The Week in Focus: 3rd to 9th October 2015

Sandwiched between two high pressure systems, an Atlantic low crossed the country mid-week, bringing heavy rain and a short burst of north-westerly winds before calm weather and easterly winds returned at the week’s end.

The three Barnacle Geese remained at Clifford Hill GP throughout the period, while up to six Pintails were at Pitsford Res from 3rd with singles again at Wicksteed Park Lake on 3rd and Daventry CP on 6th. Having been absent for a couple of weeks, Garganeys reappeared in exactly the same places at Pitsford Res on 6th and at Ravensthorpe Res on 7th. They appeared to be the same individuals as previously observed, so where had they been during the intervening period?

Garganey, Pitsford Res, 6th October 2015 (Mike Alibone)

A Red-crested Pochard was found at Stanford Res on 3rd – the same date that the Pitsford flock increased to seven and a ‘surge’ in Great White Egret records occurred. On this date, one flew over Hollowell Res and two were found at nearby Ravensthorpe Res with the latter remaining in place at the same time that two more arrived at Pitsford Res, where one was already present. One remained at Ravensthorpe Res from 4th to 7th and three were at Pitsford Res on the latter date with at least two there to 9th. It appears, therefore, that at least five different individuals were present in the county this week.

Great White Egret, Ravensthorpe Res, 3rd October 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Great White Egret, Ravensthorpe Res, 3rd October 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Great White Egrets, Ravensthorpe Res, 3rd October 2015 (Bob Bullock)

One, possibly two, Marsh Harriers were present at Polebrook AF on 4th and another was seen near Raunds on the same date, while the week’s only Peregrine was at Higham Ferrers on 4th-5th and what may be the year’s last Hobby flew south over Harrington AF on 7th.

The latter site stumped up just three Golden Plovers on 6th and 7th but a more respectable one hundred and ninety-eight were counted at Daventry CP on the first of these two dates, while single Ringed Plovers visited Clifford Hill GP on 3rd and Pitsford Res on 6th. Pitsford also produced the week’s only Dunlin and Clifford Hill GP the only Common Sandpiper – both on 3rd. Green Sandpipers were still to be found at three sites with both Pitsford Res and Ravensthorpe Res producing one on 3rd-4th and three on 7th, while another was as Bozeat GP on 8th. A Spotted Redshank flew east at Clifford Hill  GP on 3rd – the same date that three Redshanks visited Ravensthorpe Res and single Common Snipe were at Pitsford Res and Hollowell Res, while six were at Clifford Hill GP; eight more were counted at Bozeat GP on 8th. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was at Hollowell Res on 3rd and up to two adults remained at Pitsford Res throughout the week.

On the scarce passerine front, a Firecrest trapped and ringed at Stanford Res on 9th did its best to make up for the absence of any more of the much anticipated Yellow-browed Warblers resulting from the continuing nationwide invasion.

Firecrest, Stanford Res, 9th October 2015 (Mick Townsend)

Otherwise, there were single Stonechats at Thrapston GP on 3rd, Hollowell Res on 7th, Bozeat GP on 8th and Borough Hill on 9th with last week’s four remaining at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell until at least 3rd,

Stonechat, Blueberry Farm, Maidwell (3rd October 2015 (Mike Alibone)

while four Northern Wheatears comprised singles at Clifford Hill GP on 3rd, Pitsford Res and Naseby Res on 7th and Harrington AF on 8th, with the Naseby individual identified as a Greenland race individual.