The Week in Focus: 15th to 21st December 2012

In stark contrast to the previous week, the last seven days saw the return of relatively mild, wet and windy conditions and rising floodwater. The adult Dark-bellied Brent Goose remained at Clifford Hill GP until at least 17th and the same site hosted this week’s maximum count of Goosanders with 13 there on 16th while 3 were at Pitsford

Adult Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Clifford Hill GP, 16th December 2012 (Mike Alibone)

 Res on 17th and 8 at Daventry CP on 21st. The only Smew during the period were a ‘redhead’ at Pitsford Res on 17th, two ‘redheads’ at Ditchford GP on 18th and the same number at Ravensthorpe Res the following day. A first-winter Scaup was again at Ditchford GP on 18th.

The Pitsford Res/Holcot Great White Egret remained throughout the week and a Slavonian Grebe  was found there on 18th and, in the raptor camp, a Peregrine was on pylons by the fishing lake at Ditchford GP on 16th, another was at Stortons GP on 17th and a Merlin was seen at Harrington AF the next day.

Slavonian Grebe, Pitsford Res, 18th December 2012 (Mark Williams)

Waders were thin on the ground as is so often the case at this time of the year and, apart from small flocks of approximately fifty Golden Plovers at Clifford Hill GP on 16th and sixty at Ditchford GP on 18th, the only one of note was a Redshank at Clifford Hill GP on the former date. The only Short-eared Owl reported was one at Harrington AF on 17th but more unusual was a flock of nine Ring-necked Parakeets which flew over Stoke Bruerne the following day. Ditchford GP also held three Chiffchaffs on 18th and further singles were at Clifford Hill GP on 16th and Pitsford Res on 17th while a pair of Central European Blackcaps was in a Northampton garden on 15th with another in a different Northampton garden the next day.

Upholding their recent winter scarcity, two Stonechats were found at Ditchford GP on 18th. Waxwings continued to be reported throughout the week with singles at Polebrook, Syresham and Woodford Halse on 15th and at Byfield on 21st and twenty-five in Brackley

Waxwing, Chelveston, December 2012 (John Britten)

on 15th. Thirteen were in Woodford Halse the following day, up to twelve remained around Chelveston on until 21st, approximately twenty were in Finedon on 18th and, on 19th, at least thirty were in Brackley. Up to a dozen visited gardens in Sywell on 19th and 20th

Waxwings, Polebrook, 20th December 2012 (Terry Wood)

while, during the same two days, up to thirty-six were feeding in gardens and showing well on TV aerials in Polebrook. Two visited Pitsford Res on 21st and up to four Bramblings were also at there with ten at Harrington AF on 17th.