Rarity Round-up, 3rd to 9th November 2018

A largely southerly airstream throughout the week kept temperatures above average, peaking at 15ºC on 5th-6th. Wildfowl numbers continued to build and most of last week’s rare fare remained settled and on show. Additionally, for the second week running, a handful of new arrivals included another species which was the first this century in Northamptonshire …

The flow of Whooper Swans over the past weeks appears now to have halted but it has left us with eleven (nine adults and two first-winters) at Pitsford Res, present north of the causeway for nigh on two weeks. Hopefully they will remain for the foreseeable future. Similarly ensconced, the two adult White-fronted Geese remained at Sywell CP and the female Ruddy Shelduck was still at Ravensthorpe Res on 4th.

Red-crested Pochard, Wicksteed Park Lake, 6th November 2018 (Alan Francis). One of three drakes present.

Red-crested Pochards, Stanford Res, 9th November 2018 (Chris Hubbard). Four of six present.

Red-crested Pochards were widespread with this week’s highest count of six at Stanford Res on 9th. Elsewhere, between one and three were seen at Daventry CP, Hollowell Res, Stanwick GP, Thrapston GP and Wicksteed Park Lake and the first-winter Scaup remained at Thrapston GP all week.

Velvet Scoters, Thrapston GP, 5th November 2018 (Alan Coles). Three of the six present.

Held over by popular demand, the six first-winter Velvet Scoters remained on Thrapston GP’s Town Lake for a second week, still showing well there on 9th. Conversely, of interest but of limited appeal, a very distinctive drake American Wigeon x Eurasian Wigeon hybrid visited Daventry CP on 7th.

Drake American Wigeon x Eurasian Wigeon hybrid, Daventry CP, 7th November 2018 (Gary Pullan)

Last week’s Bittern was again seen on the A45 Lay-by Pit at Stanwick on 3rd but the site’s main attraction continued to be Cattle Egrets – last week’s two having doubled to four by the end of the week. Great White Egrets were reported from eight localities including Clifford Hill GP, Ditchford GP, Hollowell Res, Pitsford Res, Ravensthorpe Res, Stanford Res, Stanwick GP, Summer Leys LNR and Thrapston GP with Pitsford again boasting the highest count of five on 6th.

Cattle Egret, Stanwick GP, 5th November 2018 (Steve Fisher). One of up to four present.

Raptors were limited to the ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier, remaining elusive at Stanford Res between 3rd and 5th and a Rough-legged Buzzard reported on roadkill along the relatively short stretch of road between Apethorpe and Woodnewton on 9th. Should the latter be proven to remain, it is likely to become a more popular attraction than the six smart scoters down the road. Despite occasional reports, the last accepted record, only the third this century, was in October 2014 and as always, it was a fly-over. There has never been a twitchable Rough-leg in Northants …

Save the odd Jack Snipe – of which there was one at Stanwick on 6th – it’s normally all over for waders until spring but both the Black-tailed Godwit at Daventry CP and the Common Sandpiper at Stanwick remained until 7th and 9th respectively, while a late and fleeting Spotted Redshank at the latter site was a surprise on 6th.

On the gull front it was more of the usual fare, with single adult Yellow-legged Gulls at Hollowell, Pitsford and Daventry and a third-winter at the latter locality on 5th, while a first-winter Caspian Gull was at Hollowell on 3rd and 5th and a third-winter visited Stanwick on the last of these two dates.

Another Short-eared Owl was found at Harrington AF on 3rd but bird of the week – at least for one observer – was the Hooded Crow which flew south-west over Pury Hill, Alderton on 7th. The species was formerly a more regular, though scarce, winter visitor to Northants but its appearance in the south, east and central parts of the UK is now much less frequent than it was during the last century. In fact, this is the first in the county since 1999. Others were seen inland during the period in Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and East, South and West Yorkshire. More readily accessible and guaranteed to delight, however, were two Bearded Reedlings, which were discovered at Stanwick on 4th and did the decent thing of posing well for photos until at least 6th.

