Review of the Week: 4th-10th January 2007


The week at a glance:

Long-billed Dowitcher: Dundalk, Co. Louth (photo: Gerry O Neill).

Long-billed Dowitcher: Dundalk, Co. Louth (photo: Gerry O Neill). Long-billed Dowitcher: Dundalk, Co. Louth (photo: Gerry O Neill).
Grey Phalarope: Mount Batten Point, Devon (photo: Phil Stidwill). Grey Phalarope: Mount Batten Point, Devon (photo: Phil Stidwill).

A probable Short-billed Dowitcher was located at Dundalk docks (Co. Louth) from the 9th onwards. Statistically this is still a very rare bird in Britain and Ireland, despite several long-stayers in Ireland in recent years plus a British bird in Northeast Scotland and then Cleveland in 1999. The species still presents an identification tease though, and a conclusive identification is still required to ensure its place on the roll-call of records (this bird has now been reidentified as a Long-billed Dowitcher - Eds). The long-staying Long-billed Dowitcher remained on the Oare Marshes (Kent) as did the Spotted Sandpiper on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) and White-rumped Sandpiper at Ballycotton (Co. Cork) to at least the 7th. A dozen Grey Phalaropes included three at Carnsore Point (Co. Wexford) on the 5th.

Barrow's Goldeneye: Callander, Forth (photo: Mark Breaks).

Richardson's Canada Goose: Linton Lane NR, Nortumberland (photo: Tim Dean).

Possible Whistling Swan: Ten Mile , Norfolk (photo: Mick Green).

A female Bufflehead at Lough Atedaun (Co. Clare) from 6th onwards represents the 2nd Irish record of this Nearctic duck. On Shetland the drake Bufflehead remains on Unst, as do the Barrow's Goldeneyes in Co. Down and Forth. The Falcated Duck remained in Devon at Exminster Marshes whilst a drake at Coalhouse Fort (Essex) on 6th was presumably the recent bird from Kent. The Black Scoter remained off Coney as did the drake King Eider at Peterhead (Aberdeenshire) and Northern Eiders at both Peterhead and Ythan Estuary (Aberdeenshire). In Co. Dublin the Blue-winged Teal remained at Bull Island and dabbling back-up came in the shape of nearly a dozen Green-winged Teal and half-a-dozen American Wigeon. Four Lesser Scaup include a drake at Portmore Lough (Co. Antrim), 1st-winter drakes at Loch Sandary, N.Uist (Outer Hebrides) and Sonning Eye GPs (Oxfordshire) and the female at Clea Lakes (Co. Down). Twenty Ring-necked Ducks was a good showing, with three at Ballyalia Lake (Co. Clare), but the only Ferruginous Duck was the female at New Hythe GPs (Kent). Three Surf Scoters included 1st-winter drakes off Beer (Devon) and Penzance (Cornwall) and a drake off Ruddon's Point (Fife). Rare geese included the Taverner's Canada Goose still at Caerlaverock (Dumfries and Galloway), Todd's Canada Goose at Montrose Basin (Angus/Dundee) and a Richardson's Canada Goose still in Northumberland. The two Red-breasted Geese continued to lure visitors to coastal Lincolnshire as did the bird in Dorset, whilst a handful of Black Brants consorted with coastal Brent Geese flocks between Norfolk and Dorset. The intermediate-morph Snow Goose remained in Norfolk with the white morph again reported, plus blue-and-white-morph birds remained at North Slob (Co. Wexford) and a white-morph bird remained in Moray/Nairn. A possible Whistling Swan was photographed from Ten Mile Bank (Norfolk) on 5th.

Ross's Gull: Ormsary, Argyll (photo: St├ęphane Aubry).

Ross's Gull: Ormsary, Argyll (photo: Bill Jackson).

Ross's Gull: Ormsary, Argyll (photo: Angus Hogg).

Ross's Gull: Ormsary, Argyll (photo: Jim Duncan).

Bonaparte's Gull: Ferryden, Angus/Dundee (photo: John Anderson).

Bonaparte's Gull: Whitehead, Co. Antrim (photo: Derek Charles). Bonaparte's Gull: Whitehead, Co. Antrim (photo: Derek Charles).

