14/05/2008
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Review of the Week: 8th-14th May 2008

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The week at a glance

With blue skies, the warmth of Mediterranean sunshine, a huge high pressure over Europe and winds still surging in from the east-sou'east, the majority of the week was tailor-made for the arrival of any number of classic mid-May species. And, to a certain extent, the birds had also read the script...

Spectacled Warbler
Spectacled Warbler, Westleton Heath, Suffolk (Photo: Terry Mcgeever)

Spectacled Warbler
Spectacled Warbler, Westleton, Suffolk (Photo: anon)

Spanish Wagtail
Possible Spanish Wagtail, Rainham Marshes RSPB, London, Greater (Photo: Mark Hows)

Perhaps a little surprisingly, there were just a couple of real headline-makers this week, with the super singing male Spectacled Warbler, found on Westleton Heath (Suffolk) on the afternoon of 10th leading the way. Sadly for those gathering there the following morning, there was no sign of the songster - he was already away to pastures new. Still, for the dippers present, there is some consolation in that this was the fifth British record (and the second for Suffolk) since the first British Spectacled Warbler, a male in North Yorkshire in 1992, so another one ought to be along before too long... A male Collared Flycatcher was on Lundy (Devon) on 12th, in the Quarries, but only for a morning. Recently this species has become something of a Shetland speciality, so a mainland staying male would doubtless prove to be extremely popular. Hot on the heels of what may be Britain's first proven Spanish Wagtail (at Conwy RSPB reserve last month) comes what may be Britain's second - a male at Rainham Marshes RSPB (London) on 13th, but the distant photos of the bird appear rather inconclusive...

A White-billed Diver was again seen off the coast of Lewis (Outer Hebrides) this week and another was seen in Gruinard Bay (Highland) on 13th. After last week's impressive showing, numbers of Pomarine Skuas seen this week fell away to around 70 birds, which included weekly highs of 28 and 20 passing Splash Point, Seaford (East Sussex) on 8th and 9th respectively. Two Long-tailed Skuas were reported this week, at Cemlyn Bay (Anglesey) and Balranald RSPB, North Uist (Outer Hebrides), both on 10th. Also on 10th, a Balearic Shearwater was seen from Turnberry Point (Ayrshire).

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret, Llandre, Ceredigion (Photo: Chris Cook)

For the first week in months, there were no reports of Cattle Egrets around the Sancreed area in west Cornwall, but perhaps the flock of 23 birds seen flying over Polgigga (Cornwall) on 9th may have something to do with that. Elsewhere in the county, a single bird was seen on Lizard Point on 11th. On Scilly, four birds were seen on St. Mary's on 13th, before alighting on St. Agnes the following day. In Dorset, the bird at Lytchett Bay was present to 10th, and it (or another) visiting Swineham Point on 9th. In East Sussex, single Cattle Egrets were seen at Pevensey on 13th and South Heighton on 14th. The two birds at Frampton-upon-Severn (Gloucestershire) were still present to 11th at least, while the long-staying bird at Llandre (Ceredigion) remained to the same date. The bird in Nottinghamshire, at Lound GPs, was present to 10th, and the bird at Wigan Flashes LNR (Greater Manchester) remained to 14th. In Norfolk, a Cattle Egret was again noted at Burnham Norton on 10th-11th, while "new" birds were at the National Wetlands Centre (Carmarthenshire) on 10th and Martin Mere WWT (Lancashire) on 11th.

