Review of the Week: 29th September-5th October 2005

The week at a glance:
Blackpoll Warbler: St. Agnes, Scilly (photo: Paul Bowyer).

Blackpoll Warbler: St. Agnes, Scilly (photo: Chris Brogdale).

With the run of Atlantic weather systems coming to an end it was no surprise that Nearctic passerines hit the headlines, with the Outer Hebrides and Scilly taking the lion's share of proceedings, though how many must have arrived undetected is anyone's guess. Perhaps what was surprising was that there were relatively few species involved. A Bobolink was on Foula (Shetland) from Thursday 29th-Tuesday 4th but was elusive, being seen only on these dates and the 2nd. This will be the fifth for Shetland (Accepted Bobolink records). A supporting cast came in the shape of 4 Blackpoll Warblers, with the bird from last week on St. Agnes (Scilly) proving popular until Friday 30th and presumably a different bird on The Garrison, St. Mary's from Monday 3rd onwards. Additional Blackpoll Warblers were at Loch Druidibeg, S.Uist (Outer Hebrides) on Thursday 29th and Glasnakille, Skye (Highland) on Tuesday 4th. A Red-eyed Vireo on Lundy (Devon) from Thursday 29th-30th was the first of five birds during the week (Accepted Red-eyed Vireo records). One was on Benbecula (Outer Hebrides) on Friday 30th, and another at Blacksod (Co.Mayo) on Sunday 2nd. On Scilly two Red-eyed Vireos were on St Mary's on Monday 3rd, one remaining to the 4th. A possible Hermit Thrush was reported on St Martin's (Scilly) on Thursday 29th.

Upland Sandpiper: Nanquidno, Cornwall (photo: Graham Smith). Lesser Yellowlegs: North Slob, Co. Wexford (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).
Spotted Sandpiper: St. Mary's, Scilly (photo: Marc Read). Spotted Sandpiper: St. Mary's, Scilly (photo: Martin Goodey).
Baird's Sandpiper: St. Agnes, Scilly (photo: Chris Brogdale). Baird's Sandpiper: Keyhaven Marshes, Hants (photo: Tony Mills).
Long-billed Dowitcher: Drift Res, Cornwall (photo: John Lee). Long-billed Dowitcher: Drift Res, Cornwall (photo: Marc Read).
Long-billed Dowitcher: Clonakilty, Co. Cork (photo: Mike O'Keefe). Long-billed Dowitcher: Clonakilty, Co. Cork (photo: Mike O'Keefe).

Nearctic waders kept up their conspicuous presence, and wader buffs were spoilt for choice. A new Upland Sandpiper was at Liniclate, Benbecula (Outer Hebrides) from Monday 3rd-5th. In Cornwall, the Upland Sandpiper from last week was relocated at Polgigga on Thursday 29th and was present, although elusive at times, until at least 5th. A dark-rumped Whimbrel, perhaps Hudsonian Whimbrel, was tracked along the north Kent coast on Sunday 2nd between Minnis Bay and Swalecliffe. In Cornwall the 1st-winter Black-winged Stilt remained a popular distraction for visitors to Scilly and was last reported on 3rd. The Spotted Sandpiper continued to perform well on St. Mary's (Scilly) during the week, there were 5 Long-billed Dowitchers, including 'new' birds at Clonakilty (Co. Cork) from 1st and Beacon Ponds (E. Yorks) on 2nd, whilst others remained in Cornwall, Essex and Co. Mayo. There were 7 Lesser Yellowlegs with birds in Co. Dublin, Co. Wexford, Co. Waterford, Co. Cork, Outer Hebrides and Shetland. American Golden Plovers were reported briefly in Norfolk and Lincolnshire, the long-staying bird remained in Cumbria and others were on the Outer Hebrides and Shetland and a Pacific Golden Plover was reported at Trimley Marshes (Suffolk) on 3rd. Half-a-dozen Buff-breasted Sandpipers were reported, and Pectoral Sandpipers were in the mid-teens. Two White-rumped Sandpipers were at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on 30th, one was seen briefly at Welney (Norfolk) on 2nd and one was at Bavelaw Marsh (Lothian) from 3rd onwards. Baird's Sandpipers were seen in Kent (first county record since 1996), Hampshire and on Scilly. Four Red-necked Phalaropes include a popular bird at Slimbridge (Glos) and good numbers of Grey Phalaropes were noted from western coasts, including 30 passing the Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) and 26 passing Ramore Head (Co. Antrim) on 1st. A handful of Dotterel were reported, mostly in the southwest.

