Review of the Week: 9th-15th September 2004

Pallid Harrier: Bryher, Scilly. (Photo: Ben Lascelles) Pallid Harrier: Bryher, Scilly. (Photo: Ben Lascelles)

A number of rarities were reported only very briefly this week, frustrating for those attempting to try and catch up with everything that was going on. Another Red-eyed Vireo was found in Ireland, this time at Smerwick Harbour (Co. Kerry) on Tuesday 14th. A Cliff Swallow was reported from Galley Head (Co. Cork) on Friday 10th, with a possible Isabelline Wheatear the same day at Old Head of Kinsale (Co. Cork). A Paddyfield Warbler was reportedly trapped and ringed at Llangorse Lake (Powys) on Saturday 11th. More obliging, but very mobile, was a juvenile Pallid Harrier touring the Isles of Scilly from Friday 10th onwards, the first record for the islands, and a male was reported from Castle Hill NNR (E. Sussex) on Sunday 12th.

Citrine Wagtail: Marazion, Cornwall. (Photo: Phil Stidwill)
Citrine Wagtail: Tingwall, Shetland. (Photo: Micky Maher) Citrine Wagtail: Tingwall, Shetland. (Photo: Micky Maher)

Rose-coloured Starling: Dawlish Warren, Devon. (Photo: Mike Lockyear) Rose-coloured Starling: Old Head of Kinsale, Co. Cork. (Photo: Michael O'Keeffe)

A female Citrine Wagtail at Tingwall (Shetland) on Monday 13th was a different individual to the recent female at Loch of Spiggie (Shetland) - two adults in an autumn is quite exceptional. In Cornwall the 1st-winter bird has remained present at Marazion through the week. More Greenish Warblers were found, with singles at The Naze (Essex) on Sunday 12th and Bawdsey (Suffolk) on Wednesday 15th. An Aquatic Warbler was at Slimbridge WWT (Glos) on Friday 10th, an Icterine Warbler was on St. Mary's on Saturday 11th and the Melodious Warbler was still at Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on Friday 10th, with another reported at Toe Head (Co. Cork) the same day. The first Yellow-browed Warblers of the autumn were two early birds in Wells Wood (Norfolk) on Friday 10th with one remaining to the 12th. Passerine interest was subdued this week, but there was still plenty to be find. There were at least 32 Wrynecks, and a dozen Red-backed Shrikes. Of nine Barred Warblers, all but two were on the Northern Isles, and it was a similar story with the 15 Common Rosefinches, nearly all of which were centred on the Northern Isles, with the exception of two in Co. Cork, one in Co. Donegal and another on the Isle of Man. The sole Tawny Pipit quickly departed Landguard NR (Suffolk) on Friday 10th, and several Ortolan Buntings comprised singles in Cornwall, Dorset and Co. Cork on 10th and Essex on 12th. Three Red-breasted Flycatchers included one at Flamborough Head (E. Yorks) on Sunday 12th, but less expected reports were of one at Polesworth (Warks) on Thursday 9th and Shapwick Heath NR (Somerset) on Wednesday 15th. Last week's Hoopoe remained at Nanquidno (Cornwall) to at least the 15th. Juvenile Rose-coloured Starlings continued to arrive in force, with seven reported during the week at: Le Catioroc (Guernsey) on 10th; Porthgwarra (Cornwall) again from 10th-11th; Old Head of Kinsale (Co. Cork) on 11th; Ardglass (Co. Down) on 11th; Dawlish Warren (Devon) from 13th-15th; Sandown (Isle of Wight) on 14th; and Mizen Head (Co. Cork) from 14th-15th.

