Review of the Week: 5th–11th October 2006


The week at a glance:

Canada Warbler: Kilbaha, Co. Clare (photo: John Coveney).

Canada Warbler: Kilbaha, Co. Clare (photo: Nic Hallam).

Canada Warbler: Kilbaha, Co. Clare (photo: Michael O'Keefe).

Canada Warbler: Kilbaha, Co. Clare (photo: Michael O'Keefe).

Rapid Atlantic weather systems have not delivered the quantity of Nearctic landbirds to our shores that might have been hoped for, but what they've lacked in quantity has been made up for by quality. This has come in the shape of the 2nd Canada Warbler for the Western Palearctic found by a lucky observer at Kilbaha (Co. Clare) on the 8th. Fortunately the bird has remained throughout the week allowing many hundreds of birders to travel to see this unique occurrence, providing plenty of media coverage of the event and many happy birders! The first Western Palearctic Canada Warbler met an unfortunate end in Iceland on 29th September 1973. The species breeds in northern and eastern North America and winters in northern South America, so it was always possible that another would cross the Atlantic at some point. However, Canada Warbler is an early and rapid migrant whose migration route through, and west of, the Appalachians avoids south-east states and a crossing of the Caribbean, so it is less susceptible to the weather systems which regularly deliver Nearctic vagrants to Northwest Europe.

Red-eyed Vireo: Kilbaha, Co. Clare (photo: John Coveney).

A supporting cast of Nearctic landbirds included a Blackpoll Warbler on Dursey Island (Co. Cork) on 10th, and an American Robin on Tresco (Scilly) from 10th onwards would have been far more popular had it not been for several obliging birds in recent years. Also in Kilbaha, there was a Red-eyed Vireo from 7th-11th and another was at Termon (Co. Mayo) from 5th-7th. What else is tucked away awaiting discovery in western Ireland?

Roller: Beal, Northumberland (photo: Stewart Sexton). Roller: Beal, Northumberland (photo: Craig Shaw).

Radde's Warbler: Landguard, Suffolk (photo: Paul Oldfield).

Subalpine Warbler: Cape Clear, Co. Cork (photo: Michael O'Keefe).

The activity wasn't entirely confined to birds originating in the west, but east-coast birders could be forgiven for wondering when autumn might start! A Roller was found in Northumberland on 8th, initially on Holy Island, before relocating to nearby Beal, where it has remained since. A Black-throated Thrush was on Foula (Shetland) from 7th-9th, with the same island 'greedily' hosting a Lanceolated Warbler from 5th-7th, Pechora Pipit from 9th-11th and two Olive-backed Pipits on 6th. Further 'OBPs' were on South Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 6th, at Kergord (Shetland) on 9th and on Fair Isle (Shetland) on 10th. Late news from last week involved an Isabelline Shrike at a private site in Northumberland on 4th. A Western Bonelli's Warbler was on St. Mary's (Scilly) from 7th-9th, with it, or another, there on 11th. An Arctic Warbler was at Boddam (Shetland) on 9th, with a late Greenish Warbler on Valentia Island (Co. Kerry) from 7th-9th and another on St. Agnes (Scilly) from 10th. The first Radde's Warbler of the autumn was at Landguard (Suffolk) from 10th and the first Pallas's Warbler at Sumburgh (Shetland) on 11th. A Sardinian Warbler was reported from Winterton (Norfolk) on 8th and a Subalpine Warbler on Cape Clear (Co. Cork) from 10th-11th.

Yellow-browed Warbler: Out Skerries, Shetland (photo: Michael Mckee).

Common Rosefinch: Cape Clear, Co. Cork (photo: Michael O'Keefe).

Red-backed Shrike: Stiffkey, Norfolk (photo: Mick Green).

Hoopoe: Walsall, W. Midlands (photo: Ian Butler).

Short-toed Lark: Great Orme, Conwy (photo: Steve Round).

Woodchat Shrike: Great Orme, Conwy (photo: Sue Tranter).

Arctic Redpoll: Foula, Shetland (photo: Russell Wynn).

For the second week running, around 100 Yellow-browed Warblers were reported, with records widespread, with a further pulse of east-coast arrivals taking place on 11th. There were Rustic Buntings on Unst (Shetland) and Fair Isle, and Ortolan Buntings on Unst and at Pool of Virkie/Grutness (Shetland). Four Little Buntings included two on Shetland, with one on Dursey Island and another at Hengistbury Head (Dorset). Just two Bluethroats were logged, both on Shetland - at this rate the species will be a BBRC rarity within a few years! There were at least 15 Wrynecks, 11 Red-breasted Flycatchers and 8 Barred Warblers. Nine Red-backed Shrikes were noted and the popular Woodchat Shrike remained at Great Orme (Conwy) to the 9th. Two Great Grey Shrikes arrived on the 11th, there were 5 Hoopoes and Rose-coloured Starlings just failed to make it into double figures. Short-toed Larks were on St. Mary's and Great Orme, 6 Richard's Pipits were well spread and 3 Tawny Pipits were at south-coast locations. Nine Common Rosefinches were noted, the exilipes Arctic Redpoll remained on Foula, and a Serin was reported on St. Mary's on 7th. An Icterine Warbler was reported from Hastings (E. Sussex) on 10th and three Shore Larks included two at Spurn (E. Yorks) and one at Titchwell (Norfolk). The Alpine Swift remained over Ipswich (Suffolk) to the 5th and the Red-rumped Swallow continued its residence at Hoswick (Shetland).

