adult Grey-bellied Brant was with Pink-feet at Udale Bay, Highland, on 27th and a Blue-winged Teal overflew Upper Achintore on the Fort William outskirts on 2nd. Drake King Eider continued in Shetland at Wadbister Voe, Mainland, and East Burra, while, in Co Mayo, the American Black Duck lingered at Cross Lough, Mullet.

Grey-bellied Brant (centre), Udale Bay, Highland (Peter Stronach).

On 27th, a probable Barolo-type shearwater flew south past Little Bispham, Lancashire, while a potential Fea's-type petrel was reported past Cley Marshes, Norfolk, on 29th. An adult Bonaparte's Gull was a smart find in the surf at Rhyl, Clywd, on 28th, although wouldn't hang around long, with the Co Down adult again at Kinnegar Pools.

Bonaparte's Gull, Rhyl, Clwyd (Dylan Edwards).


Scottish mainland

A Common Rosefinch at Balemartine, Tiree, on 30th was a rare Argyll record, while the only Yellow-browed Warbler of the week was at Reay, Caithness. Elsewhere, a European Turtle Dove was in Highland at Kilmuir, Skye, on 27-30th and the adult Rosy Starling continued at Balnakeil Marsh, Highland. Both Pectoral Sandpipers remained at Frankfield Loch, Clyde; Curlew Sandpipers visited three sites.

Pectoral Sandpiper, Frankfield Loch, Clyde (Carol Bone).

A Taiga Bean Goose at Udale Bay, Highland, on 27th was best on the Anser front, with a probable Todd's Canada Goose at Findhorn Bay, Moray & Nairn, from 1st and a bean goose species over Loch of Strathbeg RSPB, Aberdeenshire, on 3rd. A new Ring-necked Duck was at Loch Oire, Moray & Nairn, on 27-29th, while both Tiree birds lasted until 27th at least. A lone Surf Scoter was off Musselburgh Lagoons, Lothian, while the Garganey at Loirston Loch, Aberdeenshire, lasted into October.

In Argyll, a bumper day of seawatching off Hynish, Tiree, on 2nd included a Leach's Storm Petrel, Sabine's Gull and Grey Phalarope. Other Leach's were noted off Troon, Ayrshire, and the Kennacraig-Port Askaig ferry, Argyll. Five east coast sites scored flypast Long-tailed Skuas, with one in the west off the Uig-Tarbert ferry. Sabine's Gulls were off Maidens, Ayrshire, Girdle Ness, Aberdeenshire, and in Highland at Duntulm, Skye, and off the Ullapool-Stornoway ferry.


Northern Isles and the Hebrides

Shetland was steady this week. Birds from the west concerned a brief Lesser Yellowlegs at Loch of Melby, Mainland, on 1st when a drake Ring-necked Duck was at Sand Water, Yell. Just one Red-flanked Bluetail was reported this week: a single on Foula on 29th. A Greenish Warbler was a one-day bird at Walls, Mainland, on 30th, a Blyth's Reed Warbler was on Bressay on 30-1st and a Richard's Pipit flew over Skaw, Unst, on 28th.

Red-flanked Bluetail, Foula, Shetland (Marek Walford).

A first-winter Citrine Wagtail was on the beach at Norwick, Unst, from 28th until 2nd while Olive-backed Pipits were reported from five localities including three together at Setter Hill Estate, Unst. Two Shore Larks were at Grutness, Mainland, on 3rd and a Red-backed Shrike at East Burra proved popular. The adult Rosy Starling remained at Aith, Mainland, until 29th when it was joined by a first-winter Woodchat Shrike. A Hoopoe was a brief visitor to Bressay on 1st, while four Tundra Bean Geese flew over Hoswick, Mainland, on 29th. A Vagrant Emperor dragonfly began October at Scatsta, Mainland.

Woodchat Shrike, Aith nr Aith Voe, Mainland, Shetland (Tom Hines).

