The Week in Focus: 30th March to 5th April 2013

The easterly airstream continued with temperatures remaining well below average. It was difficult to ascertain if the paucity of records of common summer migrants was a product of the adverse weather or the result of birders not venturing out to find them …

The drake Green-winged Teal, discovered at Stanwick GP on 24th before moving to nearby floodwater at Irthlingborough on 29th, appeared at the latter site intermittently until at least 4th, while a Pintail was found at adjacent Ditchford GP on 31st and two were at Clifford Hill GP on 30th. A confiding drake Garganey appeared on the Nene outfall stream at Ecton SF on 31st remaining until the next day and reappearing there on 5th and other drakes were discovered at both Irthlingborough and Pitsford Res on 2nd. Up to seven Smew (two drakes) were still at Pitsford Res on 1st and small numbers of Goosander hung on at gravel pits at Clifford Hill, Ditchford, Stortons and Thrapston with a maximum of twelve at the first of these on 1st and 5th.

Drake Garganey, Ecton SF, 31st March 2013 (Mike Alibone)

A Bittern was at Stanwick GP on 1st and the long-staying individual at Ravensthorpe Res was still present on 4th but there was only one record of Great White Egret this week when one appeared again at Summer Leys LNR on 1st. A fine, summer-plumaged Black-necked Grebe was found at Daventry CP on 5th.

Black-necked Grebe, Daventry CP, 5th April 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Black-necked Grebe, Daventry CP, 5th April 2013 (Bob Bullock)

A ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier flew north over Duston on 30th and an adult male flew east at Wollaston on 2nd, while single Ospreys flew over Sulby on 29th, Harrington AF on 31st and Pitsford Res on 2nd. Peregrines were reported at Blueberry Farm (Maidwell), Corby, Kettering, Pitsford Res and Rushden.

More Little Ringed Plovers arrived this week with one at Irthlingborough on 31st and two at Ditchford GP the following day while a Knot visited Pitsford Res briefly on 5th and two Dunlins appeared at Stanwick GP on 1st and one was at Clifford Hill GP on 2nd. Two Jack Snipe remained at Hollowell Res on 5th, three Ruff (from Stanwick GP) were at Irthlingborough on 31st with two remaining the next day and the same site hosted up to nine Black-tailed Godwits throughout the week, while thirteen had been at nearby Stanwick GP during the evening of 29th and one visited Clifford Hill GP on 5th. Five Bar-tailed Godwits flying west over Ravensthorpe Res on 4th were unusually early but the only Curlew this week was one at Summer Leys LNR on 3rd and 4th and single Green Sandpipers were at Ecton SF on 1st and 2nd, Pitsford Res on 2nd, 4th and 5th and at Upton Valley on 4th.   

Single adult Mediterranean Gulls appeared at Ravensthorpe Res on 4th and at Daventry CP the following day while two Caspian Gulls were reported on floodwater at Irthlingborough on 1st and two adult Yellow-legged Gulls visited Ravensthorpe Res on 4th.

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Daventry CP, 5th April 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Daventry CP, 5th April 2013 (Bob Bullock)

A Short-eared Owl put in an appearance at Blueberry Farm (Maidwell) on 30th and, again, just one Sand Martin was seen this week with one at Ecton SF on 5th. The latter site continued to host at least one very silent Siberian Chiffchaff throughout the week. Despite a couple of presumed new Blackcap arrivals from the south – at Summer Leys on 30th and Northampton on 4th – Central European Blackcaps appeared reluctant to move and continued to hang on in two gardens in Duston (Northampton), Irthlingborough, Kettering, Spratton and Wellingborough. A Black Redstart was discovered in Pattishall on 31st and Northern Wheatears were found at four sites during the week, while the year’s first Yellow Wagtail was at Harrington AF on 4th.

Siberian Chiffchaff, Ecton SF, 2nd April 2013 (Doug Goddard)

Siberian Chiffchaff, Ecton SF, 2nd April 2013 (Doug Goddard)

Bramblings hung on all week at East Hunsbury (Northampton), Harrington AF, Hanging Houghton and Spratton and a Mealy Redpoll visited a garden feeder in east Hunsbury on 3rd.

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