Avocets are scarce passage migrants in Northants, mainly in spring, but they are by no means annual. When Bob Bullock found one at Clifford Hill Gravel Pits yesterday morning it seemed like we had achieved our year’s quota for 2015. Things took a turn for the better today, however, when I found two more on the islands in the A45 Lay-by Pit at Stanwick. I watched and videoscoped them between 08.50 and 09.10 after which they flew off.
I decided to take a look at the main pit and while walking round to it I received a text from Dave Warner saying he had found three Avocets on the main barrage lake at Clifford Hill GP. Fifteen minutes later he sent me another text – apparently there were now nine! At about the same time, Tony Vials emailed to say he was watching two at Irthlingborough Lakes & Meadows. Minutes later they flew off west. I guessed they must have been the Stanwick birds – although not necessarily. Meanwhile, the appeal of the small flock at Clifford Hill was too great to resist so I headed off there to take a look. They were still there, roosting on one of the pools on the main peninsula and being watched by Bob Bullock and Dave, when I arrived.
Lovely birds, even if a bit distant! By now the news had got round and other birders were arriving in time to see the largest Avocet flock in the county for a good few years …
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Thanks, I managed to pop down to Clifford Hill around 1pm and they were still there. Typical of the site a couple of model aircraft enthusiasts arrived soon after and flew a plane from the “no” access area and everything took to the air. The Avocets did settle back down again and I left at 1.30pm.
For the record I had a walk at Stortons yesterday. Very quiet but at least 5 calling Cetti’s Warblers were present. 4 Swallows were feeding over the Sixfields Lake.
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