Fair Isle had a fair showing this week, with Blyth's Reed Warbler, Red-backed Shrike, Greater Short-toed Lark, Little Bunting in the roll call, while the Woodchat Shrike lingered throughout.

Little Bunting, Fair Isle, Shetland (Daniel Gornall).

A Radde's Warbler at Lettan, Sanday, on 3rd headlined Orkney's week. A drake Surf Scoter was in the Bay of Skaill, Mainland, throughout, and afforded some great views at times. The usual suspects included Common Rosefinches on Papa Westray and South Ronaldsay, with a Little Bunting on the former and Barred Warbler on the latter.

Surf Scoter, Bay of Skaill, Mainland, Orkney (Alastair Forsyth).

North Ronaldsay produced an Arctic Warbler on 30-2nd. The Buff-breasted Sandpiper was again reported on 28th. A Red-breasted Flycatcher was trapped and ringed on 29th, when a Barred Warbler was also present. 

Greater Short-toed Lark, St Kilda, Outer Hebrides (Craig Nisbet).

American birds largely headlined bird news from the Outer Hebrides. Loch Stiapavat, Lewis, hosted no fewer than five Ring-necked Ducks, plus a juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs and three Pectoral Sandpipers. A Glossy Ibis provided some contrast there on 28th. A single Ring-necked Duck was at Loch Branahuie, Lewis, on 28th, while the Todd's Canada Goose lingered at Loch Aird an Sgairbh, South Uist, until 27th. A Buff-breasted Sandpiper was at West Gerinish, South Uist, on 2nd and a juvenile American Golden Plover was at Baleshare, North Uist, on 3rd. Pectoral Sandpipers were reported from five sites on the Uists. A Red-breasted Flycatcher filtered over to Snishival, South Uist, with a Greater Short-toed Lark on St Kilda.

Dan Owen


North-East England

It was a relatively quiet week in Northumberland with three new Pectoral Sandpipers highlighting. Last week's 'Pec' at Grindon Lough was joined by a second individual from 27th and others were found at Druridge Pools and Hauxley NR. Druridge Pools also scored a brief Glossy Ibis on 29th and what was likely the same bird was seen at Big Waters NR three days later. Two Common Cranes flew over Cresswell Pond NWT on 29th and Middleton the next afternoon. A brief White-billed Diver visited Druridge Bay on 30th and a released immature White-tailed Eagle was on Holy Island at the end of the week.

Pectoral Sandpiper, Hauxley NR, Northumberland (Frank Golding).

Just the one Long-tailed Skua was noted from Whitburn Coastal Park, Durham this week, along with a single Pomarine Skua. Boldon Flats produced a Red Knot and Grey Plover, and an adult Red-throated Diver was a good inland find at Hury Reservoir. The Glossy Ibis was again at Saltholme RSPB, Cleveland, on 27th and Cowpen Marsh on 3rd. A Pomarine Skua past Hartlepool Headland on 29th.

Jonathan Farooqi


North-West England

A Eurasian Spoonbill at Arnside on 3rd was the only sighting of note in Cumbria this week. A small but steady passage of Leach's Storm Petrels moved past the Lancashire coast on 1st, with birds logged from five sites. Two Curlew Sandpipers were at Seaforth LWT from 30th.

Cheshire's highlight was belated news of a Golden Eagle over Alderley Edge on 20 September. Up to four Ruddy Shelduck remain on the Mersey off Widnes, with the immature drake still at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB. Leach's Storm Petrels trickled past the north Wirral coast. A Red-breasted Merganser was at Audenshaw Reservoirs, Greater Manchester, on 27th.

Content continues after advertisements

Dan Owen


Lincolnshire and Yorkshire

A drake American Wigeon at Freiston Shore RSPB, Lincolnshire, on 27-28th was a nice county record. Sabine's Gull and Long-tailed Skua were off Gibraltar Point NNR on 3rd, with East Halton Skitter enjoying both Leach's Storm Petrel and Long-tailed Skua on 27th. A Ruddy Shelduck accompanied Pink-footed Geese near Saltfleet on 27th.

