Review of the Week: 9th-22nd August 2007


This review covers the two weeks from 9th to 22nd August - there was no review last week due to preparations for the British Birdwatching Fair.

The week at a glance:

Rare and scarce birds

Audouin's Gull: Seaton Marshes, Devon (photo: Dave Stone).

Easily the rarest bird of the period was the Audouin's Gull at Seaton Marshes in Devon on the 14th. The 4th British record, this bird was typically brief. The first individual in 2003 stayed for three days, but the three since then have been short stayers that have eluded the masses. Given that all four have been seen since 2003, and this is the second record this year, an obliging bird, or two, are presumably not that far away?

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper: Oare Marshes, Kent (photo: Andrew Warr).

Wilson's Phalarope: Bishop Middleham, Durham (photo: Frank Golding).

Wilson's Phalarope: Bishop Middleham, Durham (photo: David Brown).

Semipalmated Sandpiper: St. Mary's, Scilly (photo: Robin Mawer).

More obliging was a superb adult Sharp-tailed Sandpiper on the Oare Marshes (Kent) from 10th-11th - the first British record since one in Cornwall in 2004. An exciting array of rare and scarce waders was also on offer over the period. A Great Snipe at Blakeney Point (Norfolk) on 21st would have been popular had it hung around, as would a possible Greater Yellowlegs in Poole Harbour (Dorset) on 20th and 21st. An adult Wilson's Phalarope at Bishop Middleham (Durham) from 15th-18th was well received, and the same bird was then at Catterick (N. Yorks) on 18th-19th. A Semipalmated Sandpiper was on St. Mary's (Scilly) from 15th-17th and a possible was on the Carnsew Basin (Cornwall) on 22nd. A Spotted Sandpiper was at Chew Valley Lake (Somerset) on 9th, the Hudsonian Whimbrel was again on Walney Island (Cumbria) on 15th-16th and 19th and the Long-billed Dowitcher remained at Shannon (Co. Clare). A Lesser Yellowlegs was at Rogerstown (Dublin) on 12th and one at Barnstaple (Devon) on 16th. Six White-rumped Sandpipers included birds at Breydon Water (Norfolk), Canvey Island (Essex), Brownsea Island (Dorset), Tacumshin (Co. Wexford), Loch of Tankerness (Orkney) and Pool of Virkie (Shetland), and Buff-breasted Sandpipers were at Stone Creek (E. Yorks) on 9th and Greatham Creek (Cleveland) on 13th-14th. There were three Kentish Plovers at Keyhaven Marshes (Hants) on 13th and two were at Stanpit Marsh (Dorset), three Temminck's Stints were at Humberston (Lincs) on 10th and one at Hickling Broad (Norfolk) on 22nd and four Pectoral Sandpipers were reported.

White-winged Black Tern: Loch of Tankerness, Orkney (photo: Keith Hague).

White-winged Black Tern: Abberton Reservoir, Essex (photo: Sean Nixon).

Dark-backed terns, thought to be possibly Bridled Terns, were off Southwold (Suffolk) on 15th and Dunbar (Lothian) on 18th and a Gull-billed Tern passed west at Salthouse (Norfolk) on 20th. Seven White-winged Black Terns were noted, and Ring-billed Gulls included the familiar adult at Westcliffe-on-Sea (Essex) and another at Lough Donnell (Co. Clare), whilst Bonaparte's Gulls remained at Shannon (Co. Clare) and South Uist (Outer Hebrides). Seabird rarities included Little Shearwaters passing St. Ives (Cornwall) on 15th, with others off Flamborough Head (E. Yorks) on 11th and North Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 19th and there was a Fea's Petrel off the Bridges of Ross (Co. Clare) on 21st. Large shearwaters remained in short supply: peak counts for both species included 30 Great Shearwaters passing Pendeen (Cornwall) on 15th and six off Porthgwarra (Cornwall). Wilson's Storm-petrels continued to be encountered by pelagic trips off the Isles of Scilly, six on 18th being the largest count, whilst others were seen at St. Ives on 15th, Pendeen on 16th and Cape Clear (Co. Cork) on 17th. Around 15 Sabine's Gulls comprised mostly adults, and inland birds included singles on Rutland Water (Leics) on 21st and Chew Valley Lake (Somerset) on 22nd.

Citrine Wagtail: Fair Isle, Shetland (photo: Mark Breaks).

Greenish Warbler: Unst, Shetland (photo: Mike Pennington).

Melodious Warbler: Flamborough Head, E. Yorks (photo: Dave Mansell).

Rose-coloured Starling: Ennis, Co. Clare (photo: Sean Cronin).

The autumnal feel to the weather also delivered a mixture of expected early autumn scarcities. An early Citrine Wagtail was on Fair Isle (Shetland) from 13th, with the long-staying Lesser Grey Shrike still on the island as was the Subalpine Warbler on the Isle of May (Fife). A small rush of Greenish Warblers were scattered along the east coast, including perhaps as many as five on Blakeney Point (Norfolk), plus singles on Fair Isle and Unst (Shetland) and the Farnes and Holy Island (Northumbs). Half-a-dozen Wrynecks also made landfall, as did four Barred Warblers and four Red-backed Shrikes. There were Icterine Warblers on Fair Isle and Blakeney Point and a Melodious Warbler was a Yorkshire rarity at Flamborough Head. Three Common Rosefinches were on Shetland, a Woodchat Shrike at Durlston CP (Dorset) on 11th, a Serin at Wool (Dorset) on 13th and Rose-coloured Starlings at Ennis (Co. Clare) and Unst (Shetland). Aquatic Warblers were at Radipole (Dorset) on 12th and 22nd, with one at South Milton Ley (Devon) on the 12th, and an Alpine Swift passed over Clifford Hill (Northants) on 19th.