Female Bearded Reedling, Stanwick GP, 5th November 2018 (Steve Fisher)

Male Bearded Reedling, Stanwick GP, 5th November 2018 (Steve Fisher)

Female Bearded Reedling, Stanwick GP, 5th November 2018 (Martin Dove)

Male Bearded Reedling, Stanwick GP, 5th November 2018 (Martin Dove)

Female Bearded Reedling, Stanwick GP, 5th November 2018 (Alan Coles)

Male Bearded Reedling, Stanwick GP, 5th November 2018 (Alan Coles)

The only Brambling this week was one at Harrington AF on 3rd.

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Velvet Scoters in focus

Found on 27th October, a small flock of Velvet Scoters on Thrapston’s Town Lake is the first in the county since 1995 and rightly continues to attract a steady stream of admirers. Widely touted as ‘juveniles’, additional high-quality photos to emerge allow a more analytical approach to ageing, sexing and individual recognition.

The original eight, found on 27th October, had become six by the following day when two distinct individuals, which frequently kept apart from the rest of the flock, had departed. As well as being the largest flock to be recorded in Northamptonshire, the remaining six may also be in line to break the long stay record for more than one bird, having been present now for at least eleven days. The record is currently held by two which were mobile between Hollowell and Ravensthorpe Reservoirs, from 7th to 27th November 1983.

First-winter Velvet Scoters, Thrapston GP, 29th October 2018 (Bob Bullock)

Close examination of the excellent images obtained by Alan Boddington and Bob Bullock enables individuals to be readily identified by their head patterns, which are quite variable. Because of the broad, pale feather fringing on the wing coverts, the ‘long staying six’ (A to F) can be aged as first-winters and at least two of these (B, D) are young males, the dull yellow areas being visible on their bills. None of the other four shows the slightest hint of yellow but C, E and F are showing pale horn-coloured areas on, or around the sides of the nail. This is interesting because, according to Reeber (Wildfowl of Europe, Asia and North America, 1995), this is a characteristic associated with adult females and not present in first-winters.

Adult female Velvet Scoters, Thrapston GP, 29th October 2018 (Bob Bullock)

The ‘short staying two’ (G, H) are adult females with uniform dark plumage, which includes, most importantly, the belly – visible in the only flight shot (below) obtained so far. First-winters have a pale belly until adult plumage is acquired later in the winter or during their second calendar year. Hopefully, the remaining birds will continue their stay at Thrapston for some time to come.

Adult female Velvet Scoters, Thrapston GP, 29th October 2018 (Bob Bullock), birds ‘G’ (left) and ‘H’.

First-winter Velvet Scoters, Thrapston GP, 31st October 2018 (Alan Boddington). Birds ‘C’ (left) and ‘D’.

First-winter Velvet Scoters, Thrapston GP, 31st October 2018 (Alan Boddington). From left: birds ‘A’, ‘D’ and ‘B’.

First-winter male Velvet Scoter, Thrapston GP, 31st October 2018 (Alan Boddington), bird ‘D’.

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Rarity Round-up, 27th October to 2nd November 2018

The period started with northerly winds, rain and temperatures significantly depressed, while the first frosts since last spring served to remind that it is now late autumn. Many a glove came on as BST slipped mercilessly into GMT, plunging the late afternoons into near-darkness and curtailing any after-work birding activity for those of us still having to earn a crust. Surprisingly, wildfowl well and truly stole the show this week, which saw the arrival of one species not seen in Northamptonshire for nearly a quarter of a century …

So, they just keep coming. Smashing all previous records for autumn occurrences in Northants, Whooper Swans continued to pile in … and some lingered. The 27th saw two adults at Thrapston GP and two further adults at Pitsford Res, the number at the latter location doubling by close of play, with all four remaining throughout the following day. On 29th, they were joined by another adult and two first-winters during the morning and then by four more adults during the afternoon, giving eleven birds in total – all of which remained throughout the week. Elsewhere, during late morning on 28th, twelve – including two first-winters – arrived at Earls Barton GP’s Mary’s Lake and on 29th an adult was found at Daventry CP.

