Review of the Week: 30th November-6th December 2006


The week at a glance:

Leach's Storm-petrel: Severn Beach, Glos (photo: Paul Bowerman).

Leach's Storm-petrel: Severn Beach, Glos (photo: Paul Bowerman).

Leach's Storm-petrel: Severn Beach, Glos (photo: Paul Bowerman).

Leach's Storm-petrel: Severn Beach, Glos (photo: Gary Thoburn).

Leach's Storm-petrel: Severn Beach, Glos (photo: Oliver Smart).

The talking point of the week has been the large displacement of Leach's Storm-petrels as a result of the ongoing gale-force storms. The first were singletons on the 1st in Co. Galway and Devon, with three more in Ireland on the 3rd and then a deluge of sightings from the 3rd onwards. The majority have been in the west and southwest, and several have been found inland. With continuing strong winds good numbers have remained offshore in several areas - notably locations bordering the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary, where small numbers have been 'twitchable' over much of the week. Good numbers were also noted along the English Channel as far east as Dorset. Many hundreds have been involved, and the largest counts include 150 off Chesil Cove (Dorset) on 5th, 100 off Black Rock Sands (Gwynedd) the same day and 102 past Inveran (Co. Galway) on 4th. Associated seabird highlights include good numbers of Balearic Shearwaters, with 67 passing St. Ives (Cornwall) on 5th and 63 there on 7th and a Sabine's Gull at Bridport (Dorset) from 4th-6th, with another at Silloth (Cumbria) on 6th. Also reported were five Long-tailed Skuas, several Arctic Skuas (including two over Grafham Water (Cambs)), Pomarine Skuas and Great Skuas. Six Grey Phalaropes included inland birds at West Hartford (Northumbs) on 3rd and on the Ouse Washes (Cambs) on 4th, with others at Lossiemouth (Moray/Nairn), West Thurrock (Essex), Hartland Point (Devon) and Troon (Ayrshire). Small numbers of Little Auks included a peak count of 16 passing Anstruther (Fife) on 2nd.

Sabine's Gull: Bridport, Dorset (photo: Tom Brereton).

Barrow's Goldeneye: Callander, Forth (photo: Ian Fulton).

Falcated Duck: Bowling Green Marsh, Devon (photo: Mark Trott).

Elsewhere it was pretty much "as you were". The Barrow's Goldeneye remained on offer at Callander (Forth) as did the drake at Quoile Pondage (Co. Down). The drake Bufflehead remained on Unst (Shetland) and the apparent Black-eared Kite was again reported from Snettisham (Norfolk) on 6th. In Devon the Falcated Duck remained at Bowling Green Marsh through the week and another was reported from Helston Loe Pool (Cornwall) on 3rd. The drake Black Scoter remained off Llanfairfechan (Conwy) and five Lesser Scaup included single birds at Loch Sandary (Outer Hebrides), Knock Lake (Co. Dublin) and a returning female to Caerlaverock (Dumfries and Galloway), with two at Lough Swilly (Co. Donegal). The only Ferruginous Duck that wasn't a hybrid or obvious escape was the female at New Hythe GPs (Kent) and 11 Ring-necked Ducks were well distributed. A probable drake Northern Eider was off Peterhead (Aberdeenshire), though just four each of Green-winged Teal and American Wigeon was a below-par showing. The ever-popular Red-breasted Geese remained in Lincolnshire as did the bird in Dorset, and Snow Geese remained in Highland and Norfolk to at least the early part of the week. Several Black Brant were present in East Anglia and along the south coast and others were in Co. Waterford and Co. Sligo.

Cattle Egret: Otter Estuary NR, Devon (photo: Phil Stidwill).

Great Northern Diver: Chasewater, Staffordshire (photo: Ian Butler).

A Red-necked Phalarope passed Hartlepool Headland (Cleveland) on 3rd, and both the Long-billed Dowitcher at Oare Marshes (Kent) and Spotted Sandpiper on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) showed little sign of moving on. The White-rumped Sandpiper was at Cley (Norfolk) to at least the 6th and one at Ballycotton (Co. Cork) to at least the 3rd. The Glossy Ibis was reported from Fluke Hall (Lancs) to at least the 3rd and the long-staying Cattle Egret remained on the Otter Estuary NR (Devon), as did the Great White Egret at Blashford Lakes (Hants). A possible White-billed Diver was reported from The Hermitage (Co. Louth) on 2nd and good numbers of inland Great Northern Divers were still present in central England. The Rough-legged Buzzard remained at Capel Fleet (Kent) and new birds were at Holkham and Horsey (Norfolk), whilst the Osprey was still at Nayland (Suffolk) and another was reported from Exeter (Devon). On Lewis (Outer Hebrides) the Snowy Owl remained at Bru.

