Review of the Week: 9th-15th February 2006


The week at a glance:

Black-throated Thrush: Swansea, Glamorgan (photo: Stuart Elsom).

There was very much an 'as you were' feel to the bird news this week. Very few new rarities have put in an appearance in recent weeks, so much of the attention continued to be focused on long-staying rarities, though debate has been provided by several perplexing 'redpolls' in recent weeks.

Penduline Tit: Rainham Marshes, Gtr London (photo: Mark Hows).

Penduline Tit: Rainham Marshes, Gtr London (photo: Steve Evans). Penduline Tit: Rainham Marshes, Gtr London (photo: Steve Evans).

Penduline Tit: Rainham Marshes, Gtr London (photo: Steve Evans).

The fabulous male Black-throated Thrush remains in Swansea (Glamorgan), as does the Hume's Leaf Warbler in Whitley Bay (Northumbs). The four Penduline Tits continue to prove an attractive draw for visitors to Rainham Marshes RSPB reserve in London and two more were reported from Stodmarsh (Kent) on 11th. News of a Little Bunting in a Dursley (Glos) garden for its 12th day on 9th was another Garden Birdwatch bonus, whilst in Sheffield (S. Yorks) the Common Rosefinch remained in Graves Park. Another Little Bunting was reported briefly from Snettisham (Norfolk) on 11th.

possible Arctic Redpoll: Rendlesham, Suffolk (photo: Jonathan Theobold).

Little Bunting: Dursley, Glos (photo: Richard Newton).

Shore Lark: Holkham, Norfolk (photo: Mike Parker). Waxwing: Pitsea, Essex (photo: Richard Chew).

There's been quite a lot of debate recently over the identity of several redpolls that have been reported as Arctic Redpolls. These have been quite a talking point over the last few weeks, as has the identification process for Mealy Redpolls, both from Arctic Redpolls and from Lesser Redpolls. An Arctic Redpoll remains at Aberlady Bay (Lothian); another, or possibly a well-marked Mealy Redpoll, remains at Rendlesham (Suffolk) as does a less striking bird at Harty Ferry (Kent). Two more possible Arctic Redpolls were reported from Tain (Highland). More straightforward in the identification stakes were the residing Hoopoe in Gosport (Hants) and the elusive Northern Long-tailed Tit at Easington (Norfolk). The Norwegian-ringed Black-bellied Dipper remains at Voe (Shetland). A Richard's Pipit was reported from Choseley Drying Barns (Norfolk) on 14th and the wintering Richard's Pipit remains at West Kirby (Cheshire). A Yellow-browed Warbler was at Braunton (Devon) on 11th and the wintering bird remains at Weeping Cross (Staffs). Great Grey Shrikes crept into double figures, as did Shore Larks, with the Holkham Gap (Norfolk) flock increasing to 12 during the week, whilst the singleton remains at Minsmere (Suffolk). Five Lapland Buntings were reported, two of which were at Watergate Bay (Cornwall). Waxwing numbers remain steady, both in number and distribution, the largest flocks being 108 in Aberdeen and 82 in Glasgow (Clyde).

Great Bustard: Bleadon Level, Somerset (photo: Steve Evans). Great Bustard: Bleadon Level, Somerset (photo: Steve Evans).
Spoonbill: Radipole, Dorset (photo: Steve Carey). Common Crane: Exminster Marshes, Devon (photo: Tim Crawshaw).
Rough-legged Buzzard: Haltham, Lincolnshire (photo: Graham Catley). Rough-legged Buzzard: Haltham, Lincolnshire (photo: Graham Catley).

A Great Bustard of known origin sporting a yellow wing-tag, and originating from the reintroduction programme on Salisbury Plain (Wilts), created a significant level of interest at Bleadon Level (Somerset). Unfortunately for those of you with a 'listing' interest, it offers no opportunity to place a tick next to what is an exceptionally rare species in Britain – the last records of 'wild' birds were as long ago as early 1987, when a cold weather influx brought birds to Suffolk and Norfolk. The White Stork continued to frequent the Sevington area of Kent; the four Common Cranes remained in Devon and 22 were seen at Hickling Broad (Norfolk). A Great White Egret was on South Uist (Outer Hebrides) from 13th-15th and the Harty Ferry (Kent) bird was seen again on 9th. Eight Cattle Egrets remained at Pinninghoe (E. Sussex) and one was still at Hailsham (E. Sussex), with singles still at Warblington (Hants) and Britford Water Meadows (Wilts), plus there was a report of one in a garden at Clacton-on-Sea (Essex) on 15th! Thirteen Spoonbills included four on the River Lynher in Cornwall and three at Isley Marsh (Devon). Four Rough-legged Buzzards on offer included one at Harty Marshes (Kent), two in Norfolk at Massingham/Grimston and Chedgrave Marshes, plus one in Lincolnshire in the Haltham area, plus others were reported from Orkney, Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

Laughing Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

Laughing Gull: Reading, Berkshire (photo: Michael Hunt). Ring-billed Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

Kumlien's Gull: Nimmo's Pier, Co. Galway (photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly).

