The Week in Focus: 13th to 19th September 2014

The week’s weather remained dry and rather cloudy under the influence of a high pressure system to the north-east, allowing an easterly airstream to become established throughout the period. While the east coast fared well for migrants, Northants failed to deliver any surprises, leaving observers somewhat vexed as they struggled to find anything outstanding. Even the extensive mud exposed at Hollowell Reservoir – arguably the county’s best wader habitat at present – failed to pull.

Much of the same old stuff remained from last week, namely the two Barnacle Geese at Hollowell and the two Ruddy Shelducks at Pitsford Res – where the lingering flock of Red-crested Pochards swelled to thirteen on 15th – while an eclipse drake of the latter species was found at Stanford Res on 13th and the leucistic bird remained at Clifford Hill GP.

Ruddy Shelducks, PItsford Res, 14th September 2014 (Simon Hales)

Ruddy Shelducks, PItsford Res, 14th September 2014 (Simon Hales)

More dwelling ducks included up to two Garganeys at Summer Leys and one at Ravensthorpe Res all week and another visited Pitsford Res on 14th, while two Pintails were at Stanford Res on 13th-15th and up to two visited Pitsford Res between 14th and 17th.

Great White Egret, Pitsford Res, 14th September 2014 (Simon Hales)

Great White Egret, Pitsford Res, 14th September 2014 (Simon Hales)

The latter site continued to host last week’s Great White Egret and another was photographed in flight over Thrapston GP on 18th, while the smart adult Red-necked Grebe continued to delight visitors to Daventry CP throughout the period.

Red-necked Grebe with European Perch, Daventry CP, 15th September 2014 (John Moon)

Red-necked Grebe with European Perch, Daventry CP, 15th September 2014 (John Moon)

‘Cream-crown’ Marsh Harriers visited Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 15th and 18th and another was at Thrapston GP on 17th but the only Peregrine reported was the regularly visiting female at Blueberry Farm on four dates during the week. And so on to waders … This week’s highlight was a nice, scaly juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, present for just one day – the 15th – on the muddy spit between the dam and Moulton Grange Bay at Pitsford Res.

Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, Pitsford Res, 15th September 2014 (John Moon)

Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, Pitsford Res, 15th September 2014 (John Moon)

The same small area attracted up to six Ruffs and a Dunlin. Further Dunlin included four at Clifford Hill GP on 19th and singles, all on 15th, at Ravensthorpe Res and Clifford Hill GP and two at Ditchford GP, while the same date saw single Ruffs at Ravensthorpe Res, Stanford Res and Clifford Hill GP and two at Hollowell Res; there were also three at Clifford Hill on 19th. Two juvenile Little Ringed Plovers were at Clifford Hill GP on 13th-19th and single Ringed Plovers visited Hollowell Res and Stanwick GP on 15th. Two Black-tailed Godwit dropped in at Clifford Hill GP on 13th where a Little Stint was found two days later. One or two Common Sandpipers were present at six localities with five at Daventry CP on 15th, while Green Sandpipers this week numbered no more than two at Pitsford Res, Ravensthorpe Res and Daventry CP.  Just one Greenshank made it on to the week’s list with Daventry CP being the favoured locality on 18th and only one Redshank was found, at Pitsford Res, on 15th, while up to four Common Snipe were at Daventry CP, Pitsford Res and Stanwick GP and three at Clifford Hill GP.

A first-winter Mediterranean Gull was at Daventry CP on 15th along with a juvenile Caspian Gull  with more of the latter species including one on the same date at Stanwick GP, where there were five present on 18th. Apart from two adults at Pitsford Res and the regular adult at Hollowell Res, the only other Yellow-legged Gulls were represented by a sizeable count of approximately ninety at Stanwick GP on 18th.

Pretty much the same species of passerines topped the bill as last week including, remarkably – hot on the heels of Northamptonshire’s third – another Northern Willow Warbler trapped and ringed at Stanford Res on 13th.

'Northern' Willow Warbler, Stanford Res, 13th September 2014 (Adam Homer)

‘Northern’ Willow Warbler, Stanford Res, 13th September 2014 (Adam Homer)

A Turtle Dove was at Harrington AF on 18th with the same site hosting a Common Redstart on 16th-18th, while up to two were in the Brampton Valley/Blueberry Farm area for most of the week and one visited Stanford Res on 15th. Up to six Whinchats were also in the vicinity of Blueberry Farm, as was a Stonechat, while the only other Whinchat was one at Stanwick GP on 15th. Northern Wheatears remained thin on the ground with one at Hollowell Res on 17th and two at Harrington AF on 17th-18th while a White Wagtail was identified at Clifford Hill GP on 15th and migrant Tree Pipits this week included singles on 18th at Harrington AF, Daventry CP and Blueberry Farm, Maidwell.

