The Week in Focus: 3rd to 9th August 2013

After a prolonged period of summer heat, temperatures returned to near normal this week in an almost continuous south-westerly airstream, which also brought heavy rain on 5th. Autumn migration began to gather pace.

The eclipse drake Red-crested Pochard remained at Stanwick GP until at least 8th as did the Great White Egret at Clifford Hill GP, with another reported at Pitsford Res on 6th and 7th. A juvenile Marsh Harrier appeared in at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 5th and may well have been the same individual seen at Harrington AF on 8th and 9th but the only other raptor of note was an Osprey at Welford Res on 7th. 

Adult male Osprey, Welford Res, 7th August 2013 (Douglas McFarlane). This four-year old individual, identifiable from the ring on its right leg, is from Rutland Water and one of a pair this year successful in raising two young which fledged in late July.

Adult male Osprey, Welford Res, 7th August 2013 (Douglas McFarlane). This four-year old individual, identifiable from the ring on its right leg, is from Rutland Water and one of a pair this year successful in raising two young which fledged in late July.

Adult male Osprey, Welford Res, 7th August 2013 (Douglas McFarlane). Even without the details revealed by the ring this is clearly not a juvenile. The upper parts are clear uniform brown, lacking broad pale-fringed juvenile feathers of wing coverts and tips to remiges and retrices. The broad black tips to the under secondary coverts – forming an obvious black band on the under wing – and the clean white underparts are also adult features

Adult male Osprey, Welford Res, 7th August 2013 (Douglas McFarlane). Even without the details revealed by the ring this is clearly not a juvenile. The upperparts are clear uniform brown, lacking broad pale-fringed juvenile feathers of wing coverts and tips to remiges and retrices. The broad black tips to the under secondary coverts – forming an obvious black band on the under wing – and the clean white underparts are also adult features.

Up to four Little Ringed Plovers remained at Summer Leys LNR until at least 7th, while four Dunlin – the only record this week – visited Clifford Hill GP on 3rd and a juvenile Ruff appeared at Summer Leys on 6th. The only Black-tailed Godwit this week was one at Stanwick GP on 8th, while Common Sandpipers were recorded from the latter locality, Summer Leys and Pitsford Res and single Green Sandpipers visited Pitsford Res and Summer Leys on 6th and two were at Daventry CP the following day. Up to five Greenshanks lingered at Summer Leys between 3rd and 7th, one was at Clifford Hill on 6th with seven there on 8th and three visited Stanwick GP on the same date, while the first Turnstone of the autumn was mobile around the yacht club at Pitsford Res on 9th.

Good numbers of Yellow-legged Gulls remained at Stanwick GP throughout the week with maxima of thirty plus on 5th and seventeen there on 8th; elsewhere single adults

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, Stanwick GP, 4th August 2013 (Mike Alibone). A typical individual with a ghosted Mediterranean Gull-like eye-mask and a clean white belly. 
Adult Yellow-legged Gull, Stanwick GP, 4th August 2013 (Mike Alibone) 

were at Pitsford Res on 3rd, 4th, 8th and 9th with six there in the gull roost on 7th and two at Clifford Hill GP on the same date. An adult Mediterranean Gull was also at Stanwick GP on 5th and a second-summer visited Daventry CP on 7th. Single Common Redstarts were found at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 3rd and at Harrington AF on 8th and also Whinchats visited both these localities with, at the former locality, four on 7th and 3 on 9th and two at the latter on 8th when two were also found in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton.  Two Crossbills were near the entrance to Harlestone Heath on 6th and two flew north-west over Harrington AF the following day.

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