Review of the Week: 6th-12th October 2005

The week at a glance:
Green Heron: Schull, Co. Cork (photo: Tom Shevlin). Green Heron: Schull, Co. Cork (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).
Green Heron: Schull, Co. Cork (photo: Michael O'Keefe). Green Heron: Schull, Co. Cork (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).
Rose-breasted Grosbeak: Barra, Outer Hebrides (photo: Andrew Foley). Rose-breasted Grosbeak: Barra, Outer Hebrides (photo: Stuart Green).

Pride of place went to a 1st-winter Green Heron at Schull (Co. Cork) from Tuesday 11th onwards, the first record of this Nearctic heron for Ireland. There have been 4 previous British records, including a well-watched bird in Lincolnshire during late September and early October 2001, and even further back a long-stayer in East Yorkshire in 1982. A bird was also on Jersey and Guernsey in 1992 (Accepted Green Heron records). The remote island of Barra at the southern tip of the Outer Hebrides once again rewarded the diligent group of stalwarts who continue to work this island that lies well off the beaten track. Rewards in previous years have been impressive and once again this year a 'biggie' was pulled out in the shape of Scotland's 2nd Rose-breasted Grosbeak on Saturday 8th. Although there have been three collectable birds on Scilly in the last 12 years, this species remains a first-class find anywhere (Accepted Rose-breasted Grosbeak records). The third of the trio of quality Nearctic rarities this week was found in Co. Cork, where an elusive Grey-cheeked Thrush was present at Old Head of Kinsale from Saturday 8th-11th (Accepted Grey-cheeked Thrush records). On Scilly the Blackpoll Warbler on St Mary's entertained new arrivals to the island throughout the week, whilst two Red-eyed Vireos were reported on the Garrison, St Mary's (Scilly) on Friday 7th and the Red-eyed Vireo was seen again at Blacksod (Co. Mayo) on 8th.

Blackpoll Warbler: St. Mary's, Scilly (photo: Jon Hall). Red-eyed Vireo: St. Mary's, Scilly (photo: Jon Hall).
Grey-cheeked Thrush: Old Head of Kinsale, Co. Cork (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

Grey-cheeked Thrush: Old Head of Kinsale, Co. Cork (photo: Michael O'Keefe). Grey-cheeked Thrush: Old Head of Kinsale, Co. Cork (photo: Tom Shevlin).
Radde's Warbler: St. Agnes, Scilly (photo: John Judge). Radde's Warbler: Easington, Yorks (photo: Chris Brogdale).
Radde's Warbler: Easington, Yorks (photo: Jon Lowes). Radde's Warbler: Easington, Yorks (photo: Dave Kelsall).
Dusky Warbler: Spurn, Yorks (photo: Gareth Picton). Arctic Warbler: Portland, Dorset (photo: Steve Evans).
Arctic Warbler: Portland, Dorset (photo: Kit Day). Arctic Warbler: Portland, Dorset (photo: Martin Cade).

A White's Thrush was seen briefly on a couple of occasions at Filey (N. Yorks) on Thursday 6th, and follows hot on the heels of last year's hugely popular White's Thrush along the Yorkshire coast at Easington - unfortunately this year's bird was not as co-operative and melted away before it could be appreciated by others. A Siberian Stonechat at Porthgwarra (Cornwall) from Thursday 6th and throughout the week was one of several popular distractions for birders en-route to Scilly. A Rustic Bunting at Trusthorpe (Lincs) on Saturday 8th was the first of the autumn and a male Black-headed Bunting was at Rossall Point (Lancs) briefly on Sunday 9th. A deluge of Radde's Warblers totalled 11 birds, six of them on Scilly, with others in Kent, Devon, Dorset and a popular, and obliging, bird at Easington (E. Yorks) on 8th and 9th. Dusky Warblers were present at Spurn (E. Yorks), Climping (W. Sussex), Dungeness (Kent) and Rame Head (Cornall). The first Pallas's Warbler of the autumn was at Great Yarmouth (Norfolk) on 6th and was followed by others at Holkham (Norfolk) and Gibraltar Point (Lincs) on 9th and Portland (Dorset) on 11th; the last-mentioned is the earliest ever for the observatory. The deluge of Yellow-browed Warblers which commenced at the end of last week continued, and involved many hundreds of birds, including 24 at Spurn and 18 at Flamborough Head (E. Yorks) on 6th. One can only guess at how many Yellow-browed Warblers actually made landfall: probably thousands but, as would be expected, several penetrated inland, including a long-stayer at Newton Fells (Lancs). An Arctic Warbler at Portland (Dorset) from 9th onwards was only the 2nd Observatory and county record and another was on St. Martin's (Scilly) on 12th. The long-staying Greenish Warbler remained at Wester Quarff (Shetland) and another was at Beachy Head (E. Sussex) from 8th-9th. On Out Skerries the Lanceolated Warbler was last seen on 6th.

