The Week in Focus: 21st to 27th February 2015

No drama. This applies to both weather and birds this week, during which everything appears to have come to a painful standstill. Hopefully it’s the calm before the storm. Next week it’s March and that first Wheatear can’t be far away …

The rarely there Pink-footed Goose paid one of its brief visits to Ravensthorpe Res on 25th, while at Pitsford Res the three European White-fronted Geese remained all week, as did the two Ruddy Shelducks and the drake Pintail was still there on 22nd.

First-winter European White-fronted Goose, Pitsford Res, 22nd February 2015 (Mike Alibone)
First-winter European White-fronted Goose, Pitsford Res, 22nd February 2015 (Mike Alibone)

Up to five Red-crested Pochards were still being seen at Ringstead GP throughout the period, while the ‘redhead’ Smew at Stortons GP was joined there by a second one from 22nd to 25th, three to five were at Pitsford Res on 23rd with five (three drakes) at Ravensthorpe Res the next day and up to three remained at Stanwick GP to 26th.

Compared to last week, the number of Great White Egrets was down with just one at Ditchford GP on 21st and two at Summer Leys LNR on the same date, followed by singles there on 22nd and 25th. Similarly, raptor records were restricted to single Peregrines at Hanging Houghton on 21st and Higham Ferrers on 26th.

Waders were also at a low ebb with Golden Plovers numbering sixty-five at Kelmarsh on 22nd, seventy-five at Hollowell Res on 25th and approximately one hundred at Hellidon on 27th. In addition to these, two Common Snipe were at Moulton Quarry on 27th and a Curlew visited Stanwick GP on 26th. The week’s rare gulls were limited to two adult Caspian Gulls at Rushton Landfill on 22nd and a Yellow-legged Gull at Stanwick GP on 24th with two at Hollowell Res on 25th.

Wintering Chiffchaff numbers held up with at least twelve along the outflow stream at Ecton SF on 23rd and eleven around Broadholme SWT, Ditchford GP the following day. A male and female Central European Blackcap frequented a garden in Byfield during the week while Stonechats were seen between Deenethorpe and Benefield, at Hollowell Res, Pitsford Res and Blueberry Farm (Maidwell), with a maximum of four at the latter site on 23rd and 25th.

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