Review of the Week: 9th–15th March 2006


The week at a glance:

Night Heron: Porthgwarra, Cornwall (photo: Mike Barker).

Cattle Egret: Piddinghoe, E. Sussex (photo: Derek Washington).

Great White Egret: Skinburness, Cumbria (photo: Craig Shaw). Great White Egret: Skinburness, Cumbria (photo: Craig Shaw).

The mix of small numbers of early migrants hinted at signs of spring this week though, given the arctic conditions over much of the country, that might have been difficult to believe! A small arrival of typical early spring migrants to the southwest counties included expected fare such as Sand Martins and Wheatears but, more interestingly, carried an arrival of Night Herons. These commenced with one on 13th at Port Logan (Dumfries and Galloway) and another the same day at Polperro (Cornwall), though this was later found dead on 15th. More were found on 15th, with two on both Tresco and St. Mary's (Scilly), another at Porthgwarra (Cornwall) and a possible seen over the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall). Other rare herons included a Great White Egret over Newport Wetlands (Gwent) on 13th and another at Skinburness (Cumbria) from 14th–15th; the latter was only the 2nd-ever county record. Cattle Egret flocks remained, with eight at Piddinghoe (E. Sussex), three at Pagham Harbour (W. Sussex) and four at St. Peter (Jersey). Four Common Cranes passed over Coatham Marsh (Cleveland) on 15th and a dozen Spoonbills were reported, including four at Wacker Quay (Cornwall).

Sora: Gibraltar Point, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades). Sora: Gibraltar Point, Lincs (photo: Dean Eades).
Franklin's Gull: Rosscarbery, Co. Cork (photo: Sean Cronin). Laughing Gull: Cork, Co. Cork (photo: Sean Cronin).
Ring-billed Gull: Culmore Dump, L'derry (photo: Derek Charles). Laughing Gull: Ardrossan, Ayrshire (photo: Jim Woods).
Kumlien's Gull: Killybegs, Co. Donegal (photo: Derek Charles). Iceland Gull: Titchfield Haven, Hants (photo: Tony Bates).
Bonaparte's Gull: Ferryden, Angus & Dundee (photo: Steve Evans). Caspian Gull: Moore NR, Cheshire (photo: Gavin Thomas).

The Sora continued to entertain, or frustrate, visitors to Gibraltar Point (Lincs) as it was very elusive for much of the time. The Great Bustard from the re-introduction scheme remained at Bleadon Level (Somerset) to at least 12th. A fine white-morph Gyr Falcon was reported from Muckross (Co. Donegal) on 11th. Gulls continue to provide plenty of entertainment. A 1st-winter Franklin's Gull was at Bideford (Devon) on 11th, and a 1st-winter was at Rosscarbery (Co. Cork) from 12th. An adult Bonaparte's Gull was at Cobh (Co. Cork) on 11th and the adult was again at Ferryden (Angus & Dundee) from 12th. Nine Laughing Gulls were reported: Reading (Berks); Cork City and Ring (Co. Cork); Dingle (Co. Kerry); Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway); Ardrossan (Ayrshire); Glaslyn Marshes (Gwynedd); Barnstaple and Berry Head (Devon). The 3rd-winter American Herring Gull was again at Nimmo's Pier (Co. Galway) with the probable 2nd-winter again at Sennen Cove (Cornwall). Kumlien's Gulls were reported from Farmoor Reservoir (Oxon) and Cotswold CP (Glos), with an adult at Killybegs (Co. Galway) and a possible adult at Huthwaite Tip (Notts). Aggregate numbers of both Caspian Gulls and Glaucous Gulls were in the mid-teens, though Iceland Gulls topped 50, including 10 at Killybegs (Co. Donegal) and eight at Culmore Dump (L'derry). The adult Forster's Tern remained at Nimmo's Pier and the 1st-winter again at Pillmore Strand (Co. Cork). The Long-billed Dowitcher remained on the Hayle Estuary (Cornwall), a Grey Phalarope was at Dungeness (Kent) on 10th and Stone Curlews were noted from both Horsted Keynes (W. Sussex) and Portland (Dorset). Four Little Ringed Plovers were the first spring migrants. Seabird highlights included a Little Auk off St. Andrews (Fife), Balearic Shearwater past Brandon Head (Co. Kerry) on 9th and a Sooty Shearwater past Flamborough Head (E. Yorks) on 12th.

