Review of the Week: 27th June-3rd July 2002


Not surprisingly seabirds and waders dominated the headlines this week. A Wilson's Petrel was the first of the year to be seen from a pelagic trip south of the Isles of Scilly, with two Cory's Shearwaters noted off Cornwall during shearwater movement on the 2nd. Manx Shearwaters were conspicuous off southwest coasts, and less so in the North Sea, with a few Sooty Shearwaters and Balearic Shearwaters mixed in for variety, with 8 of the latter noted off Portland Bill. Two 1st-summer Sabine's Gulls off Berry Head on the 2nd were more unusual, as was a Pomarine Skua past Beachy Head the same day.

Observers at wader sites will have noticed a build up in concentrations of the commoner species over the last couple of weeks, with good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits at several sites, plus Spotted Redshanks and the more usual fare. Late June and early July are a good time for Nearctic waders and this week produced a typical spread of birds along the east coast. A White-rumped Sandpiper was present for a day in Northumberland, with a Pectoral Sandpiper reported from the same county. On Orkney a Semipalmated Sandpiper took the week's rarity prize. A female Red-necked Phalarope was also seen in Norfolk, a rather typical location for this splendid species.

Not surprisingly passerines were in short supply, but a Bluethroat was reported from Blacktoft Sands briefly on the 27th, a Red-backed Shrike was an unusual record in Cornwall and a Common Rosefinch was seen in East Sussex. A Serin in Cleveland was a good county record. For the second week running Bee-eaters brightened the scene at a number of locations, with at least 11 reported, including an excellent flock of 5 birds in Lincolnshire, though their stay was typically all too brief. A number of lingering ducks remain, with the female King Eider still in Lothian and drake Black Duck in Cornwall. The drake Green-winged Teal is still in Northumberland and the White-headed Duck continues its residence in Norfolk. In Suffolk the Purple Heron is still frequenting the reedbeds at Minsmere and in Durham the superb male Spotted Sandpiper continues his summer break at Derwent Reservoir, with the occasional sojourn north across the water into Northumberland for good measure!

Now is a good time to start acquainting yourself with the waders passing through your local patch or to take a trip to a recognised wader site along the coast. Locations such as Blacktoft Sands, Minsmere or the well known reserves in Norfolk can provide a feast of waders at close range. Estuary watchers will no doubt be carefully scrutinising Golden Plover flocks for either a Pacific or American Golden Plover; July is a good month for the former.

Written by: Russell Slack, BirdGuides