Squacco Heron: Earith GPs, Cambs (photo: Garth Peacock).

Squacco Heron: Earith GPs, Cambs (photo: Jon Hall).

Cattle Egret: Lewis, Outer Hebrides (photo: Tristan Ap Rheinallt).

A Cattle Egret on Lewis (Outer Hebrides) from 13th-14th was a good local record and several Great White Egrets included the long-staying bird in West Yorkshire at Swillington/Fairburn Ings. A juvenile Purple Heron was at Farmoor (Oxon) and another at Frensham Little Pond (Surrey). A Black Stork was in Dorset on 9th and 10th, one in Gwynedd on 11th and again on Anglesey on 13th and then on the Alaw Estuary again from 17th-21st. A juvenile Night Heron obliged in Hastings (E. Sussex) and a Squacco Heron was at Earith GPs (Cambs) from 11th-20th with one still at Lough Beg (Co. Antrim) to at least the 14th. The Glossy Ibis remained at Marshside (Lancs) and a Great Bustard was at West Moor (Somerset) on 10th. The Black Kite remained in residence at Nocton Fen (Lincs) and six Spotted Crakes were noted. A Ferruginous Duck was at Hornsea Mere (E. Yorks) from 22nd onwards and the long-staying bird remained at Chew Valley, as did Ring-necked Ducks in Fife and Somerset, plus another in Co. Donegal. A juvenile Marbled Duck at Cantley Beet Factory (Norfolk) from 19th-21st sparked further debate about this attractive duck's position on the British List, and two Surf Scoters remained off Aberdeenshire.

Night Heron: Hastings, E. Sussex (photo: Mick Southcott).

Night Heron: Hastings, E. Sussex (photo: Johnny Carr).

Photo of the week

Kingfishers are always a popular photographic subject, but very few people have managed to get flight shots of them. George Ewart has captured this hovering bird with great lighting (including catch-light in the eye) and a perfect background. This image illustrates the fact that, provided the bird's head - and especially the eye - is sharp, sharpness in other areas can be surprisingly optional.

Kingfisher: Venus Pool, Shrops (photo: George Ewart).

Other notable photos from the last two weeks

Gannet: Bempton, E. Yorks (photo: Steve Round).

Spotted Flycatcher: Rostherne Mere, Cheshire (photo: Steve Oakes, AEBS Limited).

House Martin: Burton Marsh, Cheshire (photo: Steve Round).

Long-eared Owl: Low Newton, Northumbs (photo: Stuart Sexton).

Snipe: Inner Marsh Farm, Cheshire (photo: Richard Steel).

Cuckoo: Marston on Dove, Derbys (photo: Richard Pittam).

Red Kite: Gigrin, Powys (photo: Jamie Cooper).

Garden Warbler: Rostherne Mere, Cheshire (photo: Steve Oakes, AEBS Limited).

Lapwing: Summer Leys, Northants (photo: Richard Bedford).

Common Buzzard: Elan Valley, Powys (photo: Kev Joynes).

Many of the images that appear in our weekly reviews can be purchased from the photographers, some of whom have their own websites:

John Anderson: http://www.pbase.com/crail_birder
Bill Aspin: http://billaspinsnatureblog.blogspot.com
Mike Atkinson: http://mikeatkinson.net
Richard Bedford: http://www.richardbedford.co.uk
Steve Blain: http://www.steveblain.co.uk
Will Bowell: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
Paul Bowerman: http://www.severnsidebirds.co.uk
Paul Bowyer: http://www.birdlist.co.uk
Graham Catley: http://pewit.blogspot.com/
Mark Caunt: http://www.AngusBirding.com
Dean Eades: http://www.deaneadeswildlifephotography.co.uk
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
David Hatton: http://www.kowapower.com
Josh Jones: http://www.wanderingbirders.com
Paul and Andrea Kelly: http://www.irishbirdimages.com/
Matt Latham: http://www.mattlathamphotography.com
Micky Maher: http://www.aardfoto.co.uk/
John Malloy: http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/johnmalloy
Brian Mcgeough: http://www.brianmcgeough.com/
Tony Mills: http://www.notjustbirds.com
Jerry O'Brien: http://www.BirdsofBerkshire.co.uk
Mark Newsome: http://www.durhambirdclub.org/
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
Marc Read: http://www.marcread-pix.com
Tristan Reid: http://www.atricillaimages.co.uk/
Steve Round: http://stevenround-birdphotography.com
Craig Shaw: http://craigsukbirdpictures.bravehost.com/
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
Richard Steel: http://wildlifephotographic.bblogspot.com/
Stephen Tomlinson: http://stevesbirding.blogspot.com
Sue Tranter: http://www.suesbirdphotos.co.uk/
Damian Waters: http://www.drumimages.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