Review of the Week: 30th August - 5th September 2007


The week at a glance:

Rare and scarce birds

Sabine's Gull: Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset (photo: Tom Raven).

The rarest bird of the week was the juvenile American Black Tern at Rahasane Turlough (Co. Galway) from 2nd September. With just a handful of European records (in Iceland, the UK and Ireland), it now appears that birders have got 'the measure' of picking out these birds - there was a 1st-summer in Co. Wexford last summer and this was preceded by juveniles in 1999 and 2003. One in Somerset between 3rd and 11th October 1999 allowed most birders the opportunity to see this race here, but no doubt more will follow in years to come.

Hudsonian Whimbrel: Fair Isle, Shetland (photo: Mark Breaks).

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: Toft Newton, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: Toft Newton, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).

Spotted Sandpiper: Ballycotton, Co. Cork (photo: Sean Cronin).

In Co. Wexford last week's Red-necked Stint was at Carne to 2nd, though many would have hoped for a longer stay, and nearby the Wilson's Phalarope remained at Lady's Island Lake to the 2nd. A scattering of Nearctic waders were on offer during the week, including juvenile Spotted Sandpipers at Ballycotton (Co. Cork) on 2nd and 3rd and another on St. Mary's (Scilly), present for its sixth day on the 4th. A Lesser Yellowlegs was on South Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 1st, White-rumped Sandpiper at Breydon Water (Norfolk) from 1st-4th and American Golden Plover at Cromane (Co. Kerry) on 28th. A trio of Buff-breasted Sandpipers included birds at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) and Doonbeg (Co. Clare), plus a showy individual at Toft Newton Reservoir (Lincs) from 4th to 5th. On Shetland the Killdeer remained at Pool of Virkie and on Fair Isle the Hudsonian Whimbrel was present to the 31st. Scarce waders comprised a Temminck's Stint at Pulborough Brooks (W. Sussex) from 31st to 2nd, a Kentish Plover at Brownsea Island (Dorset) on 2nd and five Pectoral Sandpipers, including two in Cambridgeshire. Seawatchers accumulated four Grey Phalaropes, three off the Outer Hebrides and one off Scilly, plus there were Dotterel at Porthgwarra (Cornwall) and Oare Marshes (Kent). A Marsh Sandpiper was reported from Trimley Marshes (Suffolk) on 31st.

White-winged Black Tern: Dungeness, Kent (photo: Sean Nixon).

There was still plenty of incentive for seawatchers to get out and put the hours in and there were rewards to be had. A Little Shearwater made its way north off Whitburn (Durham) on 4th, though large shearwaters were still in short supply, with just two Cory's Shearwaters and small numbers of Great Shearwaters: the peak count of the latter 70 off Kilcummin on 3rd, though the continued presence of birds in the North Sea continued to draw out seawatchers in anticipation. In Co. Mayo one, or more, Fea's Petrels were seen with singles passing Kilcummin Head on 31st and Downpatrick Head on 2nd. An orange-billed tern passed Gibraltar Point (Lincs) on 1st - no doubt observers of tern flocks in the North Sea are eagerly scouring their local flocks in the hope of its rediscovery...and ensuing identification debate! A White-winged Black Tern passed south at Flamborough Head (E. Yorks) and another off Dungeness (Kent). A Wilson's Storm-petrel passed Downpatrick Head on 3rd, with one seen from the Scilly pelagic the same day. Small numbers of Sabine's Gulls were seen off the usual watchpoints, but numbers remained low.

Citrine Wagtail: Lough Gill, Co. Kerry (photo: Sean Cronin).

Red-backed Shrike: Rainham Marshes, London (photo: Mick Southcott).

Rose-coloured Starling: Unst, Shetland (photo: Mike Pennington).

It was a quiet week for those seeking out scarce drift migrants. A Citrine Wagtail was at Lough Gill (Co. Kerry) on 4th and one remained on Fair Isle (Shetland). Elsewhere the Rose-coloured Starling remained on Unst (Shetland) with the same island bagging a rare Northern Isles Melodious Warbler. An Aquatic Warbler was a belated report from South Milton Ley (Devon) on 28th and an Icterine Warbler likewise at Holme (Cumbria) on 29th. Just two Barred Warblers, at Gibraltar Point and Flamborough Head, was a well-below-par showing, as were a meagre seven Red-backed Shrikes, ten Wrynecks and three Common Rosefinches. Six Ortolan Buntings included four in Dorset, one on Scilly and one in Cornwall.

Spotted Crake: Coombe Hill Meadows, Glos (photo: Steve Walton).

Spotted Crake: Coombe Hill Meadows, Glos (photo: Dave Perrett).

