Review of the Week: 6th-12th April 2006


The week at a glance:

Killdeer: Blakeney, Norfolk (photo: Steve Morgan).

Killdeer: Blakeney, Norfolk (photo: Dean Eades). Killdeer: Blakeney, Norfolk (photo: John Dickenson).
Killdeer: Blakeney, Norfolk (photo: Kenneth Plows). Killdeer: Blakeney, Norfolk (photo: Peter Simpson).

The most-watched bird of the week will have been the Killdeer at Blakeney Freshmarsh from Friday 7th-9th. Mainland records are few and far between, so many took the opportunity to enjoy this Nearctic wader without having to journey to an offshore island. This will be the second for Norfolk, coming hot on the heels of a bird at Breydon Water in late March 2005. As it is just over a year to the day since that bird was found, it is tempting to speculate that the same individual may well be involved in both sightings, given the rarity of the species away from west-coast regions (all accepted Killdeer records).

Black-winged Stilt: Thurlestone, Devon (photo: Phil Stidwill).

The Black-winged Stilt from the Plym estuary (Devon) was relocated at Thurlestone (Devon), where it remained through the week. The Long-billed Dowitcher remained on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) and the Essex bird was relocated at Wivenhoe/Alresford Creek on 8th. Bizarre report of the week was a Dotterel reported attempting to roost in a private garden in Hastings (E. Sussex) on 10th. A Collared Pratincole was reported from Brockholes Quarry (Lancs) on Wednesday 12th.

Subalpine Warbler: Stanpit Marsh, Dorset (photo: Tim Corke).

Subalpine Warbler: Stanpit Marsh, Dorset (photo: Stephen North). Subalpine Warbler: Stanpit Marsh, Dorset (photo: Steve Evans).
Subalpine Warbler: Stanpit Marsh, Dorset (photo: Steve Evans). Subalpine Warbler: Stanpit Marsh, Dorset (photo: Gary Thoburn).

A Subalpine Warbler at Stanpit Marsh from Friday 7th onwards proved popular, being the first of the year. Passerine interest elsewhere was still relatively quiet, though, due to the lack of conducive conditions. A Northern Long-tailed Tit was present to 10th at least in a private garden in Southend (Essex), having been present from 31st March, and the Kilnsea (E. Yorks) bird remained. Two male Penduline Tits were at Portrack Marsh (Cleveland) on 6th, with presumably the same at Dorman's Pool on 9th. Five Hoopoes comprised singles at West Alvington (Devon), Sandown (Isle of Wight), Lostwithiel (Cornwall), Studland (Dorset) and St. Just (Cornwall). Serins were brief visitors to Hoylake (Cheshire) and Bockhill Farm (Kent) on 6th and Portland (Dorset) on 7th. Great Grey Shrikes were still in single figures, the majority in Hampshire; the long-staying Shore Lark was still at Minsmere (Suffolk) and around 240 Waxwings remained in a dozen well-spread flocks., including 70 in Sunderland (Durham). Ashy-headed Wagtails were at Pentney GPs (Norfolk) to 11th and at Covenham Reservoir (Lincs) on 12th.

Ashy-headed Wagtail: Pentney GPs, Norfolk (photo: Jim Woods). Ashy-headed Wagtail: Covenham Reservoir, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

Ashy-headed Wagtail: Covenham Reservoir, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

In the skies, Alpine Swifts continued to delight observers in a number of areas. Three birds remained in the Seaton/Colyford (Devon) area, one was over Hampstead Heath (London) from 9th onwards and one at Ballycotton (Co. Cork) from 7th onwards. Elsewhere, two were at Newcastle (Co. Wicklow) on 8th, one over Woburn (Bucks) on 8th, one in-off at Five-Mile-Point (Co. Wicklow) on 9th and one at Kilcoole (Co. Wicklow) on 12th. In Cornwall the Red-rumped Swallow remained at Kenidjack Valley to the 11th.

Alpine Swift: Hampstead Heath, London

Rare herons continued to entertain in the southwest. A male Little Bittern was at Hove (E. Sussex) to 7th (from 28th March) and tied-in well with two late reports from Cornwall for the 5th, at Liskeard and Canworthy Water. At least seven Night Herons were reported, including: two at Boscathnoe Reservoir (Cornwall), one of which was found dead; Helston Loe Pool (Cornwall) on 6th; Jupiter Point (Cornwall) on 6th; St. Levan (Cornwall) on 8th; Riverside Valley Park, Exeter (Devon) on 7th and 8th and; Freshwater Bay (Isle of Wight) on 9th. A Great White Egret was reported over Cadnum (Hants) on 9th and another was seen briefly at Exminster Marshes (Cornwall) on 12th. Two Cattle Egrets were again at Pagham Harbour (W. Sussex) on 6th. Ten Spoonbills were well spread, mostly though on the south coast, and White Storks were over London Wetland Centre (London) on 12th and Saltaire (W. Yorks) on 11th; the latter presumably one of the Harewood House birds. A Great Bustard, presumably from the reintroduction program, was seen over Hawling (Glos) on 10th. Raptor interest was restricted to Rough-legged Buzzards at Muckle Eskadale (Orkney) on 10th and over Sleaford (Lincs) on 12th, and a report of a Black Kite at Assington (Suffolk) on 12th.

Laughing Gull: Marton Mere, Lancs (photo: Phillip Tomkinson).

Laughing Gull: Marton Mere, Lancs (photo: Phillip Tomkinson).

Laughing Gull: Campbeltown, Argyll (photo: Keith Hoey). Ring-billed Gull: Oban, Argyll (photo: Keith Hoey).

Four Laughing Gulls was a reduction on recent months. These included long-stayers at Campbeltown (Argyll), Cork City (Co. Cork) and Ballydehob (Co. Cork), plus the 2nd for Lancashire at Marton Mere from 9th onwards. There were just seven Ring-billed Gull reports, a Kumlien's Gull was at Belfast Lough (Co. Antrim) and American Herring Gulls were still at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway) and Sennen Cove (Cornwall). Two White-billed Divers were still off Port Skigersta, Lewis (Outer Hebrides) and a Pomarine Skua passed over Bowness (Cumbria) on 12th.

King Eider: Irvine, Ayrshire (photo: Ian Fulton).

Blue-winged Teal: Filey Dams, Yorks (photo: Mark Whiffin). Green-winged Teal: Woodwalton Fen, Cambs (photo: Katie Fuller).

A cracking drake Blue-winged Teal at Filey Dams (N. Yorks) took the duck-of-the-week award, with two drake Lesser Scaup in Leicestershire a close 2nd. Drake Lesser Scaup were at Swithland Reservoir and Rutland Water, plus the long-staying 1st-winter was still at College Reservoir (Cornwall). The fine drake King Eider remained at Irvine (Ayrshire), as did the Barrow's Goldeneye at Quoile Pondage (Co. Down), whilst the Black Scoter put in a reappearance off Llanfairfechan (Conwy). Just nine Ring-necked Ducks were noted, eight Green-winged Teal and both American Wigeons were to be found in Cambridgeshire, at Needingworth Quarries and Wicken Fen. A 'small' Canada Goose was at Kirkconnell Merse (Dumfries and Galloway) and a Black Brant at Cley wrapped up the wildfowl interest for this week.

Barn Owl: Downholland Moss, Lancs (photo: Steve Round).

Red-breasted Merganser: Fairhaven, Lancs (photo: Sue Tranter).

Shoveler: Summer Leys, Northants (photo: Richard Bedford).

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: 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