Review of the Week: 31st August-6th September 2006


The week at a glance:

Semipalmated Sandpiper: Smerwick, Co. Kerry (photo: Michael O'Keefe).

Semipalmated Sandpiper: St. Agnes, Scilly (photo: Bill Dixon).

Event of the week was the belated identification of Britain's first Olive-tree Warbler. This bird had originally been identified as an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler at Boddam (Shetland) on 16th August. Had it not been for the capture of some superb images of this skulking individual, this record would undoubtedly been accepted as the 12th British Eastern Olivaceous. This was undoubtedly a tricky identification but diligence has ensured that this was a record that didn't 'slip through'.

Semipalmated Sandpiper: Smerwick, Co. Kerry (photo: Michael O'Keefe).

Semipalmated Sandpiper: Smerwick, Co. Kerry (photo: Michael O'Keefe). Semipalmated Sandpiper: Keyhaven, Hants (photo: George Spraggs).

Back to the week in question! An arrival of Nearctic waders was widely expected following an Atlantic weather system last weekend and birders were not to be disappointed, despite the bulk of the action arriving in southern Ireland. A cluster of Semipalmated Sandpipers stole the show. The first of these were found on the 2nd, with birds in Co. Cork at Ballycotton (to the 3rd) and Lissagriffin (to 6th). In Co. Kerry one was at Smerwick from 3rd-6th, with two on 5th and one at Blennerville from 5th-6th. On Scilly singles were on St. Agnes from 3rd-6th and St. Mary's from 4th-5th, though the most accessible, and popular, was at Keyhaven Marshes (Hants) from 4th-6th. The last of the week was at Newport Wetland (Gwent) on 6th.

Pectoral Sandpiper: St. Mary's, Scilly (photo: Martin Goodey).

Pacific Golden Plover: Tiree, Argyll (photo: John Bowler). American Golden Plover: Tiree, Argyll (photo: John Bowler).
Lesser Yellowlegs: Dundrum Bay, Co. Down (photo: Derek Charles). Temminck's Stints: Foxcote Reservoir, Bucks (photo: Matt Slaymaker).

Back-up came from a number of other Nearctic waders. Amongst these, in Co. Wexford there was a Spotted Sandpiper at Nethertown from 5th-6th and a Baird's Sandpiper at Lady's Island Lake on 2nd. Several White-rumped Sandpipers were seen in Co. Kerry and another in Co. Clare, and another was on Tresco (Scilly) from 31st-5th. Buff-breasted Sandpipers reached double figures, including three at Carrahane (Co. Kerry) on 6th and Pectoral Sandpipers had a cumulative total in the upper teens, including a number of obliging inland individuals. There were Lesser Yellowlegs at Doonbeg (Co. Clare) on 3rd and Lissagriffin (Co. Cork) on 6th, plus the long-stayer at Dundrum Bay (Co. Down), whilst Long-billed Dowitchers were still at Shannon (Co. Clare) and Gibraltar Point (Lincs). Both the Pacific Golden Plover and American Golden Plover remained on Tiree (Argyll) until the weekend, and another American Golden Plover was reported over Beachy Head (E. Sussex) on 6th. Dotterel put in appearances in Jersey and Hampshire, a Red-necked Phalarope was still at Hickling Broad and half-a-dozen Grey Phalaropes were logged on seawatches. The Temminck's Stint remained at Lound GPs (Notts) and another was at Foxcote Reservoir (Bucks) from 31st.

Citrine Wagtail: St. Mary's, Scilly (photo: Martin Goodey).

Booted Warbler: Tiree, Argyll (photo: Keith Gillon).

Booted Warbler: Tiree, Argyll (photo: Keith Gillon).

Common Rosefinch: Unst, Shetland (photo: Micky Maher).

