The Week in Focus: 23rd February to 1st March 2013

A largely dry week with ‘spring-like’ weather during the latter half saw a trickle of new arrivals in the County. The eight White-fronted Geese at Clifford Hill GP remained all week, feeding with the resident Greylags and Canadas in the field behind the Premier Inn at the western end of the complex while another, found at Thrapston GP on 24th, was still present on the North Lake there on 27th. Five mobile Egyptian Geese were again in fields by the watersports lake at Ditchford GP on 24th but had seemingly vanished by the next day and the pair of Pintail at Stanwick GP on 24th were again the only ones to be seen during the period. At least one drake Scaup remained on the watersports pit at Ditchford GP on the same date and a hybrid drake Ferruginous Duck x Pochard was discovered at Daventry CP on 26th. Six Smew were still at Pitsford Res on 23rd, while up to the same number remained at Ravensthorpe Res throughout the week and Goosanders were recorded at Blatherwycke Lake, Daventry CP and Stanford Res and at Clifford Hill, Ditchford, Stanwick and Thrapston GPs with a maximum of eighteen at the latter site on 24th.

Smew, Ravensthorpe Res, 28th February 2013 (Alan Coles)

Smew, Ravensthorpe Res, 28th February 2013 (Alan Coles)

A Bittern found on the ‘small side’ at Ravensthorpe Res on 23rd and still present on 1st  is likely to have been the same individual present there on 28th January, subsequently

Bittern, Ravensthorpe Res, 28th February 2013 (Alan Coles)

Bittern, Ravensthorpe Res, 28th February 2013 (Alan Coles)

remaining undetected, while the Pitsford Great White Egret was seen again on 25th and 28th. Last week’s Slavonian Grebe remained on the trout lake at Clifford Hill GP until at least 24th but the only Peregrine this week was one at Ditchford GP on 25th.

Bittern, Ravensthorpe Res, 1st March 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Bittern, Ravensthorpe Res, 1st March 2013 (Bob Bullock)

The Golden Plover count at Clifford Hill GP reached a maximum of only c100 on 24th and there was a Redshank there and three at Stanwick GP on the same date.  The regular Green Sandpiper was seen at Ecton SF on 27th and 28th and four Jack Snipe were located at Hollowell Res on 23rd. Two juvenile Glaucous Gulls at Ditchford GP on 24th and a juvenile Iceland Gull at Wellingborough on 1st were the only scarce gulls of the week. Up to three Bearded Tits remained in the Phragmites bed at Ecton SF all week and eight Chiffchaffs were still along the outflow stream there on the same date with at least one Siberian Chiffchaff still there on 24th, 26th, 28th and 1st. Five Central European Blackcaps were reported, all in gardens, this week: a female in Rothwell on

Siberian Chiffchaff, Ection SF, 26th February 2013 (Alan Coles)

Siberian Chiffchaff, Ecton SF, 26th February 2013 (Alan Coles)

25th, a male in Irthlingborough on 25th and 26th, a male in Northampton and a male and female in Wellingborough all week. A trickle of Bramblings included singles at East Hunsbury (Northampton), Kelmarsh and Pitsford Res and multiples at Harrington AF with a maximum of eight there on 28th. Other finches of interest included several Crossbills at Harlestone Heath on 28th and a Mealy Redpoll at Polebrook on the same date.

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