The Week in Focus: 19th to 25th January 2013

The week continued cold with further snowfall and few new birds being discovered. Two Mandarin Ducks were at Astwell Mill on 19th and the only Pintail were two at Stanwick GP on 24th, and the three wintering Scaup were still present at Ditchford GP on 19th with two there on 24th.  The same site also held an Aythya hybrid resembling a drake Lesser Scaup on 19th. Last week’s ‘redhead’ Smew remained at Stortons GP until at least 21st, another was at Clifford Hill GP to 23rd, while Pitsford Res held six on the same date and eight or nine on 25th.  Single-figure counts of Goosanders were made at Abington Park Lake (Northampton), Clifford Hill GP, Ditchford GP, Hardingstone GP, Pitsford Res, Shelfley’s Lake (Northampton) and Stortons GP but the only double-figure total came from Stanwick GP, where there were fifteen on 24th.

Goosanders, Abington Park Lake, Northampton 23rd January 2013 (Doug Goddard)

Goosanders, Abington Park Lake, Northampton 23rd January 2013 (Doug Goddard)

The Pitsford Great White Egret was seen just once, on 23rd and the Slavonian Grebe was still at the same locality on the same date. At nearby Harrington AF the female Merlin was seen almost daily and another appeared at Hartwell on 24th, while single Peregrines were at Ditchford GP on 22nd and 24th and at Pitsford Res on 23rd. The only Golden Plovers this week were approximately thirty flying south over Ditchford GP on 19th and six at Harrington AF on 23rd, while two Jack Snipe were discovered at Thorpe Waterville on 22nd and one was at Ditchford GP on 24th. The Green Sandpiper was still at Ecton SF on 25th and seven Redshanks continued to be seen at Stanwick GP on 24th while one was at Pitsford Res on 19th and a single Dunlin was at Pitsford Res on 20th.

On 24th, the adult and fourth-winter Glaucous Gulls were seen together at Ditchford GP where two adult Caspian Gulls were also present on 19th and 24th, while two adult Yellow-legged Gulls were there on 23rd and three on 24th. Of interest is a Black-headed Gull found dead at Harlestone Lake on 20th which had been ringed as a juvenile at Fiskeholm, Hårby, Denmark on 4th June 2003, 791 km distant.

Short-eared Owl numbers at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell were higher this week with three there on 24th and five on 25th and, nearby, a flock of approximately two hundred Skylarks was at nearby Harrington AF on 21st with one hundred there on 23rd and another two hundred were at Hartwell on 24th. Single Chiffchaffs were found at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 20th and at Moulton on 22nd while a high total of twelve was counted at Ecton SF on 25th and a total of eight Central European Blackcaps was seen during the week in gardens in Northampton, Polebrook and Wellingborough. Waxwings were seen in lower numbers than last week, the highest totals being sixty at Brixworth on 23rd, twenty-eight opposite Northampton Garden Centre in Northampton on 22nd, twenty-six at Pineham (Northampton) on 21st and the same number at Desborough on 19th with at least twenty-five in Corby on the same date. Smaller numbers were seen in Barton Seagrave, Hanging Houghton, Moulton, Northampton, Stortons GP and Wellingborough.

The only Stonechat of the week was one at Ditchford GP on 19th while Bramblings continued to be seen at Harrington AF, with a maximum of approximately ten there on 19th but more than eighteen were at Fawsley on 25th and smaller numbers were recorded at Blakesley, Hanging Houghton, Hartwell, Kelmarsh, Northampton and Pitsford Res. Up to four Crossbills were at Harlestone Heath on 20th and 21st and a high count of three hundred Yellowhammers was made at Hartwell on 20th.

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