Great White Egret
Great White Egret, Garretstown, Cork (Photo: Sean Cronin)

Common Crane
Common Crane, North Ronaldsay, Orkney (Photo: Paul A Brown)

White Stork
White Stork, Paisley, Clyde (Photo: Keith Hoey)

The Great White Egret that has wintered in the Wensum Valley (Norfolk) was seen again at the picturesque Bintree Mill on 9th. On 11th, one was reported over Westleton Heath (Suffolk) and on 12th, a Great White Egret was seen near Garretstown (Co. Cork), remaining there to the following day. On 14th, the final Great White of the week appeared at Pennington Flash (Greater Manchester). Some 18 Spoonbills were reported this week, with the regular quintet again at Middlebere (Dorset) on 11th, with six birds there on 13th.Two or three birds were seen in Hampshire, three birds were noted in Norfolk, and the first-summers at Seaforth LWT (Lancashire) may also have accounted for records elsewhere in Lancashire and Cheshire this week. In Ireland, single Glossy Ibises were discovered on 10th at Tramore (Co. Waterford) and Tacumshin (Co. Wexford), while the resident rover in Lancashire was near Inskip to 10th, before returning to Marshside RSPB on 12th. Several Common Cranes were seen during the week, including a roaming bird in East Yorkshire (at Out Newton, Spurn, Skeffling and Kilnsea on 10th-11th) and the county then saw four fly over Blacktoft Sands RSPB on the afternoon of 11th, with three over North Cave Wetlands some 25 minutes later. Interestingly, earlier in the day on 11th, a flock of four headed west along the north Norfolk coast (an annual occurrence in fine weather in spring) and were last seen over Holme at around midday. Also in Norfolk, on 12th, three birds flew northwest over Fakenham. Elsewhere, two birds were seen in Cambridgeshire on 10th (at Witcham, then Ely) and two were seen at Alconbury on 12th. Also on 12th, two birds arrived on North Ronaldsay (Orkney). Finally, lone Cranes was seen over Old Moor RSPB (South Yorkshire) on 11th and Wells (Norfolk) on 13th. White Storks were noted from several counties this week. On 8th, one flew over Highgate (London) and another was seen at Kilsyth (Clyde), before relocating to Paisley on 11th. Also in Scotland, one was seen over Fallin (Forth) on 10th. On 9th, two birds were seen over Liverpool (Lancashire) and on 11th, two White Storks flew over York (North Yorkshire). On 12th, singles were seen at Long Compton (Warwickshire) and Whinfell Forest (Cumbria), with the final report of the week coming from Lancashire, with a White Stork seen near Blackburn on 14th. Purple Herons this week included one (or two) seen at over Martlesham Creek and Kirton (Suffolk) on 9th and another at College Lake (Buckinghamshire) early on the morning of 10th. An adult Purple Heron was also reported over Cley Marshes NWT on 14th. Five Night Herons appeared around the country, with one at Valley Strand, North Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 8th, another at Gwithian (Cornwall) on 10th, two birds were seen flying over Sennowe Park, Guist (Norfolk) on 11th - though if the Great Witchingham free-flying birds still exist, they could cloud the provenance of this pair - and another flew west over Trimley Marshes SWT (Suffolk) on 13th.

The flock of eight Snow Geese remained on South Ronaldsay (Orkney) to 10th and still invited lots of questions as to their origins. But the generous soul will always give them the thumbs up... A Black Brant was seen in Blakeney Harbour (Norfolk) on 10th while the drake Black Duck was again at Blanket Nook, Lough Swilly (Co. Donegal) this week. Just two drake Green-winged Teal were noted over the past week, one at Lady's Island Lake (Co. Wexford) on 11th, and the other near Loch Euphort, North Uist (Outer Hebrides) on 14th. A drake Blue-winged Teal was a brief visitor to Lough Beg (Co. Derry) on 13th. The drake Lesser Scaup remained at Cleasby GPs (North Yorkshire) until 8th and another drake was seen at St. John's Loch (Highland) on 13th. A drake Ring-necked Duck was seen on Loch Kinnabus, Islay (Argyll) on 8th, and was still there to 13th. Another drake Ring-necked Duck was at Loch Calder (Highland) on 11th, with the third drake of the week being seen on Egilsay (Orkney) on 14th. A drake Ferruginous Duck was a one-day-only visitor to Chew Valley Lake (Somerset) on 10th. Two drake Surf Scoters were off the golf course at Murcar (Aberdeenshire) on 11th and on 14th, a drake was seen off Musselburgh (Lothian). A superb drake Baikal Teal in Norfolk, on Blakeney Freshmarsh (and also Cley Marshes NWT) from 7th-11th, raised hopes, for a while, of a genuine relocating eastern gem. Though always rather distant, the bird's immaculate condition and rather wary nature fuelled hopes further, until diligent observation managed to detect a small dark band, low down on the right leg. A shame yes, but it perhaps helps, rather than hinders, the ongoing cause of the birds in Suffolk and Antrim...

