The weather remained relatively mild and blustery with showers and occasional heavy rain as the initial south-south-westerly winds at the beginning of the period gave way to a south-easterly airstream for the majority of the week.
The Stanford Res Pink-footed Goose remained with the Greylag flock all week, while the two Ruddy Shelducks at Pitsford Res were still present on 12th, when ten Pintails were also there. Only nineteen Red-crested Pochards – a drop from last week’s record thirty – were counted there on the same date and a respectable twelve were at Stanford Res on 9th. The female Scaup remained at Daventry CP, being joined there by another on 13th, both birds being present the following day.
The ducks deluxe highlight of the autumn was, however, the female Ring-necked Duck discovered at Wicksteed Park Lake, Kettering on 8th and remaining throughout the week. This very obligingly showy individual, present with just a handful of Tufted Ducks and Pochards, represents only the fifth record for Northamptonshire, following hot on the heels of the fourth, at Stanwick GP, in November 2013. How many more of these need to occur before Northants gets its first Lesser Scaup – long overdue for the county list …?
Up to two Great White Egrets remained at Pitsford Res throughout the week, female Merlins were at Harrington AF on 9th and Pitsford Res on 12th, the only Peregrines were singles at Ditchford GP on 8th and Harrington AF on 10th, while the only other raptor of note was a ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier between Brigstock and Lower Benefield on 9th.
The maximum number of Golden Plovers during the period was four hundred at Clifford Hill GP on 8th with the same number at Bozenham Mill on 12th, while up to fifty at Harrington AF was the only other recorded count of this species this week. Three Green Sandpipers at Ravensthorpe Res on 14th was the week’s only record, as were single Redshanks at Clifford Hill GP on 8th and Daventry CP on 13th, while fifty-nine Common Snipe at Pitsford Res on 12th was an impressive count by today’s standards.
A first-winter Mediterranean Gull at Daventry CP on 13th may have been a revisit by last week’s individual and no more than one Yellow-legged Gull was seen here or at reservoirs at Boddington, Hollowell, Pitsford and Ravensthorpe, while Stanwick GP saw four on 13th, with the same site hosting two adult Caspian Gulls on 13th with a sub-adult at Boddington Res on 12th.
The run of Short-eared Owl records from Blueberry Farm appears to have dried up in recent days, although two were at nearby Harrington AF on 10th, while Ring Ouzels just keep coming – this week’s being a first-winter over Daventry CP with Fieldfares on 8th and single males – also associated with Fieldfare movements – at Harrington AF on 9th and Boddington Res on 11th. This week’s Stonechats were singles at Ditchford GP and Clifford Hill GP on 8th, Pitsford Res on 9th and 12th and three at Hollowell Res on 14th, while a late Rock Pipit flew over Boddington Res on 9th, several Bramblings were over Harrington AF on the same date and a single Snow Bunting – the second of the year – visited Clifford Hill GP on 8th.