Wryneck: Landguard NR, Suffolk. (Photo: Chris Mayne) Wryneck: Landguard NR, Suffolk. (Photo: Kit Day)

Wryneck: Landguard NR, Suffolk. (Photo: Chris Jones) Red-backed Shrike: Bockhill Farm, Kent. (Photo: Nick Bond)

Leach's Storm-petrel: Leasowe, Cheshire. (Photo: Steve Tomlinson) Long-tailed Skua: Scilly pelagic, Scilly. (Photo: Ben Lascelles)

A brisk spell of unsettled weather produced delight for Irish and west-coast seawatchers who gratefully enjoyed the bounty of strong onshore winds. A superb Black-browed Albatross past Kilcummin Head (Co. Mayo) was easily the highlight, but back-up to such a fantastic bird was plentiful. Yet more land-based observation of Wilson's Storm-petrels included singles at the Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) and Brandon Head (Co. Kerry) on Saturday 11th, another passing Annagh Head (Co. Mayo) on Sunday 12th and a rare British land-based observation at St. Ives (Cornwall) on Tuesday 14th. Superb numbers of Leach's Storm-petrels were noted, with large numbers seen from the Irish watchpoints, including 500 past Ramore Head (Co. Antrim) on 14th, and good numbers in the Irish Sea off north Wales and the northwest of England. Reasonable numbers of Long-tailed Skuas were again reported from many locations, and strong onshore winds produced numerous Sabine's Gulls, with 25+ past Brandon Head on 14th, and nine passing St. Ives the same day. An inland juvenile was at Prior's Fen then Dogsthorpe Pits (Cambs) on Sunday 12th. Nine Great Shearwaters were noted, but the only Cory's Shearwater was seen off Southwold (Suffolk) on the 9th. As would be expected under such conditions, pickings were thin for North Sea watchers, but a Little Shearwater was reported past Weybourne (Norfolk) on Wednesday 15th. A Bonaparte's Gull was at Thurso (Highland) from Sunday 12th-15th, and there was a report of an adult Ross's Gull at Stanpit Marsh (Dorset) on Saturday 11th. An adult White-winged Black Tern did an evening fly-past at Spurn on Friday 10th and 11th and there was a small incursion of Black Terns into the country. Three Little Auks were noted in North Wales, with singles in Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey. There was a glut of inland seabird sightings with over half-a-dozen Manx Shearwaters noted on inland waters in the Midlands, along with a couple of Gannets. A juvenile Long-tailed Skua was at Staines Reservoir (Surrey) on Thursday 12th.

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Sabine's Gull: Dogsthorpe Star Pit, Cambs. (Photo: Kevin DuRose) Manx Shearwater: Draycote Water, Warks. (Photo: Nick Anscomb)

Semipalmated Sandpiper: Lady's Island Lake, Co. Wexford. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly) Semipalmated Sandpiper: Lady's Island Lake, Co. Wexford. (Photo: Paul and Andrea Kelly)

Pectoral Sandpiper: St. Mary's, Scilly. (Photo: Ben Lascelles) Buff-breasted Sandpiper: Lewis, Outer Hebrides. (Photo: Martin Scott)

The numbers of Nearctic waders increased in tandem with the Atlantic airflow and seven species could be found in Britain and Ireland for the shorebird enthusiast. A juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs was at Stiffkey Fen (Norfolk) from Tuesday 14th onwards. An adult American Golden Plover was on Tiree (Argyll) on Monday 13th and 14th and another was reported over Eddersthorpe Flash (S. Yorks) on Sunday 12th. The Terek Sandpiper was still present at Blennerville (Co. Kerry) to at least 15th and the juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper remains at Tacumshin (Co. Wexford). There were seven Baird's Sandpipers noted: Tresco (Scilly) to 10th; Ballycotton (Co. Cork) 10th; Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) to at least 11th; Lissagriffin (Co. Cork) 13th; Marazion (Cornwall) to at least 14th; Davidstow (Cornwall) to at least 14th; and Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk) 15th. In addition there were at least 15 Pectoral Sandpipers, and eight Buff-breasted Sandpipers was a good showing: Thorganby Ings (N. Yorks) to 11th; Dursey Island (Co. Cork) 8th-9th; Tacumshin (Co. Wexford) two from 11th-15th; Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 12th; Sennen (Cornwall) on 15th; Berneray (Outer Hebrides) on 15th; and Tiree (Argyll) on 15th. Seawatchers logged nearly 35 Grey Phalaropes, the maximum eight past Butt of Lewis (Outer Hebrides) on 14th, whilst there were four Red-necked Phalaropes, with singles at Lodmoor (Dorset) from 11th-12th, Wigan Flashes (Gtr Manchester) from 11th-13th, Llandegfedd (Gwent) from 12th-15th and Saltfleet (Lincs) on 15th. The Temminck's Stint remained at Eyebrook Res (Leics) to 11th and others at Grove Ferry (Kent) on 9th and 12th and Blacktoft Sands (E. Yorks) on Monday 13th. A meagre four Dotterel were observed during the week, including a typically confiding bird at Leasowe (Cheshire). Finally, Long-billed Dowitchers continue to entertain visitors to Blennerville (Co. Kerry), Kinsale Marsh (Co. Cork) and Gibraltar Point (Lincs).

