The Week in Focus: 6th to 12th April 2013

The sustained high pressure system responsible for the prolonged easterly airstream finally gave way to an Atlantic low, adding a southerly element to the wind direction, raising temperatures and delivering rain at the week’s end. More migrants appeared.

The relatively long-staying drake Green-winged Teal was still being seen intermittently on Irthlingborough water meadows, just west of Stanwick GP, until 11th, while a female Pintail visited Summer Leys LNR on 10th-12th and last week’s drake Garganey remained at Ecton SF, being joined there by a pair on 9th and at least two were still present on 11th. Single-figure counts of Goosander were made at Blatherwycke Lake, Daventry CP and Stanwick GP although there were still thirteen at Clifford Hill GP on 6th. Single Great White Egrets were again at Pitsford Res and at Summer Leys LNR

Bittern, Stortons GP, 6th April 2013 (Dan O'Sullivan)

Bittern, Stortons GP, 6th April 2013 (Dan O’Sullivan)

on 12th and the elusive Storton’s GP Bittern broke cover on 6th while the County enjoyed a run on summer-plumaged Black-necked Grebes with one at Stanwick GP on 9th, two at Summer Leys LNR on 12th and the Daventry CP individual remaining all week.

Black-necked Grebe, Stanwick GP, 9th April 2013 (Dave James)

Black-necked Grebe, Stanwick GP, 9th April 2013 (Dave James)

Raptors were poorly represented by just a Marsh Harrier flying north-east at Pitsford Res on 9th and single Ospreys north over Corby on 6th and east over Sywell CP on 12th.

Waders, however, fared better with Little Ringed Plovers at five localities and a solitary Ringed Plover at Clifford Hill GP on 7th, with thirty Golden Plovers there on 9th and one on 11th and approximately ten at Harrington AF on the same day. A Grey Plover flew north-east over Daventry CP on 7th, a Knot visited Clifford Hill GP on 12th, while the only Dunlins were singles at the latter site on 6th and at Stanwick GP on 9th with two again at Clifford Hill GP on the same date, again on 12th and two at Summer Leys also on 12th. Six Jack Snipe were found at Hollowell Res on 12th.  Clifford Hill GP hosted a Black-tailed Godwit all week, being joined by a second individual on 9th, while four Curlews were there on 6th, the same number visited Thrapston GP on 9th and one was at Summer Leys LNR on 12th. Two Whimbrels flew east at Stanwick GP on 11th, the first spring migrant Common Sandpiper appeared at Clifford Hill GP on 12th and single Green Sandpipers were at Pitsford Res on 8th and 12th, Stanwick GP from 9th to 11th and at Ecton SF on 10th.   

The number of gulls was unsurprisingly low with most winterers having departed. A first-winter presumed hybrid Glaucous x Herring Gull visited Daventry CP on 10th at which time there was also a second-year Yellow-legged Gull present. The same date also produced the spring’s first Common Terns at Stanwick GP and Summer Leys LNR, followed by more over the next two days at Clifford Hill GP, Sywell CP and Thrapston GP. Singing and showy, a male Firecrest was present for just one day at Ditchford GP on 9th.

Male Firecrest, Ditchford GP, 9th April 2013 (Alan Coles)

Male Firecrest, Ditchford GP, 9th April 2013 (Alan Coles)

Male Firecrest, Ditchford GP, 9th April 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Male Firecrest, Ditchford GP, 9th April 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Male Firecrest, Ditchford GP, 9th Ap 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Male Firecrest, Ditchford GP, 9th Ap 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Male Firecrest, Ditchford GP, 9th Apr 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Male Firecrest, Ditchford GP, 9th Apr 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Sand Martins were seen in better numbers with reports from Billing Aquadrome, Brackmills Industrial Estate (Northampton), Daventry CP, Stanwick, GP and Thrapston GP, Swallows from 9th at Billing Aquadrome, Clifford Hill, Ecton SF, Harrington AF, Stanwick GP and Thrapston GP and House Martins at Billing Aquadrome, Cogenhoe Mill, Stanwick GP, Summer Leys and Thrapston GP from 11th. The first Sedge Warbler appeared at Stanwick GP on 12th and presumed new Blackcap arrivals from the south were two or three at Hanging Houghton, and singles at Barton Seagrave and at East Hunsbury (Northampton), all on 10th and another at Clifford Hill GP and three at Stortons GP on 12th, while presumed Central European Blackcaps remained in gardens in Barton Seagrave, Duston (Northampton), Kettering and Wellingborough. A Black Redstart was found at ‘Rigid Containers’ in Desborough on 12th and Northern Wheatears were found at five sites during the week, while a male Ring Ouzel was at Harrington AF on 11th with one Yellow Wagtail there on the same date, and others at Broadholme STW (Ditchford), Pitsford Res, Sywell CP and ten at Hollowell Res and two White Wagtails at Hollowell Res and one at Stanwick GP – all on 12th. A Brambling was at Pitsford Res, two were at Harlestone Heath and Harrington AF, three were at Kelmarsh and four at East Hunsbury (Northampton) while a singing male Crossbill was located at Borough Hill on 10th.

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