The Week in Focus: 15th to 21st November 2014

The country fell under the influence of an easterly or south-easterly airstream for much of the week, although it remained largely dry with temperatures around, or above, the seasonal norm.

This week’s round-up is, then, a subtle blend of predictability and paucity, with a fair proportion of last week’s and long-staying birds remaining and few new discoveries being made. The Stanford Res Pink-footed Goose was still present on 15th and the same site still held at least seven Red-crested Pochards until 20th, with six at Wicksteed Park Lake the following day. The two Ruddy Shelducks were also still present at Pitsford Res on 20th and just one female Scaup remained at Daventry CP on 18th, while the female Ring-necked Duck was still at Wicksteed Park Lake, Kettering on 16th, although there have been so subsequent reports.

At least two Great White Egrets seem set to winter at Pitsford Res, having been seen on and off throughout the week, while one visited Thrapston GP on 15th and Stanwick GP two days later. A Black-necked Grebe resurfaced on Thrapston GP’s Town Lake on 15th and the only Peregrine to put in an appearance was one further up the Nene Valley at Stanwick GP on 20th.

An Oystercatcher at Stanwick GP on 17th was unseasonal but six hundred Golden Plovers there at the same time was the highest number in the county so far this autumn.  A Green Sandpiper at Pitsford Res on 15th was the week’s only record, as were up to three Redshanks at Stanwick GP between 17th and 20th and three Common Snipe there on the last of these dates. Stanwick also produced a Yellow-legged Gull on 17th, while two were at Pitsford Res on 15th along with an adult Caspian Gull at the same time.

A Ring-necked Parakeet visited a garden in Aldwincle on 15th while, just up the road in Oundle, a late autumn Black Redstart spent two days on St Peters Church spire on 17th-18th.

Black Redstart, Oundle, 18th November 2014 (Alex Barclay)

Black Redstart, Oundle, 18th November 2014 (Alex Barclay)

More usual fare included returning Central European Blackcaps with two different birds on consecutive days, 16th and 17th, in one Northampton garden and a male in a Wellingborough garden on 17th. Other wintering warblers were three Chiffchaffs at Stanford Res on 15th (one on 16th) and one at Stanwick GP on 19th, while a Cetti’s Warbler at Spring Marsh in the Brampton Valley on 16th was an unusual find away from this species’ favoured Nene Valley locations.

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