Review of the Week: 4th-10th August 2005

Wilson's Storm-petrel: Scilly pelagic, Scilly. (Photo: Ben Lascelles)

Cory's Searwater: Scilly pelagic, Scilly. (Photo: Ben Lascelles) Great Shearwater: Scilly pelagic, Scilly. (Photo: Ben Lascelles)

Seawatching again provided the main focus of interest for the news services with seabird movement detected off many watchpoints. A northwesterly blow presented opportunities in the North Sea over the weekend and the early part of the working week. Widely envied will be the Little Shearwater flying north past Hartlepool Headland (Cleveland) on Sunday 7th, which was later reported passing Whitburn (Co. Durham). Little Shearwater is arguably one of the most difficult species to have accepted at a national level; the last accepted British record was also at Hartlepool, on 15th July 2000, and three Irish records have also been accepted since then. Good numbers of Cory's Shearwaters remained in Irish waters early in the week, with 1,082 past Annagh Head (Co. Mayo) on 4th, 500 the same day past Kilcummin Head (Co. Mayo) and 500 past Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) on 5th. The largest English movement was 200 past Pendeen (Cornwall) on 5th. A number of birds were also seen in the North Sea, with singletons passing several headlands between 7th and 9th. Fewer Great Shearwaters were recorded, the maximum count being 25 past Bridges of Ross on 5th, but as with Cory's Shearwater a small number filtered into the North Sea and were recorded passing north between Yorkshire and Northumberland between 7th and 8th. Seeing this species on the east coast requires dedication and good fortune, so many welcomed the opportunity to see the species in their home county. Sooty Shearwaters featured too, with the highest number logged being 218 passing Annagh Head on 4th, and the maximum North Sea count one of 77 from Flamborough Head (E. Yorks) on 8th. Single-figure counts of Balearic Shearwaters were well spread, with up to 6 seen from locations in the English Channel and North Sea. The cumulative total of Long-tailed Skuas barely crept into double figures, though Sabine's Gulls were seen passing Kilcummin Head and Bridges of Ross on 5th, Filey Brigg (N. Yorks) on 9th with 3 from a pelagic in Blasket Sound (Co. Kerry) on 9th. Wilson's Storm-petrels continued to be picked out, with land-based observations from Galley Head (Co. Cork) on 4th and two at Loop Head (Co. Clare) and Bridges of Ross on 4th, and two from the Scilly pelagic (Scilly) on 5th and 10th and one from the Blasket Sound pelagic on 9th.

Sooty Tern: Cockle Island, Co. Down. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly) Sooty Tern: Skerries, Co. Dublin. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly)

Ring-billed Gull: Otterspool, Lancs. (Photo: Sean Gray)

Ring-billed Gull: Otterspool, Lancs. (Photo: Darren AP Ward) Ring-billed Gull: Otterspool, Lancs. (Photo: Steve Round)
Caspian Gull: Southwold, Suffolk. (Photo: Craig Holden) Caspian Gull: Southwold, Suffolk. (Photo: Mike Parker)

The Sooty Tern once again betrayed its presence in the Irish Sea, being present on Cockle Island (Co. Down) from 4th-6th, allowing Irish birders another opportunity to catch up with the 'bird of the summer'. It was then relocated at Skerries/Rockabill (Co. Dublin) on 7th and 8th. It has now gone AWOL again - where will it surface in the Irish Sea next? A Caspian Tern flew south at Spurn (E. Yorks) on Friday 5th with 'possibles' reported from Lymington (Hants) on 9th and Skerries (Dublin) on 10th. Laughing Gulls continued their residency at Burray (Orkney) and Waterside (Co. Galway), and of three Ring-billed Gulls reported during the week the bird at Otterspool (Lancs) continued to prove popular. A handful of Caspian Gulls were detected, the most popular of which was the returning 2nd-summer at Southwold (Suffolk) originally ringed in the Ukraine. In Orkney the White-billed Diver could still be found, and an adult Bonaparte's Gull was at Swords (Co. Dublin) on Monday 8th.