Whooper Swans, Earls Barton GP, 28th October 2018 (Bob Bullock)

Whooper Swan, Daventry CP, 29th October 2018 (Gary Pullan)

Last week’s Pink-footed Goose was seen again at Stanwick GP on 29th and 1st, while the two adult White-fronted Geese at Sywell CP remained throughout the period and the female Ruddy Shelduck moved back from Hollowell Res to Ravensthorpe Res, where it was seen on 28th and 30th.

Female Ruddy Shelduck, Ravensthorpe Res, 28th October 2018 (Paul Crotty)

Red-crested Pochards featured heavily this week, particularly at Pitsford Res, where up to seventeen were present from 27th until the week’s end. Elsewhere, two were at Daventry CP on 29th and 30th with two at Thrapston GP on the latter date and singles were at Stanford Res on 28th and 2nd and Stanwick GP between 31st and 2nd. With winter fast approaching, Scaup were also getting in on the act with a first-winter at Thrapston GP from 28th until the week’s end and one at Pitsford Res on 1st, where a female Ferruginous Duck x Pochard hybrid provided an interesting distraction in Scaldwell Bay on 27th-28th.

Indisputably, however, this week’s star birds were the eight Velvet Scoters discovered on Thrapston GP’s Town Lake, late in the morning of 28th. Two had departed by the following day but the remaining six continued to delight local observers throughout the period, sometimes being pushed close to the shoreline by yachts from the sailing club at the south-western end of the lake.

Velvet Scoters, Thrapston GP, 28th October 2018 (Bob Bullock)

Although all appeared to be first-winters, it is possible to sex at least one as a male, based on its emerging bill pattern. This is the 21st record for Northants and the first since 1995, the last prior to which was in 1988 – the 1980s enjoying records in five out of ten years, with November being the peak month for arrivals.

First-winter drake Velvet Scoter, Thrapston GP, 31st October 2018 (Alan Boddington)

Velvet Scoters, Thrapston GP, 28th October 2018 (Bob Bullock)

Velvet Scoters, Thrapston GP, 28th October 2018 (Bob Bullock)

Velvet Scoter, Thrapston GP, 31st October 2018 (Alan Boddington)

Velvet Scoters, Thrapston GP, 31st October 2018 (Alan Boddington)

Nene Valley locations continued to provide the focus for more interesting birding, with Stanwick producing a Bittern on its A45 Lay-by Pit on 30th, while continuing to host the two the two Cattle Egrets until at least 31st. The same locality also held a Great White Egret from 27th to 29th and reports of singles seen intermittently came from Clifford Hill GP, Summer Leys LNR, Thrapston GP, Hollowell Res, Ravensthorpe Res, Stanford Res and Sywell CP but Pitsford claimed the lion’s share, with possibly as many as six on 27th and certainly at least four on 2nd.

Great White Egret, Stanford Res, 2nd November 2018 (Chris Hubbard)

And so to reports of raptors – or Hen Harriers, to be more precise … and both on the same day, 2nd, when a ‘ringtail’ was at Stanford Res just after midday, followed by a male at Harrington AF just before dusk.

But it was the west of the county that scored points once again with another flock of Common Cranes – this time eight, flying west over Fawsley Park on 27th and like the five reported over Shutlanger on 2nd, not obligingly hanging around for photographs as did the ‘Daventry six’ on 27th September. Assuming acceptance of all these, of course, this latest flock constitutes about the twenty-fifth record for the county.

