Two Weeks in Focus: 13th to 26th June 2015

What a difference two weeks makes as spring melts into summer. Alongside late spring scarcities and returning early autumn migrants, the last week fielded a number of ephemeral probables and possibles to ponder …

Duck was back on the menu with the apparition of (the?) two Ruddy Shelducks at Pitsford Res fleetingly on 17th, two Garganeys at Summer Leys LNR/Earls Barton GP between 13th and 20th, with two Red-crested Pochards there from 22nd to 26th, and two Common Scoters at Clifford Hill GP from 14th to 16th.

A Quail was still singing at Blueberry Farm (Maidwell) until at least 16th, while a probable Cattle Egret was seen flying west between Great Billing and Earls Barton, observed from a moving car on 23rd and a Great White Egret made a surprise – although brief – appearance at nearby Summer Leys on 26th.

June would be incomplete without a flyover Honey Buzzard and 25th saw a pale morph move high west over Daventry CP – the site of the much admir’d individual which lingered for eleven days in 2002. A probable Honey Buzzard was reported flying between Upton CP and West Hunsbury, Northampton on the same date, and a possible Black Kite wearing jesses, believed to have been seen several times at Geddington during the last week, was thought to be probably an escaped Harris Hawk, which is said to have been present in the area for the last two years … No doubt, though, about the identity of an Osprey fishing at Naseby Res on 16th. In the north of the county, two possible Common Cranes flew north-west over Corby on 15th.

Waders were surprisingly well represented for the latter half of June. Aside from a lone Little Ringed Plover at Daventry CP on 24th, two or three pairs were observed with young at two other sites and at least one pair had their breeding site ploughed up by heavy industrial development plant during the last week. A pair of Ringed Plovers successfully raised three young at one site, while presumed migrants comprised four at Summer Leys on 13th with one there again on 20th. Summer Leys also produced two Sanderlings on 13th, Little Stint on 17th and up to four Dunlins between 13th and 23rd.

Nearby at Stanwick GP two Black-tailed Godwits were found on 23rd, while a Curlew was at Islip on 15th and Redshanks were seen at Pitsford Res, Summer Leys and Thrapston GP. Single Green Sandpipers at Clifford Hill GP on 14th and Summer Leys on 24th were a sure sign that autumn is on the way.

Further remnants of spring, however, were two Black Terns at Summer Leys on 13th and one at Clifford Hill GP two days later, while a Little Gull over Stortons GP on 21st constituted an unusual record for the site. The long-staying second-summer Mediterranean Gull was still at Summer Leys on 26th and, on 25th, another visited

Second-summer Mediterranean Gull, Stanwick GP, 26th June 2015 (Steve Fisher)

Second-summer Mediterranean Gull, Stanwick GP, 26th June 2015 (Steve Fisher)

Stanwick GP, where the putative second-summer Azorean Gull appeared again on 14th,  a second-summer Caspian Gull was present on 14th, 15th and 25th and up to ten Yellow-legged Gulls were a precursor to the annual late summer build-up there.

June is normally light on passerines but a male Red-backed Shrike in an area of central Northants, which was not conducive to public access, was present for one day only, on 15th, just long enough to be confirmed and photographed.

Male Red-backed Shrike, locality withheld, 15th June 2015 (Steve Fisher)

Male Red-backed Shrike, locality withheld, 15th June 2015 (Steve Fisher)

Approximately fifteen Crossbills flying west over Chelveston AF on 25th were probably in the vanguard of more to come as the autumn draws closer.

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