The Week in Focus: 27th April to 3rd May 2013

A very dry and settled week with predominantly clear skies conducive to non-stop migration. The week was very quiet, the hoped-for rush of Bar-tailed Godwits, Whimbrels and Little Gulls, which have been the hallmark of late April/early May in recent years simply did not materialise … and neither did anything else.

A drake Garganey was at Summer Leys LNR also on 29th and again on 2nd and a pair of Goldeneye at Pitsford Res on 30th were the only ones recorded during the period. Three Marsh Harriers included a male at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 27th and single ‘cream crowns’ over Stanwick GP on the same day and at Thrapston GP on 29th while an unidentified ‘ringtail’ harrier sp. was at Harrington AF briefly on the evening of 1st.  An Osprey flew north along the River Nene at Oundle on 27th and another visited the trout lake at Thrapston GP on the evenings of 30th and 1st.

Osprey, Thrapston GP, 30th April 2013 (Sue Ware)

Osprey, Thrapston GP, 30th April 2013 (Sue Ware)

Again, just one Ringed Plover was seen in the period – at Summer Leys LNR on 29th, and the only Dunlins were two at Summer Leys LNR on 27th and up to three at Clifford Hill GP between 27th and 30th while a Black-tailed Godwit was at Summer Leys LNR on 27th, two were at Clifford Hill GP on the same date with one there until 1st and singles were at Pitsford Res on 30th and Stanwick GP on 2nd and 3rd. Just one Whimbrel paid a brief visit to Clifford Hill GP on 30th and a Curlew was at the same site on 28th. Common Sandpipers were found at seven localities and a single Green Sandpiper was at Summer Leys LNR on 2nd, while the same site hosted a Greenshank on 28th with others at Clifford Hill GP on 27th, Stanwick GP on 29th, 1st and 3rd and two visited Daventry CP briefly on 1st.

The only scarce gulls this week were an adult Mediterranean at Summer Leys LNR on 29th and an adult Yellow-legged at Ravensthorpe Res on 30th and the number of Arctic Tern records were down on last week with one at Thrapston GP on 29th followed by thirteen briefly at Pitsford Res the following day and seventeen at Stanwick GP on 2nd. A Short-eared Owl was a surprise find for one would-be Osprey watcher at Thrapston GP on the latter date and another surprise was the winter’s final fling of Waxwings with eight present in Wootton on 30th and 1st.

Waxwings, Wootton, 30th April 2013 (Alex Allen)

Waxwings, Wootton, 30th April 2013 (Alex Allen)

The long-staying male Ring Ouzel at Harrington AF made it into this week by still being present there on 27th, the same date producing the week’s only Common Redstart – a female at Quinton. Two Whinchats were at Hollowell Res on 30th but more interesting was a male Stonechat possibly of the continental race rubicola at Boddington Res on 2nd, while Northern Wheatears were found at five localities with a maximum of nine – two of which showed characteristics of the Greenland race leucorhoa at Borough Hill on 30th. A Tree Pipit was also present there briefly at the same time. A White Wagtail remained at Upton Valley (Northampton) from 27th to 29th and two were at Stanwick GP on 29th, while ‘finch of the week’ was a Crossbill at Kelmarsh on 27th.

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