Pick of the passerines was a Booted Warbler on the island of the moment, Tiree, from 31st-2nd. Not surprisingly, with winds predominantly from a westerly direction, passerine interest was stifled. Three Citrine Wagtails included juveniles on Fair Isle (Shetland) from 3rd-5th, Stiffkey (Norfolk) on 4th and St. Mary's (Scilly) on 6th. A Subalpine Warbler was on St. Agnes (Scilly) on 1st and Bryher from 4th-5th. There were Arctic Warblers on Fetlar (Shetland) on 31st and Foula (Shetland) on 2nd, and three Greenish Warblers included birds at Brownstown Head (Co. Waterford) from 3rd-5th, Bryher on 5th and Bressay (Shetland) on 6th. The only Icterine Warbler was on Yell (Shetland) on 6th and eight Melodious Warblers included the 7th of the autumn to be trapped at Portland (Dorset). Barred Warblers were present exclusively on the Northern Isles, with five of the 11 on Fair Isle, all three Marsh Warblers were present on Shetland and eight of the nine Common Rosefinches were detected on the same islands, the exception one on Dursey Island (Co. Cork). A total of 16 Wrynecks were well spread, including an inland bird in Wiltshire, the 2nd Woodchat Shrike of the autumn was found on Fair Isle and another was at Walney Island (Cumbria) on 4th, whilst just five Red-backed Shrikes were reported. The Red-rumped Swallow remained at Hoswick (Shetland), a Tawny Pipit was on St. Mary's on 1st, a Hoopoe at Manningtree (Essex) the same day and an Ortolan Bunting at Hengistbury Head (Dorset) on 6th. A juvenile Rose-coloured Starling was at Smerwick (Co. Kerry) on 6th.

Arctic Warbler: Fetlar, Shetland (photo: Micky Maher).

Melodious Warbler: Tacumshin, Co. Wexford (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly). Red-rumped Swallow: Hoswick, Shetland (photo: Dougie Preston).

Great Shearwater: Pelagic, Co. Donegal (photo: Derek Charles).

Another Fea's Petrel was logged in Ireland, off Cape Clear (Co. Cork) on 31st, with a Wilson's Storm-petrel from the same site on 4th and another off Brandon Point (Co. Kerry) on 6th. A good movement of Great Shearwaters on 1st included 700 past Brandon Point and 632 likewise off Annagh Head (Co. Mayo), though the peak Cory's Shearwater count was 20 passing Galley Head (Co. Cork) on 4th. Also on the 1st, 10 Sabine's Gulls passed the Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) with 12 from Brandon Point, and 15 past the same site on the 2nd. A summer-plumaged Bonaparte's Gull was a good find for Northumberland at East Chevington, then Creswell, on 4th and half-a-dozen Ring-billed Gulls were still at large, plus a similar number of Caspian Gulls.

Spotted Crake: Lee Valley, Essex (photo: Richard Jones).

Red-footed Falcon: Minsmere, Suffolk (photo: Sean Nixon).

White Stork: Retford, Notts (photo: Dean Eades).

A Red-footed Falcon was at Minsmere (Suffolk) from 3rd-6th and the Snowy Owl remained on North Uist (Outer Hebrides). The White Stork remained near Retford (Notts) and Great White Egrets were reported from Chigborough Lakes and Old Hall Marshes (Essex), Sturminster Marshall GPs (Dorset)/Blashford Lakes (Hants) and over Strumble Head (Pembrokeshire). The juvenile Night Heron remained at Weir Wood Reservoir (East Sussex) and four Spotted Crakes included long-staying birds at Blacktoft Sands (E. Yorks), Lee Valley (Essex), Dawlish Warren (Devon) and Grove Ferry (Kent). The escaped Great White Pelican residing in Kent relocated to Essex, whilst the Northumberland individual remained until at least 6th. Ring-necked Ducks remained at Over Fen (Cambs) and Barrow Gurney Reservoir (Somerset) and the Ferruginous Duck at Blithfield Reservoir Staffs) was seen to be sporting a green ring. More authentic were Surf Scoters off Lunan Bay (Angus/Dundee) and in the Sound of Taransay (Outer Hebrides).

Hobby: Summer Leys, Northants (photo: Ken Plows).

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

Pomarine Skua: Seabird cruise, E. Yorks (photo: Lawrie Phipps).

Purple Sandpiper: Salthouse, Norfolk (photo: Peter Simpson).

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/
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
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