The Week in Focus: 17th to 23rd May 2014

High pressure over the country in the early part of the week brought high temperatures and a weak southerly airstream, which turned south-westerly in the latter part of the week, delivering heavy showers and thunderstorms. With fewer migrants now in evidence the emphasis turned from quantity to quality …

The escaped Ross’s Goose continued to put in sporadic appearances at Summer Leys LNR, being seen again there on 20th but the only other wildfowl of note were Red-crested Pochards, with two drakes at Stanwick GP on 18th and a pair at Earls Barton GP on 20th, moving to Pitsford Res the following day. Otherwise, lingering Goldeneyes included a female at Earls Barton GP all week and a drake still at Thrapston GP until at least 21st.

Last week’s Quail was still singing at Stanford Res on 17th and, hot on the heels of last month’s Spoonbill, another – or possibly the same – appeared at Summer Leys on 19th, where it stayed for a mere two hours during the early evening before flying high west.

First-summer Spoonbill, Summer Leys LNR, 19th May 2014 (Bob Bullock)

First-summer Spoonbill, Summer Leys LNR, 19th May 2014 (Bob Bullock)

First-summer Spoonbill, Summer Leys LNR, 19th May 2014 (Stuart Mundy)

First-summer Spoonbill, Summer Leys LNR, 19th May 2014 (Stuart Mundy)

The only Osprey reported this week was one at Thrapston GP on 23rd and, similarly, the only Peregrine was one at Ditchford GP on the same date.

Topping the bill, though, a pair of Black-winged Stilts brought a touch of exotica to Summer Leys on 18th, these leggy wanderers earning a place in the annals of Northamptonshire’s avifauna as the fourth county record. Performing well for all comers, they remained on the scrape throughout but there was no sign of them the following day.

Black-winged Stilt, Summer Leys LNR, 18th May 2014 (Mike Alibone)

Black-winged Stilt, Summer Leys LNR, 18th May 2014 (Mike Alibone)

Black-winged Stilt, Summer Leys LNR, 18th May 2014 (Alan Coles)

Black-winged Stilt, Summer Leys LNR, 18th May 2014 (Alan Coles)

Little Ringed Plovers continued to be reported from Clifford Hill GP and Summer Leys while Ringed Plovers continued to trickle through in small numbers, with four at Clifford Hill GP on 17th and one there on 20th and two at Stanwick GP on 19th with three there on 22nd. Following heavy rain on the latter date, two Sanderlings were also found at Stanwick GP and seven appeared at Clifford Hill GP at the same time, while the only Dunlins were singles at Clifford Hill GP on 17th and at Stanwick GP on 18th, 19th and 22nd. The three long-staying Whimbrel remained at Summer Leys on 17th, dwindling to

Whimbrel, Summer Leys LNR, May 2014 (Simon Wantling)

Whimbrel, Summer Leys LNR, May 2014 (Simon Wantling)

just one on 19th while the only Common Sandpipers were singles at Summer Leys on 18th and 23rd, Stanwick GP on 19th and Clifford Hill GP on 22nd. A first-summer Caspian Gull was at Daventry CP on 23rd and another again at Stanwick GP on 19th along with two Yellow-legged Gulls, while Black Terns – uncommon this spring – were two at Earls Barton GP on 20th and one at Daventry CP on the same date. The week’s sole scarce passerine was a male Whinchat at Summer Leys on 19th.

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