Review of the Week: 27th January-2nd February 2005


An obliging adult Ross's Gull in Peterhead (Aberdeenshire) from 29th January proved to be the highlight of a week dominated by elusive and one-day birds. The immature White-tailed Eagle continued its travels, with fleeting visits to Beeley Moor (Derbyshire) on 29th and 30th January. At least 2, but probably 3, Snowy Owls toured the Hebrides, being seen on Coll, Tiree and North Uist, and the elusive white-phase Gyr Falcon was seen again on Fetlar.

Ross's Gull: Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Andrew Whitehouse) Snowy Owl: Coll, Argyll. (Photo: Simon Wellock)

The Ross's Gull was joined by an adult Bonaparte's Gull in the harbour at Peterhead (Aberdeenshire) on 1st February while the other adult remained in Thurso (Highland) throughout. Other rare gulls included up to 13 Kumlien's Gulls, typically in the north and west, and at least 11 Ring-billed Gulls. White-winged gull numbers remained high, especially in Ireland with 30+ Iceland Gulls and 16 Glaucous Gulls at Killibegs (Donegal) on 28th January and 25 Iceland Gulls and 12 Glaucous Gulls at Culmore dump (Londonderry).

Kumlien's Gull: Greencastle, Donegal. (Photo: David Steele) Ring-billed Gull: Gosport, Hants. (Photo: Marc Read)

There was an intriguing report of an Albatross sp. from Titchwell RSPB on 1st February. The only Great White Egret report this week came from Stiffkey (Norfolk) on 1st February, where the wintering Lesser Yellowlegs continued its stay, and the Cattle Egret remained at Kingston Seymour (Somerset). The long-staying Glossy Ibis was still in the Yare Valley (Norfolk) and at least 8 wintering Spoonbill were reported between Norfolk and Cornwall with 2 together at the National Wetlands Centre (Carmarthen) and at Wacker Quay (Cornwall).

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There was a Grey-bellied Brant at The Mullet (Mayo) on 29th January with a Black Brant. At least 6 other Black Brants were along the coast between Hampshire and Lincolnshire including one at Bembridge Harbour (Isle of Wight) on 31st January. One female Black Duck was seen again on Tresco (Scilly) on 30th January. There were 4 regular American Wigeon plus a new drake at Angle Bay (Pembrokeshire) on 2nd February, 7 Ring-necked Duck between Fetlar (Shetland) and Wimbleball Lake (Somerset), with another at Lough Beg (Cork) on 28th, January and 8 Green-winged Teal. A female Aythya duck at Melton (Suffolk) on 29th January initially raised hopes of a Redhead but as so often proves with this difficult family it turned out to be a hybrid before settling down at Trimley Marshes (Suffolk). The adult female Ferruginous Duck remained at Elstow (Bedfordshire) throughout, as did the drake Lesser Scaup at Scotney GPs (E. Sussex) with 2 other drakes at Upper Lough Erne (Fermanagh) and Portmore Lough RSPB (Antrim). King Eiders were still present at Loch Ryan (Dumfries) and Unst (Shetland) and the Black Scoter continued to be elusive off Llanfairfechan (Conwy). The 5 Surf Scoter were still in Sound of Taransay (Outer Hebrides) to at least 28th January, with 3 other singles in Scotland and the 2 still at Weston (Devon) throughout. The adult Forster's Tern reappeared at Nimmo's Pier (Galway) from 30th January.

The Richard's Pipit was still at Kinmel Bay (Conwy) as was the Dusky Warbler at Kessingland (Suffolk) and the Arctic Redpoll at Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk). Other good winter passerine records were a Pallas's Warbler at Congleton (Cheshire) on 31st January-1st February and a Yellow-browed Warbler in a private garden at Stockport on 27th January for its 3rd day but not subsequently. There were still at least 18 Great Grey Shrikes in England and Wales as far south as Fernworthy Reservoir (Devon) and up to 6 birds showing characters of Siberian Chiffchaff remained, including 2 at Monk Haven (Pembroke).

Siberian Chiffchaff: Coleshill, Warks. (Photo: A R Dean) Siberian Chiffchaff: Coleshill, Warks. (Photo: A R Dean)
Great Grey Shrike: Croome Park, Worcs. (Photo: Oliver Wadsworth) Great Grey Shrike: Walton-on-Trent, Derbys. (Photo: Alan Anscomb)

Waxwings just kept heading south with 2 reaching St.Mary's (Scillies) on 1st February and counts of up to 300+ at Southwater (W. Sussex) on 2nd February, 184 at Fleet (Hampshire) on 30th January and 162 at Canford Heath (Dorset) on 29th January.

Smew: Shustoke Reservoir, Warks. (Photo: Brian McGeogh) Twite: East Chevington, Northumberland. (Photo: Gary Smith)
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
Will Bowell: http://www.wanderingbirders.co.nr/
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
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/
Sean Gray: http://www.grayimages.co.uk
Peter Hadfield: http://www.manxbirdphotography.co.uk
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.co.near/
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
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
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: Tim Barker