Honey Buzzard
Honey Buzzard, undisclosed site, West Sussex (Photo: Dorian Mason)

Raptors this week start off with three different counties reporting unidentified eagles: Norfolk, Dorset and Hampshire. The bird in Norfolk was seen near Glandford on 9th, and was possibly a sub-adult Lesser Spotted Eagle. An eagle sp. over Hartland Moor (Dorset) on the same date was possibly a White-tailed Eagle while the bird in Hampshire, in the New Forest on 10th, was thought to have been an Aquila species. Two Rough-legged Buzzards were seen in Kent this week: an immature remained at St. Margaret's at Cliffe to 10th, with an adult seen, also on 10th, at Dunkirk. The Black Kite remained on Fair Isle (Shetland) to 9th and was one of around eight birds noted this week. On 8th, a Black Kite was reported over Erlestoke (Wiltshire) and on 9th, one was seen at Caton Moor and Quernmore (Lancashire), while at Sutton (Kent) at least one bird was noted and another was at Abberton (Essex). On 10th, single Black Kites were seen at Alton (Hampshire) and Paxton Pits NR (Cambridgeshire) and on 11th, one was again at Sculthorpe Moor NR (Norfolk). On 13th, a Black Kite was seen near Saltash (Cornwall) while on 14th, in Northamptonshire, reports came from Summer Leys NR and Thrapston.

Red-footed Falcon
Red-footed Falcon, Stewartby, Bedfordshire (Photo: Steve Blain)

Following on from the photographed late-April sentinel in north Norfolk, this week was a terrific one for Red-footed Falcons, the warm weather easing up to 24 birds into England. The first of the week were on 8th: adult males at Jenny Brown's Point (Lancashire) and Sandwich Bay (Kent), with a female seen at Swale NNR, Sheppey (Kent). On 9th at least four birds were noted: two more adult males were seen, at Brinsley (Nottinghamshire) - with perhaps the same bird later at Selston - and at Northward Hill RSPB (Kent), this bird present to 10th. Females were at Oare Marshes NR (Kent) - perhaps the Swale bird? - and at Pugney's CP (West Yorkshire). The latter bird proved very popular, staying to 13th at least. On 10th, up to three birds arrived in Bedfordshire: a female at Broom GPs, a first-summer male at Stewartby (staying to 14th) and an unsexed bird over The Lodge, Sandy. Also on 10th, a first-summer female was seen at Ridley Plain (Hampshire). On 11th, three Red-footed Falcons appeared at Thorne Moors NNR (South Yorkshire) - an adult female, along with first-summer male and female. The two females still present to 14th and the same date saw a fourth individual, an adult male, fly through too. Other birds on 11th were a female at Shoeburyness (Essex) and a male was seen at Christchurch Harbour (Dorset). On 12th, an adult male was at Swale NNR (Kent) and two birds, yet another adult male (generally really quite rare) and a female, arrived at Lakenheath Fen RSPB (Suffolk) - and were still present there (though not always together) to 14th. New arrivals on 13th were females at Shapwick Heath NNR (Somerset), Cardiff (Glamorgan) and Fen Drayton (Cambridgeshire), while an adult male was seen in the New Forest (Hampshire) and another male (un-aged) was at Hodsock (Nottinghamshire). Could the amazing figures of spring 1992 (when some 150 birds arrived over six weeks from mid-May, including 40 in Norfolk alone) be in danger? We've another five weeks to find out, but with flocks of 60 or more being seen on the continent, the record books could be rewritten yet.

Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt, Blashford Lakes HWT, Hampshire (Photo: Keith Simpson)

Dotterel
Dotterel, Fair Isle, Shetland (Photo: Mark Breaks)

Lesser Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs, Druridge Pools, Northumberland (Photo: Alan Gilbertson)

American Golden Plover
American Golden Plover, Exminster Marshes RSPB, Devon (Photo: James Packer)

Temminck's Stint
Temminck's Stint, Venus Pool NR, Shropshire (Photo: Jim Almond)

Red-necked Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope, The Hythe, Essex (Photo: Sean Nixon)

The Black-winged Stilts seemed very settled at Neumann's Flash (Cheshire) and were ever-presents again this week. In Wales, the male Black-winged Stilt remained at Newport Wetlands (Gwent) to 9th, and one (another male and looking rather like the Kenfig bird) was seen on 10th at Blashford Lakes HWT (Hampshire). A Collared Pratincole spent a day at Swale NNR (Kent) on 8th, but couldn't be relocated the following day. Around 50 Dotterel included up to 16 at Danby Moor (North Yorkshire), while seven remained at Choseley (Norfolk) to 14th and four at Soar (Devon) on 8th were noteworthy. The Lesser Yellowlegs in Suffolk continued to flip-flop between Dunwich, Dingle Marshes SWT and Walberswick NNR on 8th-13th, while one in Northumberland zipped between Druridge Pools and Hauxley NR on 10th, before settling at the former site, to 14th. The first-summer American Golden Plover was at Exminster Marshes RSPB (Devon) until 8th (then reappeared there again on 14th) while a Pectoral Sandpiper was seen on Annagh Head (Co. Mayo) on 12th. Almost 50 Temminck's Stint were noted, including "threes" in Norfolk at Stiffkey Fen and Cley Marshes NWT off and on throughout the week (with four birds at the latter site on 14th), as well as three birds still at Pulborough Brooks RSPB (West Sussex) on 8th, and other trios at Seaton Common (Cleveland) on 9th-10th and at Rainham Marshes RSPB (London) on 11th-13th. A single bird on Holy Island (Northumberland) on 10th was also of particular note. The first Red-necked Phalarope of the spring, a delightful female, was seen at The Hythe (Essex) on 13th-14th. Finally, the intriguing report of two Spur-winged Plovers at Whitstable (Kent) on 11th: with only small numbers breeding in Cyprus and Greece, and a four-figure estimate in Turkey, it is an unlikely vagrant (with accepted records in northwestern Europe as rare as hen's teeth). But, as with the popular bird in Kent in the spring of 1997, you just never know...

Iceland Gull
Iceland Gull, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire (Photo: James Deans)

White-winged Black Tern
White-winged Black Tern, Draycote Water, Warwickshire (Photo: Bob Duckhouse)

Whiskered Tern
Whiskered Tern, Kenfig NNR, Glamorgan (Photo: Stevehinton)

The first-summer Bonaparte's Gull seen last week in Lancashire, at Marton Mere, reappeared this week at Stocks Reservoir on 10th-11th. Still in Lancashire this week was the adult Ross's Gull, remaining around Lytham St. Anne's to 14th. An adult Franklin's Gull flew over Stithians Reservoir (Cornwall) on 11th, while the only Ring-billed Gull this week was the first-summer at Lamby Lake (Glamorgan), present there to 10th at least. The four or five Caspian Gulls this week were all first-summer birds - at Beddington SF (London) on 9th, with another at Ditchford GPs (Northamptonshire) on the same date. On 11th and 13th, a Caspian Gull was at the London Wetlands Centre WWT and on 12th one was reported from Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk). The first-year American Herring Gull remained around Galway to 10th, while Glaucous Gulls mustered nine birds (including two in Highland and two on Orkney) and Iceland Gulls totalled fewer than 20, with a handful lingering in west Cornwall and Scilly. The adult Forster's Tern was still at Killyleagh (Co. Down) on 10th, and was rapidly moulting to full summer plumage - an incredibly rare plumage in the UK. A super adult White-winged Black Tern spent 10th at Draycote Water (Warwickshire), while it has been another good week for Whiskered Terns, with up five birds noted. On 8th, the bird at Lodmoor RSPB (Dorset) was still present, with another appearing on Lower Tamar Lake (Devon) on the same date (this bird was presumably the bird seen "recently" in Cornwall, at Maer Lake (Cornwall)). On 9th, a Whiskered Tern was at Conwy RSPB (Conwy) before heading northeast, relocating to Inner Marsh Farm RSPB (Cheshire) later the same day, where it stayed to 12th, then returned again on 14th. On 10th, one was seen at Slimbridge WWT (Gloucestershire) and remained there to 13th, while on 11th, a Whiskered Tern was (back?) at Kenfig Pool NNR (Glamorgan), lingering to 12th at least.

