22/02/2003
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Review of the Week:

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An exceptionally cold week, but clear skies and vast amounts of sunshine provided ideal winter weather.

Bird of the week was the 1st-winter Lesser White-fronted Goose that arrived with a small party of Eurasian White-fronted Geese at Slimbridge WWT (Glos). The 'tickability' of these delightful birds has become extremely blurred in recent years with the re-introduction scheme in Scandinavia and good numbers of captive birds at large, ensuring that it has become increasingly difficult to assess which records relate to truly wild birds and those from the re-introduction scheme. Almost half of the accepted birds have been found at Slimbridge among Eurasian White-fronted Geese and in terms of age and location this bird has the best credentials for any nowadays.

The excellent winter for Lesser Scaup continues with two new birds Found during the week. First-winter drakes were identified in West Yorkshire and London, clearly illustrating that there is plenty of mileage in scanning every flock of diving duck that you can find this winter. Several Great White Egrets were reported during the week, with birds appearing briefly in County Cork and Staffordshire and a slightly more obliging individual in Norfolk. Late winter records are becoming more frequent, presumably relating to birds displaced from The Netherlands. It's been a good week for American Herring Gulls, with a number of 1st-winters reported: one at Sennen (Cornwall), four at Culmore Dump (Londonderry) and two at Ballycotton (Cork). Iceland Gulls and Glaucous Gulls still seem to be below average in number, but a handful of Kumlien's Gulls have been reported during the week.

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The list of long-stayers remains quite constant. In Shetland the Black Duck was seen again, as was the White-billed Diver after an 'absence' of several months. Off the north Wales coast the Black Scoter continues to attract interested observers to Llanfairfechan. The male Two-barred Crossbill was seen early in the week in Bucks, but not since, whilst the Pallid Harrier, 'continental' Barn Owl and wintering Yellow-browed Warbler continue to enhance the winter tourist trade in Norfolk. In Glamorgan the Redhead moved yet again, this time to Lisvane Reservoir. The Richard's Pipit continues to show very well near Sheffield and the Little Bunting is still in Gloucestershire.

Written by: Russell Slack