Review of the Week: 4th-10th August 2006

The week at a glance:

Franklin's Gull: Whitehouse Lagoon, Co. Antrim (photo: Derek Charles). Franklin's Gull: Blithfield Reservoir, Staffs (photo: Steve Nuttall).

Continuing the theme of recent weeks once again it was a relatively quiet affair. The majority of highlights were confined to gulls, with a range of rarities more reminiscent of winter than early August. A fine adult Ross's Gull was watched off Aird on Tiree (Argyll) on the 9th. An adult Franklin's Gull at Blithfield Reservoir (Staffordshire) late on 9th and early on 10th was the first county record, and was perhaps the same bird seen in Cambridgeshire recently, and another was at Whitehouse Lagoon (Co. Antrim) from 5th-6th. Adding to the Nearctic theme, a 1st-summer Laughing Gull was present at Dawlish Warren/Cockwood (Devon) on the 5th. The Larid mix of scarcities also contained half-a-dozen Ring-billed Gulls and over a dozen Caspian Gulls including five at Paglesham Lagoon (Essex). An influx of White-winged Black Terns included juveniles at Covenham Reservoir (Lincs) on 4th and Hornsea Mere (E. Yorks) from 6th-7th. Adults were at Big Waters (Northumbs) on 6th and another was seen at Filey (N. Yorks) on 7th then relocated at Minsmere (Suffolk) on 8th and one passed through Neumann's Flash (Cheshire) on 9th.

Ring-billed Gull: Crosby Marine Park, Lancs (photo: Dave Mansell).

White-winged Black Tern: Big Waters, Northumbs (photo: Frank Golding).

White-winged Black Tern: Filey, N. Yorks (photo: John Harwood). White-winged Black Tern: Minsmere, Suffolk (photo: Andrew Easton).

A Fea's Petrel past the Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) on 8th was the seawatching highlight, with a Wilson's Storm-petrel reported off there the same day and others from pelagics off Scilly on 6th and Dingle (Co. Kerry) on 8th. A Sabine's Gull was also seen from the Dingle pelagic on 8th and others passed Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 9th and Kilcummin Head (Co. Mayo) on 10th. Large shearwaters were scarce this week: a dozen Great Shearwaters included 8 past the Bridges of Ross on the 7th, though the only Cory's Shearwaters were seen passing Shoreham-by-Sea (W. Sussex) on 6th and Strumble Head (Pembrokeshire) on 9th. Peak counts of Balearic Shearwaters included 32 past Prawle Point (Devon) on 5th and 12 past Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 6th. Small numbers of Long-tailed Skuas were reported and the peak Leach's Storm-petrel count was 8 past Lewis on 9th.

Long-billed Dowitcher: Gibraltar Point, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

Pectoral Sandpiper: Southwold, Suffolk (photo: Andrew Easton).

Pectoral Sandpiper: Southwold, Suffolk (photo: Mike Parker). Pectoral Sandpiper: Southwold, Suffolk (photo: Mike Parker).

Kentish Plover: Ferrybridge, Dorset (photo: Martin Cade).

Wader interest was still limited, but Long-billed Dowitchers remained to at least the 10th at both Shannon Airport (Co. Clare) and Gibraltar Point (Lincs), with the Lesser Yellowlegs at the latter site to the 5th. A Buff-breasted Sandpiper was at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) from 5th-6th and Pectoral Sandpipers were reported from Martin Mere (Lancs), Lough Neagh (Co. Antrim) and Southwold (Suffolk). Juvenile Kentish Plovers were at Dunster Beach (Somerset) on 5th and Ferrybridge (Dorset) on 10th and the Marsh Sandpiper was last reported from Sidlesham Ferry/Pagham Harbour (W. Sussex) on 5th. A Red-necked Phalarope graced Elmley Marshes (Kent) on 5th and Grey Phalaropes were off Bridport (Dorset) on 8th and passing Sheringham (Norfolk) on 10th.

Woodchat Shrike: Friskney, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).

Melodious Warbler: Portland, Dorset (photo: Martin Cade).

Woodchat Shrike: Friskney, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades). Woodchat Shrike: Friskney, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

Common Rosefinch: Unst, Shetland (photo: Mike Pennington).

Red-backed Shrike: Waltham Brooks, W. Sussex (photo: Johnny Carr).

Red-backed Shrike: Waltham Brooks, W. Sussex (photo: Chris Moore).

A Pallid Swift over St. Mary's (Scilly) on 8th was a rare early autumn report. The Woodchat Shrike remained in residence at Friskney (Lincs) and a Red-backed Shrike was at Waltham Brooks (W. Sussex) from 6th onwards. Two Aquatic Warblers were trapped at St. Ouen's Pond (Jersey) on 9th: let's hope these are the forerunners of a sizeable passage of these charismatic birds. A Greenish Warbler was reported from Cresswell Pond (Northumbs) on 6th, whilst the 2nd-4th Melodious Warblers of the autumn for Portland (Dorset) were seen during the week; the only other report of this species also came from the same county with one at Hengistbury Head on 7th. A female Common Rosefinch was at Baltasound, Unst (Shetland) from 4th-5th, with a Rose-coloured Starling on the same island from 6th-7th and another reported from Skibbereen (Co. Cork) on 6th. A Bee-eater was reported calling over Wester Quarff (Shetland) on 4th.

Great White Pelican: Bough Beech Reservoir, Kent (photo: Mark Trott).

Great White Pelican: Bough Beech Reservoir, Kent (photo: Derek Washington). Great White Pelican: Bough Beech Reservoir, Kent (photo: Derek Washington).

Great White Egret: Chigborough Lakes, Essex (photo: Chris Mayne).

On North Uist (Outer Hebrides) the Snowy Owl was again reported on 7th. The Great White Pelican at Bough Beech Reservoir (Kent) dampened expectations in many quarters by allowing close scrutiny of its wing feathers, leading to the conclusion that it was in fact an escapee! In Kent the Cattle Egret was in the Grove Ferry/Stodmarsh (Kent) area to 7th and one of unknown origin was at Burnham Norton (Norfolk) from 8th onwards. The Great White Egret remained at Chigborough Lakes (Essex) to the 8th and a Night Heron was at Cresswell Pond (Northumbs) on 8th. A Black Kite passed over Melbourne (E. Yorks) on 5th and Montagu's Harriers were reported from several East Anglian locations with others in East Sussex and Kent. In a poor autumn for the species so far, just one Spotted Crake was reported: one at Dorman's Pool (Cleveland) on 5th. Scarce ducks comprised Surf Scoters off Blackdog (Aberdeenshire) and Lunan Bay (Angus and Dundee), plus Ferruginous Duck and Ring-necked Duck at Loch Gelly (Fife), with another Ring-necked Duck at Barrow Gurney Reservoirs (Somerset) and the American Wigeon still at Cardiff Bay (Glamorgan).

Long-tailed Tit: Summer Leys, Northants (photo: Quentin Goodman).

Swallow: Blakeney Point, Norfolk (photo: Ken Plows).

Little Ringed Plover: Ringstone Edge Reservoir, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).

Green Woodpecker: Wyre Forest, Worcs (photo: John Robinson).

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