Review of the Week: 5th-11th May 2005


A stifling northwesterly airflow brought a halt to proceedings in most locations through the week, though the time of year ensured that there were still delights to be found, but activity was decidedly slower than last week.

Elegant Tern: Stanpit Marsh, Dorset. (Photo: Kit Day) Elegant Tern: Stanpit Marsh, Dorset. (Photo: Kit Day)

An orange-billed tern at Stanpit Marsh (Dorset) on Tuesday 10th was widely considered to have been an Elegant Tern which, based on the many recent claims, has now become the easiest of the orange-billed terns to see in Britain and Ireland! However, for a species that breeds along the Pacific coast between California and Central America, if all recent claims are this species then it would appear to have undergone quite a dramatic change in occurrence over recent years. This is most probably due to a small number of wide-ranging birds in western Europe which get carried along in the movements of Sandwich Terns, so there is every probability that such a distinctive bird will be relocated in due course.

Stilt Sandpiper: Burnham Norton, Norfolk. (Photo: Will Bowell)

In Norfolk a superb Stilt Sandpiper at Burnham Norton on Tuesday 10th was the third county record, following an adult at Wisbech Sewage-farm in 1963 and 1965. Unfortunately this bird did not linger as long as its predecessor(s) but was reported briefly again on 10th at both Titchwell and Brancaster Staithe on the 11th, so there is hope that it might yet prove to be slightly more accommodating.

Woodchat Shrike: Nanquidno, Cornwall. (Photo: Colin Selway) Woodchat Shrike: Nanquidno, Cornwall. (Photo: Colin Selway)

Hoopoe: Much Wenlock, Shrops. (Photo: George Ewart) Hoopoe: Much Wenlock, Shrops. (Photo: Andrew Morris)

A Short-toed Treecreeper was at Dungeness (Kent) on Saturday 8th, the second of the spring at the site. A Great Reed Warbler at Brandon Marsh (Warks) from Friday 6th-9th was typically elusive. On Fair Isle (Shetland) there was a Rustic Bunting on Saturday 8th and a Richard's Pipit on 6th and 8th. Possible Iberian Chiffchaffs were reported Leighton Moss (Lancs) and Lyth Hill Country Park (Shrops), but it is 'that' time of year for imposters to play their tricks. Under the conditions scarce migrants were not surprisingly in short supply, but a Tawny Pipit was at Sandy Point (Hants) on 10th, Woodchat Shrikes remained at St. Mary's (Scilly), Nanquidno (Cornwall) and Saltee Islands (Co. Wexford), and a 'grey shrike', presumably Great Grey Shrike, was noted at Titterstone Clee Hill (Shrops) on 11th. Red-rumped Swallows passed over Nare Head (Cornwall) on 7th and Farlington Marshes (Hants) on 10th. Four Hoopoes included the long-staying Shropshire bird, with others at Dreemskerry (Isle of Man) from 6th-7th, Westleton Heath (Suffolk) on 9th and North Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 11th. Migrant Golden Orioles could muster just 4 reports, there were 3 Serins and, continuing with exotics, 2 Bee-eaters were at Trewellard (Cornwall) on 5th, 4 at Church Cove (Cornwall) on 6th and an unconfirmed report of 4 in Shrewsbury (Shrops) on 9th. The awesome Waxwing invasion is coming to an end, with far fewer birds reported during the week, though there were still a number of double-figure flocks including 65 in Lothian and 70 in Aberdeenshire. They have entertained many of us this winter, but with their departure I'm sure the bird information services will breathe a huge sigh of relief!

Broad-billed Sandpiper: Tacumshin, Co. Wexford. (Photo: Tom Shevlin) Red-necked Phalarope: Loch of Spiggie, Shetland. (Photo: Roger Riddington)

Dotterel: St. Combs, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: T Keith Bruce) Dotterel: Tetney, Lincs. (Photo: Dean Eades)

Dotterel: Hebden Bridge, W Yorks. (Photo: Sean Gray) Dotterel: Hebden Bridge, W Yorks. (Photo: John Beaumont)

A Broad-billed Sandpiper was at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) from Friday 6th-8th, with the same site accommodating a White-rumped Sandpiper on Wednesday 11th. Four Black-winged Stilts were at Old Hall Marshes (Essex) on Wednesday 11th and one remained at Killeagh (Co. Cork) to 7th. Around 63 Dotterel were reported during the week and Temminck's Stints totalled 15 different birds. The earliest ever Red-necked Phalaropes for Shetland arrived simultaneously at Fair Isle, Loch of Spiggie and Noss on 19th. A Whiskered Tern was at 'site of the week' Tacumshin from Friday 6th-9th, with possibly the same bird on the Exe Estuary (Devon) on Monday 9th. A Laughing Gull passed Thorpeness (Suffolk) on Thursday 5th and the Gull-billed Tern continued to frequent Dungeness (Kent) during the week, with presumably the same bird visiting Rye Harbour (E. Sussex) on 7th and 8th.

