Kittiwake at Daventry Country Park

Gary Pullan was lucky enough to discover a first-winter Kittiwake at Daventry Country Park this morning. Although not particularly rare nationally, Kittiwakes can often be difficult to connect with in Northants as a result of the short stopovers at inland sites made by the few individuals which choose to migrate overland to reach their breeding sites anywhere between northern Britain and the high Arctic.

Apart from making a short flight around the reservoir while I was there, it spent most of its time loafing on the water, occasionally picking at surface insects, well out in the middle – hence the rather poor, heavily cropped digiscoped shot below.

First-winter Kittiwake, Daventry CP, 7th April 2012 (Mike Alibone)

With an average of four records per year over the last ten years, the overwhelming majority of Kittiwakes visiting the County in spring are adults so this individual is unusual insomuch as it is a first-year – apparently the first spring first-winter since 2001! At first sight it appears doubly unusual because it remained all day, allowing County year-listers ample time to catch up with it, although being immature is a likely explanation for it being in no hurry to reach any breeding grounds.

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