Review of the Week: 7th-13th December 2006


The week at a glance:

Ivory Gull: Greenan, Ayrshire (photo: Brian Orr).

Ivory Gull: Greenan, Ayrshire (photo: Brian Orr). Ivory Gull: Greenan, Ayrshire (photo: Brian Orr).
Ivory Gull: Greenan, Ayrshire (photo: Jim Woods). Ivory Gull: Greenan, Ayrshire (photo: Jim Woods).

Ivory Gulls always prove to be deservedly popular attractions, especially so long-stayers at accessible locations. The juvenile found at Greenan near Ayr (Ayrshire) on 13th December was the first for the county and certainly ticks the accessibility criteria box. Let's hope that it stays for as long as the last to occur in Britain, the bird at Bettyhill (Highland) from November 2004 to January 2005.

Great Grey Shrike: Lennox Forest, Clyde (photo: Andy Jensen).

The discovery of a Hume's Leaf Warbler at Donmouth (Aberdeenshire) from 12th onwards was typical in terms of the late date and an east-coast location. Four Yellow-browed Warblers were reported, with birds at Marazion (Cornwall), Poole (Dorset), Burnham-on-Sea (Somerset) and Kenfig Pool (Glamorgan). Five Siberian Chiffchaffs were identified and the sole Great Grey Shrike was one at Lennox Forest (Clyde) from 8th-9th. The only Waxwings on offer were split between Dublin (where 20 were seen) and Aberdeen (which hosted up to 60). Norfolk continued to be the premier region for Shore Lark with flocks of 16 at Holkham Gap, seven each at Salthouse and Caister-on-Sea and six at Snettisham; the only birds elsewhere were three at Coldharbour Lagoon (Kent). In contrast just 14 Lapland Buntings were reported, including seven at Holkham and five at Frampton Marsh (Lincolnshire).

Barrow's Goldeneye (and Goldeneye): Callander, Forth (photo: John Anderson).

Barrow's Goldeneye (and Goldeneye): Callander, Forth (photo: John Anderson).

Barrow's Goldeneye: Callander, Forth (photo: Ian Fulton).

Barrow's Goldeneye: Quoile Pondage, Co. Down (photo: Derek Charles). Barrow's Goldeneye: Quoile Pondage, Co. Down (photo: Derek Charles).

The juvenile Black-eared Kite at Snettisham became more predictable from the 8th onwards with daily sightings, offering another opportunity for those who missed it when it was present in Lincolnshire a few weeks ago. The only reliable wintering Rough-legged Buzzard so far continued at Capel Fleet (Kent) as did the Snowy Owl at Bru on Lewis (Outer Hebrides). Several rare wildfowl remained in situ, including the Bufflehead on Unst, Falcated Duck at Bowling Green Marsh (Devon) and Barrow's Goldeneye at Callander (Forth) and Quoile Pondage (Co. Down).

The Great Bustard released on Salisbury Plain in summer 2004 again put in an appearance, this time at Butt Moor (Somerset) on 13th. The Glossy Ibis continued to reside at Fluke Hall (Lancs), as did the Cattle Egret at Otter Estuary NR (Devon) and Great White Egret at Blashford Lakes (Hants) to at least the 9th. Eight Common Cranes passed over South Cave (E. Yorks) on 8th, being seen later in the day over Sudbrook (Leicestershire) and up to 33 have been coming into roost at Stubb Mill, Hickling (Norfolk). Spoonbill numbers crept into double figures boosted by the group of eight at Arne (Dorset).

Forster's Tern: Cruisetown, Co. Louth (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

Leach's Storm-petrel: Severn Beach, Glos (photo: Oliver Smart).

Caspian Gull (front), Yellow-legged Gull (rear) and Herring Gull (centre): Poolsbrook CP, Derbyshire (photo: Martin Garner).

Three Bonaparte's Gulls were seen during the week, a 1st-winter on St. Mary's (Scilly) from 7th onwards plus a 2nd-winter at Warleigh Point (Devon) on 7th and one at Cobh (Co. Cork) on 10th. There were around 40 Iceland Gulls, including seven at Scalloway (Shetland) and 30 Glaucous Gulls including 8 at Burrafirth, Unst (Shetland). A putative American Herring Gull was reported from Lerwick (Shetland) on 9th. At least 25 Caspian Gulls were reported, mostly from favoured locations in the Midlands and southeast, though just nine Ring-billed Gulls were seen. A total of five Sabine's Gulls passed Hartland Point (Devon) during the week, and others were seen in Ayrshire, Lancashire, Anglesey and Glamorgan. Leach's Storm-petrels maintained their presence and peak counts included 190 past Crosby (Lancs) on the 9th and 155 past Hartland Point on the 8th. Small numbers of Balearic Shearwaters included up to six off Cornwall and an unseasonable bird off Norfolk. Inland birders had 25, or more, Great Northern Divers to enjoy with five at Rutland Water (Leicestershire) and multiple counts on several waters. In Co. Dublin an exceptionally late Roseate Tern remained to at least the 13th and further up the coast the Forster's Tern remained at Cruisetown (Co. Louth). A White-billed Diver passed south off Flamborough Head (E. Yorks) on 10th and around a dozen Grey Phalaropes were noted, including two each at Chesil Cove (Dorset) and Liscannor (Co. Clare), but more unusual was one found in a telephone box at St. Helier (Jersey)!

Great Northern Diver: Hayling Island, Hampshire (photo: George Spraggs).

Grey Phalarope: Chesil Cove, Dorset (photo: Jim Almond). Lesser Scaup: Clea Lakes, Co. Down (photo: Derek Charles).

The only rare waders of note were the continuing Spotted Sandpiper on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall) and Long-billed Dowitcher at the Oare Marshes (Kent). A Blue-winged Teal was at North Bull Island (Co. Dublin) and a Marbled Duck at Holland Haven (Essex) from 8th onwards was perhaps the bird reported from Suffolk earlier in the winter. In Aberdeenshire there were three Northern Eider on the Ythan Estuary and another off Peterhead, where the drake King Eider again put in an appearance. Four Surf Scoter comprised two in Lothian and two in Co. Kerry, whilst the only Ferruginous Duck remained at New Hythe (Kent). Five Lesser Scaup included two at Lough Swilly (Co. Donegal), and singles at Clea Lakes (Co. Down), Loch Sandary, North Uist (Outer Hebrides) and Caerlaverock (Dumfries and Galloway). A supporting cast of scarce wildfowl came in the form of nine Ring-necked Ducks, eight American Wigeon and seven Green-winged Teal. The blue- and white-morph Snow Geese remained at Holkham and a white-morph bird was on South Ronaldsay (Orkney). On Islay (Argyll) there were a Richardson's Canada Goose and Lesser Canada Goose, with the Red-breasted Geese remaining in Lincolnshire and Dorset. A handful of Black Brants included several birds between Norfolk and Hampshire, including the two adults and two hybrids at Holkham.

Black-necked Grebe: Strathclyde Loch, Clyde (photo: Ian Fulton).

Little Grebe: Titchwell, Norfolk (photo: Peter Simpson).

Shag: Holyhead, Anglesey (photo: Mike Atkinson).

Black Guillemot: Fishguard, Pembroke (photo: Paul Leafe).

Green Woodpecker: Summer Leys, Northants (photo: Richard Bedford).

Starling: Giltbrook, Notts (photo: John Dickenson).

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
Ian Fulton: http://www.pbase.com/ianfulton
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