Mild conditions ensued, broken only briefly by cold northerlies over the mid-point of the period with the coldest night of the winter so far on 15th/16th.
A Pink-footed Goose discovered with Greylags at Summer Leys LNR on 14th has not been reported subsequently, while the Ruddy Shelduck remained at Pitsford Res
throughout, as did the drake Green-winged Teal at Daventry CP. A drake Scaup appeared at Hardingstone GP on 16th and a female was located on the main lake at
Summer Leys LNR two days later, remaining until 19th, while Smews graced Ravensthorpe Res, where there were two on 7th, Stanwick GP, where up to four were present between 11th and 17th, and Pitsford Res, where up to three lingered between 12th and 17th.
The long-staying Ravensthorpe Great White Egret ceased to be reported beyond 8th, while up to two were at Thrapston GP throughout the period, one was still at Summer Leys until 19th – with two there on 11th – and one was at Ditchford GP’s Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows Reserve on 17th (where there was also a Bittern the following day) and three were within the Ditchford GP complex on 19th.
Further down the Nene valley a ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier flew east at Stanwick GP on 12th and a Merlin had a pop at the wintering Stonechat at Summer Leys on the same date. The only other raptors of note were Peregrines at six locations during the period.
On the wader front, Golden Plovers were noted at Walgrave, Harrington AF, Stanford Res and Scaldwell with a maximum of forty-six at the latter site on 13th. The first Black-tailed Godwit of the year appeared at Stanwick GP on 12th, where nine Redshanks were counted on 11th-12th, while singles were at Summer Leys on 8th and Pitsford Res on 16th – the latter location producing single Green Sandpipers on 11th and 17th. The only Common Snipe during the period were a dozen at Harrington AF on 7th, two at Brixworth STW and nine at Stortons GP on 11th and about forty at Pitsford Res on 17th.
Following singles at Daventry CP and Pitsford Res on the first day of the month, an adult Kittiwake appeared at Boddington Res on 10th, while the roost at Pitsford Res produced adult Mediterranean Gulls on 6th, 11th and 19th plus a first-winter on 14th and a second-winter visited Stanford Res on 7th. Pitsford also saw the usual adult Caspian Gull visiting the roost there on 6th, 13th and 14th, a first-winter was at Stanford Res on 7th followed by an adult there on 13th and single adults visited Stanwick GP on 12th and 17th. The latter site produced an adult Yellow-legged Gull on 11th, another was at Hollowell Res on 16th and a fourth-winter visited Daventry CP on 17th .
Included in the period’s scarce passerines was the return of the Brixworth Firecrest in the border hedge at the sewage treatment works on 11th and again a week later on 18th, while a male Central European Blackcap remained throughout in a Barton Seagrave garden, another male was in a Scaldwell garden on 12th and a male and female visited a Duston garden on 13th with the female still present on 19th.
Last month’s Black Redstart returned to a Northampton garden on 13th-14th, where it was taking sunflower hearts from a feeder there.
Stonechats continued to be seen at Summer Leys, in the Brampton Valley, Pitsford Res, Ditchford GP, Thrapston GP and Hollowell Res with a maximum of six at the latter site on 16th.
A Mealy Redpoll visited a garden feeder at Byfield on 6th – a different individual to that which was present there in January – three were on feeders at Thrapston GP’s Titchmarsh LNR on 14th and the East Hunsbury (Northampton) bird was seen again on 16th. Just one Brambling was still showing between Badby and Upper Catesby on 13th, a male visited a Hanging Houghton garden on 13th, 18th and 19th, four were at Woodford Halse on 13th and seven at Warmington on 19th.