A predominantly dry and bright week punctuated only by a series of short, heavy downpours on 29th. Winds veered largely between northwest and southwest during the last week of what was officially the fifth sunniest April on record.
A Ruddy Shelduck flying over the Brampton Valley toward Brixworth on 26th was probably not everyone’s idea of a wetland wonder but it’s worth a mention nevertheless, otherwise it falls to last week’s drake Garganey at Summer Leys LNR until 27th to be the sole wildfowl representative in this week’s summary. With the lack of rare herons for the first week for months it’s on to raptors and the surprise appearance of two Hen Harriers – a ‘ringtail’ and an adult male – both moving west and separated in time by one hour at Twywell Hills and Dales LNR on 29th, while a male Marsh Harrier flew east at Stanford Res on 1st. The only Ospreys reported this week were at Thrapston GP on 27th and at Hollowell Res on 1st and Peregrines were seen at the first of these two locations on 26th and at Harrington AF the following day.
Little Ringed Plovers were recorded at six locations with a maximum of five at Hollowell Res on 29th and, for the second week running, Ringed Plover numbers were low with just singles at both Clifford Hill GP and Stanwick GP on 26th. A Whimbrel remained at Summer Leys between 25th and 28th and eight were also seen flying south-west over Pitsford Res on 26th.
Although there were three at Hollowell Res and one at Summer Leys/Earls Barton GP on 25th, Dunlin numbers ramped up at the latter site with fourteen there, the same number
at Clifford Hill GP and two at Pitsford Res – all on 26th; thereafter, singles were recorded at Pitsford and Hollowell Reservoirs, Stanwick GP and Summer Leys between 27th and 29th. Eight localities produced Common Sandpipers, with a maximum of four at
Stanwick GP on 27th, while single Green Sandpipers were seen only at Summer Leys and Wicksteed Park Lake, with the first of these two localities producing a Greenshank on 25th-26th with another at Stanwick GP in 26th. Summer Leys also held the week’s only Redshank – on 27th – and the week’s only Common Snipe, with six on 26th and three on 30th.
Staying with Summer Leys, the second-summer Mediterranean Gull continued to be reported until 28th (although it was probably still present at the week’s end), while passage terns included four Black Terns at Pitsford Res on 29th and small numbers of Arctic Terns, including two reported over Scaldwell on 25th, two at Clifford Hill GP on 26th, one at Daventry CP on 28th and five at Hollowell Res on 29th.
One or two Wood Warblers normally find their way to the county each spring and the first – perhaps only – one this year was a singing male discovered at Daventry CP on 26th.
‘New’ Ring Ouzels were found at Long Buckby, where there were up to three on 25th-26th, and at Harrington AF, where a male was present between 27th and 29th, while a late Fieldfare at Moulton on 28th was noteworthy. A Common Redstart was at Harrington AF on 29th, Whinchats were found at seven localities and Northern Wheatears at
four. Migrant White Wagtails appeared at five localities, with a maximum of four at Pitsford Res on 27th, while a flava wagtail at Daventry CP on 27th-28th appeared to be a good candidate for a female Blue-headed.