Review of the Week: 6th-12th May 2004


A male Collared Flycatcher on Fair Isle (Shetland) from Sunday 9th onwards was the third-ever record for this famous island. Although several have been well watched on the mainland in recent years this striking flycatcher remains extremely rare with just 25 accepted records, the last of which was in West Sussex for a day in 2002. Overshoots to the Northern Isles are not unusual, with 10 previous spring records on Orkney and Shetland.

Citrine Wagtail: Bawdsey, Suffolk. (Photo: David Coxon)

Citrine Wagtail: Bawdsey, Suffolk. (Photo: Andrew Easton) Citrine Wagtail: Bawdsey, Suffolk. (Photo: Andrew Easton)

Rare and scarce passerines dominated the news service this week, particularly so during a small fall on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th, with small numbers of scarcities on the east coast, the majority from Cleveland northwards. Pick of these were a Citrine Wagtail at Bawdsey (Suffolk) from Sunday 9th-10th, which was the 4th for the county (three previous records from Minsmere), and the earliest-ever British Blyth's Reed Warbler trapped at Portland (Dorset) on Tuesday 11th. Two Thrush Nightingales were noteworthy, with singles at Foula (Shetland) on Friday 7th and Isle of May (Fife) from Sunday 9th-10th. There was an arrival of 3 Subalpine Warblers on Shetland on Friday 7th, with birds on Foula, Isle of Noss and Fetlar, the latter remaining to the 9th; in addition the eastern male on St. Agnes (Scilly) was still present on at least the 8th. The Shetlands accumulated their 2nd- and 3rd-ever spring Yellow-browed Warblers with one on Fetlar on Thursday 6th and another on Bressay on Saturday 8th, whilst the Pallas's Warbler at Flamborough Head (E. Yorks) was relocated on Thursday 6th. The probable Iberian Chiffchaff remains at Dibbinsdale NR (Cheshire).

Iberian Chiffchaff: Dibbinsdale NR, Cheshire. (Photo: Sue Tranter)

Bluethroat: South Gare, Cleveland. (Photo: Ian Boustead) Hoopoe: Minsmere, Suffolk. (Photo: Sean Nixon)

Red-backed Shrike: South Gare, Cleveland. (Photo: Darren AP Ward) Red-backed Shrike: Titchwell, Norfolk. (Photo: Mike Lawrence)

More typical fare for a spring fall included at least 48 Red-backed Shrikes, with 7 on Fair Isle on Saturday 8th. A male Red-breasted Flycatcher was on Unst (Shetland) on Sunday 9th, an early Marsh Warbler was trapped on Bardsey (Gwynedd) on Wednesday 12th and Icterine Warblers were at Skateraw (Lothian) and North Ronaldsay (Orkney) between Sunday 9th and Monday 10th. Support was provided by at least 15 Bluethroats (which included 5 on Fair Isle on Saturday 8th), 9 Wrynecks, 8 Hoopoes, 2 Short-toed Larks on Tresco (Scilly) on Wednesday 12th and 2 Serin. Arctic Redpolls were on Foula (Shetland) to Friday 7th (from 5th), North Ronaldsay on Monday 10th and Pool of Virkie (Shetland) on Tuesday 11th. The last report of Waxwings was 20 in Sheffield (S. Yorks) on Thursday 6th.

Bee-eater: Dale, Pembrokeshire. (Photo: Anthony Blunden)

The influx of Red-rumped Swallows continued with perhaps 11 'new' birds reported during the week. Two remained at Waters' Edge (Lincs) until 7th, with one from 8th-9th; one was at Ouse Washes (Cambs) on 6th; one at Flamborough Head (E. Yorks) on 6th; one on Tresco on 7th; one at Culver Down (Isle of Wight) on 7th; one at Dungeness (Kent) from 8th-9th; one at Lodmoor (Dorset) from 8th-10th; 2 at Fairburn Ings (Yorks) on 9th; one at South Stack (Anglesey) on 11th, 2 at Capel le Ferne (Kent) on 12th; and one at Grove Ferry (Kent) on 12th. Other aerial rarities included three Alpine Swifts, with singles over Shapwick Heath (Somerset) on Thursday 6th, one over Bockhill Farm (Kent) on Friday 7th and one over Margate (Kent) on Sunday 9th. A Bee-eater was over Dale (Pembrokeshire) on Sunday 9th and another was reported at Queen Adelaide (Cambs) on Wednesday 12th.

