The Week in Focus: 2nd to 8th November 2013

A cool and blustery start to the week and, with the winds remaining largely westerly, few new birds were found locally.

Two Barnacle Geese attracting the usual caveat ‘of unknown origin’ (but obviously feral) were found this week, with one at Stanford Res on 4th-6th and another at Blatherwycke Lake on 4th and twenty-two Mandarin Ducks were counted at the latter locality on the same date. The Pitsford Res Pintail count had risen and peaked at thirteen on 6th and one remained at Ravensthorpe Res until at least 5th, while both sites continued to hold Red-crested Pochards with twelve at Pitsford on 6th-8th and four at Ravensthorpe on 5th, with two there the following day. Up to three Great White Egrets remained mobile at Pitsford throughout the week while a Black-necked Grebe was seen again at Stanford Res on 2nd.

Great White Egret, Pitsford Res, 3rd Nov 2013 (Clive Bowley)

Great White Egret, Pitsford Res, 3rd November 2013 (Clive Bowley)

Great White Egret, Pitsford Res, 5th November 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Great White Egret, Pitsford Res, 5th November 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Raptors were thin on the ground (and in the air) with single Merlins continuing to be seen at Harrington AF and at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell during the week and ‘new’ ones at Ditchford GP on 4th and Wappenham on 6th while the only Peregrines were singles at Blueberry Farm on 2nd and at Stanford Res on 7th.

The autumn’s highest count so far of Golden Plovers was made at Stanwick GP with approximately eight hundred there on 7th-8th, while the same site continued to host a Black-tailed Godwit throughout the week. Green Sandpipers were present at four localities including Pitsford Res, where there were two all week, Ravensthorpe Res with one on 3rd and at College Farm, Blakesley and Sywell CP, where singles were present on 7th.

Adult Mediterranean Gulls visited the roosts at Pitsford Res on 3rd and Stanford Res on 7th and the latter site held an adult Caspian Gull on 2nd, while four – two adults and two first-winters – were at Stanwick GP on 4th with one or two adults there on 7th-8th. Once again the elusive adult Azorean Yellow-legged Gull materialised on the main lake there on 4th and 6th, evading would-be observers on subsequent evenings. Observations of ‘standard’ Yellow-legged Gulls were restricted to just a third-year at Pitsford Res on 3rd and an adult at Ravensthorpe Res on 5th.

Male Bearded Tit, Stortons GP, 2nd November 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Male Bearded Tit, Stortons GP, 2nd November 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Female Bearded Tit, Stortons GP, 2nd November 2013 (Bob Bullock)

Female Bearded Tit, Stortons GP, 2nd November 2013 (Bob Bullock)

A Short-eared Owl was again at Blueberry Farm on 3rd while the two Bearded Tits found last week at Stortons GP were present all week and a first-winter Ring Ouzel – perhaps the same as last month’s individual – was (re)discovered at Harrington AF on 8th. At Blueberry Farm, the two Stonechats remained all week while five localities produced Bramblings with a maximum count of between ten and fourteen at Harrington AF on 2nd, and four Crossbills were counted at both Wakerley Great Wood and over Hanging Houghton on 4th and two were at both Harrington Airfield and Harlestone Heath on 6th.

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