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Masterclass: Gull Identification & Ageing

Martin Elliott will again be running his gull ID and ageing classes in both Cornwall and Northamptonshire, commencing this month …

STANWICK LAKES PRESENTATION FRONT A.MASTANWICK LAKES PRESENTATION BACK A (1)MAContact Martin at martinelliott.sennen@googlemail.com

 

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The Week in Focus: 6th to 12th September 2014

Summer almost returned as an area of high pressure remained over the country for the whole week and temperatures reached the low twenties. Winds were light and variable but contained a significantly easterly element.

The two Barnacle Geese remained at Hollowell Res all week as did the three Pintails and the two Ruddy Shelducks similarly remained at Pitsford Res after having returned there from Hollowell on 5th. Two more Garganeys were located, with the longer stayer at Summer Leys remaining all week, one at Clifford Hill GP on 8th and another at Ravensthorpe Res on 9th-10th, while Pitsford’s nine Red-crested Pochards had reduced to eight by the week’s end and three appeared at Clifford Hill GP on 7th, dwindling to one leucistic individual the following day.

leucistic Red-crested Pochard, Clifford Hill GP, 8th September 2014 (Mike Alibone)

leucistic Red-crested Pochard, Clifford Hill GP, 8th September 2014 (Mike Alibone)

The first Great White Egret of the autumn appeared at Pitsford Res on 10th and was still present at the week’s end. This species is becoming an increasingly common sight in Northamptonshire as well as in the UK as a whole; up to eleven were roosting at Britain’s breeding site in Somerset during the week.

Capture2A Red-necked Grebe, the fourth to have visited the county this year – or perhaps the same wandering individual – was found at Daventry CP on 10th, showing well from the dam and also remaining until the week’s end. This is the third for the site, the previous two records having been in 1991 and 1993.

Red-necked Grebe, Daventry CP, 10th September 2014 (Bob Bullock)

Red-necked Grebe, Daventry CP, 10th September 2014 (Bob Bullock)

Red-necked Grebe, Daventry CP, 10th September 2014 (Alan Coles)

Red-necked Grebe, Daventry CP, 10th September 2014 (Alan Coles)

Capture1Two Marsh Harriers were reported at Thrapston GP on 8th while the week’s tally of Ospreys came to a grand total of two, with singles over the canal at Yardley Gobion on 6th and at Pitsford Res on 11th. The only Peregrine was a female at Blueberry Farm on three dates during the period.

Scarce waders remained just that, with single Little Stints at Clifford Hill GP on 6th-7th and 11th, and at Summer Leys LNR on 10th, topping the bill. Otherwise it was a similar picture to last week with five Golden Plovers over Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 8th and two at Hollowell Res on 12th, up to two Little Ringed Plovers at Hollowell Res, Clifford Hill GP and Stanwick GP and one or two Ringed Plovers at Clifford Hill GP with six at Hollowell Res on 12th. A Black-tailed Godwit visited Summer Leys LNR on 8th and three were present there the next day, while Ruff were reported from six localities, with singles at Stanwick GP on 8th, Hollowell Res and Summer Leys LNR on 9th and Ravensthorpe Res the following day but two were at Pitsford Res on 9th and Hollowell Res on 12th and three were at Clifford Hill GP on 8th with six there on 11th. Up to seven Dunlin were at Clifford Hill GP until 11th and singles were at Daventry CP on 7th and Stanwick GP on 10th with one at Hollowell Res on 9th and two there on 12th. Common Sandpipers were found at Pitsford Res, Ravensthorpe Res, Daventry CP, Stanwick GP with a maximum of three at Pitsford on 7th, while Green Sandpipers this week were at Pitsford Res, Ravensthorpe Res, Daventry CP, Stanwick GP and over Hanging Houghton with a maximum of four at Daventry CP on 7th.  The small numbers of larger tringas included just four Greenshanks over Boddington Res on 9th and one Redshank at Hollowell Res on 12th, while the few Common Snipe included one at Clifford Hill GP on 6th, three at Summer Leys LNR and one at Ditchford GP on 8th, two at Hollowell Res and one at Stanwick GP on 9th and one again at Clifford Hill GP on 11th.

