The Week in Focus: 27th July to 2nd August 2013

Temperatures remained relatively high and heavy showers hit the County on 27th and 29th, causing water levels to rise slightly at local bodies of water. With migration now well under way, a number of interesting visitors were discovered as the week progressed.

Last week’s eclipse drake Mandarin Duck was still at Ravensthorpe Res on 29th and single summering drake Wigeon remained at nearby Hollowell Res and at Clifford Hill GP on the same date with four at Summer Leys LNR on 28th.  The eclipse drake Red-crested Pochard remained at Stanwick GP also until 29th and a Goldeneye was found at Pitsford Res the following day.

In what has turned out to be a very poor summer for Quail one – the second only this year – was singing near Ashton Wold on 27th. By contrast, however, in a good year for Great White Egrets, one was found at Clifford Hill GP on 27th and remained there all week, frequenting the grassy peninsular at the western end of the main barrage lake.

Great White Egret with mooning sheep, Clifford Hill GP, 29th July 2013 (Dave Jackson).1

Great White Egret with mooning sheep, Clifford Hill GP, 29th July 2013 (Dave Jackson)

Another ‘Black Kite’ was reported, this time drifting over the A14 near Cranford St John on 28th and the only other notable raptors were an Osprey in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton on 29th and a Peregrine at Summer Leys on 28th.

Little Ringed Plovers were recorded at Summer Leys, where up to four remained all week, while four Dunlin were also at Summer Leys on 27th with singles there on 30th and 2nd, one was at Pitsford Res on 28th and six at Clifford Hill GP on 31st. Summer Leys produced the only Black-tailed Godwits of the week with nine on 27th-28th and five on 2nd, a Whimbrel went through at Stanwick GP on 30th, while Common Sandpipers were recorded from Clifford Hill GP, Stanwick GP, Summer Leys, Hollowell Res and Pitsford Res, with a maximum of three or four at the latter site on 30th and four at Summer Leys the following day. In contrast to last week, only two Green Sandpipers were found, with singles at Summer Leys and Stanwick GP on 31st and one again at Summer Leys on 2nd and a single Greenshank remained at Summer Leys from 30th until the week’s end, the same locality producing the autumn’s first Wood Sandpipers with up to two there intermittently between 29th and 2nd.

Wood Sandpiper, Summer Leys LNR, 2nd August 2013 (Alan Coles)

Wood Sandpiper, Summer Leys LNR, 2nd August 2013 (Alan Coles)

Wood Sandpiper, Summer Leys LNR, 31st July 2013 (Adrian Borley)

Wood Sandpiper, Summer Leys LNR, 31st July 2013 (Adrian Borley)

The late summer build-up of Yellow-legged Gulls continued with daily records from Stanwick GP, where there was a maximum of thirty-five on 30th, one was at Clifford Hill GP and four or five were at Pitsford Res on the same date with one there the following day. An adult Caspian Gull also visited Stanwick GP on 30th and the same site hosted an adult and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull on 29th, the juvenile remaining until 1st.

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull, Stanwick GP, 1st August 2013 (Mike Alibone). Click on the cogwheel and select 720p to view in HD.

Passerine migrants were in short supply this week with just a Common Redstart along the old railway line at Summer Leys on 31st, a Whinchat at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 2nd and two small parties of Crossbills totalling at least nine individuals flying south-west over Pitsford Res on 27th with four more over Bucknell Wood on 1st.

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