Black-winged Stilt: Gweek, Cornwall (photo: John Lee). Black-winged Stilt: Gweek, Cornwall (photo: Marc Read).
Isabelline Wheatear: Landguard, Suffolk (photo: Sean Nixon). Isabelline Wheatear: Landguard, Suffolk (photo: Jonathan Theobald).
Dark-throated Thrush: Geosetter, Shetland (photo: Dougie Preston). Dark-throated Thrush: Geosetter, Shetland (photo: Dougie Preston).

Radde's Warbler: Bockhill Farm, Kent (photo: Gerald Segalbacher).

Lanceolated Warbler: Out Skerries, Shetland (photo: Michael McKee). Eastern Yellow Wagtail: Out Skerries, Shetland (photo: Michael McKee).

An Isabelline Wheatear was at Landguard NR (Suffolk) on Tuesday 4th, being trapped and ringed during its stay. On Shetland a Dark-throated Thrush was at Feosetter, Mainland on Tuesday 4th. A Lanceolated Warbler was on Out Skerries (Shetland). At Spurn (E. Yorks) the popular Lesser Grey Shrike met its demise at the hands of a Kestrel on 1st. A Radde's Warbler was at Bockhill Farm (Kent) from 3rd-4th and another on Gugh (Scilly) on 5th. Greenish Warblers remained on St. Agnes (Scilly) and Wester Quarff (Shetland). Good numbers of Yellow-browed Warblers were noted, with a major arrival on Wednesday 5th when over 70 wer reported. Many were along the east coast, but in Co. Cork 11 on Cape Clear and 10 at Mizen Head illustrated that many had passed straight through. Barred Warbler reports totalled just over 15, most on the Northern Isles. A Marsh Warbler was at Catfirth (Shetland).

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Yellow-browed Warbler: Choseley Drying Barns, Norfolk (photo: Mick Green). Yellow-browed Warbler: Choseley Drying Barns, Norfolk (photo: Mick Green).
Lesser Grey Shrike: Spurn, Yorks (photo: Josh Jones). Lesser Grey Shrike: Spurn, Yorks (photo: Steve Keightley).
Red-backed Shrike: Benacre, Suffolk (photo: Jonathan Theobald). Red-backed Shrike: Benacre, Suffolk (photo: Mike Parker).

There were just under 20 Red-breasted Flycatchers; Wrynecks struggled into double figures but included an inland bird at Tollerton (Notts). Half-a-dozen Red-backed Shrikes were reported and 10 Great Grey Shrike reports included birds at 6 locations in Norfolk. Eight Little Buntings were mostly on the Northern Isles, though singles were on Tory Island (Co. Donegal), Cley (Norfolk) and St. Agnes (Scilly), and the only Ortolan Bunting was the long-staying bird on Fair Isle (Shetland). There were 14 Common Rosefinches reported, most, as would be expected, on the Northern Isles, though one had reached Co. Cork. Seven Red-throated Pipits were reported briefly along the east and south coast, over 25 Richard's Pipits included the inland bird at Annesley (Notts), and an Eastern Yellow Wagtail was on Tresco (Scilly) and one on Out Skerries. Short-toed Larks were on St. Mary's (Scilly), North Ronaldsay (Orkney) and Spurn (E. Yorks), four Bluethroats were on the Northern Isles and one at St. Mary' Island (Northumberland). Rose-coloured Starlings were at Garinish (Co. Cork), Coverack (Cornwall) and Choseley (Norfolk), whilst the long-staying Bee-eater was at Helendale (Shetland). An Alpine Swift went through Denham CP (Bucks) on 4th and a Red-rumped Swallow likewise at Coveithe (Suffolk) on 1st.

Sora: St. Mary's, Scilly (photo: Chris Brogdale). Little Crake: Slimbridge, Glos (photo: Chris Brogdale).
Spotted Crake: Rodley NR, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray). Spotted Crake: Rodley NR, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).

Squacco Heron: Newton Abbot, Devon (photo: Mike Lockyear).