Iceland Gull: Culmore Dump, L'derry (photo: Derek Charles).

Ring-billed Gull: Westcliffe-on-Sea, Essex (photo: Sean Nixon).

Ring-billed Gull: Westcliffe-on-Sea, Essex (photo: Sean Nixon).

Kumlien's Gull: Culmore Dump, L'derry (photo: Derek Charles). Iceland Gull: Killybegs, Co. Donegal (photo: Derek Charles).
Glaucous x Herring Gull: Culmore Dump, L'derry (photo: Derek Charles). Glaucous x Herring Gull: Culmore Dump, L'derry (photo: Derek Charles).

Ring-billed Gull: Isle of Dogs, London (photo: Fraser Simpson).

It was a better week for gull-watchers. Over 50 Iceland Gulls were reported, along with 3 Kumlien's Gulls, with the 3rd-winter still at Culmore Dump (L'derry) and others at Scalloway (Highland) and Rossaveal (Co. Galway). There were around 20 Glaucous Gulls and over 25 Caspian Gulls. Thirteen Ring-billed Gulls comprised nearly all adults and the Bonaparte's Gull was again at Lunan Bay (Angus/Dundee) on 2nd. In Co. Louth the Forster's Tern was at Cruisetown/Clogher Head

Yellow-browed Warbler: Slimbridge, Glos (photo: Paul Masters).

Shore Lark: Snettisham, Norfolk (photo: Matt Latham).

An Alpine Swift was over Mumbles Head (Glamorgan) on 3rd and a swift species over Margate (Kent) on the 3rd. a Pallas's Warbler was at Hengistbury Head (Dorset) on 2nd and another at Pleinmont (Guernsey) on 1st. Five Yellow-browed Warblers were reported, one in Glamorgan, the rest in southwest England, and a Siberian Chiffchaff remained at Slimbridge (Glos). The Rose-coloured Starling remained in Kidwell (Carmarthen) to at least the 2nd, as did the Great Grey Shrike at Burley (Hants), with another reported from Tullamore (Offaly). There were a cluster of Waxwing records in Aberdeenshire, peaking at 35 in Kincorth, though the only one away from that area was a singleton at Margate (Kent) on 2nd. Just 8 Lapland Buntings along the east coast was poor showing, but 37 Shore Lark, including 30 in Norfolk, was much better.

Little Owl: Ringstone Reservoir, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).

Sanderling: New Brighton, Cheshire (photo: Richard Steel).

Dunlin: Leasowe, Cheshire (photo: Steve Round).

Lapwing: Summer Leys, Northants (photo: Richard Bedford).

Common Buzzard: Crail, Fife (photo: John Anderson).

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
Mike Atkinson: http://mikeatkinson.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/
Andy Bright: http://www.Digiscoped.com
Martin Cade: http://www.portlandbirdobs.btinternet.co.uk
Graham Catley: http://pewit.blogspot.com/
Mark Caunt: http://angusbirding.homestead.com/
John Coveney: http://www.clarebirdwatching.com/index.php
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/
Dean Eades: http://www.pbase.com/dean_eades/root
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.powow.com/birds2004/
Katie Fuller: http://bogbumper.blogspot.com
Ian Fulton: http://www.pbase.com/ianfulton
Sean Gray: http://www.grayimages.co.uk
Peter Hadfield: http://www.manxbirdphotography.co.uk
David Hatton: http://www.kowapower.com
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
John Judge: http://www.draycotebirding.co.uk
Paul and Andrea Kelly: http://www.irishbirdimages.com/
Matt Latham: http://www.pbase.com/latho/root
Jack Levene: http://www.birdingimages.com
Micky Maher: http://www.aardfoto.co.uk/
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
Ken Plows: http://www.kenswildlifepics.co.uk
Ray Purser: http://www.pbase.com/02purser/images
Marc Read: http://www.marcread-pix.com
Tristan Reid: http://www.solwaybirder.org.uk
Steve Round: http://stevenround-birdphotography.com
Gerald Segelbacher: http://www.digiscoping.uk.md
Deryk Shaw/FIBO: http://www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk
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
Simon Stirrup: http://www.simonstirrup.co.uk/
Garry Taylor: http://www.spurnbirdobservatory.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