05/05/2005
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Review of the Week: 28th April-4th May 2005

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Citrine Wagtail: Bryher, Scilly. (Photo: Ben Lascelles)

Citrine Wagtail: Bryher, Scilly. (Photo: Martin Goodey) Citrine Wagtail: Fair Isle, Shetland. (Photo: Deryk Shaw)

A change to a continental airflow produced instantaneous results and the week was easily the best of the year so far for the diversity of rare and scarce birds scattered around the country.

A belated report was of a female Rock Thrush photographed in a private garden in Truro (Cornwall) on Sunday 1st, but not identified from pictures until later in the week. A White's Thrush was at Wester Quarff (Shetland) on Thursday 28th and was the first spring record for the islands. A Citrine Wagtail was on Fair Isle (Shetland) from Friday 29th-2nd and at the other end of the country another was on Bryher (Scilly) on Saturday 30th. A Short-toed Treecreeper was predictably at Dungeness (Kent) on Monday 2nd and another was photographed at Bockhill Farm NT (Kent) on Saturday 30th. A Collared Flycatcher was reported from Aylesbeare Common (Devon) briefly on Monday 2nd and a Great Reed Warbler was at Frensham Great Pond (Surrey) on Saturday 30th.

Collared Pratincole: Farlington Marshes, Hants. (Photo: Bob Chapman) Long-billed Dowitcher: North Slob, Co. Wexford. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly)

Gull-billed Tern: Dungeness, Kent. (Photo: Marc Read) Gull-billed Tern: Dungeness, Kent. (Photo: Mike Buckland)

Gull-billed Tern: Dungeness, Kent. (Photo: Mike Buckland) Whiskered Tern: Hockwold Washes, Suffolk. (Photo: Peter Simpson)

Whiskered Tern: Hockwold Washes, Suffolk. (Photo: Will Bowell)

A Little Shearwater passed Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on Thursday 28th, but in British and Irish waters this is a species which continues to elude all but the very fortunate and dedicated. A Collared Pratincole was a fine find at Farlington Marshes (Hants) on Sunday 1st, but sadly it did not remain - the last to perform for the masses was in West Sussex in 2001. A Broad-billed Sandpiper was at Ballycotton (Co. Cork) from Monday 2nd-3rd, a Marsh Sandpiper was reported at Swalecliffe (Kent) on Saturday 30th and a Long-billed Dowitcher was at North Slob (Co. Wexford) from Friday 29th-1st. A lingering Gull-billed Tern attracted observers to Dungeness RSPB (Kent) on Wednesday 4th and a Whiskered Tern was popular distraction at Hockwold Washes (Suffolk) on Monday 2nd and a Cattle Egret was at Clonakilty (Co. Cork) from Sunday 30th onwards. Black-winged Stilts included one over the Ouse Washes (Cambs) on 30th, relocated at Welney (Norfolk) from 1st onwards, one at Clonakilty (Co. Cork) on 1st, one at Cuckmere Haven (E. Sussex) on 1st, one at Kilkeran Lake (Co. Cork) from 2nd onwards and one at Denge Marsh (Kent) on 4th.

Whiskered Tern: Hockwold Washes, Suffolk. (Photo: Will Bowell) Black-winged Stilt: Denge Marsh, Kent. (Photo: Mike Buckland)

Black-winged Stilt: Clonakilty, Co. Cork. (Photo: Dermot Breen) Black-winged Stilt: Clonakilty, Co. Cork. (Photo: Dermot Breen)

Cattle Egret: Clonakilty, Co. Cork. (Photo: Dermot Breen) Snowy Owl: Hermaness, Shetland. (Photo: Mike Pennington)

Snowy Owls included singles on Lewis (Outer Hebrides) from Thursday 28th-29th, at Balranald, N. Uist (Outer Hebrides) from Friday 29th-1st and Hermaness, Unst (Shetland) on Wednesday 4th. A White-billed Diver passed Dungeness (Kent) on 28th and another was in Burghead Bay (Moray/Nairn) from 3rd-4th, whilst up to 5 were still off Port Nis and 2 off Tiumpan Head, Lewis (Outer Hebrides). An adult Bonaparte's Gull was at Oxford Island NR (Co. Armagh) on Monday 2nd and adults remained on the Outer Hebrides and in Highland. Eight Black Kites were reported, with singles at: Finstown (Orkney) on 29th; Loch of Strathbeg (Aberdeenshire) on 29th; The Naze (Essex) on 30th; Abberton Reservoir (Essex) on 1st; Ninfield (E. Sussex) on 1st; Meare Heath (Somerset) on 1st; Rother Valley CP (S. Yorks) on 2nd; and Stodmarsh (Kent) on 2nd. A male Red-footed Falcon was over Winteron NNR (Norfolk) on Sunday 1st. An American Herring Gull was reported from Dawlish Warren (Devon) on Friday 29th and the 2nd-winter remained at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway).