Siberian Stonechat: Porthgwarra, Cornwall (photo: Ewan Urquhart). Siberian Stonechat: Porthgwarra, Cornwall (photo: Ewan Urquhart).
Siberian Stonechat: Porthgwarra, Cornwall (photo: Dave Appleton). Siberian Stonechat: Porthgwarra, Cornwall (photo: Dave Appleton).
Barred Warbler: Cape Clear, Co. Cork (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly). Melodious Warbler: Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford (photo: Tom Shevlin).
Red-breasted Flycatcher: Brownstown Head, Co. Waterford (photo: PM Walsh). Red-breasted Flycatcher: Flamborough Head, Yorks (photo: Dave Mansell).
Yellow-browed Warbler: Waters' Edge, Lincs (photo: Graham Catley). Yellow-browed Warbler: Buckton, Yorks (photo: Mark Thomas).
Yellow-browed Warbler: Bockhill Farm, Kent (photo: Gerald Segelbacher). Richard's Pipit: Easington, Yorks (photo: John Beaumont).

A Thrush Nightingale was a surprise find in mist-nets at Holme NOA (Norfolk) on 7th, but did the usual vanishing trick characteristic of the species after release. A possible Thrush Nightingale was at Slea Head (Co. Kerry) on 12th. A male Subalpine Warbler was at Nanquidno (Cornwall) from Monday 10th onwards, and Penduline Tits were briefly at Rainham Marshes (London) on 9th and Beachy Head (E. Sussex) on 11th. An Icterine Warbler was at Galley Head (Co. Cork) on 12th and Melodious Warblers at Carnsore Point (Co. Wexford) and Mizen Head (Co. Cork). A dozen Barred Warblers were noted, around 15 Red-breasted Flycatchers and a dozen Common Rosefinches. Of 8 Red-throated Pipits the only one to linger was on the inaccessible Farne Islands (Northumberland), where one remained on the Brownsman throughout the week. There were over 40 Richard's Pipit reports, the majority in Norfolk, and the Eastern Yellow Wagtail remained on Out Skerries (Shetland) to 7th and a probable Eastern Yellow Wagtail at Kilnsea (Spurn) on 7th. Ortolan Buntings were on St. Mary's (Scilly) and Spurn (E. Yorks) briefly, and 5 Little Buntings included two in Co. Cork. Half a dozen Bluethroats were confined to Shetland, and five Wrynecks were well dispersed. A Woodchat Shrike was on Tresco (Scilly) on 12th, Red-backed Shrikes were at Easington (E. Yorks), Bryher (Scily) and Penmon Point (Anglesey), and a number of Great Grey Shrikes were reported including birds at traditional wintering sites Weather Heath (Suffolk) and Black Gutter Bottom (Hants). Six Hoopoes added a touch of the exotic to proceedings, with birds on Shetland and in Angus and Dundee, whilst there were 4 Rose-coloured Starlings, with reports from Co. Cork, Highland, Ceredigion and Norfolk. The Bee-eater was last reported from Helendale (Shetland) on 7th and another was reported from Hitchin (Herts) on 9th.

Red-backed Shrike: Easington, Yorks (photo: Darren AP Ward).

Red-backed Shrike: Easington, Yorks (photo: Darren AP Ward). Red-backed Shrike: Easington, Yorks (photo: Jon Lowes).
White-rumped Sandpiper: Grafham Water, Cambs (photo: Lee Johnson). White-rumped Sandpiper: Lewis, Outer Hebrides (photo: Andy Robinson).
Long-billed Dowitcher: Drift Res, Cornwall (photo: Adrian Davey). Long-billed Dowitcher: Drift Res, Cornwall (photo: Dave Appleton).