Squacco Heron: Newton Abbot, Devon (photo: Steve Evans). Squacco Heron: Newton Abbot, Devon (photo: Dave Stone).

A juvenile Pallid Harrier passed over Sumburgh (Shetland) on Thursday 29th; this species is almost to be expected on the islands nowadays. A Snowy Owl was a good 'house tick' for a birder at Bru, Lewis (Outer Hebrides). On St. Mary's the Sora continues to show at Lower Moors, but the Little Crake was last reported from Slimbridge (Glos) on 4th. Seven Spotted Crakes were noted during the week, one of which, at the London Wetland Centre, succumbed to the attentions of a local Sparrowhawk. On Shetland the American Coot was still at Loch of Benston during the week, and will presumably, weather permitting, remain for the winter. A Squacco Heron was at Newton Abbot (Devon) from 4th onwards, though had probably been in the area for several days prior to this. On Scilly a Purple Heron was reported on St. Agnes on 4th. The Cattle Egret remained at Elmley Marshes (Kent) to 2nd, Great White Egrets remained in Hampshire and Somerset, with others at Holkham (Norfolk) and Margate (Kent) on 1st, and St. Germans (Cornwal) on 4th. Spoonbills included five in Glamorgan and a superb 10 at Westport Harbour (Co. Mayo).

Leach's Storm-petrel: Pugney's CP, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray). Leach's Storm-petrel: Pugney's CP, W. Yorks (photo: James Willson).
Leach's Storm-petrel: North Wirral CP, Cheshire (photo: Steve Round). Leach's Storm-petrel: North Wirral CP, Cheshire (photo: Steve Round).
Grey Phalarope: New Brighton, Cheshire (photo: Steve Round). Green-winged Teal: Inner Marsh Farm, Cheshire (photo: Steve Round).

Students of weather maps will have picked out the potential for seawatching on the 1st, and those who followed their instincts to the northwest were not to be disappointed by good numbers of Leach's Storm-petrels, with three-figure counts past several Cheshire sites. These were followed by several inland birds, including singles at Pugney's CP (W. Yorks), and Shustoke Res (Warks) and Grafham Water (Cambs), the latter falling prey to a Peregrine. Off Ireland a whopping 1,700 Great Shearwaters passed the Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) in 2 hours on 2nd and a Wilson's Storm-petrel was reported from St. Ives (Cornwall) on 1st.

The Black Scoter returned to Llanfairfechan (Conwy), Surf Scoters were in Moray/Nairn and one passed the Outer Hebrides, and King Eiders were in Moray/Nairn and Shetland. An American Wigeon was in Co. Mayo, the Blue-winged Teal remained at Smerwick (Co. Kerry) and Green-winged Teals were in South Yorkshire and Cheshire. Long-staying Ring-necked Ducks were on Scilly, Somerset and Cornwall and one on the Outer Hebrides.

Pectoral Sandpiper: Sence Valley, Leics (photo: Ian Merrill). Pectoral Sandpiper: Water's Edge, Lincs (photo: Graham Catley).
Red-necked Phalarope: Slimbridge, Glocs (photo: Steve Evans). Red-necked Phalarope: Slimbridge, Glocs (photo: Gary Thoburn).
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
Richard Bedford: http://www.richardbedford.co.uk
Steve Blain: http://www.steveblain.co.uk
Nigel Blake: http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/birdphotos/index.htm
Paul Boulden: http://southdevonbirds.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/
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
Graham Catley: http://pewit.blogspot.com/
Mark Caunt: http://angusbirding.homestead.com/
Kit Day: http://www.kitday-uk.com/
Eric Dempsey: http://www.birdsireland.com/
Lee Dingain: http://www.leedingain.co.uk
Jon Dunn: http://www.surfbirds.com/blogs/Stercorarius/
Andrew Easton: http://home.clara.net/ammodytes/
Graham Eaton: http://www.eatonphotography.co.uk
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
Tony Mills: http://www.notjustbirds.com
Jerry O'Brien: http://www.BirdsofBerkshire.co.uk
Charlie Moores: http://www.charliesbirdblog.com
Mark Newsome: http://www.whitburnbirding.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
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
Simon Wilson: http://www.bakewellbirder.co.uk/
Chris Wormwell: http://www.iombirding.co.uk
Dylan Wrathall: http://www.planetthanet.org
Written by: Russell Slack