The only Mediterranean Gull this week was a juvenile at Pitsford Res on 7th while the highest number of Yellow-legged Gulls was six at Pitsford Res on 7th, with one there on 11th and two on 12th plus an adult at Hollowell Res on 9th-12th. Terns remained scarce with just one Black Tern reported at Thrapston GP on 8th.

Perhaps what will ultimately prove to be the last Common Swift of the year was seen over Raunds on 8th and Ring-necked Parakeets continued to be seen with two flying north over Clifford Hill GP on 6th and three in St Giles Street, Northampton on 9th. Despite being ‘only a sub’ arguably the best bird of the week was a Willow Warbler of the race acredula, colloquially known as Northern Willow Warbler, which was trapped and ringed at Stanford Res on 8th. This is only the third record of this race for Northamptonshire, the previous two also having been extracted from the mist-nets of Stanford in August 2008 and June 2011. An astonishing five hundred Blackcaps were also counted at Stanford Res on 8th following the lifting of early morning fog and ‘many’ were also said to have been present at Stanwick GP on the same date. Common Redstarts remained very much in evidence this week with up to four at both Borough Hill and Blueberry Farm, Maidwell, two at Harrington AF and one trapped at Stanford Res on 9th. What has proven to be the best year for Whinchats in recent times saw up to eight at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell, at least six at Stanwick GP, five at Borough Hill, three at Harrington AF, two at Clifford Hill GP and singles at Bozenham, Hollowell Res and Sywell CP, while a solitary Stonechat was found at Hollowell Res on 9th.

Whinchat, Harrington AF, 7th September 2014 (Simon Hales)

Whinchat, Harrington AF, 7th September 2014 (Simon Hales)

Northern Wheatears continued to remain scarce with two at Clifford Hill GP on 6th, one or two at Borough Hill on 7th and one at Summer Leys LNR on the same date and two at Harrington AF on 11th.  A White Wagtail was identified at Stanwick GP on 8th and migrant Tree Pipits this week comprised singles at Harrington AF on 6th, Borough Hill and Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 7th and over Bozenham on 11th.

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The Week in Focus: 30th August to 5th September 2014

A largely dry and relatively warm week, initially dominated by a light south-westerly airstream while the latter part saw coastal drift migrants arriving on easterlies resulting from a broad area of high pressure over Scandinavia. Perhaps associated with this was an exceptional total of two hundred and twenty-two Blackcaps trapped and ringed at Stanford Reservoir on 2nd, while more passerine migrants were clearly in evidence in other areas …

The two Barnacle Geese present at Hollowell Res all week were joined there by Pitsford’s two Ruddy Shelducks on 30th, although they had returned to Pitsford Res by 5th. Hollowell also produced three Pintails on 1st and two Garganeys on 30th, while another Garganey appeared at Summer Leys LNR on 4th, remaining there the next day. Red-crested Pochards remained at Pitsford Res all week, with numbers there rising from five on 30th to nine on 5th.

Unsurprisingly conforming to the local trend was another single-observer sighting of a fly-over Glossy Ibis, this time reported from Harrington AF on 1st, while raptors were thin on the ground but included single Ospreys on 30th at Pitsford Res and at Wakefield Lawn Lake and Peregrines were reported from Blatherwycke Lake, Blueberry Farm, Borough Hill and in the east Northants Nene Valley.

Peregrine, Northamptonshire Nene Valley, 4th September 2014 (John Broadbent)

Peregrine, Northamptonshire Nene Valley, 4th September 2014 (John Broadbent)

Waders continued to trickle through in small numbers. The autumn’s first Golden Plover flew over Pitsford Res on 1st, four Little Ringed Plovers were at Hollowell Res between 30th and 2nd and one visited Clifford Hill GP on 5th, while three Ringed Plovers were also at Hollowell Res on 2nd and singles visited Clifford Hill GP on 30th and 5th and Pitsford Res on 4th.

Juvenile Ringed Plover, Clifford Hill GP, 5th September 2014 (Bob Bullock)

Juvenile Ringed Plover, Clifford Hill GP, 5th September 2014 (Bob Bullock)

Fly-over Curlews appeared at Harrington AF on 3rd and Ravensthorpe Res on 5th, while a Knot dropped into Clifford Hill GP, also on 5th.