American Wigeon, Freiston Shore RSPB, Lincolnshire (Paul Sullivan).

In South Yorkshire, Pectoral Sandpipers were at Newington Flash (to 28th), Potteric Carr (27th) and Hatfield Moors (from 1st). A Black Redstart was at Redmires Reservoirs on 2nd. Another Pec Sand was at St Aidan's RSPB, West Yorkshire, on 27th, with last week's bird at Nosterfield LNR, North Yorkshire, still to 28th. Another juvenile then arrived on the coast at Filey on 30th. Offshore, a Great Shearwater past Staithes on 30th.

A Great Shearwater lingered off Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire, for three days to 2nd. The Pectoral Sandpiper was last seen at Tophill Low NR on 28th. The only landbird of note in the Spurn area was a Red-breasted Flycatcher at Easington on 29th; offshore there were several records of Leach's Storm Petrel, with two Sabine's Gulls seen on the Humber on 2nd.

Josh Jones


West Midlands

Two Little Stints at Blithfield Reservoir from 27th were joined by two Ruddy Shelducks on 29th, with a Greater Scaup there on 3rd. A single Ruddy Shelduck and two Little Stints were at Belvide Reservoir on 1st. The adult Black-necked Grebe was present and correct at Dosthill NR, while the two Eurasian Spoonbills earlier recorded over Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire were tracked south-west over Catholme on 3rd. Two Sandwich Terns were at Priorslee Lake, Shropshire, on 30th and a Garganey was at Marsh Lane NR, West Midlands, on 1st.

A mobile Lapland Bunting was at North Hill, Worcestershire, on 29th. The Ripple GPs Russian White-fronts still numbered 11 until 27th and two adult Whooper Swans were at Clifton Pits on 30th. In Warwickshire, two juvenile Little Stints were at Draycote Water.

Dan Owen


East Midlands

A juvenile Black-necked Grebe was at Pleasley Pit CP, Derbyshire, from 27-1st. The Ruddy Shelduck duo remained at Kedleston Park. In Notts, a juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper was at Kilvington Lakes from 26th until 3rd. Up to four Black-necked Grebes were at Idle Valley NR throughout, while a juvenile was at Holme Pierrepont on 1st only. Two Little Stints remained at Idle Washlands. Two Eurasian Spoonbills tracked over Collingham and Attenborough on 3rd later flew south-west over Long Eaton GPs, Derbyshire.

Pectoral Sandpiper, Kilvington, Nottinghamshire (Paul Coombes).

A Leach's Storm Petrel was a welcome find at Pitsford Reservoir on 2nd, constituting the 27th record for Northants and the first since 2008. It was quiet elsewhere in the county, with a single Garganey remaining at Daventry Reservoir CP on 27th the only other sighting of note.

Leach's Storm Petrel, Pitsford Reservoir, Northamptonshire (Anthony Hall).

Dan Owen


East of England

Things were very quiet in Norfolk, with the Rosy Starling and Pectoral Sandpiper still on offer at Titchwell RSPB, a European Honey Buzzard over nearby Choseley on 28th and a Black Brant in the Wells-next-the-Sea area. A Sabine's Gull flew past Winterton Dunes NNR on 3rd, while a ringed White Stork was in the Buckenham area.

Pectoral Sandpiper, Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk (Ian Tilden).

The Lesser Yellowlegs was again reported at Shelley, Suffolk, on 29th, with a Pectoral Sandpiper still at Minmsere RSPB to 27th. A European Honey Buzzard flew over North Warren RSPB on 28th. Landguard NR did well for seawatching, with Leach's Storm Petrel and Long-tailed Skua on 2nd, followed by Grey Phalarope on 3rd.

