The Week in Focus: 11th to 17th May 2013

An unsettled week, dominated by a westerly airstream brought more migrant waders to the Nene Valley gravel pits and the first (overdue) Black Terns of the year to Pitsford Reservoir.

Few raptors were found during the week, those of note being a male Marsh Harrier in the Brampton Valley on 16th with a ‘cream-crown’ over Harrington AF on 17th, an Osprey over Thrapston GP on 13th, and a Peregrine at Trafford Marsh on 11th.

On the wader front, in contrast to previous weeks, Ringed Plovers appeared in good numbers at several Nene Valley locations with fourteen at Clifford Hill GP on 13th, four there the next day, one at Stanwick GP on 13th with six there the next day and two there on 15th and six at Summer Leys LNR on the same date. Most, if not all, of these were likely to have been of the northern race tundrae. More Sanderlings appeared this week with two at Stanwick GP on 14th and one there on 15th, one at Daventry CP also on 15th and five or six at Summer Leys on the same date, while a Temminck’s Stint paid a disappointingly brief visit to Stanwick GP on 13th. Dunlins were up on last week with singles at Summer Leys on 11th, 12th and 14th with fifteen there on 15th and three or four on 17th, one at Pitsford Res on 13th, two at Stanwick GP on 12th to 14th with three there the next day and eight at Clifford Hill GP on 13th with ten there the next day. A Bar-tailed Godwit visited Summer Leys briefly on 15th, three Whimbrels were at the adjacent Mary’s Lake on 12th, four visited Clifford Hill GP the following day and one was at

Whimbrel, Earls Barton GP 12th May 2013 (Mike Alibone)

Boddington Res on 15th. Single Common Sandpipers visited Summer Leys on 11th-12th and 16th, Stanwick GP on 12th and Clifford Hill GP on 16th and a Turnstone was at Summer Leys on 15th.

Turnstone, Summer Leys LNR, 15th May 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Turnstone, Summer Leys LNR, 15th May 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Loafing non-breeding gulls are becoming an increasingly common sight as we go into the summer months but the only scarcity falling into this category was a second-summer Yellow-legged at Summer Leys on 12th and an adult at Stanwick GP on 13th while an adult Little Gull visited Thrapston GP on the same date and a first-summer was at Boddington Res the next day. A Little Tern flew through Summer Leys on 14th, the first Black Terns appeared at Pitsford Res with two there on 15th and three on 16th and Arctic Terns this week comprised one at Daventry CP, two at Boddington Res and two or three at Pitsford Res – all on 15th.

A singing male Firecrest in roadside trees west of Scaldwell was a nice surprise for a passing birder on a bike on 17th, a female Redstart was trapped and ringed in a Greens Norton garden on 16th, two Whinchats were at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 13th while singles were at Harrington AF on 15th and 17th and three Northern Wheatears were in the Brampton Valley on 14th with one there on 16th and singles visited Harrington AF on 15th and Clifford Hill GP on 16th.

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