Woodchat Shrike: Saltee Islands, Co. Wexford. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly)

Woodchat Shrike: Saltee Islands, Co. Wexford. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly) Woodchat Shrike: Portland, Dorset. (Photo: Charlie Moores)

Woodchat Shrike: St. Mary's, Scilly. (Photo: Martin Goodey)

Wryneck: Inner Marsh Farm, Cheshire. (Photo: Steve Williams) Montagu's Harrier: undisclosed, Norfolk. (Photo: Mike Lawrence)

Scarce migrants were in plentiful supply. 'Western' Subalpine Warblers were at Beachy Head (E. Sussex) on 30th and Dungeness (Kent) on 1st, on which day another Subalpine Warbler was at Kilnsea (E. Yorks). 2 Bee-eaters at Porthtowan (Cornwall) on 1st were early, but were still present on 4th. Seven Woodchat Shrikes included singles at Start Point (Devon) on 29th-2nd and Nanquidno (Conrwall) from 29th-4th, St. Mary's (Scilly) from 30th-4th, Saltee Islands (Co. Wexford) from 1st-4th, Portland (Dorset) on 2nd, London Wetland Centre (Gtr London) on 3rd and Church Cove (Cornwall) on at least 4th. A Short-toed Lark was on St. Martin's (Scilly) on 29th and St. Mary's (Scilly) on 1st, Richard's Pipits were over Conwy on 1st and on Fair Isle (Shetland) on 2nd. A Bluethroat was in a private garden at Brackley (Northants) on 30th, there were 6 Hoopoes reported and 6 Wrynecks, including one in Cheshire on 4th. Four Serins included singles in East and North Yorkshire, a Great Grey Shrike was on Foula (Shetland) on 3rd and a Red-backed Shrike was reported from South Gare (Cleveland) on 30th. Around 14 migrant Golden Orioles were noted in addition to the Lakenheath birds. Red-rumped Swallows passed over Hengistbury Head (Dorset) on 30th, Gibraltar Point (Lincs) on 1st, Spurn (E. Yorks) on 1st and 2nd, and Kenidjack (Cornwall) on 1st, with one for several hours at Blacktoft Sands (E. Yorks) on 4th. An Alpine Swift was over Walton Reservoir (Surrey) on 30th and one over Durlston CP (Dorset) on 3rd.

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Temminck's Stint: Titchwell, Norfolk. (Photo: John Jones) Temminck's Stint: Titchwell, Norfolk. (Photo: Peter Simpson)

The Great White Egret remained in Cleveland and another was in Suffolk, whilst several White Storks of unknown origin ranged widely. Purple Herons were reported at West Runton (Norfolk) on 30th, Fobbing Marshes (Essex) on 2nd, Hockwold Washes (Suffolk) on 2nd, 2 over Sandwich Bay (Kent) on 2nd and Cley (Norfolk) on 3rd. A Pectoral Sandpiper was at Holland Haven (Essex) from 1st-2nd. There were Temminck's Stints at Titchwell (Norfolk), with 2 on 1st and 3 from 2nd-4th, and others at Denge Marsh (Kent) on 4th and Lackford Lakes (Suffolk) on 4th. Four Kentish Plovers included one at Kelso (Borders) on 1st, one at Ferrybridge (Dorset) on 3rd with a male the same day at North Duffield Carrs (N. Yorks), with one at Conwy RSPB (Conwy) on 4th. Just over 100 Dotterel were recorded during the week, including 19 over Sand Point (Somerset) on 1st and 17 at Deeping St. Nicholas (Lincs) on 30th. Dark-rumped Whimbrel were noted at Wheldrake Ings (N. Yorks) and Spurn (E. Yorks), raising the possibly of Hudsonian Whimbrels. At least 9 Quail were reported.

A reasonable passage of Pomarine Skuas was encountered along many of the usual watchpoints, the maximum 80+ passing Dungeness (Kent) on 1st. Less expected were a Cory's Shearwater passing Sandwich Bay (Kent) on 2nd and a Sabine's Gull passing Carnsore Point (Co. Wexford) on 28th. A superb inland movement of Arctic Terns was experienced at many waters in the Midlands on 4th, with 3-figure counts from several sites and 1,000 passing Severn Beach (Glos). An inland movement of terns was also noted over the weekend, Little Terns being particularly notable.

King Eider: Troon, Ayrs. (Photo: Gordon Macdonald) King Eider: Blackdog, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Chris Jones)

The Norfolk Snow Goose finally decided to leave on 3rd, and by doing so enhanced its credentials as a wild bird further, much to the delight of seawatchers who picked it up at four watchpoints in Yorkshire and then again in Northumberland - a potential addition to many a county list. The Black Scoter was again off Conwy, the Black Duck still on Scilly and the borealis Eider still on Lewis. A drake King Eider was in Ayrshire and an immature drake in Aberdeenshire. A Lesser Scaup was at Rutland Water (Leics) from 1st-2nd, and there were 2 Ring-necked Duck, 2 Surf Scoters and 3 Green-winged Teal.

Lapland Bunting: Crosby, Lancs. (Photo: Sean Gray) Lapland Bunting: Crosby, Lancs. (Photo: Steve Tomlinson)

Wood Sandpiper: Welney, Norfolk. (Photo: Alan Wadsworth) Spotted Redshank: Inner Marsh Farm, Cheshire. (Photo: Steve Round)

Pied Flycatcher: Dimmingsdale, Staffs. (Photo: Dan Pointon) Whinchat: Prescot Res, Lancs. (Photo: Steve Tomlinson)

Nightingale: Cotswold WP, Glos. (Photo: Steve Walton) Woodlark: undisclosed, Notts. (Photo: John Dickenson)

Glaucous Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway. (Photo: Dermot Breen) Glaucous Gull: Sidmouth, Devon. (Photo: James Packer)
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.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
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
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