In the wake of this autumn’s wader passage, Black-tailed Godwits continued to put in appearances in the Nene Valley at Stanwick on 28th and Summer Leys on 31st and the lingering, though fidgety, adult, still at Daventry CP on 30th, was seen again on 2nd. Noteworthy for its unusually long, late stay, the Common Sandpiper at Stanwick made it into November and was still present there on 2nd while, just up the valley, a Jack Snipe was found at Summer Leys on 27th.

There was little to write home about on the gull front, with an adult Mediterranean Gull visiting Daventry CP on 1st and single adult Yellow-legged Gulls at Pitsford Res on 28th-29th and Hollowell Res on 29th, while a third-winter Caspian Gull also visited Hollowell on 30th.

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Daventry CP, 1st November 2018 (Gary Pullan)

Again this week, another ‘heard only’ Yellow-browed Warbler was reported – this time from a residential road in Corby on 28th and there were more Bramblings on the move, with Stanwick producing one on 28th, followed by five there the next day, when one was also seen at Daventry CP. Single flyover Crossbills were seen and heard over Pitsford on 27th and Kingsthorpe, Northampton on 30th.

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Rarity Round-up, 20th to 26th October 2018

The beginning of the period started off unseasonally warm with westerly winds, swinging north-west before eventually adopting a strong northerly element with associated showers toward the week’s end.

The above conditions were no doubt highly conducive to Whooper Swan migration and Northants benefited from more UK arrivals on 22nd, when seventeen were found at Hollowell Res and six appeared at Clifford Hill GP, followed by four in flight over nearby Brackmills Industrial Estate the next day. In fact, it would appear that this autumn has seen the most arrivals of this species in the county for decades – perhaps reflecting the long-term trend, which has seen a 21% increase the UK wintering population over the 25 years 1989/90 – 2014/15 (WWT).

Adult Whooper Swans, Clifford Hill GP, 22nd October 2018 (Bob Bullock)

So, this former rare visitor is now the commonest wild swan to visit the county – a huge role reversal when comparing it to the now sadly declining Bewick’s Swan which, in former years, wintered relatively commonly in Northants, as this extract from the Bewick’s species summary in the 1978 Northamptonshire Bird Report illustrates:Making it into this week were the two adult White-fronted Geese, which moved from Clifford Hill GP to relocate at Sywell CP, where they remained throughout from 21st. A solitary Pink-footed Goose appeared at Stanwick GP on 24th, remaining until the week’s end, while the female Ruddy Shelduck was still at Hollowell Res on 24th. Red-crested Pochards continued to be seen and included six at Summer Leys on 20th and three at Thrapston GP the following day, with four there on 26th.

The two Cattle Egrets, discovered among cattle around the main lake at Stanwick GP on 18th, ultimately found their herd of choice by 20th as they chose to move about one kilometre up the valley to accompany the west end cows which grazed around the rough and reedy ditches opposite the Diamond Centre complex. Sometimes out of sight and difficult to see, they remained at Stanwick throughout the week.

Cattle Egret, Stanwick GP, 20th October 2018 (Ady Leybourne)

Cattle Egret, Stanwick GP, 24th October 2018 (Mike Alibone)

There were no ‘high’ counts of Great White Egrets during the period and, apart from two at Stanwick GP on 25th, singles could be found at Abington Meadows/Clifford Hill GP, Daventry CP, Hollowell Res, Pitsford Res, Stanford Res and Summer Leys.

Great White Egret, Summer Leys LNR, 24th October 2018 (Ady Leybourne)

The autumn’s fourth Gannet was seen in flight, late in the afternoon on 21st as it passed west over Long Buckby.

Disregarding a long-staying, now late Common Sandpiper at Stanwick on 25th, Black-tailed Godwit was the only wader species of note, with last week’s juvenile remaining until 22nd at Summer Leys, while the lingering adult continued to frequent Daventry CP all week.

Yellow-legged Gulls continued to be seen in small numbers, with a maximum of eight at Boddington Res on 24th. Elsewhere, at least three were at Ditchford GP on 23rd, up to two were at Hollowell Res between 20th and 24th and one was at Stanwick on 20th. Like last week, one Short-eared Owl was seen at Harrington AF on 20th.

