The Week in Focus: 25th to 31st July 2015

Temperatures below the seasonal norm, low pressure systems scudding across the Atlantic and winds from every direction, except the east, combined with sometimes heavy showers to produce, well, pretty much nothing new this week.

Pitsford’s two Ruddy Shelducks remained settled north of the causeway all week but no other ducks of note were reported during the period. Last week’s excitement caused by the discovery of the adult Night Heron at Ditchford GP was rapidly curtailed as the bird disappeared on the evening of 25th immediately after giving its best performance during its four-day stay. Vigils tense with anticipation on the subsequent two evenings drew a blank, although it would not be unreasonable to expect it still to be somewhere in the area. Just one Osprey was seen this week, in flight near Pitsford Res on 29th.

Adult Night Heron, Ditchford GP, 25th July 2015 (Jim Dunkley)
Adult Night Heron, Ditchford GP, 25th July 2015 (Jim Dunkley)

Following on from the four Avocets at Clifford Hill GP on 19th, a further individual was an early morning find on the scrape at Summer Leys LNR on 26th but it quickly moved east, being seen for just ten minutes at Ditchford GP’s Irthlingborough Lakes & Meadows reserve before again departing east toward Stanwick GP. There were few Little Ringed Plovers in evidence in comparison to previous weeks with singles at Summer Leys on 25th and 28th and Pitsford Res on 27th and two at Stanwick GP on 28th, where there were also two Ringed Plovers on the same date, followed by three there the next day. A Sanderling at Hollowell Res on 25th was one of a small number of inland records around this date, while a trickle of Dunlins included singles at Stanwick GP on 28th, 29th and 31st and two at Summer Leys on 28th.  Two Curlews visited Stanwick on 31st along with the only Green Sandpiper of the week, while two Common Sandpipers were there on 28th-29th with up to two at Pitsford Res between 25th and 27th and one at Summer Leys on 26th. The only Redshanks were two at Earls Barton GP on 25th-26th.

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, Stanwick GP, 30th July 2015 (Steve Fisher)
Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, Stanwick GP, 30th July 2015 (Steve Fisher)
Adult Caspian Gull, Stanwick GP, 26th Jul (Steve Fisher)
Adult Caspian Gull, Stanwick GP, 26th Jul (Steve Fisher)

Apart from single adult Yellow-legged Gulls at Ditchford GP on 26th and Thrapston GP on 27th, Stanwick GP continued to hold the lion’s share – including the summer’s first juveniles – with double-figure counts peaking at seventy-seven on 30th. The same site also continued to host two Caspian Gulls – an adult and a third-summer – all week. Some of the first autumn migrant passerines were in evidence during the period with Blueberry Farm holding four Whinchats on 25th and nearby Harrington AF producing a Northern Wheatear on 31st. It’s almost August …

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