A very unsettled start to May saw a deep Atlantic low bringing unseasonally gale force winds and heavy showers to central England mid-week. Amazingly, this weather system delivered no surprises to Northants, although Cambridgeshire’s Grafham Water – within spitting distance of the county boundary – pulled in both Arctic and Pomarine Skuas as a result.
Back in the frame this week, the Great White Egret appearing sporadically at Summer Leys LNR between 2nd and 8th was possibly a new bird, although more likely the returning Nene Valley wanderer of recent weeks.
Just one Osprey was reported during the period – at Daventry CP on 4th, and two Peregrines included singles at Summer Leys on 6th and Stanwick GP on 8th.
First up on the wader front – even if a little late putting in an appearance – a Grey Plover arrived at Summer Leys on 5th but had duly departed by the following day.
Little Ringed Plovers remained there, however, with this site hosting the week’s maximum of five on 2nd, although there was a possibility of eight being present there at one point. This species was also noted at Clifford Hill GP and Thrapston GP. Ringed Plovers remained relatively scarce but six at Warmington GP was a good count on 4th, three were at Stanwick GP on 5th and two visited Summer Leys the next day. The latter site hosted a drop-in Whimbrel immediately after heavy rain on 3rd and a Dunlin the next day, followed by two more Dunlin there on 6th and singles at both Clifford Hill GP and Stanwick GP on 5th.
Four localities produced Common Sandpipers, with a maximum of three at Daventry CP on 4th and Summer Leys accounted for a Wood Sandpiper from 4th until the week’s end, while single Greenshanks were found at Stanwick GP on 2nd and Summer Leys the following day. Two Redshanks were also at the latter site at the same time, followed by singles at Thrapston GP on 3rd and Warmington GP on 4th. Summer Leys was the only locality to host this week’s Common Snipe, which numbered up to ten between 3rd and 6th.
Stanwick GP, which produced a second-summer Caspian Gull and two Yellow-legged Gulls on 4th, a Yellow-legged Gull plus a first-summer Little Gull the following day and five Yellow-legged Gulls on 8th. A second-summer Yellow-legged Gull also visited Clifford Hill GP on 7th, where an Arctic Tern was also present at the same time.
This week saw the arrival of the spring’s first Turtle Doves with singles at Old Sulehay on 2nd and at Harrington AF from 5th to 8th, although none has yet been found at the traditional site of Polebrook AF. Just one Common Redstart was discovered – a female at Borough Hill on 4th along with two Northern Wheatears at the same time, three more Northern Wheatears were at Harrington AF on 8th, while Clifford Hill GP produced another Northern on 3rd, a Greenland Wheatear on 7th and the week’s sole White Wagtail was at Summer Leys on 6th.