Two Weeks in Focus: 31st May to 13th June 2014

After some sporadic showers during the first week, summer finally arrived and the remnants of spring migration melted away as temperatures reached the mid-twenties during the second part of the review period.

Of feral origin but still locally scarce, two Barnacle Geese arrived at Earls Barton GP on 3rd, frequenting the sheep fields at Hardwater Crossing until 5th and a drake Garganey was at nearby Summer Leys LNR on 3rd and 4th, being joined there by a pair on 5th.

Drake Garganey, Summer Leys LNR, 4th June 2014 (Bob Bullock)

Drake Garganey, Summer Leys LNR, 4th June 2014 (Bob Bullock)

The only other wildfowl of note were a pair of Red-crested Pochards briefly on Earls Barton GP’s Mary’s Lake on 2nd, along with the summering female Goldeneye there on 4th and the drake still at Thrapston GP on 10th. A Quail sang briefly at Harrington AF on 1st and, back on Mary’s Lake, a fine summer-plumaged Red-necked Grebe appeared on 31st but decided not to linger.

Red-necked Grebe, Earls Barton GP, 31st May 2014 (Alan Coles)

Red-necked Grebe, Earls Barton GP, 31st May 2014 (Alan Coles)

A Great White Egret flying west at Stanwick GP on 10th was by today’s standards unseasonal, bucking the trend of winter occurrences. An Osprey flew over Brixworth on 1st and 6th and a Marsh Harrier was again at Harrington AF on 1st and 2nd with another over Daventry on 5th.

Little Ringed Plovers continued to be reported from Summer Leys with four on 5th being joined there briefly by a Little Stint on the same date.  The only other passage wader recorded was a Whimbrel flying over Hanging Houghton on 1st, while a second-summer Yellow-legged Gull visited Stanwick GP on 10th.

Just four localities have produced Turtle Doves this year with perhaps the most frequently encountered pair being at Harrington AF throughout the period, while up to three were also present at Ashton Wold/Polebrook Airfield and one was purring in Sywell Wood on 13th.

Turtle Dove, Harrington AF, 1st June 2014 (Simon Hales)

Turtle Dove, Harrington AF, 1st June 2014 (Simon Hales)

A Ring-necked Parakeet was in suburban Northampton on 13th. The future looks bleak for Grasshopper Warblers this year with the only reports in the period restricted to singing males at Harrington AF on 1st and Blueberry Farm, Maidwell also on 1st and again on 10th. It’s now generally accepted that we have lost Tree Pipit as a local breeding species so one flying over Northampton on 1st was noteworthy, as was a singing male Corn Bunting in west Northants on 5th and 9th – the only one reported in the county so far this year.

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