On the passerine front, the second Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn was heard at Stoke Wood, north of Desborough, on 26th but promptly vanished; it must still be there … somewhere. A Rock Pipit was seen briefly at Hollowell Res on 20th and another flyover Brambling was on the move over Brackley on 23rd, while eight Crossbills flew over the University of Northampton’s Waterside Campus in Northampton on 24tth.

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Rarity Round-up, 13th to 19th October 2018

After a dry, bright, though blustery ‘day one’ the weather deteriorated rapidly with almost continual rain over the following two days – all courtesy of ‘Storm Callum’ as its eastern flank brushed the UK. The week in Northants was eventful, with a host of new migrants and three top rarities …

Another week, another Whooper Swan – or twenty-four of them, to be precise. Twenty-two flew north-east at Thrapston GP on 18th, quickly followed by two pitching down on the water there shortly afterward. Also appearing as a double, two adult White-fronted Geese were found with the local Greylags at Clifford Hill GP on 19th, while the female Ruddy Shelduck appeared to be settled at Ravensthorpe Res at the week’s end. Rounding off the cast of wildfowl were six Red-crested Pochards – two at Pitsford Res on 18th had become four the next day, when two were also found at Thrapston GP.

White-fronted Geese, Clifford Hill GP, 19th October 2018 (Bob Bullock)

The first-winter Cattle Egret, present in the cattle field immediately north of Summer Leys throughout the previous week, remained until 14th, after which there were no further reports. Two more were then discovered among cattle around the main lake at Stanwick GP on 18th, although they appeared not to be present the following day. Another great record, this represents the first ‘flock’ for the county and surely augers well for future occurrences.

Cattle Egret, Earls Barton GP, October 2018 (Bob Bullock)

Cattle Egret, Earls Barton GP, October 2018 (Bob Bullock)

In the meantime, Great White Egret numbers peaked with five at Pitsford Res on 19th, three still at Daventry CP until at least 17th and singles at both Summer Leys and Stanford Res on 18th and at Ravensthorpe Res throughout the period.

Another ‘one raptor week’ saw a Merlin at Chelveston Airfield on 19th and one of last week’s waders – the Daventry CP Black-tailed Godwit lingering until 16th. Another Black-tailed Godwit appeared at Summer Leys on 18th, a Ruff was found at Hollowell Res on 17th and the second Jack Snipe of the autumn was at Bozeat GP the following day.

Juvenile Black-tailed Godwit, Summer Leys LNR, 18th October 2018 (Ian Hicks)

The news that a Great Skua was loafing on the water off the dam at Sywell CP, during the afternoon of 16th, initiated a rush of adrenalin as those who were not hampered by the necessity to go to work headed quickly to site. It was found initially at 13.30 and fortunately remained throughout the afternoon.

Great Skua, Sywell CP, 16th October 2018 (Leslie Fox)

Great Skua, Sywell CP, 16th October 2018 (Bob Bullock)

Great Skua, Sywell CP, 16th October 2018 (Bob Bullock)

Great Skua, Sywell CP, 16th October 2018 (Alan Coles)

Great Skua, Sywell CP, 16th October 2018 (Alan Coles)

Great Skua, Sywell CP, 16th October 2018 (Bob Bullock)

Exuding brute and charisma, this Bonxie was a welcome catch-up for local birders, being the first in the county for nine years. And they seem to be getting rarer. This species is now occurring less frequently than it did in the last century, when it appeared in seven out of ten years during the 1980s. This week’s individual was the twenty-first for the county.

With just a first-winter Mediterranean Gull at Daventry CP on 17th and single adult Yellow-legged Gulls at Pitsford Res on 14th and Thrapston GP on 17th, larids were thin on the ground. Pitsford, however, produced a flyover Short-eared Owl on the latter date.