Nearctic waders continued to feature prominently in our news reports, with the Upland Sandpiper still showing intermittently around Polgigga (Cornwall) to at least 9th, but the Upland Sandpiper on Benbecula (Outer Hebrides) was last reported on 6th. A Spotted Sandpiper was at Lissagriffin (Co. Cork) on 12th and the obliging bird on St. Mary's (Scilly) remained through the week. An influx of White-rumped Sandpipers took place during the week, with up to 13 reported, including 4 at Loch Ordais, Lewis and two on North Uist (Outer Hebrides). A 1st-winter White-rumped Sandpiper inland at Grafham Water (Cambs) was the 3rd county record, and was present from 7th onwards. Baird's Sandpipers remained at Dungeness (Kent) and Keyhaven Marshes (Hants) and another was at Slimbridge (Glos). Lingering American Golden Plovers remained on Lewis (Outer Hebrides) and Foula (Shetland). Lesser Yellowlegs were seen at several localities in Ireland, including birds in Co. Cork, Co. Dublin and Co. Wexford, plus the lingering bird on Out Skerries (Shetland) still, whilst a 1st-winter at Minsmere (Suffolk) and Holland Haven (Essex) was popular. Long-billed Dowitchers were at Old Hall Marshes (Essex), the long-staying bird remained at Drift Reservoir (Cornwall) and one was at Tremoncarragh Loch (Co. Mayo) and another at Inner Marsh Farm (Cheshire) on 12th. A Buff-breasted Sandpiper was at Kilnsea (E. Yorks) on 10th, and a handful of Pectoral Sandpipers were noted. The Red-necked Phalarope remained at Slimbridge (Glos) and one at Lee-on-the-Solent (Hants) had been ringed in Shetland this year. A total of 13 Grey Phalaropes passed the Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) on 8th.

Red-necked Phalarope: Slimbridge, Glos (photo: Steve Fletcher).

On Scilly the Sora contained to perform well on St. Mary's and in Devon the obliging and photogenic Squacco Heron was still at Newton Abbot through the week. A Great White Egret was still present at Blashford Lakes (Hants) and was joined by a second bird on 11th, perhaps the birds present at Titchfield Haven (Hants) on 10th. Others were seen in Gloucestershire and Leicestershire. The Cattle Egret was still at Elmley (Kent) and a Purple Heron was again reported in Cardiff (Glamorgan).

Squacco Heron: Newton Abbot, Devon (photo: Alan Matthews). Squacco Heron: Newton Abbot, Devon (photo: Joe Cloutman).

A 2nd-winter Laughing Gull in Yorkshire was the first to be twitchable in the county since 1984/85. It roosted at Wintersett Reservoir and Anglers Country Park (W. Yorks) from 6th-7th, though may have been present since 2nd. Often elusive, during the day it was tracked around several sites, including Nostell Priory, High Ackworth and Pontefract, and also roosted at Pugneys CP. A Caspian Tern flew past Bardsey (Gwynedd) on 12th

Laughing Gull: High Ackworth, Yorks (photo: Sean Gray). Laughing Gull: High Ackworth, Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).
Laughing Gull: High Ackworth, Yorks (photo: John Beaumont). Laughing Gull: Angler's CP, Yorks (photo: Gareth Picton).

On Lewis (Outer Hebrides) the Snowy Owl was again seen during the week and Rough-legged Buzzards were at Elmley (Kent) on 8th and Noss Head (Highland) on 12th. A Blue-winged Teal was at North Bull Island (Co.Dublin) from 6th, and at least one, possibly two, birds were reported at Seafield (Lothian) on 8th. The Black Scoter remained at Llanfairfechan (Conwy) and King Eider likewise in Moray/Nairn. The Green-winged Teal was still at Inner Marsh Farm (Cheshire) and the American Wigeon still in Co. Mayo. The Ring-necked Duck was still on Tresco and Surf Scoters were in Fife and Moray/Nairn, plus one in Northumberland. The blue-morph Lesser Snow Goose was again with Pink-footed Geese at Miltonhill (Moray/Nairn) and a Richardson's Canada Goose was with Barnacle Geese in Northumberland.

Hudsonian Godwit: Quebec, Canada There have been two British records, the last of which was in 1988. A long-staying bird in East Yorkshire and Devon in 1981 and 1983 plugs the gap on many life lists, but a new generation of birders will be keen for the next (photo: Mark Dennis). Blackburnian Warbler: Quebec, Canada With two British records, both one-day birds in early October (Pembrokeshire in 1961 and Fair Isle in 1988), the next is eagerly awaited (photo: Mark Dennis).
White Stork: Sutterton, Lincs (photo: Graham Catley). White Stork: Sutterton, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).
Ring-necked Duck: Marazion, Cornwall (photo: Dave Appleton). Curlew Sandpiper: North Killinghome, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).
Red-necked Grebe: Newburgh, Aberdeenshire (photo: Chris Jones). Slavonian Grebe: Toft Newton Res, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).
Bearded Tit: Dunwich, Suffolk (photo: Andy Bright). Lapland Bunting: Lewis, Outer Hebrides (photo: Martin Scott).
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
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/
Andrew Easton: http://home.clara.net/ammodytes/
Graham Eaton: http://www.eatonphotography.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
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
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
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/
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
Simon Wilson: http://www.bakewellbirder.co.uk/
Chris Wormwell: http://www.iombirding.co.uk
Dylan Wrathall: http://www.planetthanet.org
Written by: Russell Slack