The Week in Focus: 26th September to 2nd October 2015

A high pressure system stationed over the UK brought the longest period of settled weather for some time, resulting in largely sunny days, dry conditions and a constant flow of light easterlies.

One Barnacle Goose at Clifford Hill GP had become three by 1st, while the week’s only Pintail was at Pitsford Res on 27th – the same site continuing to hold up to five drake and one female Red-crested Pochards, one of which was a leucistic individual.

Leucistic drake Red-crested Pochard, Pitsford Res, 26th September 2015 (Bob Bullock)










North of the causeway there, two Great White Egrets remained from 26th until at least 1st.

An intriguing record of a ‘ringtail’ harrier at Abington Meadows LNR, adjacent to Clifford Hill GP, involved two sightings three hours apart on 29th. Unfortunately it remained unidentified, in contrast to the readily identified juvenile Marsh Harrier at Pitsford Res two days prior to this and another at Summer Leys LNR on 2nd. Three Peregrines were seen during the period with singles at Harrington Airfield on 26th and at both Higham Ferrers and nearby Ditchford GP on 30th.

This week’s waders included a surprise – and brief – visit to Stanford Res by an Avocet on 1st, while thirty Golden Plovers were near Warmington on 30th and Ringed Plovers were represented by five at Pitsford Res on 26th and one at Clifford Hill GP on 1st. Single Dunlins visited Pitsford Res on 26th and Hollowell Res on 30th while Green Sandpipers numbers held up to some extent with up to three at Pitsford Res on 26th-27th, one at Summer Leys LNR on 26th and three at Ditchford GP on 29th but the week’s only Common Snipe were two at Pitsford Res on 30th. The almost resident adult Yellow-legged Gull at Pitsford Res was reported between 27th and 1st but there were, apparently, no more this week.

Two late (or should that be too late?) Turtle Doves were at Harrington AF on 27th but the week’s star bird was a Yellow-browed Warbler, which was trapped and ringed at Kingswood, Corby on 29th. This was only the 7th County record and the first since 2010.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Kingswood, Corby, 29th September 2015 (Adam Homer)

The first of the autumn’s Black Redstarts was a first-winter at Desborough on 30th and, what must surely be the last now, two more Common Redstarts were trapped and ringed at Stanford Res on 28th and perhaps the last Whinchats were two at Blueberry Farm on 30th. The latter site continued to hold at least four Stonechats and another was present at Pitsford Res on 30th-1st, while the only Northern Wheatear was at nearby Harrington AF on 26th. The week ended with the autumn’s first Rock Pipits at Hollowell Res and Pitsford Res on 30th followed by two at the latter site on 1st.