Serin: Joss Bay, Kent (photo: Dylan Wrathall). Arctic Redpoll: Aberlady Bay, Lothian (photo: Kris Gibb).
Black-throated Thrush: Swansea, Glamorgan (photo: AG Adams). Black-throated Thrush: Swansea, Glamorgan (photo: Jeremy Inglis).
Waxwing: Bulwell, Notts (photo: Steve Morgan). Waxwing: Bulwell, Notts (photo: Ray Purser).

A Hoopoe was at Novohal Cove (Co. Cork) on 15th and the Serin remained at Joss Bay (Kent) to at least 16th. A number of long-staying rarities extended their stays, including the Black-throated Thrush in Swansea (Glamorgan), Hume's Leaf Warbler in Whitley Bay (Northumbs) to at least 10th, Northern Long-tailed Tit in Easington (E. Yorks), and Common Rosefinch in Sheffield (S. Yorks). Arctic Redpolls remained at Little Thornage (Norfolk), Aberlady Bay (Lothian) and Rendlesham (Suffolk). On Jersey, three Zitting Cisticolas were still at Beauport. A total of nine Great Grey Shrikes was still a below-par showing, five Lapland Buntings included four at Trevose Head (Cornwall) and the Shore Lark remained at Minsmere (Suffolk). The Siberian Chiffchaff remained at Copford (Essex) and another was reported from Helston (Cornwall). Some good Waxwing flocks continue to be reported, with up to 80 in Clyde and 70 in South Yorkshire.

Green-winged Teal: Belfast Lough, Antrim (photo: Derek Charles). Ring-necked Duck: Avonmouth, Somerset (photo: G. Bullivant).
Tundra Bean Goose: Freiston Shore, Lincs (photo: Darren Chapman). Ruddy Duck: London Wetland Centre, London (photo: Fraser Simpson).
Smew: Linlithgow Loch, Lothian (photo: Mike Thrower). Little Stint: Poole, Dorset (photo: Aidan).

A drake King Eider was off Fetlar (Shetland) on 10th; the Barrow's Goldeneye remains at Quoile Pondage (Co. Down), as does the Black Scoter off Llanfairfechan (Conwy). The female Black Duck was still on Tresco (Scilly), and American Wigeons were at Wick (Highland), Shadar Beach (Outer Hebrides), Belvide Reservoir (Staffs) and Needingworth Quarry (Cambs), plus 10 Green-winged Teal were noted. The only Surf Scoter was the regular drake off Fife, there were four Lesser Scaup, including a new bird at Milton Loch (Dumfries and Galloway), Ferruginous Ducks still at New Hythe (Kent) and Craigavon (Co. Armagh) and the number of Ring-necked Ducks was into the teens. The apparent Grey-bellied Brant was at Spurn (E. Yorks) to at least 11th, just four Black Brants were reported and a Richardson's Canada Goose was still at Caerlaverock (Dumfries and Galloway). Six Rough-legged Buzzards were reported and a number of Garganey arrived, including seven on the Erme Estuary (Devon).

Ruff: Martin Mere, Lancs (photo: Sue Tranter). Ruff: Martin Mere, Lancs (photo: Sue Tranter).
Siskin: Spital, Cheshire (photo: Steve Round). Bullfinch: Pennington Flash, Gtr Manchester (photo: Sue Tranter).

Bittern: London Wetland Centre, London (photo: Mark Jobling).

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
Ken Plows: http://www.kenswildlifepics.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