The Week in Focus: 11th to 17th April 2015

Following a blustery start, another week of light winds and above average temperatures ensued, providing ideal conditions for more north-bound migrants …

Departing winter ducks included four Pintails, which dropped into Daventry CP on 14th, while a pair of Garganeys arrived at Summer Leys LNR on 12th, remaining there until the following day.

Drake Garganey, Summer Leys LNR, 13th April 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Drake Garganey, Summer Leys LNR, 13th April 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Garganey, Summer Leys LNR, 13th April 2015 (John Moon)

Garganey, Summer Leys LNR, 13th April 2015 (John Moon)

Another day, another Great White Egret – this time at Stanwick GP on 15th and it seems likely it will be the last one before the late summer dispersal brings more back to the county.  The Summer Leys Marsh Harrier was last seen on 11th and another was quartering the old Chelveston AF four days later, on 15th, when a female Goshawk was also seen over nearby Stanwick GP. Fewer Ospreys were recorded with just one drifting over Brixworth then Pitsford Res on 14th and another was over Daventry the following day, while Peregrines were seen at Daventry CP, Summer Leys and in the Brampton Valley and Merlins at Woodford Halse on 12th, Harrington AF on 14th and Newnham Hill on 16th.

The only Golden Plovers this week were twenty at Harrington AF on 14th, while Little Ringed Plovers were seen at seven localities and a handful of Ringed Plovers included singles at Summer Leys, Clifford Hill GP, Thrapston GP and Hollowell Res with up to two at Stanwick GP.  More Whimbrels appeared this week with singles at Daventry CP on 14th and 17th and one at Summer Leys on 15th, where there was also a Curlew on the same date. Summer Leys also laid claim to a Ruff seen daily there all week, being joined by a second bird from 15th, while a trickle of Dunlins included four at Stanwick GP on 11th, three at Clifford Hill GP on 12th and 14th and singles again at Stanwick on 14th and at Summer Leys the following day. The first Common Sandpipers were at Stanwick GP and Daventry CP on 14th, followed by one at Summer Leys on 15th and two again at Stanwick the following day, while Green Sandpipers were at Upton Valley Way (Northampton) on 12th, Daventry CP on 14th and at Ditchford GP the following day. Summer Leys produced the week’s only Greenshank on 14th-15th and up to five Redshanks.

The same locality continued to host the second-summer Mediterranean Gull which was still holding territory in the Black-headed Gull colony at the week’s end,

Second-summer Mediterranean Gull, Summer Leys LNR, 12th April 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Second-summer Mediterranean Gull, Summer Leys LNR, 12th April 2015 (Bob Bullock)

two adult Little Gulls were at Pitsford Res on 17th and Stanwick GP also hung on to a Little Gull all week as well as the Pitsea red-ringed adult Glaucous Gull all week at the same time attracting a second-summer Yellow-legged Gull on 11th. Also at Stanwick, the first Arctic Tern came through on 12th, swiftly followed by another at Pitsford Res on the same date, two at Summer Leys on 13th and three at Ditchford GP on 15th, while a Black Tern appeared at Pitsford Res on 17th.

Further summer visitor ‘firsts’ this week included Cuckoo in the Brampton Valley on 12th, Common Whitethroat at Bozenham Mill on 14th, Lesser Whitethroat at Ravensthorpe Res on 17th, Grasshopper Warbler at Stanwick GP on the same date and Reed Warbler at the same locality two days later, while a Nightingale was singing at Glapthorn Cow Pasture on 12th.

For the second week running Ring Ouzels maintained a locally heavy presence with up to seven on the lower slopes of Newnham Hill from 12th until the week’s end.

Ring Ouzel, Newnham Hill, 14th April 2015 (Stuart Mundy). One of seven present at this site.

Ring Ouzel, Newnham Hill, 14th April 2015 (Stuart Mundy). One of seven present at this site.

Ring Ouzels, Newnham Hill, 12th April 2015 (Mike Alibone). Two of seven present at this site.

Ring Ouzels, Newnham Hill, 12th April 2015 (Mike Alibone). Two of seven present at this site.

This represents the largest flock size to be recorded in Northants for a good many years. Away from Newnham single males were present at Harrington AF on 14th-16th and on private land near Hollowell Res on 17th.

Male Ring Ouzel, near Hollowell, 17th April 2015 (Cathy Ryden)

Male Ring Ouzel, near Hollowell, 17th April 2015 (Cathy Ryden)

With only one or two county records per year, a male Pied Flycatcher at Pitsford Res on 14th was a rare treat for one observer. Unfortunately it could not be found the following day.

Male Pied Flycatcher, Pitsford Res, 14th April 2015 (Terry Armstrong)

Male Pied Flycatcher, Pitsford Res, 14th April 2015 (Terry Armstrong)

A small number of Common Redstarts continued to be found with singles at Byfield Pool on 11th, Borough Hill on 14th and Earls Barton GP on 17th, while up to three were present around Newnham Hill between 12th and 15th. The same site hosted the first migrant Whinchat of the spring on the last of these dates. In contrast to last week there were many more Northern Wheatears found, including singles at Clifford Hill GP, Stanwick GP and Summer Leys, two at Chelveston AF, three at Borough Hill and at Moulton Quarry, four at Newnham Hill and six at Harrington AF.

Northern Wheatear, Moulton Quarry, 14th April 2015 (Douglas Mcfarlane)

Northern Wheatear, Moulton Quarry, 14th April 2015 (Douglas Mcfarlane)

Migrant White Wagtails included five at Clifford Hill GP on 12th and singles at Stanwick GP on 13th and Boddington Res the following day.

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