Gull-billed Tern: Dungeness, Kent. (Photo: David Hatton) Gull-billed Tern: Dungeness, Kent. (Photo: Steve Nixon)

Whiskered Tern: Tacumshin, Co. Wexford. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly)

Whiskered Tern: Tacumshin, Co. Wexford. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly)

Gull-billed Tern: Dungeness, Kent. (Photo: Steve Nixon) Gull-billed Tern: Dungeness, Kent. (Photo: Steve Nixon)

A possible Lesser Spotted Eagle was reported over Minsmere (Suffolk) on 8th and 9th, but could not be 'pinned down'. There have been several tantalising, but unconfirmed, reports of this species over the past few years; surely it is only a matter of time before one does the decent thing and entertains the masses?. The Snowy Owl was again at Hermaness (Shetland) on 10th. Black Kite reports included singles at: Dawlish Warren (Devon) on 8th; Knotbury (Staffs) on 10th, Carbis Bay, Connor Downs and Constantine Bay (Cornwall) on 10th and Thorpe Waterville (Northants) on 11th. A Rough-legged Buzzard was at Spurn (E. Yorks) on 5th, there were 15 Honey Buzzard reports, the most northerly of which was in Nottinghamshire, and Montagu's Harrier reports just reached double figures. There were just 5 Quail and a Spotted Crake was at Kenfig Marsh (Glamorgan) on 11th. A Blue-winged Teal was at Burnham Norton (Norfolk) on 8th, the Lesser Scaup was still at Rutland Water (Leics), whilst the Ring-necked Duck remained at Grafham Water (Cambs) as did the 2 drake 'Northern' Eider on Lewis (Outer Hebrides).

King Eider: Blackdog, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Hugh Addlesee)

Great White Egret: Saltholme Pools, Cleveland. (Photo: David Brown) Spoonbill: Bowling Green Marsh, Devon. (Photo: Terry Dabner)

Seawatchers bagged White-billed Divers passing Mangurstadh, Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 5th and 7th, with another likewise at Esha Ness (Shetland) on 8th. One was still at Port Skigersta Outer Hebrides) on 10th and the summer-plumaged bird remained in Burghead Bay (Moray/Nairn). It was a good week for skua watchers in the Northern and Western Isles, with three figure-counts of Pomarine Skuas at Esha Ness, North Uist and Lewis, the largest total 318 passing Esha Ness on 8th. Small numbers of Long-tailed Skuas were mixed in with these movements, with 6 passing Esha Ness on 9th. Bonaparte's Gulls were again reported from Co. Armagh and Outer Hebrides, and American Herring Gulls remained in Co. Kerry and Co. Galway. The Cattle Egret remained at Clonakilty (Co. Cork) until 5th and the Great White Egret continued its residence on Teesside, with others reported in Nottinghamshire and Co. Wicklow.

Hobby: Shapwick Heath, Somerset. (Photo: Simon Mackie) Hobby: Cotswold WP, Glos. (Photo: Steve Walton)

Arctic Skua: Severn Beach, Glos. (Photo: Paul Bowerman) Little Tern: Titchwell, Norfolk. (Photo: Chris Cook)

Little Gull: Titchwell, Norfolk. (Photo: Will Bowell) Tundra Bean Goose: Bowling Green Marsh, Devon. (Photo: Terry Dabner)

Grasshopper Warbler: Thurstaston, Cheshire. (Photo: Steve Round) Whinchat: Harthope Valley, Northumberland. (Photo: Gary Smith)

Little Ringed Plover: Pennington Flash, Gtr Manchester. (Photo: Sue Tranter) Sanderling: Thurlestone, Devon. (Photo: Phil Stidwill)
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
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
Mark Caunt: http://angusbirding.homestead.com/
Kit Day: http://www.kitday-uk.com/
Lee Dingain: http://www.leedingain.co.uk
Jon Dunn: http://www.surfbirds.com/blogs/Stercorarius/
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
Jerry O'Brien: http://www.BirdsofBerkshire.co.uk
Charlie Moores: http://www.charliesbirdblog.com
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
Chris Wormwell: http://www.iombirding.co.uk
Dylan Wrathall: http://www.planetthanet.org
Written by: Russell Slack