Summer almost returned as an area of high pressure remained over the country for the whole week and temperatures reached the low twenties. Winds were light and variable but contained a significantly easterly element.
The two Barnacle Geese remained at Hollowell Res all week as did the three Pintails and the two Ruddy Shelducks similarly remained at Pitsford Res after having returned there from Hollowell on 5th. Two more Garganeys were located, with the longer stayer at Summer Leys remaining all week, one at Clifford Hill GP on 8th and another at Ravensthorpe Res on 9th-10th, while Pitsford’s nine Red-crested Pochards had reduced to eight by the week’s end and three appeared at Clifford Hill GP on 7th, dwindling to one leucistic individual the following day.
The first Great White Egret of the autumn appeared at Pitsford Res on 10th and was still present at the week’s end. This species is becoming an increasingly common sight in Northamptonshire as well as in the UK as a whole; up to eleven were roosting at Britain’s breeding site in Somerset during the week.
A Red-necked Grebe, the fourth to have visited the county this year – or perhaps the same wandering individual – was found at Daventry CP on 10th, showing well from the dam and also remaining until the week’s end. This is the third for the site, the previous two records having been in 1991 and 1993.
Two Marsh Harriers were reported at Thrapston GP on 8th while the week’s tally of Ospreys came to a grand total of two, with singles over the canal at Yardley Gobion on 6th and at Pitsford Res on 11th. The only Peregrine was a female at Blueberry Farm on three dates during the period.
Scarce waders remained just that, with single Little Stints at Clifford Hill GP on 6th-7th and 11th, and at Summer Leys LNR on 10th, topping the bill. Otherwise it was a similar picture to last week with five Golden Plovers over Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 8th and two at Hollowell Res on 12th, up to two Little Ringed Plovers at Hollowell Res, Clifford Hill GP and Stanwick GP and one or two Ringed Plovers at Clifford Hill GP with six at Hollowell Res on 12th. A Black-tailed Godwit visited Summer Leys LNR on 8th and three were present there the next day, while Ruff were reported from six localities, with singles at Stanwick GP on 8th, Hollowell Res and Summer Leys LNR on 9th and Ravensthorpe Res the following day but two were at Pitsford Res on 9th and Hollowell Res on 12th and three were at Clifford Hill GP on 8th with six there on 11th. Up to seven Dunlin were at Clifford Hill GP until 11th and singles were at Daventry CP on 7th and Stanwick GP on 10th with one at Hollowell Res on 9th and two there on 12th. Common Sandpipers were found at Pitsford Res, Ravensthorpe Res, Daventry CP, Stanwick GP with a maximum of three at Pitsford on 7th, while Green Sandpipers this week were at Pitsford Res, Ravensthorpe Res, Daventry CP, Stanwick GP and over Hanging Houghton with a maximum of four at Daventry CP on 7th. The small numbers of larger tringas included just four Greenshanks over Boddington Res on 9th and one Redshank at Hollowell Res on 12th, while the few Common Snipe included one at Clifford Hill GP on 6th, three at Summer Leys LNR and one at Ditchford GP on 8th, two at Hollowell Res and one at Stanwick GP on 9th and one again at Clifford Hill GP on 11th.
The only Mediterranean Gull this week was a juvenile at Pitsford Res on 7th while the highest number of Yellow-legged Gulls was six at Pitsford Res on 7th, with one there on 11th and two on 12th plus an adult at Hollowell Res on 9th-12th. Terns remained scarce with just one Black Tern reported at Thrapston GP on 8th.
Perhaps what will ultimately prove to be the last Common Swift of the year was seen over Raunds on 8th and Ring-necked Parakeets continued to be seen with two flying north over Clifford Hill GP on 6th and three in St Giles Street, Northampton on 9th. Despite being ‘only a sub’ arguably the best bird of the week was a Willow Warbler of the race acredula, colloquially known as Northern Willow Warbler, which was trapped and ringed at Stanford Res on 8th. This is only the third record of this race for Northamptonshire, the previous two also having been extracted from the mist-nets of Stanford in August 2008 and June 2011. An astonishing five hundred Blackcaps were also counted at Stanford Res on 8th following the lifting of early morning fog and ‘many’ were also said to have been present at Stanwick GP on the same date. Common Redstarts remained very much in evidence this week with up to four at both Borough Hill and Blueberry Farm, Maidwell, two at Harrington AF and one trapped at Stanford Res on 9th. What has proven to be the best year for Whinchats in recent times saw up to eight at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell, at least six at Stanwick GP, five at Borough Hill, three at Harrington AF, two at Clifford Hill GP and singles at Bozenham, Hollowell Res and Sywell CP, while a solitary Stonechat was found at Hollowell Res on 9th.
Northern Wheatears continued to remain scarce with two at Clifford Hill GP on 6th, one or two at Borough Hill on 7th and one at Summer Leys LNR on the same date and two at Harrington AF on 11th. A White Wagtail was identified at Stanwick GP on 8th and migrant Tree Pipits this week comprised singles at Harrington AF on 6th, Borough Hill and Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 7th and over Bozenham on 11th.