Review of the Week: 29th July–4th August 2004

Great Knot: Skippool Creek, Lancs. (Photo: Tony Disley) Great Knot: Skippool Creek, Lancs. (Photo: Tony Disley)

Great Knot: Skippool Creek, Lancs. (Photo: Tony Disley) Great Knot: Skippool Creek, Lancs. (Photo: Tony Disley)

In what has been an excellent late summer period for rare waders it perhaps comes as no surprise that yet another exceptionally rare wader turned up this week in the shape of Britain's 3rd Great Knot. A summer-plumaged bird was present on the Wyre Estuary (Lancs) until just after 8am on Saturday 31st. Unfortunately, it flew off high to the southwest and was never seen again, allowing just over 25 local birders the opportunity to witness this long-distance Siberian vagrant. The previous British records were at Scatness and Pool of Virkie (Shetland) on 15th September 1989 and at Seal Sands, Greenabella Marsh and Bran Sands, Tees Estuary (Cleveland and Yorks) from 13th October-5th November 1996. Interestingly, one was on the Swords Estuary (Dublin) last week, on the 25th July. With 8 years since the last, this individual would no doubt have drawn many observers to the northwest had it lingered. Great Knots have been recorded as vagrants in many countries and the number of Western Palearctic records is into double figures, so doubtless more can be expected in the future.

Marsh Sandpiper: Fobbing Marshes, Essex. (Photo: Lee Dingain) Marsh Sandpiper: Fobbing Marshes, Essex. (Photo: Lee Dingain)

White-rumped Sandpiper: Langness, Isle of Man. (Photo: Pete Hadfield) White-rumped Sandpiper: Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly)

A juvenile Marsh Sandpiper was at Fobbing Marshes (Essex) from Thursday 29th until at least 4th August, and there were reports of others from Denge Marsh (Kent) on Monday 2nd and Paull Holme Strays (E. Yorks) briefly on Tuesday 3rd. In Co. Down the Greater Yellowlegs was again at Quoile Pondage on Tuesday 3rd, and is presumably the bird present since late May, which was last reported in early July. Three White-rumped Sandpipers were found: one at Kilcoole (Co. Wicklow) from Monday 2nd-3rd; one at Langness (Isle of Man) from Tuesday 3rd-4th; and one on Keyhaven Marshes (Hants) on Wednesday 4th. A Broad-billed Sandpiper was on the Ythan Estuary (Aberdeenshire) on Thursday 29th and a Kentish Plover was at Sevenoaks WR (Kent) on Friday 30th. Temminck's Stints included 2 at Hickling Broad (Norfolk) on Thursday 29th, with one at Cliffe Pools (Kent) the same day, and 2 at Cley on Monday 2nd and then Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk) from Tuesday 3rd onwards. Pectoral Sandpipers are still conspicuous on our news pages and 14 were reported during the week. Long-stayers include one at East Chevington (Northumberland), again at Denge Marsh (Kent) on 31st and 2 at Hickling Broad through the week. Others were at: Caerlaverock (Dumfries and Galloway) from Friday 30th-31st; Conder Green (Lancs) on Sunday 31st, with 2 from 1st onwards; Blackness (Forth) on Saturday 31st; Lodmoor (Dorset) Saturday 31st-2nd; Cantley (Norfolk) on Saturday 31st; Saltfleetby (Lincs) on Sunday 1st; Ythan Estuary on Tuesday 3rd; and Ballylongford (Limerick) on Tuesday 3rd. At Blakeney Point (Norfolk) the Stone Curlew was still present on Sunday 1st. Commoner waders were noted in greater numbers, with, for example, over 50 Wood Sandpipers reported, 18 Little Stints and nearly 110 Curlew Sandpipers, 15 at Snettisham (Norfolk) on 3rd being the maximum count. Long-staying rare waders included the Short-billed Dowitcher at Lady's Island Lake (Co. Wexford) to at least Monday 2nd, whilst the Long-billed Dowitcher at Gibraltar Point (Lincs) was last seen on Monday 2nd, and the American Golden Plover continues to entertain those undertaking the walk to Old Hall Marshes (Essex).

Short-billed Dowitcher: Lady's Island Lake, Co. Wexford. (Photo: Tom Shevlin) Long-billed Dowitcher: Gibraltar Point, Lincs. (Photo: Darren AP Ward)

Pectoral Sandpiper: Lodmoor, Dorset. (Photo: Chris Cortaux) Pectoral Sandpiper: Conder Green, Lancs. (Photo: Paul Hackett)

The first Aquatic Warbler of the autumn was trapped at a private site in Kent on Monday 2nd, though others can be expected. A Rose-coloured Starling was on Fair Isle (Shetland) on Friday 30th and another at Tyburn (W. Mids) from Monday 2nd onwards. A Zitting Cisticola was at Claire Mare NR (Guernsey) on Friday 30th, with 2 present on Wednesday 4th, on which date a Melodious Warbler was also trapped. A Tawny Pipit came in-off at Downderry (Cornwall) on Sunday 1st, a Red-backed Shrike was at Landguard (Suffolk) on Monday 2nd and a Marsh Warbler on Unst (Shetland). A Bee-eater flew over Pett Levels (E. Sussex) on Tuesday 3rd and the Woodchat Shrike remains on Kennard Moor (Somerset) as does a Serin on St. Mary's (Scilly). A scattering of Pied Flycatchers during the week are a further sign of autumn rapidly approaching!