Rare gulls continued to feature. The obliging 1st-winter Ross's Gull remained at Ormsary throughout, but sadly the Ayshire Ivory Gull taken into care last week died in captivity. The cause of death was a heavy infestation of 'roundworm', presumably accumulated from feeding amongst livestock in pasture fields. An adult Laughing Gull was reported over Greenfield (Clwyd) on 4th and a probable 1st-winter American Herring Gull was at Penzance (Cornwall) on the 10th. Four Bonaparte's Gulls included the long-staying adult at Ferryden (Angus/Dundee), plus the adult at Cobh (Co. Cork), a 1st-winter at Whitehead (Co. Antrim) and the 2nd-winter again on the Plym Estuary (Devon).

Caspian Gull: Dunbar, Lothian (photo: Kris Gibb).

Caspian Gull: Dunbar, Lothian (photo: Mike Thrower).

Caspian Gull: Dunbar, Lothian (photo: Jim Woods).

Glaucous Gull: Arbroath, Angus/Dundee (photo: John Anderson).

A dozen Ring-billed Gulls were mostly in Ireland, there were dent numbers of white-winged gulls, plus Kumlien's Gulls in Shetland and a possible in Cheshire. Of the Caspian Gull reports the most notable was a 1st-winter at Dunbar (Lothian) - potentially the first for Scotland. A Sabine's Gull passed Amlwch (Anglesey) on 10th but the only seawatching reports of note were a handful of Balearic Shearwaters in the southwest, peaking with six off St. Mary's (Scilly).

Red-throated Pipit: Rogerstown Estuary, Co. Dublin (photo: Derek Charles).

Red-throated Pipit: Rogerstown Estuary, Co. Dublin (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

Waxwing: Westleton, Suffolk (photo: Sean Nixon).

Waxwing: Westleton, Suffolk (photo: Sean Nixon).

Passerine interest was muted. The Penduline Tit remained at Rainham Marshes (London) as did the Red-throated Pipit on the Rogerstown Estuary (Co. Dublin). Seven Yellow-browed Warblers were typically in the south and southwest, with the exception of one at Brampton (Cumbria) on the 5th. The only Siberian Chiffchaffs were inhabitants of sewage works at Kempsey (Worcs) and St. Austell (Cornwall). Four Great Grey Shrikes included birds at Wareham Forest (Dorset) and Santon Warren (Norfolk), plus others at Mugdock CP (Clyde) and Kingussie (Highland). Several flocks of Shore Lark could still be found on the Norfolk coast, plus there were four at both Reculver (Kent) and Sands of Forvie (Aberdeenshire), whilst the inland bird remained at Holmfield (W. Yorkshire). The total of twenty Lapland Buntings largely consisted of 11 at Frampton Marsh (Lincolnshire) and seven at Flamborough Head (E. Yorkshire). Waxwings remain thin on the ground with many scattered sightings, some reaching Dublin (Co. Dublin) and Ayr (Ayrshire), and a peak count of 32 in Dundee (Angus/Dundee).

Brambling: Branston Fen, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).

Shore Lark: Salthouse, Norfolk (photo: Ian Boustead).

The Black-eared Kite remained at Snettisham (Norfolk) to the 9th, the Snowy Owl remained on Lewis (Outer Hebrides) and a white-morph Gyr Falcon was on Fetlar (Shetland) on the 6th. The Great Bustard from the re-introduction project was present at Butt Moor (Somerset) to at least the 7th, and the Cattle Egret remained at Otterton (Devon) as did the Great White Egret at Blashford lakes (Hants). Spoonbills reached into double figures, with 8 still at Arne (Dorset).

Bittern: Slimbridge, Glos (photo: Kev Lewis).

Great Northern Diver: Chasewater, Staffordshire (photo: Mark Priest).

Black Guillemot: South Gare, Cleveland (photo: Dave Mansell).

Sanderling: Filey, N. Yorksire (photo: Karl S Mainprize).

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://www.severnsidebirds.co.uk
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/
John Coveney: http://www.clarebirdwatching.com/index.php
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
Ian Fulton: http://www.pbase.com/ianfulton
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