Review of the Week: 4-10 July 2022


Although it was a largely settled midsummer week where lingering rarities held centre stage in Britain, it was a somewhat more exciting state of play in Ireland, where the summer's latest mega was found.

An adult Elegant Tern was located in the Sandwich Tern colony at Lady's Island Lake, Co Wexford, from 3rd. The species enjoys a long history in the country, with six previous records dating back some 40 years. It isn't even the first for Lady's Island Lake – it is preceded by an adult in July 1999. As fate would have it, it turned up almost exactly a year to the day of an Elegant Tern in the Sandwich Tern colony at Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey, which appeared on 4 July and went on to tour England's north-west coast throughout August – might it be the same bird resurfacing in a different colony, perhaps?

Elegant Tern (centre), Lady's Island Lake, Wexford (Brian McCloskey).

Adding to a veritable Irish tern fest were the returning Forster's Tern at Inishroo, Co Galway, on 9th and the Least Tern again at Portrane Point, Co Dublin, over the weekend.

Least Tern (top), Portrane Point, Dublin (Zbigniew Kajzer).

An extraordinary double header at nearby Tacumshin, Co Wexford, from 6th saw an adult Pacific Golden Plover join the lingering American Golden Plover, providing stunning views of this sometimes-tricky species pair in their most attractive of plumages.

Pacific Golden Plover (right) and American Golden Plover, Tacumshin, Wexford (David Stirling).

Elsewhere in Ireland, chastening belated news emerged of a male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear at Cliffs of Moher, Co Clare, on 16 June. This likely Irish second is the first anywhere in either Britain or Ireland since a one-day adult male at Acres Down, Hampshire, on 13 June 2015. 

In Kent, the adult Bonaparte's Gull returned to Oare Marshes for its ninth summer from 7th, where it could be seen sharing the same lagoon with a first-summer Black-crowned Night Heron found the previous evening. Other Bonaparte's were at Firemore, Highland, on 5th and on the River Tyne at Dunston, Durham, on 7th.

Bonaparte's Gull, Oare Marshes NR, Kent (Jonathan Boyce Leigh).

Bempton retained its two megas throughout the week, to the pleasure of many who made the trip to the East Yorkshire coast. The Red-tailed Shrike spent most of its time slightly inland of the reserve, while the Black-browed Albatross put in exciting performances from the Yorkshire Belle on two dates.

Red-tailed Shrike, Bempton Cliffs RSPB, East Yorkshire (Richard Pittam).

Black-browed Albatross, Bempton Cliffs RSPB, East Yorkshire (Steve Race).

All three of the week's Cory's Shearwaters were in the North Sea – one tracked along the North Norfolk coast between Cley Marshes and Sheringham, another off Wolla Bank, Lincolnshire, and a probable off Howick, Northumberland. A Wilson's Storm Petrel was logged from a pelagic off Rossaveel, Co Galway, on 5th, with another off Scilly the previous day. Leighton Moss RSPB, Lancashire, was treated to a summer-plumaged adult Sabine's Gull from 5th.

Sabine's Gull, Leighton Moss RSPB, Lancashire (Harry Molloy).

A surprise drake Surf Scoter flew north unaccompanied past Howick, Northumberland, on 4th, while the young drake King Eider remained off Musselburgh, Lothian. Two Red-breasted Geese of unknown origin appeared at Pett Level, East Sussex, from 6th.

A Caspian Tern commuted between Potter Heigham Marshes and Hickling Broad, Norfolk, from 5th, with one at Botany Marshes RSPB, Suffolk, on 10th. Another heading north past Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire, on 8th perhaps related to the northbound probable past Long Nanny, Northumberland, on 10th. The American Black Tern at Long Nanny began to show signs of moult; St Martin's, Scilly, boasted a brief summer-plumaged Laughing Gull on 10th. The summer's first juvenile Caspian Gull was at Cromer on the evening of 8th; this may well be the earliest juvenile ever to reach UK shores.