A Glossy Ibis reported at Abberton Reservoir, Essex, on 29th was perhaps the bird at St Osyth, on 30-1st. Up to two juvenile Pectoral Sandpipers were still at Blue House Farm EWT. In Hertfordshire, a Rosy Starling was at Rickmansworth on 1st and a Woodlark flew south over Royston on 3rd.

American Wigeon, Bluntisham, Cambridgeshire (Barry Wright).

The only bird of note in Bedfordshire this week was a Ruddy Shelduck at Grovebury Sand Pit on 2nd. In Cambridgeshire, a juvenile American Golden Plover was near Pymoor from 1st. A Hoopoe in a Whittlesey garden on 29th had been present a week, while the American Wigeon remained on show near Bluntisham. The Smithy Fen Pectoral Sandpiper was last reported on 27th and a Woodlark flew over Grafham Water on 3rd.

Josh Jones


South-East England

Leach's Storm Petrel is a decent bird in the South-East and inclement weather produced a few this week, even though this species making headlines in early October is reflective of a low quality autumn so far. In Kent, Dungeness and Folkestone both scored records, including at least five past the former site on 1st. Seawatching in general was good, with Dungeness and St Margaret's at Cliffe recording Sooty Shearwaters; Balearic Shearwaters and Long-tailed Skuas were logged at five sites apiece. Elsewhere in the county, an adult Rosy Starling was at Hythe from 28th, a European Honey Buzzard flew over Sandwich Bay on 27th, the three Glossy Ibises were at their respective sites and a Red-necked Grebe was at Little Murston from 27th.

Long-tailed Skua, Dungeness NNR, Kent (Martin Casemore).

Sussex got in on the Leach's act as well, with two past Beachy Head on 2nd – two Sooty Shearwaters were logged at the same site on the same day. A decent Balearic Shearwater push saw birds seen from eight different watchpoints in the county. Three late European Honey Buzzards were reported on 3rd – two over Cissbury Ring and one over Steyning. The Rye Harbour Pectoral Sandpiper was still present on 28th.

Blashford Lakes, Hampshire, hosted a first-winter Grey Phalarope from 27-1st, while a European Storm Petrel flew past Keyhaven Marshes on 3rd. The Warblington Glossy Ibis and Fleet Pond Pink-footed Goose lingered throughout. On the Isle of Wight, a decent passage of Balearic Shearwaters was logged past St Catherine's Point and Ventnor, peaking on 2nd when at least 33 flew west.

Glossy Ibis, Dungeness RSPB, Kent (Roy Marriott).

It continued to be very quiet indeed, with the Floodplain Forest, Buckinghamshire, Glossy Ibis still about and a swift species flying over Steps Hill in the same county on 2nd. Oxfordshire too held its continuing Glossy Ibis, as well as a Rock Pipit at Farmoor and eight Russian White-fronted Geese at Eynsham.

Both of London's Pectoral Sandpipers lingered into the review period, with the London Wetland Centre bird departing by 30th and the Rainham Marshes individual by 3rd. A flock of Sandwich Terns were sound recorded over Ealing on 30th.

Ed Stubbs


South-West England

On Scilly, a smart juvenile American Golden Plover was found at Big Pool, Bryher, on 29th, with other new arrivals including a mobile Glossy Ibis, Spotted Crake on St Mary's (with another still on Tresco), a couple of Pectoral Sandpipers and Common Rosefinches, and a Red-breasted Flycatcher on St Martin's.

American Golden Plover, Bryher, Isles of Scilly (Kris Webb).

Bryher's Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Rosy Starling, and the female Red-backed Shrike on St Martin's all remained in place throughout. Just one Wryneck was recorded this week; on St Agnes on 2nd. Highlights from the sea came in the form of a Great Shearwater off St Mary's and three Grey Phalaropes off St Agnes. 

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Bryher, Isles of Scilly (Kris Webb).

