The Week in Focus: 28th September to 4th October 2013

The UK was sandwiched between a low pressure system to the southwest and a high pressure system over Scandinavia, producing a steady southeasterly airflow across the country throughout much of the week, turning southwesterly toward the week’s end.

The Pitsford female Ruddy Shelduck was present on 29th and then went unreported until 4th, when it was joined by a drake.

Ruddy Shelducks, Pitsford Res, 4th October 2013 (John Moon)

Ruddy Shelducks, Pitsford Res, 4th October 2013 (John Moon)

Ruddy Shelducks, Pitsford Res, 4th October 2013 (Jim Dunkley)

Ruddy Shelducks, Pitsford Res, 4th October 2013 (Jim Dunkley)

Twelve Pintails were also present there on 29th with four there on 4th, three were at Stanwick GP on 30th with one there the following day, three visited Summer Leys on 1st and one was found at Hollowell Res on 4th. There were just two records of Garganey with two at Clifford Hill GP on 30th and one at Ravensthorpe Res on 4th, while diving ducks were represented by an eclipse drake Red-crested Pochard at Stanford Res on 28th, a short-staying juvenile Scaup at Boddington Res on 3rd and a Goldeneye at Stanford Res on 28th with two at Earls Barton GP on 1st.

No longer a head-turner, a Great White Egret was found at Ditchford GP on 2nd, remaining until at least 14.00 the next day, while another arrived at Thrapston GP’s Barclaycard Pit during the morning of the same day. With an established North European population this species seems set to follow Little Egret in becoming a common sight in the UK. More welcome in the county, however, would be another Glossy Ibis, which has appeared only on two previous occasions (September 2002 at Ravensthorpe Res and September 2010 at Pitsford Res) each staying no more than twenty minutes. With western Britain currently enjoying another mini-invasion another is surely on the cards … On the raptor front a Marsh Harrier was again at Harrington AF on 30th and a Peregrine was at Summer Leys on 1st, while two were circling over Oundle on 3rd.

A few new waders arrived this week. A Little Ringed Plover was found at Pitsford Res on 4th, where eight Ringed Plovers were also present on 29th and 30th, dropping to four by 4th, while up to three were at Clifford Hill GP between 29th and 3rd. There was also a mini-influx of Grey Plovers, which included singles at Hollowell Res and Stanwick GP on 28th – the latter remaining all week – Pitsford Res on 29th and Daventry CP on 30th

Juvenile Grey Plover, Stanwick GP, 28th September 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Juvenile Grey Plover, Stanwick GP, 28th September 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Juvenile Grey Plover, Stanwick GP, 28th September 2013 (Mike Alibone)

and numbers of Golden Plovers started to build with forty-nine at Clifford Hill GP on 2nd and twenty-four at Stanwick GP on the same date. The latter locality also produced two Little Stints from 29th to 4th. Dunlins were found at four localities with site maxima of 4 at Daventry CP on 30th and the same number at Pitsford Res on 2nd, three at Clifford Hill GP on 28th and two at Stanwick GP on 3rd. The only Ruff this week were up to two at Clifford Hill GP between 28th and 3rd while the second Jack Snipe of the autumn was found at Daventry CP on 2nd and last week’s two Bar-tailed Godwits remained on the new scrapes at Thrapston GP until 29th. Just one Common Sandpiper was found – at Pitsford Res – on 29th when there were also three Green Sandpipers on the same date followed by singles at Daventry CP on 2nd and Ravensthorpe Res on 4th.

The only Mediterranean Gulls this week were at Boddington Res, where there were two first-winters on 2nd and one on 3rd. The same cannot be said for Yellow-legged Gulls, which maintained high numbers almost daily at Stanwick GP with a maximum of more than one hundred and ten there on 30th; elsewhere three were at Ravensthorpe Res on 4th, up to two were at Pitsford Res all week and singles visited Boddington Res on 3rd and Hollowell Res on 4th.

Adult Yellow-legged Gull, Pitsford Res, 4th October 2013 (Martin Dove)

Adult Yellow-legged Gull, Pitsford Res, 4th October 2013 (Martin Dove)

Good numbers of Caspian Gulls were also recorded this week with one at Stanwick GP on 29th, five there on 30th, three on 1st, four on 3rd and four on 4th. Four were also at Ditchford GP on 28th and 30th.

Second-winter Caspian Gull, Stanwick GP, 1st October 2013 (Steve Fisher)

Second-winter Caspian Gull, Stanwick GP, 1st October 2013 (Steve Fisher)

Winter came one step closer this week with the arrival of the first Redwing, which was trapped and ringed at Stanford Res on 28th, while a Whinchat remained at Clifford Hill GP on 28th and single Northern Wheatears were at Harrington AF on 28th and 30th and at Clifford Hill GP on the last of these dates.

First-winter Northern Wheatear, Harrington Airfield, 28th September 2013 (Doug McFarlane). The richly coloued underparts and relatively late date suggest this may be a bird of the Greenland race.

First-winter Northern Wheatear, Harrington Airfield, 28th September 2013 (Doug McFarlane). The richly coloured underparts and relatively late date suggest this may be a bird of the Greenland race.

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