Adult Knot, Clifford Hill GP, 5th September 2014 (Bob Bullock)

Adult Knot, Clifford Hill GP, 5th September 2014 (Bob Bullock)

Four Dunlin at Hollowell Res on 30th-31st had dwindled to one there on 1st, while six were at Clifford Hill GP on 30th with four there on 5th and one visited Pitsford Res on 2nd.

Juvenile Dunlin, Clifford Hill GP, 5th September 2014 (Bob Bullock)

Juvenile Dunlin, Clifford Hill GP, 5th September 2014 (Bob Bullock)

A smart juvenile Ruff remained at Pitsford Res from 31st to 2nd while further singles visited Clifford Hill GP on 31st and Summer Leys the following day.

Juvenile Ruff, Pitsford Res, 31st August 2014 (Mike Alibone)

Juvenile Ruff, Pitsford Res, 31st August 2014 (Mike Alibone)

At least two Common Sandpipers were found at Pitsford Res, Hollowell Res, Clifford Hill GP, Stanwick GP and Moulton Quarry with no more than two at any one site, while the only Green Sandpipers this week were two at Wakefield Lawn Lake on 30th, one over Pitsford on 2nd and three at Daventry CP on 5th. Numbers of Greenshanks remained low with just one at Wakefield Lawn Lake on 30th and two at Sywell CP on 4th, while just one Redshank was found – at Hollowell Res on 31st – and another Spotted Redshank appeared briefly at Stanwick GP on 3rd with two Common Snipe there the following day.

Scarce gulls continued to feature, although not in any numbers. The only Mediterranean Gulls this week were a juvenile at Pitsford Res on 31st, an adult at Daventry CP on 2nd and a first-winter there on 5th, while Stanwick GP produced a juvenile Caspian Gull on 2nd and 3rd, while continuing to host reasonable numbers of Yellow-legged Gulls, with a maximum count of approximately fifty there on 4th.

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull, Pitsford Res, 31st August 2014

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull, Pitsford Res, 31st August 2014 (Mike Alibone)


CaptureSmaller numbers of Yellow-legged Gulls found elsewhere included singles at Daventry CP, Clifford Hill GP, Hollowell Res and Pitsford Res. The only Black Terns this week were two at Hollowell Res on 1st and 2nd and one at Pitsford Res on the last of these two dates.

The two Turtle Doves remained at Harrington AF until at least 1st and, on 30th, three Ring-necked Parakeets were in Brackmills Wood, Hardingstone briefly before flying toward Delapre Golf Course. In what has become the best year for a long time for migrant Common Redstarts, new individuals were found near Pitsford Res on 2nd (two), at Borough Hill on 4th and at Clifford Hill GP the following day, while the run of records from Harrington AF and the wider area of the nearby Brampton Valley continued, with up to two reported on several dates at both sites.

First-winter Common Redstart, Clifford Hill GP, 5th September 2014 (Mike Alibone)

First-winter Common Redstart, Clifford Hill GP, 5th September 2014 (Mike Alibone)

Similarly, Whinchats were present throughout the week at the first of these latter two localities, with up to three present on 30th, the same date upon which eight were counted at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell, while one visited Hollowell Res on 2nd and, on 5th, two were at Borough Hill and five appeared at Clifford Hill GP.

First-winter Whinchat, Clifford Hill GP, 5th September 2014 (Bob Bullock)

First-winter Whinchat, Clifford Hill GP, 5th September 2014 (Bob Bullock)

Whinchats, Harrington AF, 30th August 2014 (John Moon)

Whinchats, Harrington AF, 30th August 2014 (John Moon)

By contrast, Northern Wheatears remained relatively scarce with singles in the Brampton Valley and at Harrington AF on 30th, two at the latter locality on 1st and one at Clifford Hill GP on 5th, while migrant Tree Pipits appeared to be more in evidence than is usual with singles at Pitsford Res on 30th, Brixworth on 1st and Borough Hill on 5th and two flew over Hanging Houghton on 2nd, four were at Borough Hill on 4th and one or two at Harrington AF the following day.