Whinchat, Bozeat GP, 18th October 2018 (Bob Bullock)

On the passerine front, a late Whinchat was at Bozeat GP on 18th and, conforming to their late autumn occurrence pattern, Black Redstarts were found on private land between Towcester and Abthorp on 15th, followed by one at Chelveston AF on 16th, joined there by another from 17th to 19th, and two were at an undisclosed site at Great Oakley on 17th.

Black Redstart, Chelveston AF, 17th October 2018 (Leslie Fox)

Back at Chelveston AF, a Northern Wheatear was present on 17th but Northamptonshire’s tenth-ever Richard’s Pipit was discovered on 13th, where it remained until 15th. Residing in a high-fenced, gate-locked sheep field, it was not easy to see for the twenty or so birders who braved the inclement weather the following day. However, a kindly farmer granted access and the birders – many of whom were from Bedfordshire – duly connected. The Bedfordshire connection is of particular significance. The Northants/Beds county boundary runs through the middle of the site and the pipit did the honourable thing by appearing in both counties, thereby giving Bedfordshire a new county first. All this raises the inevitable question: is Chelveston the new Harrington? We’ll see … Back on indisputably home turf, a Rock Pipit was found at Hollowell Res on 13th and vizmiggin’ (no ‘G’) at Pitsford Res produced a flyover Brambling on 19th and a Hawfinch heading south-west on 17th. Are we in for another invasion?

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Rarity Round-up, 6th to 12th October 2018

Apart from northerly winds and persistent rain on the first day of the period, the remainder of the week saw the winds blow southerly, bringing unseasonally warm weather from Iberia and temperatures peaking locally at 23ºC on 11th. The wind intensified on the last day, as ‘Storm Callum’ approached from the Atlantic.

The weather, however, appeared to have little effect on migrants from the north-east, with the first Fieldfares arriving on 7th and the first Brambling on 9th, while other factors were clearly responsible for delivering the main rarity of the week – Northamptonshire’s seventh-ever Cattle Egret.

Against a backcloth of coincident arrivals inland, an adult Whooper Swan was discovered at Cransley Res on 7th, while the mobile female Ruddy Shelduck continued to yo-yo between Ravensthorpe and Hollowell Reservoirs, last being seen at the latter site on 11th. Summer Leys attracted far in excess of its usual quota of regulars and casual visitors this week, following the discovery of a first-winter Cattle Egret among a herd of cows in the field immediately north of the reserve on 7th. A popular pull for photographers, it remained throughout the week, commuting frequently between its favoured cattle field, Summer Leys and nearby Mary’s Lake.

Cattle Egret, Summer Leys LNR, 9th October 2018 (Alan Coles)

Cattle Egret, Summer Leys LNR, 9th October 2018 (Alan Coles)

Cattle Egret, Summer Leys LNR, 9th October 2018 (Alan Coles)

Cattle Egret, Summer Leys LNR, 9th October 2018 (Alan Coles)

With a liberal scattering of some two hundred across the UK, including at least one hundred and five roosting at Shapwick Heath, Somerset on 28th September, its occurrence was only to be expected. It was just a question as to who was going to be the first to find one. In this instance, it was Matt Hazleton’s lucky day! The first Cattle Egret for Northants was also found at Summer Leys, back in August 2006. In fact, only one of the six previous records has occurred away from the Summer Leys/Earls Barton GP complex. It would appear highly likely that many more will follow as this species seems to be on the brink of imminent colonisation.

Firmly in the shade this week, Great White Egrets continued to be seen at six localities, with Daventry CP hosting the period’s maximum of three between 10th and 12th. Elsewhere, Ravensthorpe Res held one all week – joined by a second individual on 10th, one remained at Pitsford Res throughout, with two there on 9th, while singles visited Ditchford GP on 7th, Summer Leys on 7th and 10th and Stanford Res on 8th.

