The Week in Focus: 9th to 15th February 2013

A cold start to the week with intermittent light snow, which rapidly gave way to relatively mild conditions at the week’s end. Twenty-nine Shelduck at Deene Lake on 13th was an exceptionally high total for a single site in the County. Thirteen Smew, including one drake, remained at Ravensthorpe Res on 9th while two were at Thrapston GP on 10th, nine at Pitsford Res on 11th and one at Earls Barton GP on 13th. Single-figure counts of Goosanders were made at Abington Park Lake (Northampton), Clifford Hill GP, Hardingstone GP, Hollowell Res, Pitsford Res, Summer Leys LNR and Wicksteed Park Lake (Kettering) with a maximum of ten at Stanford Res on 9th.

The Pitsford Great White Egret was seen on 9th and 14th and on the latter date it was back on the marsh on the Holcot-Walgrave Road, by the Hannington turn. A Peregrine at Blueberry Farm (Maidwell) on 12th was the only raptor of interest this week but there were more waders reported with a Redshank and c1000 Golden Plovers at Clifford Hill GP on 12th and c600 there along with 2 Dunlins on 14th. Singles each of Black-tailed Godwit and Green Sandpiper were at Stanford Res and Ecton SF on 9th and 10th respectively. Another Redshank was  at Pitsford Res on 15th when there were also two Yellow-legged Gulls in the roost there.

The Hanging Houghton ‘Nordic’ Jackdaw was seen there again on 12th and at least twelve Chiffchaffs remained at Ecton SF with up to two Siberian Chiffchaffs throughout the week, as did at least two Bearded Tits. Single male Central European Blackcaps visited gardens in Duston (Northampton), Kettering, Pitsford and Towcester, while 2 males and a female were regularly in a Spratton garden and at least four also visited a garden in Wellingborough. A belated report of a Firecrest heard in a Pitsford garden on 8th attracted would-be observers on subsequent days but it was not relocated, while the long-staying male Stonechat at Hollowell Res was still present on 9th. On 11th, seventeen Waxwings flew over Pitsford Res, eight were in Cottesbrooke the next day and six in nearby Hanging Houghton on 14th, when at least fourteen were in Deanshanger and several were in Corby on 15th. Small numbers of Bramblings continued to be seen at the regular sites of Hanging Houghton, Harrington AF, Kelmarsh, and Pitsford Res but four were near Grimscote on 12th and two in East Hunsbury (Northampton) on the same date, while a Mealy Redpoll visited a Byfield garden on 11th.

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