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The Week in Focus: 23rd to 29th August 2014

With Britain firmly under the influence of a ‘further south than normal’ jet stream, a series of low pressure systems became a feature to the west of Britain, bringing south-westerly to south-easterly winds and persistent, heavy rain on 25th. Water levels rose at a number of well-watched locations but there was still just enough exposed mud remaining to attract passage waders. This week began to feel like autumn …

The two Barnacle Geese present at Hollowell Res all week seem set to be in it for the long haul and the two long-staying Ruddy Shelducks were still at Pitsford Res on 27th. There are normally more Garganeys around in late August but just one was reported this week, at Hollowell Res, on 26th-28th, while at least three Red-crested Pochards remained at Pitsford Res mid-week, along with summering female Goldeneyes there and at Earls Barton GP.

The ‘cream-crown’ Marsh Harrier continued to hunt in the Harrington AF area until at least 25th and others visited Summer Leys LNR on 25th and 28th while, for the second week running, a Goshawk was reported – this time flying over Broughton on 23rd. At least one Osprey remained in the vicinity of Hollowell Res, being seen on 23rd, 24th and 28th and single Peregrines visited Stanwick GP on 24th and Stortons GP on 26th, while two were in the Nene valley between Higham Ferrers and Irthlingborough on 26th-28th.

Marsh Harrier, Summer Leys LNR, 26th August 2014 (John Friendship-Taylor)

Marsh Harrier, Summer Leys LNR, 26th August 2014 (John Friendship-Taylor)

Adult Osprey, near Hollowell Res, 24th August 2014 (Simon Hales)

Adult Osprey, near Hollowell Res, 24th August 2014 (Simon Hales)

Peregrine, Northamptonshire Nene Valley, 26th August 2014 (John Broadbent)

Peregrine, Northamptonshire Nene Valley, 26th August 2014 (John Broadbent)

Despite rising water levels, wader passage picked up – if only a little – this week. Little Ringed Plovers visited Stanwick GP on 27th and Clifford Hill GP on 25th and five juveniles were at Hollowell Res on the same date, dropping to three there on 27th and two on 29th, while two adult Ringed Plovers were there on 25th, five visited Summer Leys the following day and singles were at Stanwick GP and Clifford Hill GP on 27th. The latter site produced the autumn’s third Turnstone on 23rd-24th and a Dunlin on 23rd, followed by five there on 25th. Further Dunlins included three at Hollowell Res on 25th and singles visited Stanwick GP and Pitsford Res on the same date while, back at Hollowell Res, four were present on 28th-29th. Things appeared to be shaping up nicely with the arrival of two Little Stints on the scrape at Summer Leys LNR on 26th but they departed after staying only a few hours. In contrast to last week, when there was none, Ruff appeared at four localities with two at Clifford Hill on 24th and singles at Pitsford Res on 25th-28th, Summer Leys on 26th and Stanwick GP on 28th. At least two Common Sandpipers were at Pitsford Res throughout the week, while singles were at Clifford Hill GP on 24th and Hollowell Res on 28th, while Stanwick GP held two on 24th and three on 25th dropping to one by 28th. The only Green Sandpipers this week were singles at Stanwick GP on 25th-27th and Summer Leys on 26th and three at Bozeat GP on 28th but arguably the wader highlight of the week was a Spotted Redshank at Hollowell Res on 29th. Back in the day, this species was a regular feature – sometimes in double-figure flocks – of late autumn at Pitsford Res but it is now a very scarce visitor to the county. Numbers of visiting Greenshanks have also fallen but it’s still a fairly common passage migrant, although this week managed to muster only one at Clifford Hill GP on 23rd and two at Stanwick GP on 28th. Redshanks were in similarly short supply with singles at Stanwick GP on 26th and Clifford Hill GP the following day and the only Common Snipe were two at Stanwick GP on 25th.

While the only Mediterranean Gull – a juvenile – this week was at Pitsford Res on 27th, Stanwick laid claim to the rarest with two juvenile Caspian Gulls on 27th

Juvenile Caspian Gull, Stanwick GP, 27th August 2014 (Steve Fisher)

Juvenile Caspian Gull, Stanwick GP, 27th August 2014 (Steve Fisher)

and a seriously good candidate for an adult Baltic Gull during the same evening gathering. Despite a showing a full suite of characters (small-billed, dainty, long-winged and pristine black upperparts apparently concolourous with primaries) records of this (sub)species are still not accepted by national records committees unless the individual in question comes adorned with a suitable leg-iron bearing a number proving its provenance.

