The Week in Focus: 8th to 14th February 2014

The relentless, fast moving depressions from the Atlantic continued to batter Britain while local floodwater levels continued to rise in the Nene Valley and elsewhere. The first signs of early spring passage were evident on 10th.

Great weather for ducks, although nothing new was found during the period. Four Pintail were at Pitsford Res on 11th, the same site continuing to host at least two Red-crested Pochards and the drake Scaup until at least 9th, while the Earls Barton Long-tailed Duck had moved to Clifford Hill GP by 10th and the long-staying individual resurfaced at Thrapston GP’s Town Lake on 13th.

Long-tailed Duck, Clifford Hill GP, 10th February 2014 (Doug Goddard)
Long-tailed Duck, Clifford Hill GP, 10th February 2014 (Doug Goddard)

All three sawbills were available this week, with a maximum of eight Smew at Pitsford Res on 8th, one at Earls Barton GP on 9th, two at Sywell CP on 12th and five at Ravensthorpe Res the following day, while a Red-breasted Merganser reappeared at Stanford Res between 8th and 12th and Goosanders were again reported from just four localities, with a maximum of thirteen at Stanford Res on 8th.

The wintering juvenile Great Northern Diver remained at Pitsford Res all week as did at least one Great White Egret while two remained at Summer Leys/Earls Barton GP until 8th. Raptors continued to prove scarce with single Merlins at Pitsford Res on 8th and near Sulgrave on 11th and Peregrines were seen at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell and Ravensthorpe Res on 8th, Summer Leys on 9th and at Kingsthorpe LNR and Harrington AF on 13th. Scarce waders were limited to single Jack Snipes at, Stanford Res, Pitsford Res and Hollowell Res on 8th and again at the latter site on 13th.

Similarly, scarce gulls comprised adult Mediterranean Gulls at Pitsford Res on 8th, 11th and 14th, an adult and a first-winter in the gull roost at Boddington Res on 8th and 10th and a second-winter at Daventry CP on 9th with an adult Glaucous Gull in the Ise Valley near Wellingborough on 8th. The 10th produced adult Kittiwakes at Stanford Res and Boddington Res – part of a series of early storm-driven migrants inland, on their way back to breeding areas further north.

Kittiwake, Stanford Res, 10th February 2014 (John Moon)
Kittiwake, Stanford Res, 10th February 2014 (John Moon)

The only Chiffchaff this week was one at Stortons GP on 10th, while six wintering Central European Blackcaps were in gardens in Northampton, Sywell, Kettering and Wellingborough, a new Mealy Redpoll was found at Daventry CP on 11th and Bramblings were present at Harrington AF, Hanging Houghton, Hollowell Res and Stanwick GP.

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