A Melodious Warbler was found at Penlee Point, Cornwall on 29th with a Wryneck at Cadgwith and a couple of Glossy Ibis being the only other scarcities found on land in the county. Seawatching was quite productive, with Pendeen producing a couple of Leach's Storm Petrels, a Sabine's Gull and several Grey Phalaropes. Three Great Shearwaters and another Leach's were seen from the Scillonian, and two sites scored Long-tailed Skuas. The juvenile Rosy Starling remained at Trevescan, along with one of the Pectoral Sandpipers at Stithians Reservoir. 

Eurasian Spoonbill, Marazion Marsh RSPB, Cornwall (Martin Webb).

Most of Dorset's highlights were seabirds, including a couple of Grey Phalaropes at Abbotsbury Swannery on 30th, Sabine's Gull past Cogden Beach and a couple of Long-tailed Skuas past Portland. An unidentified phalarope species was seen at Mudeford Quay on 27th and Balearic Shearwaters were seen in good numbers with a peak count of 225 from Portland. Six Common Cranes flew over Abbotsbury Swannery on 29th. 

In Devon, the Spotted Crake and Pectoral Sandpiper remained at South Huish Marsh at the beginning of the week, with the another Pec remaining at Bowling Green Marsh RSPB. Seawatching at Berry Head produced a couple of Sabine's Gulls, a probable Great Shearwater and a site record count of 645 Balearic Shearwaters. A couple of Grey Phalaropes were seen off Dawlish and a Great Shearwater was from a ferry south of Plymouth. A White-tailed Eagle was photographed flying over Lynton on the evening of 27th.

Little Gull (top), South Huish Marsh, Devon (Richard Moore).

The juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper remained at Cheddar Reservoir, Somerset & Bristol, performing extremely well to a string of admirers. Leach's Storm Petrels were seen from three sites in the county, and Grey Phalaropes were seen at Burnham-on-Sea and Steart WWT. Catcott Lows NR held onto its Glossy Ibis and another was at the Axe Estuary. In Wiltshire, a Spotted Redshank appeared at Cotswold Water Park and the Ruddy Shelduck remained at Langford Lakes. 

Pectoral Sandpiper, Cheddar Reservoir, Somerset & Bristol (Chris Griffin).

There was little change in Gloucestershire, although a couple of Whooper Swans on the river at Epney were new. Slimbridge WWT held a Western Cattle Egret as well as lingering Spotted Redshanks and Eurasian Spoonbill. Two flyover Whooper Swans there may have been the Epney birds relocating.

Jonathan Farooqi



A Ring-necked Duck, likely the returning female, at Cardiff Bay, Glamorgan, from 26th was the week's Welsh highlight. Meanwhile, the Pectoral Sandpiper at Llyn Alaw, Anglesey, disappeared at September's end, with the bird at Goldcliff Pools, Gwent, present throughout. Curlew Sandpipers visited Loughor, Glamorgan, and Porthmadog, Gwynedd, and a Garganey remained at Conwy RSPB, Conwy.

Inclement weather meant the country enjoyed a strong period of seawatching. Three Leach's Storm Petrels were recorded – off Mwnt, Ceredigion, Great Orme, Conwy (two), and Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire (four) – with Grey Phalaropes past Strumble Head. Several sites recorded Balearic Shearwaters, five sites scored Long-tailed Skuas and Sabine's Gulls were off six sites. In Glamorgan, a Black Tern headed west past Port Eynon Point, Gower, on 1st; another was at Llangorse Lake, Powys, on 3rd.

A Richard's Pipit was on Skokholm, Pembrokeshire, on 1st, with a Wryneck there from 28th. Elsewhere, Snow Buntings were at Marloes Mere, Pembrokeshire, and Bardsey Island, Gwynedd.



In Co Kerry, the male Red-backed Shrike remained at Bolus Head all week, but migrant landbirds were otherwise few and far between. A Barred Warbler reached Mizen Head, Co Cork, on 30th. European Turtle Doves were at Truska, Co Galway, and on Cape Clear, Co Cork. The latter locality had Ireland's first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn on 3rd. A Wryneck was again at Ardmore, Co Waterford, on 29th.