Putative adult Baltic Gull, Stanwick GP, 27th August 2014 (Steve Fisher)

Putative adult Baltic Gull, Stanwick GP, 27th August 2014 (Steve Fisher)

Stanwick also continued to produce Yellow-legged Gulls daily, with a maximum count of up to thirty, also on 27th, while smaller numbers continued to be found elsewhere, including up to three at Pitsford Res between 23rd and 27th and one at Clifford Hill GP on 26th. With only small numbers of Common Terns remaining, a juvenile Arctic Tern at Pitsford Res on 25th was new in and a Black Tern at Stanwick GP on 28th was the first of the autumn.

The two Turtle Doves remained at Harrington AF until at least 27th and, next day, a Ring-necked Parakeet surfaced on wires close to an area where this species has bred in the recent past, Stoke Bruerne. Common Redstarts were still very much in evidence this week with 23rd producing singles at Duston and Harrington AF and two in the

Male Redstart, Blueberry Farm, Maidwell, 24th August 2014 (Bob Bullock)

Male Redstart, Blueberry Farm, Maidwell, 24th August 2014 (Bob Bullock)

Brampton Valley, while the following day saw singles again at  Woodford Halse, Blueberry Farm (Maidwell), Pitsford Res (trapped) and Harrington AF and four at Hellidon and one was at Harrington AF on 25th and 27th. Similarly, Whinchats were widespread with two in the Brampton Valley on 23rd, singles at Pitsford Res and Sywell CP and two at Harrington AF on 27th and one at Bozeat GP the following day.

First-winter Whinchat, Bozeat GP, 28th August 2014 (Bob Bullock)

First-winter Whinchat, Bozeat GP, 28th August 2014 (Bob Bullock)

Two Northern Wheatears were at Hellidon on 24th and singles were at Harrington AF on 24th and 27th and at Bozeat GP on 28th, while Tree Pipits overflew Brampton Valley and Harrington AF on 23rd and 24th respectively.

First-winter Northern Wheatear, Bozeat GP, 28th August 2014 (Bob Bullock)

First-winter Northern Wheatear, Bozeat GP, 28th August 2014 (Bob Bullock)

First-winter Northern Wheatear, Bozeat GP, 28th August 2014 (Bob Bullock)

First-winter Northern Wheatear, Bozeat GP, 28th August 2014 (Bob Bullock)

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The Week in Focus: 16th to 22nd August 2014

A minor recovery from last week’s unseasonal cool, wet and blustery conditions saw a low pressure system stationed to the north-east, delivering a westerly or north-westerly airstream for much of the period, with no surprises.

The two Barnacle Geese remained at Hollowell Res all week and the two long-staying Ruddy Shelducks were still at Pitsford Res on 18th. It’s been a good year for Egyptian Geese breeding in the county and a pair with eight goslings found at Ditchford GP on 13th were still all present and correct on 17th. Up to six Red-crested Pochards remained at Pitsford Res all week with the female Goldeneye there on 16th and the summering female was still at Earls Barton GP the following day.

Egyptian Geese, Ditchford GP, 17th August 2014 (Simon Hales)

Egyptian Geese, Ditchford GP, 17th August 2014 (Simon Hales)

Ospreys continued to feature this week with singles at Thrapston GP on 16th, Pitsford Res on 16th and 20th, Hollowell Res on 18th, 21st and 22nd and Stanford Res on 20th while the ‘cream-crown’ Marsh Harrier remained in the Harrington AF/Maidwell area until at least 20th. A Goshawk flew over Raunds on 18th and Peregrines were at Stortons GP on 16th and Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 20th.

Osprey, Hollowell Res, 22nd August 2014 (Alan Coles)

Osprey, Hollowell Res, 22nd August 2014 (Alan Coles)

If wader passage was slow last week then it had almost ground to a halt this week. Two juvenile Little Ringed Plovers were still at Summer Leys on 17th with singles there on 22nd and Clifford Hill GP on 20th, while Hollowell Res held up to five plus a Ringed Plover at the week’s end. A juvenile Turnstone paid a brief visit to Stanwick GP on 17th and single Dunlins visited Summer Leys LNR on 17th and Clifford Hill GP on 20th, while the only Common Snipe this week were singles at Pitsford Res on 16th and Summer Leys LNR on 22nd. Up to six Common Sandpipers were at Pitsford Res throughout the week, while singles were at Stanwick GP on 17th-18th and Clifford Hill GP on 20th. Singles of Curlew and Redshank visited Pitsford Res on 16th and a Greenshank was at Hollowell Res on 22nd.