Great White Egret: Leighton Moss, Lancs (photo: Richard Steel).

Spoonbill: Leighton Moss, Lancs (photo: Kim Whiteside).

Purple Heron: Meare Heath, Somerset (photo: Roger Musgrove).

Ten Spotted Crakes included at least three at Marazion (Cornwall), along with several typically showy individuals. A Purple Heron was in Somerset and a long-staying bird still in Surrey. A Night Heron was again at Fairburn Ings (W. Yorks) and another again at Hastings (E. Sussex); there was still a Black Stork to be found on the Alaw Estuary, plus the ever-present Glossy Ibis in Lancashire. Obliging Great White Egrets were to be found at Leighton Moss and Marshside (Lancs), plus Cotswold Water Park (Wilts), along with others on Scilly and Glamorgan. A Blue-winged Teal at Haverton Hole (Cleveland) from 31st was the pick of the ducks, whilst Marbled Ducks in Suffolk and Leicestershire prompted discussion as to their origin. In Somerset the Ring-necked Duck remained at Avonmouth as did the Ferruginous Duck at Chew Valley Lake. A possible Black Scoter was at Reculver (Kent) on 4th.

Blue-winged Teal: Haverton Hole, Cleveland (photo: Andy Booth).

Marbled Duck: Lowestoft, Suffolk (photo: Dave Hockey).

Photo of the week

Little Egret: Leighton Moss, Lancs (photo: Phillip Tomkinson).

Other notable photos from the week

Little Gull: Hornsey Mere, E. Yorks (photo: Dean Eades).

Ruff: Titchwell, Norfolk (photo: Garth Peacock).

Spotted Flycatcher: Broom GPs, Beds (photo: Steve Blain).

Knot: Snettisham, Norfolk (photo: Tony Mills).

Merlin: Leighton Moss, Lancs (photo: Phillip Tomkinson).

Curlew Sandpiper: Seaton, Devon (photo: Steve Waite).

Many of the images that appear in our weekly reviews can be purchased from the photographers, some of whom have their own websites:

John Anderson: http://www.pbase.com/crail_birder
Bill Aspin: http://billaspinsnatureblog.blogspot.com
Mike Atkinson: http://mikeatkinson.net
Richard Bedford: http://www.richardbedford.co.uk
Steve Blain: http://www.steveblain.co.uk
Will Bowell: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
Paul Bowerman: http://www.severnsidebirds.co.uk
Paul Bowyer: http://www.birdlist.co.uk
Graham Catley: http://pewit.blogspot.com/
Mark Caunt: http://www.AngusBirding.com
Dean Eades: http://www.deaneadeswildlifephotography.co.uk
Andrew Easton: http://home.clara.net/ammodytes/
Graham Eaton: http://www.eatonphotography.co.uk
Stuart Elsom: http://www.stuartelsom.co.uk
Steve Evans: http://www.isabelline.co.uk
Katie Fuller: http://bogbumper.blogspot.com
Ian Fulton: http://www.pbase.com/ianfulton
Sean Gray: http://www.grayimages.co.uk
David Hatton: http://www.kowapower.com
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
Paul and Andrea Kelly: http://www.irishbirdimages.com/
Matt Latham: http://www.mattlathamphotography.com
Micky Maher: http://www.aardfoto.co.uk/
John Malloy: http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/johnmalloy
Brian Mcgeough: http://www.brianmcgeough.com/
Tony Mills: http://www.notjustbirds.com
Jerry O'Brien: http://www.BirdsofBerkshire.co.uk
Mark Newsome: http://www.durhambirdclub.org/
James Packer: http://www.somersetbirder.co.uk
Mike Pennington: http://www.nature.shetland.co.uk
Ken Plows: http://www.kenswildlifepics.co.uk
Ray Purser: http://www.pbase.com/02purser
Marc Read: http://www.marcread-pix.com
Tristan Reid: http://www.atricillaimages.co.uk/
Steve Round: http://stevenround-birdphotography.com
Craig Shaw: http://craigsukbirdpictures.bravehost.com/
Tom Shevlin: http://wildlifesnaps.com/
Peter Simpson: http://www.blueskybirds.co.uk
Matt Slaymaker: http://www.mattslaymaker.co.uk
Oliver Smart: http://www.smartimages.co.uk
George Spraggs: http://www.bird-watching.co.uk
Richard Steel: http://wildlifephotographic.bblogspot.com/
Stephen Tomlinson: http://stevesbirding.blogspot.com
Sue Tranter: http://www.suesbirdphotos.co.uk/
Damian Waters: http://www.drumimages.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