Long-billed Dowitcher: Rutland Water, Leics. (Photo: Steve Evans) Long-billed Dowitcher: Rutland Water, Leics. (Photo: Will Bowell)
Pectoral Sandpiper: Titchwell, Norfolk. (Photo: Marc Read) Pectoral Sandpiper: Titchwell, Norfolk. (Photo: GM Clarke)

A Long-billed Dowitcher at Rutland Water (Leics) on Tuesday 9th would have been even more popular had it appeared during the Bird Fair, but unfortunately it was a 'one-day bird', and an overdue county first. Two Long-billed Dowitchers were at Shannon Airport (Co. Clare) during the week. A Grey Phalarope was noted off Strathy Point (Highland) on 10th and a Temminck's Stint was at Cley (Norfolk) from 7th-10th. Eight Pectoral Sandpipers included birds at Leighton Moss (Lancs), Newport Wetlands (Gwent), Conder Green (Lancs), Titchwell (Norfolk), Rutland Water (Leics), Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) and two at Hickling Broad (Norfolk).

Spotted Crake: Eynesbury, Cambs. (Photo: John Spaull) Spotted Crake: Inner Marsh Farm, Cheshire. (Photo: Graham Eaton)

Spotted Crake: Inner Marsh Farm, Cheshire. (Photo: Steve Round)

Spotted Crake: Inner Marsh Farm, Cheshire. (Photo: Steve Round) Cattle Egret: Otter Estuary NR, Devon. (Photo: Phil Stidwill)

Five Spotted Crakes delighted observers, with singles at Inner Marsh Farm and Marbury CP (Cheshire), though the latter was taken by a Sparrowhawk; there were others at Eynesbury (Cambs), Martin Mere (Lancs) and Loch of Strathbeg (Aberdeenshire). A juvenile Purple Heron was reported from Kelling (Norfolk) on 10th, and a colour-ringed Great White Egret was again at Mockbeggar Lakes (Hants) from 6th onwards. The Cattle Egret remained on the Otter Estuary NR (Devon) to 9th, with presumably the same bird at Exminster Marshes (Devon) on 10th, whilst another was at Sandwich Bay (Kent) on 4th, with known escapees still at large in Norfolk and Suffolk. A 1st-summer Night Heron was at West Auckland (Durham) on 7th and White Storks were seen in Worcestershire, Lancashire, London, Cambridgeshire, Cornwall and Sussex.

The first Aquatic Warblers of the autumn were detected at Radipole (Dorset) on 6th and an adult and juvenile Aquatic Warbler were trapped at Farlington Marshes (Hants) on 7th. An Icterine Warbler was on St. Mary's (Scilly) on 10th and a Rose-coloured Starling at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) on 8th. A Golden Oriole was reported from Southport (Lancs) on 9th.

Ruddy Shelduck: Edderthorpe Flash, S. Yorks. (Photo: Darren AP Ward)

Ruddy Shelduck: Cley, Norfolk. (Photo: Paul Sullivan) Ruddy Shelduck: Old Moor, S. Yorks. (Photo: Keith Pickering)

The origins of the recent influx of Ruddy Shelducks continue to provoke debate, with up to 25 reported so far. It seems likely that these have originated from one of several feral populations within striking distance of Britain. There is an annual moult migration in The Netherlands containing several hundred birds, along with feral populations of several hundred birds on the Swiss/German border, plus sizeable feral populations further afield in Russia and the Ukraine. It is probable that the recent splurge of sightings may be associated with the Dutch moult migration population, as is probably the case in most late-summer periods. But, it is also possible that some summer influxes may be induced by drought conditions elsewhere, as may prove to be the case with this one. Such influxes are always hotly debated, but whatever their origin, this fine species is guaranteed to brighten up any waterbody with its presence! The Ferruginous Duck remained in Cambridgeshire and Ring-necked Ducks were still on Scilly and in Somerset.

Roseate Tern: Holy Island, Northumberland. (Photo: Graham Catley) Roseate Tern: Holy Island, Northumberland. (Photo: Graham Catley)
Roseate Tern: Holy Island, Northumberland. (Photo: Graham Catley) Roseate Tern: Holy Island, Northumberland. (Photo: Graham Catley)
Wood Sandpiper: Manby, Lincs. (Photo: Dean Eades) Wood Sandpiper: Manby, Lincs. (Photo: Matt Latham)
Ruff: Toft Newton Res, Lincs. (Photo: Russell Hayes) Knot: Snettisham, Norfolk. (Photo: Chris)
Grey Plover: Tetney, Lincs. (Photo: Dave Bradbeer) Avocet: Leighton Moss, Lancs. (Photo: Simon Wilson)
Black-tailed Godwit: Titchwell, Norfolk. (Photo: Peter Simpson) Black-tailed Godwit: Leighton Moss, Lancs. (Photo: Simon 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://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/
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/
Andrew Easton: http://home.clara.net/ammodytes/
Graham Eaton: http://www.eatonphotography.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
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
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
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
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
George Spraggs: http://www.bird-watching.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