The Week in Focus: 7th to 13th September 2013

Average temperatures and a predominantly westerly airstream followed colder northerlies prior to the beginning of the period. While winter duck numbers were slowly on the rise, few new migrants were discovered locally but …

Early autumn normally produces a scattering of Ruddy Shelducks in the UK and one was found south of the causeway at Pitsford Res on 12th. This coincided with others in East Yorkshire, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Kent and Sussex. They are likely to be from the summer moult gathering in The Netherlands and the origin of these birds is uncertain.  An eclipse drake Pintail was at Summer Leys LNR on 8th with two there and three at Pitsford Res on 13th, the former site hosting a Garganey on 7th-9th and five on 13th while Pitsford Res continued to hold a two Red-crested Pochards and a Goldeneye from 7th to at least 10th. A ‘female-type’ Common Scoter on the easternmost pit at Stanwick GP on 12th formed part of an inland ‘mini influx’ at the time.

A Bittern showed well for over an hour on the recently reprofiled scrape at Summer Leys LNR on the morning of 8th and was seen again in flight there later in the day.

Bittern, Summer Leys LNR, 8th September 2013 (Matthew Hazleton)
Bittern, Summer Leys LNR, 8th September 2013 (Matthew Hazleton)

The long-staying Marsh Harrier continued to be seen in the Blueberry Farm area until at least 8th and again at nearby Harrington AF on 10th while another was over fields near Fotheringhay on 8th. An Osprey was again at Blueberry Farm on 7th and 9th, it or another visited Pitsford Res on 8th, the same day as one was tracked as it flew southwest over Stanwick GP and shortly afterward over Ditchford GP, while a male Merlin in the Brampton Valley on 9th was the first of the autumn/winter period.

Few new waders made landfall in the County this week. Two Little Ringed Plovers visited Hollowell Res and one was at Clifford Hill GP on 13th, where eight Ringed Plovers on 8th had dwindled to five by 12th and one on 13th, while one visited Stanwick GP on 9th and two were at Pitsford Res the following day. Two Golden Plovers were at Stanwick GP on 12th-13th. Up to three Dunlins were present at Summer Leys between 7th and 9th with one there on 13th but the only other site to host this species was Clifford Hill GP, which held six from 8th until 12th and 8 on 13th. Two Ruffs were at Pitsford Res on 10th with one there on 12th, another was at Summer Leys on 13th and nine Curlews visited Stanwick GP briefly on 11th, while 3 Common Sandpipers were found at Pitsford Res on 7th, with four or five there on 10th, Welford Res (two), Sulby Res (one) and nearby Naseby Res (one) – all on 7th – two were at Clifford Hill GP and one at Hollowell Res on 13th and, at Stanwick GP, there were two on 9th and three the following day. Green Sandpiper numbers were very low with three at Sulby Res on 7th, one at Pitsford Res on 8th and 13th with two there on 10th and one at Stanwick GP on 12th. The only Greenshanks during the period were at Pitsford Res, where there were up to three between 7th and 12th and eight Yellow-legged Gulls at Stanwick GP on 10th and one at Pitsford Res on 13th were also the only ones reported.

A Common Swift at Stanwick GP on 9th may have been the last one of the year, while a Whinchat was at Pitsford Res on 13th and up to six remained at Blueberry Farm,

Whinchat, Blueberry Farm, Maidwell, 11th September 2013 (Bob Bullock)
Whinchat, Blueberry Farm, Maidwell, 11th September 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Maidwell all week, the same site hosting up to two Northern Wheatears between 8th and 12th. A Tree Pipit was found at Pitsford Res on 10th and four Crossbills flew over Stanwick GP on the same date.

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