The Week in Focus: 26th July to 1st August 2014

Another mainly warm, dry week dominated by a largely westerly airstream continued to deliver early autumn migrants, albeit at steady trickle.

Two Barnacle Geese visited Hollowell Res on 28th, making themselves available for those desperate to add this ‘C lister’ to their county tally for the year, while the two Ruddy Shelducks at Pitsford Res remained all week. Both the Stanwick GP and the Summer Leys LNR Garganeys were still present on 29th, two drake Red-crested Pochards were at Pitsford Res on 30th and single female Goldeneyes were still at Stanford Res on 26th, Earls Barton GP on 27th and one at Pitsford res on 1st.

The fifth Spoonbill to be seen in the county this year flew north-east along the River Ise Valley between Wellingborough and Finedon on 1st. Ospreys featured again at favoured localities with two at Stanford Res on 26th, one there on 28th, one at Hollowell Res on 29th and one at Pitsford Res on 1st, while a Marsh Harrier was found at Harrington AF on 30th and an adult and juvenile Peregrine were food-passing over Irthlingborough on 27th and a juvenile visited Hollowell Res the next day.

Waders failed to soar to prominence with just one Ringed Plover remaining at Hollowell Res on 28th, where there were up to four Little Ringed Plovers and up to two of the same species at Stanwick GP and Summer Leys LNR. Single Dunlins visited both Daventry CP and Hollowell Res on 28th, while single Ruffs visited the latter locality on 27th, Pitsford Res on 28th and Summer Leys LNR/Earls Barton GP on 28th-1st. The only Common Snipe of the week was one at Hollowell Res on 27th, while the Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit present at Summer Leys at the end of last week remained until 28th, one appeared at Stanwick GP on the same date, increasing to two there on 29th, and three visited Clifford Hill GP briefly on 30th. A Curlew was at Pitsford Res on 30th, small numbers of Common Sandpipers were seen throughout the week at Hollowell Res, Pitsford Res, Summer Leys LNR and Stanwick GP with a maximum of four at the first of these sites on 28th and the same can be said for Green Sandpipers which, in addition to these sites were also found at Daventry CP and Thrapston GP, with no more than three at any locality. Last week’s Wood Sandpiper remained at Hollowell Res until 28th and a Turnstone was found there the following day.

Wood Sandpiper, Hollowell Res, 26th July 2014 (Derek Hales)
Wood Sandpiper, Hollowell Res, 26th July 2014 (Derek Hales)

Juvenile Mediterranean Gulls continued to be seen with one again at Pitsford Res on 26th and two on 1st and one at Daventry CP on 28th, while the first of the autumn’s Caspian Gulls – a third- or fourth-summer – pitched up at Stanwick GP on 29th and was present again the following day. The same site has built a reputation for hosting large numbers of Yellow-legged Gulls – the majority of which gather during early evening, although a handful usually remains throughout the day; this week’s highest count was nudging fifty on 30th and the first juveniles appeared there on 26th. Smaller numbers elsewhere included three each at Pitsford Res and Stanford Res on 26th and 1st and singles at Daventry CP on 28th and Pitsford Res on 30th.

Two Turtle Doves remained at Harrington AF throughout the week, while up to two Ring-necked Parakeets were in the Abington Park/Norman Road/Church Way area of Northampton between 26th and 28th and a juvenile Grasshopper Warbler was trapped and ringed at Stortons GP on 26th with the male still singing at Harrington AF on 30th and one at Abington Park on 28th. Narrowly preserving its status as an annual visitor, a first-winter Pied Flycatcher spend a day at Denton Wood on 27th and up to three

First-winter Pied Flycatcher, Denton Wood, 27th July 2014 (Steve Brayshaw)
First-winter Pied Flycatcher, Denton Wood, 27th July 2014 (Steve Brayshaw)
Common Redstart, Chapel Brampton, 26th JUly 2014 (Douglas McFarlane)
Common Redstart, Chapel Brampton, 26th JUly 2014 (Douglas McFarlane)

Common Redstarts were at Harrington AF between 26th and 1st with one near Chapel Brampton during the same period. In the same area, single Whinchats were at Harrington AF on 26th, 30th and 1st with up to two in the Brampton Valley on 27th-28th, followed by the autumn’s first Northern Wheatears there on 29th and 1st, one at Harrington AF also on 1st and four Crossbills at the same site on 29th with three there on 1st.

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