Hoopoe
Hoopoe, Flitwick, Bedfordshire (Photo: Steve Blain)

The female Snowy Owl at Balranald RSPB, North Uist (Outer Hebrides) remained in the area to 14th. On the very same island, a male Snowy Owl was seen at Greinetobht on 10th. Wouldn't it be fantastic if they managed to find each other...? After last week's bumper bundle, the numbers of Red-rumped Swallows this week fell away, but there were still seven to be found, with three of these remaining from last week at Portland (Dorset) on 8th. Singles in Cornwall were seen at Land's End on 9th and on the Lizard on 12th, when another was seen out on Great Saltee Island (Co. Wexford). On Scilly, a Red-rumped Swallow was on St. Agnes on 13th-14th. The only Alpine Swift of the week (they've been surprisingly thin on the ground this year, with just six noted) was seen flying past Great Orme (Conwy) on 8th. Following two late records from Scotland on 7th (in Highland, at Lochinver and on the Hebrides, on South Uist), a further 11 Hoopoes were seen this week, including singles on Ramsey Island (Pembrokeshire) on 8th, at Carrickdrumman (Co. Down) on 10th, with it or another at Sheepland on 11th-12th and in Cumbria, at Bowness-on-Windermere on 9th-10th. On 12th, two birds were in Bedfordshire, at Flitwick and at The Lodge, Sandy.

At least 35 Bee-eaters were found this week, including a technicolor blaze of 16 at Beachy Head (East Sussex) on 9th. On 10th, one was reported over Beeston Bump (Norfolk), with two further Norfolk birds being seen at Horsey. Also on 10th, single Bee-eaters were seen at Lade GPs (Kent), Arthurstown (Co. Wexford) and on St. Agnes (Scilly), this bird staying to 14th. On 11th, one flew over Land's End (Cornwall) while hundreds of miles away, another bird was at Loch Calder (Highland). In the New Forest, five Bee-eaters were at Cadman's Pool on 11th, with two remaining there to 13th. On 12th, a Bee-eater was seen at Doxey Marshes (Staffordshire) and on 13th one was seen at Wilstone Reservoir (Hertfordshire), with another heard only at Whitstable (Kent) on the same date. Also on 13th, way off to the north on the Hebrides, single Bee-eaters were seen at Brevig, Barra and Lochmaddy, North Uist, with one at Dalbeg, Lewis on 14th. Also on 14th, single Bee-eaters reported from three sites in Kent - over Dover, Sandwich Bay and Shell Ness.

Bluethroat
Bluethroat, Fair Isle, Shetland (Photo: Mark Breaks)

Tawny Pipit
Tawny Pipit, Saltee Islands, Wexford (Photo: Tom Shevlin)

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Short-toed Lark
Short-toed Lark, Kenfig NNR, Glamorgan (Photo: Nathan Casburn)

Citrine Wagtail
Citrine Wagtail, Fair Isle, Shetland (Photo: Mark Breaks)