Iceland Gull: Culmore Dump, L'derry (photo: Derek Charles).

A 1st-winter Franklin's Gull was at Northam Burrows (Devon) from 12th-13th and seven Laughing Gulls were reported. These included: Glaslyn Marshes (Gwynedd); Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway); Rosscarbery (Co. Cork); Cuskinny Marsh (Co. Cork) on 10th; Ardrossan (Ayrshire); Campbeltown (Argyll); Fremington Quay (Devon) and the Berkshire individual previously only reported at roost was finally tracked down to a daytime site in Reading. At least 14 Ring-billed Gulls were reported, nearly 50 Iceland Gulls included 7 at Culmore Dump (L'derry) and 5 at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway), though Glaucous Gulls only crept into the mid-teens, as did Caspian Gulls. The 2nd-winter American Herring Gull was at Culmore Dump (L'derry) again and another 2nd-winter was reported from Sennen Cove (Cornwall) on 11th. The 3rd-winter Kumlien's Gull remained at Nimmo's Pier as did the 2nd-winter at Culmore Dump, and the adult roosted once again at Cotswold WP (Wilts) on 10th. The adult Forster's Tern remained at Nimmo's Pier, as did the Long-billed Dowitcher on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall). A Pomarine Skua passed Girdle Ness (Aberdeenshire) on 14th. Little Auks included a localised movement of 32 south at Filey (N. Yorks) on 11th, with one there on 12th, and one taken into care at Lowestoft (Suffolk) on 10th. A White-billed Diver reported off Nolton Haven (Pembrokeshire) will be only the 2nd county record if accepted, and one off the south end of Samson (Scilly) on 12th would be only the 2nd for the islands.

Snow Goose: Corby Loch, Aberdeenshire (photo: Chris Jones). Taiga Bean Goose: Fannyside Lochs, Clyde (photo: Ian Fulton).
Lesser Scaup: Grimley, Worcs (photo: Andy Warr). Lesser Scaup: Grimley, Worcs (photo: Oliver Wadsworth).
Green-winged Teal: Far Pasture, Durham (photo: Steven Fryer). American Wigeon: Roadford Reservoir, Devon (photo: Tim Crawshaw).
Ring-necked Duck: Ham Wall, Somerset (photo: Jeff Hazell). Red-crested Pochard: Gamston, Notts (photo: John Dickenson).

A fine blue-morph Snow Goose was at Corby Loch (Aberdeenshire) from 14th onwards, and a number of Black Brants were still at large between southern Lincolnshire and Hampshire. Two hundred Taiga Bean Geese were at Slamannan (Forth); away from 'wintering' sites there were singles at Martin Mere (Lancs) and Mountnorris (Co. Armagh). The only double-figure count of Tundra Bean Geese was 11 at Walberswick (Suffolk). A female Black Duck was on Tresco (Scilly) on 12th, the Redhead remained on Tiree (Argyll), as did the Black Scoter off Llanfairfechan (Conwy) and Barrow's Goldeneye at Quoile Pondage (Co. Down). A Lesser Scaup at Grimley/Westwood Pool (Worcs) was a county first, and other Lesser Scaup remained on the Ouse Washes (Cambs) and Caerlaverock (Dumfries and Galloway). Ferruginous Ducks were still on offer at Elstow (Bedfordshire), New Hythe GPs (Kent), Craigavon (Co. Armagh) and Coole Park (Co. Galway), whilst one at Grimley (Worcs) was presumed to be the escape that frequents the Worcester Canal. A drake King Eider was still off Peterhead (Aberdeenshire) and another drake was at Nairn Bar (Moray/Nairn) on 12th. Six Surf Scoters included three off Nairn Bar, one off Ruddon's Point (Fife) and two at Brandon Head (Co. Kerry). A dozen Ring-necked Ducks were largely confined to Ireland and the Southwest, there were nine Green-winged Teals and American Wigeons remained at Needingworth (Cambs), Hayle Estuary (Cornwall), Roadford Reservoir (Devon) and Loch of Strathbeg (Aberdeenshire).

Red Kite: Gigrin, Powys (photo: Steve Round). Red Kite: Barlow, Durham (photo: Steven Fryer).
Bittern: Upton Warren, Worcs (photo: Kev Joynes). Short-eared Owl: Wicken Fen, Cambs (photo: Garth Peacock).
Black Redstart: Kirkbride, Cumbria (photo: Craig Shaw). Brambling: Halifax, W. Yorks (photo: Sean Gray).
Bewick's Swan: Slimbridge, Glos (photo: Derek Moore). Whooper Swan: New Holland, Lincs (photo: Russell Hayes).

Teal: Inner Marsh Farm, Cheshire (photo: Steve Round).

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/
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
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/
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