Red-eyed Vireo, Blacksod, Mayo (Ed Stubbs).

An American Golden Plover was new in at Myroe Levels, Co Derry, on 3rd, with the Co Galway bird still at Omey Strand on 1st. The only Buff-breasted Sandpiper was at Lissagriffin, Co Cork, on 26-27th. Pectoral Sandpipers were at seven sites, including up to three still at Tacumshin. That site also hosted one of the week's two Irish Lesser Yellowlegs, the other being at Kilcoole, Co Wicklow, from 30th.

One of the more significant discoveries of the week was a Black Kite at Tacumshin on 28th, which lingered to the following day. A long-staying Egyptian Goose near Toonsbridge, Co Cork, was trumped by the arrival of four at Doonbeg, Co Clare, on 3rd. A Ring-necked Duck was on the Mullet, Co Mayo, on 27th, where the American Wigeon remained. A Glossy Ibis was at Turvey NR, Co Dublin, from 30th.

Seawatching was quiet but nonetheless provided a decent selection of species, with small numbers of Long-tailed Skuas, Sabine's Gulls and Leach's Storm Petrels noted from western watchpoints.

Josh Jones


Western Palearctic

Iceland's hot streak continued with two national fourths – a Common Yellowthroat at Heimaey on 28th and a Red-flanked Bluetail at Höfn on 1st – with the island's fifth White's Thrush at Gufunes from 30th. A Swainson's Thrush at Stokkseyri on 27th and a Red-eyed Vireo at Seltjörn the previous day were best of the rest.

Common Yellowthroat, Heimaey, Suðurland (Yann Kolbeinsson).

A Black-billed Cuckoo on 2nd was the best on Corvo, Azores, with a Northern Waterthrush there on 28th.

A Booted Warbler graced Viareggio on 27th, while Italy's first Western Sandpiper – at Casei from 27-29th – is likely the bird seen in Switzerland recently. Another on Tenerife on 19th was a first for the Canaries. In Spain, the juvenile Short-billed Dowitcher continued at Embalse de Aguilar, a Lesser Flamingo was at Cabo de Gata and an Elegant Tern remained at Chipiona.

Two Green Warblers made their way into mist nets – at Sula, Norway, on 28th and Chituc, Romania, on 29th – the former a national second. On 27th, ringers at Sasnovy, Belarus, scored the nation's first Radde's Warbler alongside the country's second Red-flanked Bluetail, with another there two days later. Hungary's third Rustic Bunting was at Hortobágy on 2nd.

In The Netherlands, a juvenile Lesser Spotted Eagle flew south over Dussen on 2nd, an adult Greater Sand Plover was on Texel on 29-30th and the young female Walrus was at Harlingen. Meanwhile, very belated news emerged of a fresh Yellow-crowned Night Heron corpse found at Ouddorp on 14 May, a national first if accepted.

Walrus, Harlingen, Friesland (Arnoud B van Berg).

A Spotless Starling visited Ouessant, France, on 26th, with an Eastern Yellow Wagtail on Île-de-Sein and a Hume's Leaf Warbler at Vallauris. Pygmy Cormorants lingered at Erstein (two) and Lavours. In Greece, a pair of Laughing Doves at Loutra, Lesvos, is thought to be the nation's first breeding pair. A Crested Honey Buzzard photographed over Akrotiri on 28th and an adult male Amur Falcon that flew east over Avdimou on 3rd were both seconds for Cyprus.

In Åland, Finland, a Sykes's Warbler was trapped at Lågskär on 27th, a White's Thrush was ringed on Myken, Norway, and the Faroes' third Greenish Warbler starred on Svínoy. A drake Black Scoter headed south past Simrishamn, Sweden, on 27th and a Richardson's Cackling Goose was at Strängnäs

Greenish Warbler, Svínoy, Norðoyar (Silas Olofson).

Written by: Sam Viles & the BirdGuides team