Review of the Week: 30th December 2004-5th January 2005

Cattle Egret: Kingston Seymour, Somerset. (Photo: Jim Payne)

The arrival of 2005 was more subdued than last year, though several new rarities brightened up a winter's day for some observers. Breathtaking white Gyr Falcons were on Fair Isle (Shetland) from Friday 31st-3rd and one was again seen on North Uist (Outer Hebrides) on Friday 31st. A 1st-winter Laughing Gull was at Carnoustie (Angus/Dundee) from Wednesday 5th onwards and a Cattle Egret at Kingston Seymour (Somerset) from Tuesday 4th onwards. A Pallas's Warbler at Kenidjack Valley (Cornwall) on Friday 31st and Monday 3rd was a rare winter record for this charismatic sprite and a Richard's Pipit was at Weston-Super-Mare (Somerset) from Saturday 1st onwards, but had been present from early October, and the bird at Kinmel Bay (Conwy) was again present from Monday 3rd onwards. A Black-bellied Dipper was at Burrafirth, Unst (Shetland) on Friday 31st.

Short-billed Dowitcher: North Bull Island, Dublin. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly) Short-billed Dowitcher: North Bull Island, Dublin. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly)

Arctic Redpoll: Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk. (Photo: Josh Jones) Arctic Redpoll: Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk. (Photo: David H. Hatton)

The Sora at Attenborough NR (Notts) was obliging for year-listers out and about on the 1st, but has not been seen subsequently. On the Outer Hebrides the Killdeer was last reported from Knockintorran, N. Uist, on Thursday 30th. The 1st-winter Ivory Gull at Kyle of Tongue (Highland) was also a tempting proposition for serious year-listers willing to undertake the journey, as was the American Coot still in residence at Loch of Benston (Shetland). Many other popular rarities remained into 2005, including the Arctic Redpoll at Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk) and Dusky Warbler at Kessingland (Suffolk). In Ireland the Short-billed Dowitcher remained at North Bull Island (Co. Dublin) as did the 2nd-winter American Herring Gull at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway), the latter now accorded full species status by the Irish Rare Birds Committee. The Forster's Tern was still at Strangford Lough (Co. Down) and the Glossy Ibis remains in Norfolk, as does the Lesser Yellowlegs at Stiffkey. The Penduline Tit was again at Grove Ferry on Thursday 30th and on Shetland the Dark-breasted Barn Owl was at Reawick. In Hampshire the Great White Egret remained at Mockbeggar Lakes and another was over Grove Ferry (Kent) on 30th and 3rd.

Great Grey Shrike: Carsington Water, Derbys. (Photo: Darren Chapman) Great Grey Shrike: Wimpole Hall Park, Cambs. (Photo: David H. Hatton)

Siberian Chiffchaff: Upton upon Severn, Worcs. (Photo: Andy Warr) Siberian Chiffchaff: Upton upon Severn, Worcs. (Photo: Andy Warr)

Waxwing: Huddersfield, W Yorks. (Photo: Sean Gray) Waxwing: Chester, Cheshire. (Photo: Steve Round)

At least 14 Great Grey Shrikes were reported during the week, but the only Northern Bullfinches were 11 at Warley CP (Essex), 7 on Lewis (Outer Hebrides) and 3 at Stromness (Orkney). Several Siberian Chiffchaffs included one trapped at Upton upon Severn (Worcs). Unseasonable records included single Swallows at Martin Mere (Lancs) on 30th and Hunstanton (Norfolk) on 4th, presumably a testament to the mild winter so far, as was the continued presence of the Common Redstart at Wormwood Scrubs (London). In Ireland a Little Ringed Plover was at Ballycotton and a Turtle Dove at Middleton (Co. Cork), whilst an Osprey was reported in Wiltshire and Garganey were in Kent and Cambridgeshire. Ring Ouzels were seen at Berrow Green (Worcs) and Bolton Abbey (N. Yorks), closely following last week's individual in Durham.

Iceland Gull: Oban, Argyll. (Photo: Bill Jackson) Iceland Gull: Ayr, Ayrshire. (Photo: John Anderson)

Glaucous Gull: Ramsey, Isle of Man. (Photo: Chris Wormwell) American Herring Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly)

Ring-billed Gull: Blennerville, Co. Kerry. (Photo: Richard Jeffree) Ring-billed Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly)

Around 60 Iceland Gulls were noted, including a couple of Kumlien's Gulls, and around 30 Glaucous Gulls provided more incentive to gull-watchers to be out and about watching their local roosts, tips and coastal harbours. In addition, around 15 Caspian Gulls were located and Ring-billed Gulls reached into double figures. There were 3 Ring-billed Gulls at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway), the same site also hosting the only multiple gathering of Glaucous Gulls, whilst a peak of 7 Iceland Gulls were at Enniskillen (Co. Fermanagh). A Leach's Storm-petrel was off Turnberry Point (Ayrshire) on Tuesday 4th, several Little Auks were noted, plus 46 passing Dunbar (Lothian) on the 3rd and 2 Grey Phalaropes were off Filey Brigg (N. Yorks) through the week.

Ring-billed Gull: Gosport, Hants. (Photo: Stephen Burch) Ring-billed Gull: Gosport, Hants. (Photo: Joe Cockram)

Ferruginous Duck: Craigavon, Co. Galway. (Photo: Paul and Andrea kelly) Great Northern Diver: Daventry Res, Northants. (Photo: John Spraggett)

The drake Black Duck remained at Achill Island (Co. Mayo), as did the female on Tresco (Scilly) with another reported on St. Mary's. The Black Scoter was still off Llanfairfechan (Conwy), as were the Lesser Scaups at Scotney GP (E. Sussex) and Abberton Res (Essex). King Eiders were still off Norfolk, Aberdeenshire, and Dumfries and Galloway, and Surf Scoters off Moray/Nairn, Lothian and Co. Kerry (2). The only American Wigeons to be reported were in Cornwall and Highland, there were 9 Green-winged Teals and a dozen Ring-necked Ducks, whilst Ferruginous Ducks were in Bedfordshire, Suffolk, Derbyshire, Co. Armagh and Co. Galway. Tundra Bean Geese were still present in a number of locations, with a small party penetrating as far northwest as Greater Manchester and another to North Yorkshire. A maximum of 96 were at Methwold Fens (Suffolk) on 3rd.

Tundra Bean Goose: North Warren, Suffolk. (Photo: Chris Mayne) Tundra Bean Goose: North Warren, Suffolk. (Photo: Chris Mayne)

Tundra Bean Goose: North Warren, Suffolk. (Photo: Sean Nixon) Tundra Bean Goose: Croxall, Staffs. (Photo: Andy Warr)

Shore Lark: John Muir CP, Lothian. (Photo: Ray Wilson) Shore Lark: John Muir CP, Lothian. (Photo: Ray Wilson)
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.wanderingbirders.co.near/
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/
Sean Gray: http://www.grayimages.co.uk
Peter Hadfield: http://www.manxbirdphotography.co.uk
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.co.near/
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
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
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