It was almost a Shetland clean sweep with Red-spotted Bluethroats this week. The male remained at Mousa to 8th, with another male on Noss on 9th. On 10th, a male Bluethroat was seen on Fair Isle, while three birds, a male and two females, were seen on Out Skerries on 11th. A male Red-spotted Bluethroat was seen at Lower Moors, St. Mary's (Scilly) on 13th-14th, an outstanding springtime record for the islands, while the east coast got in on the act with a male Red-spot, trapped and ringed, at Filey (North Yorkshire) on 14th. Just three Wrynecks were noted this week: one along the track to Burnham Overy dunes (Norfolk) on 8th, with singles seen on St. Mary's (Scilly) and Fair Isle (Shetland) on 11th. Three Tawny Pipits were found over the past seven days. One was seen at The Range RSPB (Anglesey) on 10th and the same date saw one discovered out on Great Saltee (Co. Wexford), remaining to 11th. The last Tawny Pipit of the week was at Gwithian (Cornwall) on 11th. A Richard's Pipit was reported at Gronant (Clwyd) on 9th. Given the sprinkling of Grey-headed Wagtails in East Anglia this week, it was perhaps a surprise that the traditional (rather rarer) "accompaniment", Red-throated Pipit arrived much further to the north. But the two birds found, on Isle of May (Fife) on 10th and on Handa Island SWT (Highland) on 12th, were very welcome nonetheless. There were an impressive number of mid-May Short-toed Larks this week, with seven birds noted. On 8th, one flew in off the sea at Portland (Dorset) and another was found in Glamorgan, at Sker Point (a site that will always be so famous thanks to 1982's legendary Little Whimbrel). The bird at Sker remained to 10th. Also on 10th, a Short-toed Lark was found at Tide Mills, Newhaven (East Sussex). The 11th saw single birds arrive at Land's End (a singing male) and on St. Mary's (Scilly), the latter bird remaining to 12th. In Ireland, lingering birds in County Cork, at Ballycotton and Mizen Head, remained to 9th. Two Citrine Wagtails arrived this week, one at Spurn (East Yorkshire) briefly on 10th and a female on Fair Isle (Shetland) on 11th-12th.

Pallas's Warbler
Pallas's Warbler, Sandy Point, Hampshire (Photo: Richard Ford)

Subalpine Warbler
Subalpine Warbler, Saltee Islands, Wexford (Photo: Tom Shevlin)

A singing male Pallas's Warbler was seen at Sandy Point (Hampshire) on 8th - could it possibly have been the bird from Dorset engaging in some "coasting"? Five of the ten Subalpine Warblers this week were discovered in Ireland. A bird on Dursey Island (Co. Cork) on 7th was still present on 8th, while on 9th, two birds were on Mizen Head (Co. Cork). A male was on Great Saltee (Co. Wexford) on 12th - a fine run of birds there this week - and another male was singing at Belmullet (Co. Mayo) on 14th. Three females were found this week: on Fair Isle (Shetland) on 9th-10th, Bardsey Island (Gwynedd) on 13th and at Hoswick, Mainland (Shetland) on 14th. Also on 14th, a first-summer male was found on the Calf of Man (Isle of Man) and the adult male was reported again at Gorran Haven (Cornwall) on the same date (having been reported there on 2nd-3rd May). A Barred Warbler was reported in Lincolnshire, at Barnetby le Wold, on 10th. A singing male Icterine Warbler was at Sennen (Cornwall) on 8th, while the second bird of the week was on Fetlar (Shetland) on 12th. A third Icterine Warbler was seen recently on Cape Clear Island (Co. Cork). A Savi's Warbler was heard singing briefly at Brean Down (Somerset) on 8th, while up to four Great Reed Warblers arrived; the first of the week was at Lakenheath Fen RSPB (Suffolk) on 11th, with others reported on the same date at Willen Lake (Buckinghamshire) and on Seil Island (Argyll), the latter bird still there on 12th. A singing male was at Chew Valley Lake (Somerset) on 12th. A female Red-breasted Flycatcher was a late-afternoon arrival at Spurn (East Yorkshire) on 14th.

