The week continued mainly mild with few new birds being discovered during the period and the first suggestion that some winter visitors were beginning to depart. The eight White-fronted Geese at Clifford Hill GP remained until 2nd as did the five Egyptian Geese in fields by the watersports lake at Ditchford GP until at least 5th. The latter site still held a drake Scaup on 4th but the number of Smew was much lower than in previous weeks with just one ‘redhead’ at Ravensthorpe Res on 2nd and 4th and a pair at Pitsford Res on 5th. Goosanders similarly were recorded in lower numbers and at fewer localities with three at Clifford Hill GP and four at Stortons GP on 2nd, three at Hardingstone GP on 4th and eleven at Thrapston GP on 5th. Higher number of Wigeon at several localities hinted at the beginning of a spring movement of this species.
The Ravensthorpe Bittern remained on the ‘small side’ of the reservoir all week and the Pitsford Great White Egret was still being seen until at least 5th while last week’s Slavonian Grebe remained on the trout lake at Clifford Hill GP until at least 2nd.
Peregrines were seen at Stanwick GP on 2nd, in the Brampton Valley on 5th and at Harrington AF the next day while Merlins – or perhaps the same immature male – appeared at Blueberry Farm (Maidwell) on 4th and at Harrington AF on 5th and 6th. A paucity of waders included 58 Golden Plovers at Clifford Hill GP on 2nd, a Redshank at Pitsford Res on 5th with the regular Green Sandpiper at Ecton SF on the same date and a Jack Snipe at the unusual location of Brixworth Sewage Works on 7th.
At least two Glaucous Gulls were seen in the first half of the week with a ‘near-adult’ and a juvenile at Ditchford GP on 3rd and a juvenile there the next day and the ‘near-adult’ at nearby Stanwick GP on 6th. Last week’s juvenile Iceland Gull was seen at Sidegate Landfill on 3rd and an adult was on floodwater by the A6 between Irthlingborough and Finedon on the same date with presumably the same individual visiting Mary’s Lake at Earls Barton GP on 5th. The only Yellow-legged Gull to be reported reported was an adult at Ravensthorpe Res on 2nd.
Two Bearded Tits remained in the Phragmites bed at Ecton SF on 5th and fifteen Chiffchaffs were still along the outflow stream there on the same date, while nine Central European Blackcaps were reported in gardens in Duston (Northampton) Kettering, Northampton (2), Pitsford and Wellingborough with a maximum of three in a Northampton garden on 4th. After a week with none, five Waxwings visited Brixworth CP on 6th and a Stonechat was at Ecton SF on 5th. Bramblings continued to be seen at East Hunsbury (Northampton), Hanging Houghton, Kelmarsh, Stortons GP, Pitsford,
Pitsford Res and Wakerley Great Wood with a maximum of ten at Harrington AF on 6th, while approximately thirty Crossbills were at Wakerley Great Wood on 3rd and between twelve and fifteen were there on 5th.