The Week in Focus: 31st January to 6th February 2015

A very uneventful week weatherwise with odd, settling snow flurries which didn’t linger and cold easterlies to finish.

The four Pink-footed Geese were still at Blatherwycke Lake on 31st and another visited Stanwick GP the next day while the three European White-fronted Geese continued to be seen at Pitsford Res until at least 1st. Back on the scene this week were the two Ruddy Shelducks at the same locality after an apparent prolonged absence and a drake Pintail visited Summer leys LNR on 5th. The two female Red-crested Pochards were still at Stanford Res on 1st and single drakes were at Wicksteed Park Lake on 31st to 6th and Hardingstone GP on 2nd.

Drake Red-crested Pochard, Hardingstone GP, 3rd February 2015 (Mike Alibone)
Drake Red-crested Pochard, Hardingstone GP, 3rd February 2015 (Mike Alibone)

The long-staying first-winter drake Scaup continued to move erratically between Ravensthorpe Res and Hollowell Res all week. The early part of the week saw four Smew still present at Ravensthorpe Res and four were also at Pitsford Res and Stanwick GP, the latter being joined by a fifth on 2nd, while the lone ‘redhead’ remained at Stortons GP all week.

Smew, Ravensthorpe Res, 1st February 2015 (Simon Hales)
Smew, Ravensthorpe Res, 1st February 2015 (Simon Hales)

This week’s catch of Great White Egrets comprised three at Summer Leys LNR on 31st with one there on 5th-6th and another – or one of the same – at Ditchford GP on 1st

Capture1and few raptors were reported with just single Merlins at Pitsford Res on 1st and Deenethorpe on 6th and Peregrines at Daventry on 2nd and Higham Ferrers on 4th.

Small numbers of Golden Plovers were reported and the only Jack Snipe were two at Hollowell Res on 2nd and two Pitsford Res on 4th, while less than double-figure counts of Common Snipe came from Stanwick GP, Stanford Res, Pitsford Res and Brixworth. Four Redshanks were at Stanwick GP on 31st and 6 were at Ditchford GP on 4th-5th  along with three Green Sandpipers.

Gulls provided some interest this week in the shape of an adult Ring-billed x Lesser Black-backed hybrid in the Boddington Res gull roost on 2nd, otherwise a first-winter. Mediterranean Gull visited the Pitsford roost on 31st and an adult Glaucous Gull was found the Ditchford GP’s famous Viaduct Pit the next day. Caspian Gulls continued to be seen at Stanwick GP with an adult on 31st followed by a first-winter next day and the usual ones and twos of adult Yellow-legged Gulls lingered at both the latter locality and at Hollowell Res.

Continuing to draw a trickle of admirers, the Great Grey Shrike at Burn Coppice, Deenethorpe remained and appeared to be joined by another on 4th.

CaptureThere were fewer reports of Chiffchaffs this week with just one or two at Brixworth on 2nd and three at Ditchford GP on 4th, while single Central European Blackcaps were in gardens at Wootton on 31st and Byfield on 2nd and the only Stonechats were three at Hollowell Res on 2nd. Bramblings, however, came to the fore with singles in gardens in Wooton and Hanging Houghton and two at Harrington Airfield on 2nd.

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