Golden Oriole
Golden Oriole, Flamborough village, East Yorkshire (Photo: Mr Lawton)

Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike, Duckpool, Cornwall (Photo: Mark Worden)

Around 20 Golden Orioles included several birds on Scilly, two birds in County Cork and a singing male in Flamborough village (East Yorkshire) from 10th-13th. Nine Woodchat Shrikes this week included six birds in southwest England. The female remained at Wembury (Devon) to 10th, while in Cornwall singles were at Trevose Head on 9th-10th and at Duckpool on 11th. On Scilly, one was again on Bryher on 9th, with a male on St. Martin's from 9th-12th, with another on St. Mary's on 11th. A male was at Spurn (East Yorkshire) on 9th-10th, another male was near St. David's (Pembrokeshire) on 13th, while in Ireland, one was at Mizen Head (Co. Cork) on 9th. There were a couple of Red-backed Shrikes to report this week - one at Charmouth (Dorset) on 9th and a male at Dungeness Bird Observatory (Kent) on 11th. The sole Great Grey Shrike of the week was at Slochd (Highland) on 12th.

There were a couple of unconfirmed reports of Rose-coloured Starlings this week, in Surrey and Gloucestershire, but neither stuck around. There were two Serins over Spurn (East Yorkshire) on 11th and 13th, with another over Hengistbury Head (Dorset) on 14th. The week concludes with two Ortolan Buntings in County Cork - one on Dursey Island on 8th and the other on Mizen Head on 9th, with a third bird on the Isle of Man, at Colby, on 12th.

Photo of the Week

Common Tern
Common Tern, Summer Leys LNR, Northamptonshire (Photo: Richard Bedford)

Bird photography has been described as the hardest form of wildlife photography and capturing birds in flight is certainly the most difficult type of bird photography. If you're looking for a real challenge, then, this could be for you! By concentrating almost entirely on flight photography, Richard Bedford has produced some of the most stunning photos we've ever seen, including the winner of our first Photo of the Year accolade. Many of his best images have been of Common Terns taken on his local patch at Summer Leys LNR in Northamptonshire. This week, Richard has further added to this collection with a superb shot of one of these graceful birds skimming the surface of a calm lake, the perfectly-frozen splashes from the tern's bill forming a wall of water under the whole length of the bird.

Other notable photos

Great Crested Grebe
Great Crested Grebe, Summer Leys LNR, Northamptonshire (Photo: Neil Khandke)

Sedge Warbler
Sedge Warbler, Frodsham Marsh, Cheshire (Photo: Steve Round)

Common Tern
Common Tern, Belfast Lough RSPB, Antrim (Photo: Craig Nash)

Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover and Redshank, Summer Leys LNR, Northamptonshire (Photo: Richard Bedford)

Red-footed Falcon
Red-footed Falcon, Pugney's CP, West Yorkshire (Photo: Darren Chapman)

House Martin
House Martin, Lyepole Bridge, Herefordshire (Photo: George Ewart)

Isabelline Shrike
Isabelline Shrike, Bahrain (Photo: Adrian Drummond-hill)

Gannet
Gannet, Bempton Cliffs RSPB, East Yorkshire (Photo: Steve Race)

Red-backed Shrike
Red-backed Shrike, Qatar (Photo: M J Grunwell)

Dotterel
Dotterel, Danby Beacon, North Yorkshire (Photo: Steve Race)

Reed Warbler
Reed Warbler, undisclosed site, Cheshire (Photo: Richard Steel)

Blue Tit
Blue Tit, Walmsley Sanctuary (MEMBERS ONLY), Cornwall (Photo: Colin Selway)

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker, Spital, Cheshire (Photo: Steve Round)

Swallow
Swallow, Minsmere RSPB, Suffolk (Photo: Lee Fuller)

Linnet
Linnet, Salthouse, Norfolk (Photo: Nigel Pye)

Canada Goose
Canada Goose, Yarrow Valley CP, Lancashire (Photo: David Cookson)

Kittiwake
Kittiwake, Bempton Cliffs RSPB, East Yorkshire (Photo: Matt Latham)

Manx Shearwater
Manx Shearwater, Skomer, Pembrokeshire (Photo: David Whistlecraft)

Written by: Mark Golley