The first week of 2015 was dominated by a strong westerly airflow, keeping temperatures above average and bringing intermittent rain throughout the period. With the fading festivities of the preceding week almost a distant memory, the birding bonanza was curtailed as would-be birders donned their workwear and once more returned to mundanity. The left-overs remained at the usual sites and very little new was unearthed anywhere south of Blatherwycke …
It was there that four Pink-footed Geese were discovered consorting with the local Greylag flock on 4th and they remained throughout the week; one was also found at Ravensthorpe Res on 9th. Still present on 8th, the three European White-fronted Geese seemed settled at Pitsford Res, while a Pintail was also found there on 5th. At Hollowell Res the first-winter drake Scaup remained all week, as did the female Ring-necked Duck at Billing GP, where it became more difficult to observe after access to the car-park viewing point was no longer allowed following on-site car damage. This week’s Smew were the regular two favourites at Ravensthorpe Res from 3rd to 7th, up to two at Pitsford Res between 3rd and 5th and the ‘redhead’ at Stortons GP on 4th.
Great White Egrets loomed large as ever with up to 3 still at Pitsford Res and one was at Summer Leys LNR from 4th to 7th and two there on 9th, singles at Clifford Hill GP and Thorpe Malsor Res on 4th, Daventry CP and Silverstone on 5th and Ditchford GP on 7th, while the Slavonian Grebe remained at Pitsford Res on 8th.
Belated news was received of a Rough-legged Buzzard hunting along the approach road to Crockwell Farm near Eydon on 2nd but subsequent searches of the area failed to relocate it. The only other raptors were Peregrines at Clifford Hill GP on 5th and Ditchford GP on 7th, while a female Merlin was seen near Deenethorpe on 6th.
In a meagre week for waders, several Golden Plovers were at Thorpe Mandeville on 3rd, a Green Sandpiper was still at Ravensthorpe Res on 7th with a Redshank at Pitsford Res on the same date, two Jack Snipe and several Common Snipe were also at Pitsford Res on 6th and five of the latter species were at Trafford Bridge on 3rd. An adult Yellow-legged Gull at Hollowell Res on 9th was about it on the larid front …
Up to three Ring-necked Parakeets held out in Abington Park, Northampton between
4th and 9th, while last week’s Great Grey Shrike at Burn Coppice, Deenethorpe continued to attract a steady procession of admirers daily until 8th.
Chiffchaffs just one at Ditchford GP on 4th and three (two trapped) the next day at Brixworth, while up to two Stonechats were at Ditchford GP on 4th, Pitsford Res
between 5th and 7th and Hollowell Res on 9th, four were at Thrapston GP until at least 6th and one was also at Burn Coppice on 9th.