The Week in Focus: 10th to 16th May 2014

A blustery, showery, westerly airstream persisted for the first part of the week, eventually giving way to more settled conditions and higher temperatures in the latter part as an area of high pressure moved into position over the country.

There was no major change from last week in the wildfowl camp with the long-staying Pink-footed Goose at Thrapston GP remaining until at least 13th and, also helping to maintain the status quo, ‘Rossi’ the escaped Ross’s Goose, continued to roam the Nene Valley, being seen at Summer Leys LNR again on 11th, while two Egyptian Geese were found at Stoke Doyle the next day. The scarcity of Garganey this spring endured with just one – a drake – visiting Summer Leys on 13th and a drake Goldeneye was still at Thrapston GP on the same date.

Appearing on 10th, bird of the week was quite literally a ‘biggie’, coming in the shape of a White Stork, which was first seen as it flew low toward Cottesbrooke from Blueberry Farm at around 09.30. Evidently it swung south and was later refound in a field behind the Raybell skip company, just south of Brixworth, at midday. This is about the 22nd White Stork to be recorded in Northants, following the last over Sywell AF on 5th July last year and, prior to that, one at Weldon on 3rd June 2007. Single Ospreys continued to be seen in the Blueberry Farm/Brampton Valley area on 10th, 11th and 13th, at Pitsford Res on 11th and at Thrapston GP on 13th and a Quail, present from 9th, was singing in a rape field at Stanford Res on 15th.

Heading the cast of waders this week was an Avocet, which spent the day at Summer Leys on 15th. Little Ringed Plovers were reported from Thrapston GP, Clifford Hill GP, and Summer Leys, with a maximum of five at the latter site on 10th while Ringed Plovers occurred at the last two of these sites, peaking at fourteen at Summer Leys on 10th. D-day, where ‘D’ stands for Dunlin, was 11th when twenty-six were counted at Summer Leys and twenty-two at Clifford Hill GP; smaller numbers continued to be reported at Summer Leys throughout the week and one was at Thrapston GP on 13th.

Dunlins and Ringed Plovers, Summer Leys LNR, 10th May 2014 (Simon Wantling)
Dunlins and Ringed Plovers, Summer Leys LNR, 10th May 2014 (Simon Wantling)

A Black-tailed Godwit visited Summer Leys briefly on 14th, while the same site continued to host three Whimbrels, present since 7th, throughout the week

Whimbrels, Summer Leys LNR, 11th May 2014 (Mike Alibone). [click cogwheel and select 1080 for HD viewing]

and two Curlews were at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 11th. Other waders included single Common Sandpipers at Thenford on 11th, at Sywell CP and Summer Leys on 13th and at Thrapston GP on 16th, while a Wood Sandpiper visited the latter site on 13th, a Turnstone was there on 10th and a first-summer Mediterranean Gull on 11th, while a Caspian Gull of the same age visited Stanwick GP on 15th.Single Turtle Doves – the only ones reported so far this year – were at Blueberry Farm on 11th and Harrington AF the following day, while a Firecrest was reported singing in a Wellingborough garden briefly on 13th and a Wood Warbler was singing in Cottesbrooke on 12th. The first Spotted Flycatcher of the spring was also in Cottesbrooke at the same time and the week’s only Whinchat was nearby – with a Northern Wheatear – at Blueberry Farm on 10th, while another Northern Wheatear was at Harrington AF the following day.

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