Red-footed Falcon: Waxham, Norfolk. (Photo: Dave Appleton) Red-footed Falcon: Waxham, Norfolk. (Photo: Vince Garvey)

Red-footed Falcon: Waxham, Norfolk. (Photo: Sean Nixon) Red-footed Falcon: Waxham, Norfolk. (Photo: Sean Nixon)

Glossy Ibis: Otmoor RSPB, Oxon. (Photo: Mike Lawrence) Snowy Owl: Rattray Head, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Ian Broadbent)

A drake Bufflehead passing north at Balranald, North Uist (Outer Hebrides) on Monday 10th must have been a surprise for those seawatchers present. On Saturday 8th there were reports of a Greater Sand Plover at Pagham Harbour (W. Sussex), adult Franklin's Gull past Milford-on-Sea (Hants), and a Cattle Egret on the Nene Washes (Cambs), but none lingered. The Snowy Owl was relocated at Rattray Head (Aberdeenshire) on Sunday 9th. A Great White Egret was on Islay (Argyll) on Monday 10th, a Purple Heron was at Aylburton Warth (Glos) on Thursday 6th, the Night Heron remained at the London Wetland Centre (London) until Saturday 8th, and there were numerous reports of wide-ranging White Storks. The Glossy Ibis was still present at Otmoor RSPB (Oxon) to at least Tuesday 11th. Several mobile Black Kites were seen in the southeast, and a Rough-legged Buzzard was seen at various sites in Norfolk on Thursday 6th with another in Findhorn Bay (Moray/Nairn) on Sunday 9th and one over Fair Isle on Wednesday 12th. Several brief Red-footed Falcons were reported, but only the 1st-summer male at Waxham (Norfolk) was available for all-comers.

Temminck's Stint: North Cave Wetlands, E. Yorks. (Photo: Darren AP Ward) Dotterel: John Muir CP, Lothian. (Photo: Peter M. Macdonald)

The Upland Sandpiper was still present on Foula (Shetland) to at least Saturday 8th. Pectoral Sandpipers were noted at Davidstow (Cornwall) from Friday 7th-9th, Pannal Valley (E. Sussex) on Friday 7th and Weston-Super-Mare (Somerset) on Sunday 9th; the 2 birds at Mythop (Lancs) were last seen on Thursday 6th. A Kentish Plover was at Severn Beach (Glos) on Wednesday 12th and nearly 100 Dotterel were reported, largest groups being 26 at St. Osyth (Essex) and 22 at Sunk Island (E. Yorks). An arrival of Temminck's Stints was evident with around 19 birds reported, including 4 together at North Cave Wetlands (E. Yorks) on Tuesday 11th. A Red-necked Phalarope was on Fetlar on Wednesday 12th. A remarkable movement of Pomarine Skuas was noted past Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on Friday 7th with a staggering 2,019 noted from the southeast of the island and 780 past Tiumpan Head the same day. Three Sabine's Gulls included birds at Pembrey CP (Carmarthen) on Thursday 6th, Worthing (W. Sussex) on Saturday 8th and Bardsey on Tuesday 11th. The 1st-winter Bonaparte's Gull was again at Llanrhystud (Ceredigion) on Friday 7th a White-winged Black Tern was at Northam Burrows (Devon) on Sunday 9th and the Forster's Ternwas still at Lady's Island Lke (Co. Wexford) on Sunday 9th. On Lewis the Harlequin Duck remains in residence.

Roseate Tern: Farmoor, Oxon. Always a prize find for the inland birder. (Photo: Nic Hallam) Wood Sandpiper: Lough Beg, Londonderry. Only small numbers have so far been reported passing through. (Photo: David Steele)

Hobby: Meare Heath, Somerset. Double-figure congregations have been noted at several sites, with up to 30 at Shapwick Heath in Somerset. (Photo: Simon Mackie) Common Crane: Marloes, Pembrokeshire Several have been noted away from Norfolk, including a long-staying bird still resident in Cumbria. (Photo: Anthony Blunden)

Corn Bunting: Sandwich Bay, Kent. One on Foula was only the 5th recent record for Shetland. (Photo: Dylan Wrathall) Grasshopper Warbler: Bickershaw, Gtr Manchester. Not always the easiest of birds to see well, recent reports have been few and far between. (Photo: Sue Tranter)
Written by: Russell Slack