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: Covenham Reservoir, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

Spotted Sandpiper: Hayle Estuary, Cornwall (photo: Mike Barker).

White-rumped Sandpiper: Salthouse, Norfolk (photo: Mick Green).

American Golden Plover: Keyhaven Marshes, Hants (photo: Linda Miller).

White-rumped Sandpiper: Salthouse, Norfolk (photo: Kevin Elsby). White-rumped Sandpiper: Salthouse, Norfolk (photo: Kevin Elsby).
American Golden Plover: Crowland, Lincs (photo: Brian Stone). American Golden Plover: Old Moor, S. Yorks (photo: Keith Pickering).

An Upland Sandpiper on Unst on 6th was yet another addition to the growing autumn Nearctic wader list and a Least Sandpiper was on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) from 10th onwards. This week it was the turn of White-rumped Sandpipers to put in an appearance in number, with up to a dozen found, including three in Norfolk at the same time. There were four Spotted Sandpipers with birds at Kilbaha, Hayle Estuary, Tamar Lakes (Devon) and Kenidjack (Cornwall). There were Long-billed Dowitchers at Oare Marshes (Kent) and Tamar Lakes (Devon) and Lesser Yellowlegs at Bleadon Level (Somerset) and still at Cross Lough (Co. Mayo). Eight American Golden Plovers were picked out, a dozen Buff-breasted Sandpipers included 5 at Myroe Levels (L'derry), and 16 Pectoral Sandpipers remained. Five Dotterel included 4 in Co. Tipperary and 18 Grey Phalaropes included 12 passing the Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) on 6th. There was a Kentish Plover at Shell Ness (Kent) from 10th-11th.

Forster's Tern: Cruisetown, Co. Louth (photo: Enda Flynn).

Bonaparte's Gull: Newbiggin, Northumbs (photo: Mike Thrower).

A Forster's Tern was at Cruisetown (Co. Louth) on 8th and a Laughing Gull at Brora (highland) on 8th-9th. The Bonaparte's Gulls were still in Northumberland and Co. Kerry, with the Azorean Yellow-legged Gull also in Co. Kerry. Good numbers of Balearic Shearwaters continued to be logged by seawatchers, with 80 passing Strumble Head (Pembrokeshire), and a westerly blow produced small numbers of Leach's Storm-petrels for western coasts on 7th, though Sabine's Gulls struggled into double figures.

Snowy Owl: Blacksod, Co. Mayo (photo: Steve Blain).

In Norfolk the Pallid Harrier was last reported from Winterton on the 7th, whilst Snowy Owls remained in Co. Mayo and the Outer Hebrides with another reported from Doagh (Co. Donegal) on the 8th. In Norfolk, Rough-legged Buzzards were seen at Stiffkey on 5th and Holkham on 8th. A Cattle Egret was at Blakeney (Norfolk) from 9th, with one still at Stanpit Marsh (Dorset), whilst several Great White Egrets included the long-staying bird at Blashford Lakes (Hants). The Purple Heron again put in an appearance at Lough Donnell (Co. Clare) on 10th, as did the Glossy Ibis in Lancashire, this time at Fluke Hall on 11th. Also of note was a flock of 18 Spoonbills on the Taw Estuary in Devon and a White Stork passing over Ayton (Borders) on 9th. A Spotted Crake was at Bank Island (N. Yorks) on 5th and 6th.

Cattle Egret: Blakeney, Norfolk (photo: Terry McGeever).

The Richardson's Canada Goose remained at Caerlaverock (Dumfries and Galloway), as did Snow Geese in Aberdeenshire and Norfolk, with another at Aberlady Bay (Lothian). The Marbled Duck was last reported from Dorset on 8th, but the Black Scoter remained offshore in Conwy. King Eiders were at Hamnavoe (Shetland) and Blackdog (Aberdeenshire) and several Surf Scoters included one off Falmouth (Cornwall). The borealis Eider remained off Fair Isle, as did the Lesser Scaup at Pine Lake (Lancs), Ring-necked Duck at Avonmouth (Somerset) and American Wigeon at Tophill Low (E. Yorks). A drake Green-winged Teal was again at Inner Marsh Farm (Cheshire) and a drake Ferruginous Duck was at Brandon Marsh (Warks) on 10th.

Glossy Ibis: Fluke Hall, Lancs (photo: Andrew Foley).

Great Northern Diver: Rutland Water, Leics (photo: Darren Chapman).

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/
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
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