The Week in Focus: 4th to 10th October 2014

A succession of Atlantic lows introduced intermittent periods of rain on predominantly south-westerly winds, which brought temperatures back in line with the average for the time of year.

A Cackling Goose – undoubtedly an escape – was found at Stanford Res on 5th and the two Barnacle Geese were still at Hollowell Res on 10th, while the number of Pintails at Pitsford Res had jumped to twelve by 5th. The same site continued to host a juvenile Garganey by the dam until at least 6th, while Ravensthorpe Res similarly held on to its long-staying juvenile until at least 7th.

Garganey, Pitsford Reservoir, 5th October 2014 (Mike Alibone)

Garganey, Pitsford Reservoir, 5th October 2014 (Mike Alibone)

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Meanwhile, back at Pitsford, the lingering Red-crested Pochard flock had risen by three to sixteen on 5th and five drakes, plus a female hybrid, were at Stanford Res on the same date.

Great White Egrets came to the fore this week with the Summer Leys/Earls Barton GP individual remaining until at least 7th and new birds turning up at Pitsford Res on 5th, being joined there by another on 7th with both still present on 10th, while another was at Thrapston GP on 9th-10th. Two Black-necked Grebes appeared by the dam at Pitsford Res on 9th but appeared to be absent the next day.

Black-necked Grebe, Pitsford Res, 9th October 2014 (Bob Bullock). One of two present at this site.

Black-necked Grebe, Pitsford Res, 9th October 2014 (Bob Bullock). One of two present at this site.

A female or immature Merlin visited Daventry CP on 10th, probably the last of the summer Hobbies were two at Thrapston GP on 4th and at least one adult Peregrine remained at a locality in the Nene Valley on the same date, otherwise the week was notable for its lack of raptor reports.

Adult Peregrine, Northamptonshire Nene Valley, 4th October 2014 (Simon Wantling)

Adult Peregrine, Northamptonshire Nene Valley, 4th October 2014 (Simon Wantling)

Dwindling passage waders included four Ringed Plovers at Pitsford Res on 6th and a single Golden Plover at Stanford Res on 5th while numbers at Harrington AF built further with approximately eighty there on the same date. Two Ruff were still at Pitsford Res on 4th and single Common Sandpipers visited Stanford Res and Stanwick GP on 5th, while the same date produced single Green Sandpipers at Pitsford Res (and again on 10th) and Stanford Res, followed by one at Daventry CP on 8th and 10th and two at Ravensthorpe Res on 8th with four there on 10th. A handful of Common Snipe included up to three at Summer Leys LNR and two at Ravensthorpe Res and Pitsford Res mid-week.

Yellow-legged Gull numbers were again low with just single, lingering adults at Pitsford Res, Hollowell Res and Ravensthorpe Res on 5th and 8th plus an adult and a first-winter at Daventry CP on the last of those two dates.

Passerines were poorly represented this week, the best being a late Reed Warbler trapped and ringed at Stortons GP on 5th, single Stonechats at Pitsford Res, Blueberry Farm (Maidwell) and Harrington AF on 5th and at least four at Hollowell Res until 8th

First-winter male Stonechat, Harrington AF, 5th October 2014 (Simon Hales)

First-winter male Stonechat, Harrington AF, 5th October 2014 (Simon Hales)

and one at Clifford Hill GP on 10th, while a Northern Wheatear visited Pitsford Res on6th and up to four Rock Pipits were at Hollowell Res between 6th and 10th and another at Ravensthorpe Res on the latter date and a White Wagtail was at Hollowell Res on 10th.

Northern Wheatear, Pitsford Res, 6th October 2014 (Mike Alibone)

Northern Wheatear, Pitsford Res, 6th October 2014 (Mike Alibone)

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