Baird's Sandpiper: Marazion, Cornwall. (Photo: G. Rickers) Baird's Sandpiper: Marazion, Cornwall. (Photo: G. Rickers)

Lesser Yellowlegs: Stiffkey Fen, Norfolk. (Photo: Pete Merchant) Red-necked Phalarope: Lodmoor, Dorset. (Photo: Chris Courtaux)

Dotterel: Leasowe, Cheshire. (Photo: Steve Round) Dotterel: Leasowe, Cheshire. (Photo: James Smith)

Dotterel: Leasowe, Cheshire. (Photo: John Beaumont)

Black Kites were noted in Dorset at Arne on 9th and Christchurch Harbour on 12th and one was at Monk's Wood (Cambs) on 14th. The Black Stork was again at Copt Hall Marshes (Essex) on Wednesday 15th with a Purple Heron at Reeveshall Marsh (Essex) the same day. The Glossy Ibis is still at large in Norfolk and eight Spotted Crakes betrayed their presence to their fortunate observers during the week. Great White Egrets remain in Carmarthenshire and South Yorkshire. The long-staying Yorkshire colour-ringed juvenile (which had previously frequented Bough Beech Reservoir and Cliffe Pools in Kent, in early September) was ringed in the nest at Lac de Grand Lieu, Loire Atlantique, France on 15 May 2004. This represents the fifth colour-ringed bird from this colony to be seen in the UK in the last two years and is a clear pointer to origin of the recent upsurge in records (which would of course be much greater were it not for the ringers kindly placing easy-to-read rings on these birds and allowing us to track their wanderings!)

Green-winged Teal: Edderthorpe Flash, S. Yorks. (Photo: Keith Pickering) Great White Egret: Old Moor RSPB, S. Yorks. (Photo: Sean Gray)

Osprey: Downholland Moss, Lancs. (Photo: Sue Tranter) Osprey: Downholland Moss, Lancs. (Photo: Sue Tranter)

Little Stint: Farmoor Res, Oxon. (Photo: Steve Burch) Curlew Sandpiper: Thurlestone, Devon. (Photo: Phil Stidwill)

Bearded Tit: Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk. (Photo: Alan Wadsworth) Bearded Tit: Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk. (Photo: Alan Wadsworth)
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
Steve Blain: http://www.steveblain.co.uk
Nigel Blake: http://www.nigelblake.co.uk
Will Bowell: http://www.geocities.com/wbowell/
Paul Bowerman: http://mysite.freeserve.com/severnsidebirds
Paul Bowyer: http://www.ukbirds.net
Andy Brett: http://www.freewebs.com/andybrett/
Martin Cade: http://www.portlandbirdobs.btinternet.co.uk
Mark Caunt: http://angusbirding.homestead.com/
Kit Day: http://www.kitday-uk.com/
Lee Dingain: http://www.leedingain.co.uk
Sean Gray: http://www.grayimages.co.uk
Peter Hadfield: http://www.manxbirdphotography.co.uk
Josh Jones: http://www.geocities.com/blgp_birder
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
Jerry O'Brien: http://www.BirdsofBerkshire.co.uk
James Packer: http://www.somersetbirder.co.uk
Tristan Reid: http://www.solwaybirder.org.uk
Steve Round: http://stevenround-birdphotography.com
Tom Shevlin: http://wildlifesnaps.com/
Matt Slaymaker: http://www.freewebs.com/slaymaker
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
Chris Wormwell: http://www.iombirding.co.uk
Dylan Wrathall: http://www.planetthanet.org
Written by: Russell Slack