Two Weeks in Focus: 7th to 20th November 2015

The mild weather of the previous two weeks continued unabated as west to south-westerly winds helped to maintain unseasonally high temperatures, while also producing storm-force winds halfway through the review period.

The first Pink-footed Geese of the winter appeared on 20th, when five flew over Blueberry Farm, Maidwell. Having last been seen on 3rd, the Pitsford Ruddy Shelduck was again present on 17th, while up to five Pintails remained in the Summer Leys/Earls Barton GP area between 7th and 19th, one was still at Ravensthorpe Res on 9th and six at Pitsford Res on 20th.

Drake Pintail, Earls Barton GP, 14th November 2015 (Bob Bullock)

The two Garganeys remained, with the first-winter female at Pitsford Res until 8th and the young drake at Ravensthorpe Res until the following day, while a glut of hybrid ducks included a drake Tufted Duck x Pochard hybrid (resembling a drake Lesser Scaup) at

Drake Tufted Duck x Pochard hybrid, Summer Leys LNR, 8th November 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Summer Leys LNR on 8th, a drake Gadwall x Eurasian Wigeon hybrid at Stanwick GP on 9th and a drake Chiloe Wigeon x Eurasian Wigeon hybrid (resembling a drake American Wigeon) at Earls Barton GP on 14th-15th. Seven Red-crested Pochards visited Summer Leys on 7th, while four were at Stanford Res on the same date and three there on 18th, while five remained at Pitsford Res between 9th and 12th, rising to thirteen there on 20th.

An adult Great Northern Diver which made a surprise visit to Stanwick GP on 11th was the first record for the site but it had departed by the following day. It would seem likely, then, that one found not too far away on Mary’s Lake at Earls Barton GP, just two days later, was the same individual. Amazingly, however, the latter proved to be a juvenile which stayed until the morning of 14th before departing south.

Adult Great Northern Diver, Stanwick GP, 11th November 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Juvenile Great Northern Diver, Earls Barton GP, 14th November 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Juvenile Great Northern Diver, Earls Barton GP, 14th November 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Juvenile Great Northern Diver, Earls Barton GP, 14th November 2015 (Bob Bullock)

In the same general area, the Summer Leys Bittern showed itself again on, or over, the scrape on 7th, 18th, 19th and 20th the same site also hosting a Great White Egret on 14th and 19th-20th, while another remained at Ravensthorpe Res between 16th and 19th. Pitsford Res also held up to four throughout the period and one visited Ditchford GP on 15th.

Great White Egret, Ravensthorpe Res, 16th November 2015 (Mike Simon)

The second calendar year male Marsh Harrier, present at Summer Leys LNR since at least mid-October, remained throughout the period, while Peregrines were also seen here as well as at Higham Ferrers, Pitsford Res, Blueberry Farm and in the Brampton Valley. At least five Merlins were seen and included singles at Harrington AF, Pitsford Res and Stanford Res on 7th, Blueberry Farm Maidwell on 9th and 17th, Stortons GP on 15th and near Chapel Brampton on 20th.

Second calendar year male Marsh Harrier, Summer Leys LNR, 20th November 2015 (John Nicholls)

There were fewer Golden Plovers reported during the period with just over one hundred at Thrapston GP on 9th, at least twenty-five over Blueberry Farm on the same date, thirty-five between Moulton and Holcot on 20th and two at Pitsford Res on the same date. The only Common Snipe reported were eight at Earls Baron GP and one at Moulton Quarry – both on 15th – and forty-eight at Pitsford Res on 20th, where a Jack Snipe was also present at the same time. Other waders included a Curlew over Summer Leys on 19th, a Redshank at Pitsford Res between 14th and 20th and two Green Sandpipers at both Daventry CP on 7th and Ravensthorpe Res on 7th-9th, with one at Pitsford Res on 8th and four there on 20th.

Common Snipe, Earls Barton GP, 15th November 2015 (Martin Swannell)

November is often a good month for the appearance inland of Kittiwakes and this one was no exception with two adults turning up at Stanford Res on the afternoon of 20th. An adult Mediterranean Gull also visited the same site on 16th, a first-winter was in the roost at Boddington Res on 10th and another adult appeared at Pitsford Res the following day. There were just two Caspian Gulls during the period – a first-winter at Stanwick GP on 15th, followed by an adult at Stanford Res on 16th and 18th, while the usual small numbers of Yellow-legged Gulls continued to linger, these including up to two adults at Pitsford Res on 9th and 14th, one at Ravensthorpe Res and two at Hollowell Res on 9th, eight in the Boddington Res roost on 10th with one there on 18th and two at Stanwick GP on 15th.

Short-eared Owl, Blueberry Farm, Maidwell, 20th November 2015 (Martin Swannell)

Short-eared Owls are now becoming more regularly seen at Blueberry Farm where up to two have been present between 10th and 20th, while a late House Martin was seen flying over the A509 on the county boundary near Warrington on 9th. A male Black Redstart appeared in Kettering, north of the town centre, on 19th but appeared not to be

Male Black Redstart, Kettering, 19th November 2015 (Andrew Briggs)

present the following day and, looking like they are set to winter in the area, the number of Stonechats at Blueberry Farm reached double figures with ten there on 9th and 20th. Smaller numbers elsewhere included four at Hollowell Res, two at Pitsford Res and two near Harlestone Heath.

Stonechat, Pitsford Res, 16th November 2015 (Alan Francis)

Stonechat, Blueberry Farm, Maidwell, 20th November 2015 (Martin Swannell)

Several Bramblings were noted at Scaldwell, Pitsford Res/Brixworth CP and Blueberry Farm, while single Crossbills were seen over Scaldwell on 8th and 16th and at Brixworth CP on 20th.