The Week in Focus: 22nd to 28th December 2012

Another mild and largely wet week with few new discoveries, despite it being a ‘holiday week’ with presumably more birders taking to the field. Single Shelducks were seen at Blatherwycke Lake and at Deene Lake on 23rd while other duck numbers began to build, with the maximum count of Goldeneye reaching twenty-three at Ditchford GP on 23rd. Goosanders were recorded at Abington Park Lake, Clifford Hill GP, Ditchford GP, Pitsford Res, Stanford Res and Stortons GP with a maximum of six at the latter site on 26th.  Pitsford Res was the only site where Smew were recorded this week with four or five at the dam end on 22nd, dwindling to a drake and one or two ‘redheads’ by 27th and a single ‘redhead’ by 28th. A drake Ruddy Duck was at the same locality on 26th. Last week’s first-winter drake Scaup was still at Ditchford GP on 23rd.

At Pitsford Res the Great White Egret remained throughout the week, favouring the flooded marsh at the junction of Hannington Road and Walgrave Road, just outside Holcot and the Slavonian Grebe remained halfway between the dam and the causeway all week.

Approximately two hundred Golden Plovers were near Oundle on 23rd but the only other wader of note was a Redshank at Pitsford Res on 27th and 28th with the gull roost at the latter site holding an adult and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull plus a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull on 22nd, the two first-winter gulls both being present there again on 24th. On 23rd and 24th nearby Hanging Houghton played host to a Jackdaw showing characteristics of the southern Scandinavian race monedula, ‘Nordic Jackdaw’, which is a scarce winter visitor to the county.

A Cetti’s Warbler was found at Stanford Res on 27th – an unusual record for this site – while a pair of presumed Central European Blackcaps continued to visit a Northampton garden during the week and another visited a garden in Potterspury on 22nd.

Female presumed Central European Blackcap, Northampton, December 2012 (Dave Jackson)
Female presumed Central European Blackcap, Northampton, December 2012 (Dave Jackson)

A male Stonechat was found at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 28th.  In comparison to last week, Waxwings were in relatively short supply, the regularly appearing (although frequently elusive) birds in Brackley, Chelveston, Polebrook and Sywell all having moved on. Just a handful of fleeting visits were made by five to Holcot on 23rd, one to

Waxwings, Sywell, December 2012 (Jim Dunkley)
Waxwings, Sywell, December 2012 (Jim Dunkley)

Irthlingborough on 25th with four in the Brampton Valley below Brixworth and eight to ten at Morrisons Supermarket, Kettering Road, Northampton on the same date. On 28th eleven were in a garden at Hanging Houghton and nine were on Newport Pagnell Road, Wootton Fields, Northampton. Bramblings continued to be seen throughout the week at Harrington AF, where there was a maximum of eight on 26th, Kelmarsh with a maximum of four on the same date, Hanging Houghton where there was one on 23rd and two on 28th and at Pitsford Res with singles on 24th and 26th.

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