Rose-coloured Starling: Tyburn, W. Mids. (Photo: John Spraggett) Woodchat Shrike: Kennard Moor, Somerset. (Photo: Bob Hazell)

Seawatching highlights are still a bit thin on the ground. The Scilly pelagic trips produced Wilson's Storm-petrels on Saturday 31st, Sunday 1st and Wednesday 4th. Four Great Shearwaters were noted, one from a boat near Galley Head (Co. Cork) on Friday 30th, 2 passing Galley Head on Monday 2nd and one from the Scilly pelagic on Wednesday 4th. There were 9 Cory's Shearwaters, with singles passing Cape Clear (Co. Cork) and Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on Thursday 29th, one at sea off Porthgwarra on Friday 30th, and singles from the Scilly pelagic on 31st, 1st and 2nd, with 2 on Wednesday 4th, and one from the Scillonian crossing on 3rd. Eight Balearic Shearwaters included 2 past Porthgwarra on 29th and one at Saltcoats (Ayr) the same day, 2 off the Dovey Estuary (Ceredigion) on 2nd and 2 past Galley Head on 4th, with one there on 2nd. A rather paltry 7 Sooty Shearwaters were reported. A Sabine's Gull was well 'up' the Humber at Read's Island (Lincs) on Friday 30th and a Long-tailed Skua went south off Filey Brigg (N. Yorks) on Sunday 1st. At least 180 Black Terns arrived during the week, just over a 100 of them on Thursday 29th, 43 of which were at Grafham Water (Cambs). A White-winged Black Tern was at Langford Lowfields (Notts) on Friday 30th and another at Pagham Harbour (W. Sussex) from Friday 30th-31st. Finally, the Manx Shearwater is still present at Rutland Water.

It was a good week for Great White Egrets with birds at North Slob (Co. Wexford) on Thursday 29th, 2 at Brading Marsh (Isle of Wight) the same day, one at Rye Harbour (E. Sussex) on Saturday 31st, and King's Lynn and Titchwell (Norfolk) also on 31st, and another at Llanrhidian (Glamorgan) from 31st onwards. Others were at Abbott's Hall Farm (Essex) on Monday 2nd, with a colour-ringed bird at the National Wetlands Centre (Carmarthen) on 2nd and 4th. A Night Heron was reported at Bourne End (Herts) on Friday 30th, whilst the Glossy Ibis returned to Minsmere (Suffolk) on 3rd, being last reported from Berney Marshes (Norfolk) on 1st. A female American Wigeon was at Tregaron Bog (Ceredigion) from Tuesday 3rd, though not surprisingly rare ducks were thin on the ground, with the female Blue-winged Teal last reported from Trimley Marshes (Suffolk) on Saturday 31st and the Ring-necked Duck still at Barrow Gurney Reservoir (Somerset). Common Cranes remain in Cumbria and Aberdeenshire, whilst the first Spotted Crakes of the autumn were noted, with singles at Blacktoft Sands (E. Yorks) on Sunday 1st and Marbury CP (Cheshire) on Wednesday 4th.

Common Crane: Loch of Strathbeg, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Chris Jones)

Common Crane: Loch of Strathbeg, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Chris Jones) Common Crane: Loch of Strathbeg, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Chris Jones)

Mediterranean Gull: Derbyhaven, Isle of Man. (Photo: Pete Hadfield) Yellow-legged Gull: Ringstone Edge Res, W. Yorks. (Photo: John Beaumont)
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://www.nigelblake.co.uk
Will Bowell: http://www.geocities.com/wbowell/
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.geocities.com/christophe_41/
Lee Dingain: http://www.leedingain.co.uk
Peter Hadfield: http://www.manxbirdphotography.co.uk
Josh Jones: http://www.geocities.com/blgp_birder
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
Jerry O'Brien: http://www.BirdsofBerkshire.co.uk
James Packer: http://www.somersetbirder.co.uk
Tristan Reid: http://www.solwaybirder.org.uk
Steve Round: http://stevenround-birdphotography.com
Tom Shevlin: http://wildlifesnaps.com/
Matt Slaymaker: http://www.freewebs.com/slaymaker
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