15/02/2003
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Review of the Week:

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A relatively steady week, with few 'new' rarities, though a number of birds were relocated, or 'still present'.

A grey-morph Gyr Falcon gave excellent views at Portnockie (Moray/Nairn) on 9th, before it flew off west. Most accepted records are of stunning white-phase birds which present less of an identification challenge than a grey individual.

In Ireland the Killdeer was relocated at Ballycotton (Cork) on 9th and remained until dusk, but was not present the following day. On South Uist the Pacific Golden Plover was seen again, the first report of this individual since early November 2002! A White-billed Diver was seen well off Cloughton Wyke (N. Yorkshire) on 8th, remaining to dusk, but not present the following day. The bird did have a small patch of oil on its breast side which it kept preening, but it looked well enough, so hopefully it had just moved on. Of interest, a moribund bird was picked up on the beach a few miles to the south at Scarborough earlier in the week and a possible was reported at Carlingford Lough (Louth).

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In Dumfries and Galloway the drake King Eider was relocated on Loch Ryan, and at Leam Lough (Mayo) the Black Duck was still present. Also in Mayo the Forster's Tern was present at The Mullet, with another in Kerry. The Black Kite continued to entertain, and provoke debate, in Hampshire, with an intriguing report of a second bird in the county at the weekend. Seawatching produced few surprises, though small numbers of Little Auks continued to be seen and a Sooty Shearwater was again off Portland (Dorset). Lapland Buntings have been quite scarce this winter, but a flock of up to 50 are still present at Donna Nook (Lincolnshire), with 10 in Durham and 8 on Holy Island the only other gatherings of more than a few birds.

The male Two-barred Crossbill continues to delight birders in Buckinghamshire, as does the Pallid Harrier and wintering Yellow-browed Warbler in Norfolk. The Thayer's Gull remained at Killybegs and a 'continental' Barn Owl showed well at Welney (Norfolk). In Glamorgan the Redhead was relocated at Cosmeston Lakes, while the Richard's Pipit continues to show very well near Sheffield and the Little Bunting is still in Gloucestershire.

Written by: Russell Slack