Capture

The only Mediterranean Gull this week was a juvenile in the Pitsford Res roost on 16th although Caspian Gulls stepped up to the fore at Stanwick GP with an adult on 18th, two juveniles and a sub-adult on 19th, an adult and a juvenile on 20th and a juvenile on 21st. Stanwick also continued to produce Yellow-legged Gulls daily, with a maximum count of fifty-one on 19th, while smaller numbers elsewhere included up to six at Pitsford Res and one at Clifford Hill GP.

The two Turtle Doves remained at Harrington AF until at least 21st, two Tree Pipits were at Borough Hill on 18th and singles flew over Pitsford Res and Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 20th. Common Redstarts continued to filter through the county with one at Brackley on 19th, three at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell the next day and one at Harrington AF on 22nd while twos of Whinchat were at Blueberry Farm and in the wider Brampton Valley on 20th with one at Hollowell Res on 21st. Single Northern Wheatears were found at Brackley on 19th and Pitsford Res on 20th, while two visited Harrington AF on the last of these two dates.

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The Week in Focus: 9th to 15th August 2014

The week kicked off with storm-force south-westerlies and heavy downpours as the remnants of Hurricane Bertha hit northern European shores and a low pressure system tracked north-east across the UK. With the exception of a Sabine’s Gull in neighbouring Warwickshire, the much hoped-for inland seabirds failed to materialise and the week passed by somewhat limply and at a few degrees cooler than the temperatures enjoyed during the preceding few weeks.

The two Barnacle Geese remained at Hollowell Res all week, as did the two long-staying Ruddy Shelducks – now capable of flight – at Pitsford Res, along with the two drake Red-crested Pochards, female Goldeneye and the only new arrival there – a juvenile Common Scoter on 11th-13th. The two Garganey from last week remained at Daventry CP until at least 11th with one still present there on 15th.

Two reports of Osprey this week included one at Pitsford Res on 11th and two at Hollowell Res on 15th, while the site-faithful Marsh Harrier continued to put in appearances at Harrington AF until 12th, followed by singles – or possibly one individual – at Ditchford GP and Summer Leys LNR the following day. The 9th saw Peregrines at Blueberry Farm (Maidwell), Daventry CP and Summer Leys LNR with one again at Blueberry Farm on 11th-12th and three at Ditchford GP on 13th.

The movement of waders was slow and unremarkable with just one Little Ringed Plover reported from Stanwick GP on 11th and three at Hollowell Res on 15th, while a Ringed Plover was at Stanwick on 14th – the same day as three at Hollowell Res and a Dunlin was at Clifford Hill GP on 9th, with two there on 11th and one at Stanwick GP on the same date. The only Common Snipe this week were six on 11th and one on 14th – also at Stanwick GP, while a Whimbrel flew north at Hollowell Res on 15th. Common Sandpipers were seen throughout the week at seven localities, with a maximum of five at Hollowell Res on 11th, and Green Sandpipers were found at five with a maximum of three at Daventry CP on 9th and at Ditchford GP’s Broadholme STW on 11th, while last week’s juvenile Greenshank remained at Summer Leys LNR until 9th and another visited Hollowell Res on 15th.

Juvenile Mediterranean Gulls continued to show in the Pitsford Res roost with up to three there between 10th and 15th and a juvenile Caspian Gull appeared at Stanwick GP on 14th, where in excess of twenty Yellow-legged Gulls were counted on 11th and more than eighteen on 14th. Elsewhere, Pitsford Res produced up to four adult and one juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls between 9th and 15th, two juveniles were at Clifford Hill GP on 9th and single adults visited Daventry CP on 9th and Hollowell Res on 11th and 15th.

The two Turtle Doves remained at Harrington AF until at least 12th and a Tree Pipit flew south over nearby Hanging Houghton early on 15th. Common Redstarts were still very much in evidence this week, the 9th seeing singles at Hellidon and Summer Leys LNR and two at Borough Hill, singles were also in the Brampton Valley on 10th and Blueberry Farm on 12th when three were also at Harrington AF. The latter site produced a Whinchat on 12th and two were at nearby Blueberry Farm between 9th and 12th, while single Northern Wheatears visited Hellidon on 9th, Harrington AF on 12th and Denton Wood on 14th.

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