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


The week at a glance:

Stilt Sandpiper: Conwy RSPB, Conwy (photo: Adrian Foster).

Stilt Sandpiper: Conwy RSPB, Conwy (photo: Rob Smallwood). Stilt Sandpiper: Conwy RSPB, Conwy (photo: Stephen Menzie).

The week was certainly an interesting one, for a variety of reasons. Find of the week was the 1st-summer Stilt Sandpiper at Conwy RSPB (Conwy) from the 11th onwards. Although still a great rarity, long-staying, and well-watched, birds in Hampshire in 2002 and Norfolk in 2005 ensured that few birders had not seen the species in Britain, though this does represent a first for Wales. However, the species is always popular, and 1st-summer birds are a rare plumage in their own right on our shores.

Pine Grosbeak: Chipping Ongar, Essex (photo: David Tomlinson).

A varied array of back-up was found to support this bird. The most controversial perhaps was a Pine Grosbeak in Essex. News was released late on the 6th of a male of unknown origin in a private garden that had been present since the 1st. By the 8th the site at Chipping Ongar was made public. As is often the case, the release of news coincided with the last sighting of this bird. The origin of this individual has been the subject of much speculation and no doubt further research will be required to assess whether an inland bird in July can accumulate enough credibility points to ensure a place on the British list. Stranger things have happened!

Lesser Grey Shrike: Shingle Street, Suffolk (photo: Kit Day).

Lesser Grey Shrike: Shingle Street, Suffolk (photo: Steve Evans). Lesser Grey Shrike: Shingle Street, Suffolk (photo: Andrew Easton).

Lesser Grey Shrike: Shingle Street, Suffolk (photo: Chris Mayne).

A probable female Pallid Harrier at Marshside RSPB (Lancs) on the 12th was an exciting find, but unfortunately did not linger long enough for mass appreciation and an identification lesson, given that the majority of previous records are males of various ages and juveniles. A Black Stork at Grantshouse (Borders) on 7th and 11th had also been seen on the 25th June and is presumably the individual responsible for a number of sightings in Scotland and Northeast England earlier in the summer -it's often amazing how elusive 'big birds' can be to track down. A fine Lesser Grey Shrike was at Shingle Street (Suffolk) from 8th-11th; in recent years obliging long-stayers in Norfolk and East Yorkshire have made it easy to forget just how rare a visitor this lovely shrike is to our shores. A Squacco Heron at Shapwick Heath (Somerset) on 9th was presumably the same bird seen there in mid-June.

Black Stork: Grantshouse, Borders (photo: Steve Lawton).

Semipalmated Sandpiper: Saltholme Pool, Cleveland (photo: Steve Morgan).

Semipalmated Sandpiper: Saltholme Pool, Cleveland (photo: Steve Morgan).

Semipalmated Sandpiper: Saltholme Pool, Cleveland (photo: Josh Jones).

A Long-billed Dowitcher was at Newport Wetlands (Gwent) on the 8th, whilst the popular Semipalmated Sandpiper was at Saltholme Pools (Cleveland) to the 11th. Two Temminck's Stints at Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk) from 11th-12th were the only other scarce wader records of note during the week. Small numbers of interesting seabirds was noted in Ireland and the southwest. Wilson's Storm-petrels were seen from the Scilly pelagic on the 6th and 12th and Long-tailed Skuas were seen in Co. Cork, passing Galley Head on 8th and Cape Clear on 11th, with five Pomarine Skuas passing the former on the 9th. A Sabine's Gull passed Galley Head on 8th with 4 on the 9th and a 1st-summer was at Llandegfedd Reservoir (Gwent) from 12th. Two Cory's Shearwaters passed Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 6th and 8th, with singletons off Pendeen (Cornwall) on 9th and Galley Head on 8th. Likewise, small numbers of Balearic Shearwaters were seen between Dorset and Cornwall, the maximum count three past Porthgwarra on the 8th. Small numbers of European Storm-petrels were logged from a number of west-coast locations and ringing sessions along the east coast proved fruitful for those wishing to see these delightful dainty seabirds in the hand. A 1st-summer Laughing Gull was at Arlington Reservoir (E. Sussex) from 11th and an adult was seen from the Buchan Alpha Platform 200 km northeast of Aberdeen on 11th. Ring-billed Gulls remained in Co. Galway, an Iceland Gull was still in Highland and Glaucous Gulls still in Co. Cork and Co. Galway.

European Storm-petrel: Severn Beach, Glos (photo: Paul Bowerman).

Manx Shearwater: Pitsford Reservoir, Northants (photo: Ian Simons).

Common Rosefinch: Newmachar, Aberdeenshire (photo: Josh Jones).

A Marsh Warbler was at Haverton Hole (Cleveland) from 11th-12th, and the Great Reed Warbler continued to sing at Loch of Kinnordy (Angus/Dundee), as did the male Common Rosefinch at Newmachar (Aberdeenshire). A Bee-eater was at Exnaboe (Shetland) on 6th, an Alpine Swift over Redruth (Cornwall) on 9th and a possible Pallid Swift reported over Castlemartyr (Co. Cork) the same day. An adult Rose-coloured Starling was at Horgabost, Lewis (Outer Hebrides) from 6th-8th.

King Eider: Irvine, Ayrshire (photo: Josh Jones).

Red-necked Grebe: Deeping Lakes, Lincs (photo: Will Bowell). Black-necked Grebe: Cheshire (photo: AEBS Ltd).

Great White Egrets were seen in Dorset and Hampshire, with two present, including a colour-ringed bird, and another at Grove Ferry (Kent). Two White Storks passed over Ipswich (Suffolk) on 7th and reasonable numbers of Spoonbills were still at large. A 1st-summer male Red-footed Falcon was at Gorleston-on-Sea (Norfolk) briefly on 7th and the Montagu's Harrier remained at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) to at least the 8th. A Spotted Crake was on North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 7th and 8th, and at least 25 Quail were reported. A Lesser Scaup was at Hornsea Mere (E. Yorks), and a drake American Wigeon was at Newport Wetlands (Gwent). Elsewhere, the Ring-necked Duck remained at Avonmouth (Somerset), a female Surf Scoter was off Blackdog (Aberdeenshire), where the King Eider again put in an appearance on 10th, plus the long-staying King Eider was still at Irvine (Argyll).

Swallow: Callow Hill, Worcs (photo: John Robinson).

Mediterranean Gull: Whitburn, Durham (photo: Mark Newsome).
Reed Warbler: Welney, Norfolk (photo: Garth Peacock).
Hobby: Shapwick Heath, Somerset (photo: James Packer).
Arctic Tern: Farne Islands, Northumbs (photo: Dean Eades).

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