Great White Egrets, Daventry CP, 12th October 2018 (Gary Pullan)

Summer Leys again featured with a Gannet, photographed on the main lake on 10th, ‘back of camera’ images from an unknown photographer being on view to egret-watchers on the day.

Reports of raptors were thin on the ground but what was missing in quantity was made up for by quality in the shape of a Honey Buzzard, which was seen twice – including in a tree – at Kingsthorpe Golf Course, Northampton on the afternoon of 10th. Waders, too, only narrowly made it into this week’s copy, with a Black-tailed Godwit lingering at Daventry CP from 8th until 12th and the autumn’s first Jack Snipe appearing at Hollowell Res on 10th.

No autumn would be complete, however, without a visit by a late, juvenile Arctic Tern and Hollowell duly obliged with one of these crisp little classics on show between 6th and 10th. The same reservoir produced a third-winter Caspian Gull on 12th – the same date that a first-winter was mobile around the Moulton Grange Bay/dam area of Pitsford Res.

First-winter Caspian Gull, Pitsford Res, 12th October 2018 (Mike Alibone)

Lest they should be forgotten, small numbers of Yellow-legged Gulls were scattered with up to three at both Pitsford Res and Daventry CP, two at Hollowell Res and one at Stanwick GP during the period.

Adult Yellow-legged Gull, Pitsford Res, 7th October 2018 (Alan Coles)

Passerines were again making news this week and heading the cast was Northamptonshire’s tenth-ever Yellow-browed Warbler, pulled from a net at Stanford Res (just for a change) on 10th. Overall, some 500 were recorded nationwide in the run up to this date, so there are surely more out there to be found.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Stanford Res, 10th October 2018 (Chris Hubbard)

The first migrant Ring Ouzel of the autumn was a juvenile at Fermyn Wood CP on 7th when, back at Stanford, a late (for Northants) Common Redstart was trapped and ringed, while the autumn’s second Rock Pipit stayed briefly at Daventry CP on 11th.

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Rarity Round-up, 29th September to 5th October 2018

Another dry week – in terms of both weather and birds – with a primarily westerly airstream, plenty of sunshine and temperatures reaching a high of 21ºC.

Female Ruddy Shelduck, Ravensthorpe Res, 3rd October 2018 (Gary Pullan)

Still doing the rounds, the mobile female Ruddy Shelduck decided to drop into Ravensthorpe Res on 3rd before relocating to nearby Hollowell Res on 5th. Ravensthorpe also continued to host a Great White Egret throughout the period, while others included singles at Stanford Res on 1st-2nd and Pitsford Res to 30th, with three there on 2nd.

Great White Egret, Ravensthorpe Res, 2nd October 2018 (Gary Pullan)

Great White Egret, Ravensthorpe Res, 5th October 2018 (Paul Crotty)

Following the tracking of last week’s five Common Cranes from Scotland to their departure over the English Channel, via Daventry CP, five were also reported flying south over Shutlanger on 4th. Waders were, however, scarce, with just a juvenile Grey Plover paying the briefest of visits to Boddington Res before flying off south-east on 2nd. Also at Boddington, three juvenile ‘Tundra’ Ringed Plovers were present on 29th, with two remaining until 5th.

An adult Caspian Gull again visited Hollowell Res on 29th, while three adult Yellow-legged Gulls were at Stanwick GP on 29th and single adults continued to be seen at Thrapston GP on 1st, Pitsford Res on 2nd, Ravensthorpe Res on 3rd and one visited Boddington Res on 5th.

In contrast to last week, passerines featured a little more prominently, with a report of a Wryneck in an Earls Barton front garden on 30th, which was followed by several observers the following day but not seen subsequently. A Firecrest was in the vicinity of the Heronry Hide at Thrapston GP on 1st, while a Northern Wheatear at Harrington AF on 29th was the only one this week and a Rock Pipit flying south-west at Pitsford Res on 3rd was the first of the autumn.

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