Caspian Tern, Hickling Broad NWT, Norfolk (Simon George).

The summer's first White-rumped Sandpiper was a high-tide fixture at Snettisham RSPB, Norfolk, on a daily basis from 7th. The Broad-billed Sandpiper continued to commute between Grutness and Pool of Virkie, Mainland Shetland, while a Kentish Plover was reported at Knockadoon Head, Co Cork, on 5th. Pectoral Sandpipers were at Clogheen Marsh, Co Cork, and Tiree, Argyll.

Broad-billed Sandpiper, Grutness, Mainland, Shetland (Roger Riddington).

On 4th, Temminck's Stints were along England's east coast at Rimac, Lincolnshire, and Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk, while two appeared inland at Edderthorpe Flash RSPB, South Yorkshire, on 10th. The Black-winged Stilt family at Potteric Carr, South Yorkshire, retained their full contingent.

Black-winged Stilt, Potteric Carr YWT, South Yorkshire (Nathaniel Dargue).

Belated news of a Black-crowned Night Heron noted at Bintree Mill, Norfolk, on 27 June perhaps refers to the adult logged at Cley Marshes on 6th and 8th. Another adult was at Waltham Brooks, West Sussex, on 4th. Three Glossy Ibises appeared in Orkney on Rousay and Papa Westray (two) on 5th, with the species widespread in England. In Cambridgeshire, the unringed White Stork lingered at Smithy Fen; a brief Corncrake was near Wymondham, Norfolk, on 5th.

Black-crowned Night Heron, Oare Marshes NR, Kent (Jonathan Boyce Leigh).

European Honey Buzzards remained reliable from publicised watchpoints at Swanton Novers, Norfolk, and Wykeham Forest, North Yorkshire. Three Red-footed Falcons were found – on St Martin's, Scilly, from 8th, at Faversham, Kent, on 9th and at Silkstone Common, South Yorkshire, on 10th.

European Honey Buzzard, Swanton Novers watchpoint, Norfolk (Ian Bollen).

Up to eight European Bee-eaters remained at Trimingham, Norfolk, with birds noted over Wells Woods, Norfolk, Kingsdown, Kent, and both Felixstowe and Shottisham, Suffolk. Rosy Starlings were split between Llangwyryfon, Ceredigion, Bettyhill, Highland, Kilmaluag, Skye, and Holm, Mainland Orkney; a brief Hoopoe was reported at Willen Lake, Buckinghamshire, on 8th.

European Bee-eater, Trimingham, Norfolk (Ian Bollen).

European Serins overflew Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, on 3rd and Hastings CP, East Sussex, on 5th. A Great Reed Warbler resurfaced at Snettisham Coastal Park, Norfolk, on 8th, with the Iberian Chiffchaff still at Regent's Park, London. In Shetland, a Marsh Warbler sang at Hoswick, Mainland, on 9th.


Western Palearctic

An eclectic tern fest in the Camargue, France, at Grau de Piémanson this week saw no fewer than four Elegant Terns and a Lesser Crested Tern present among large numbers of loafing Sandwich Terns. Another Lesser Crested Tern was in Spain at Ebro Delta NP on 30 June.

Elsewhere, the Bridled Tern lingered off the Finistère coast on Île aux Moutons and another Elegant Tern continued on Île de Noirmoutier. Meanwhile, the singing male White-throated Sparrow remained at Les Bouchoux.

White-throated Sparrow, Les Bouchoux, Jura (Alexandre Crégu).

A mobile White-tailed Lapwing rocked up at Ewiges Meer, Germany, on 2nd before moving 400 km further east to Holzendorfer Seebruch on 4-5th. A Greater Sand Plover appeared at Uttershausen from 7th, while The Netherlands held a released Bearded Vulture.

In the Canary Islands, a Pied Crow was again at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Gran Canaria. Western Reef Herons were in Spain at Platja d'Aro and San Martin de la Vega.

Written by: Sam Viles