The Week in Focus 28th May to 3rd June 2016

Cool, unseasonal weather continued throughout a week which was dominated by often strong north-easterlies, depressing temperatures, birds and birders alike. With migration all but dried up there were slim pickings – assuming anyone was out looking, of course. In this respect, on the occasions I visited Summer Leys it was devoid of weekend birders. With hides creaking and shutters banging in the wind, the only things missing were the tumbleweeds. While the end of May can deliver exceptional rarities, this year there was none – the hallowed 29th (Sooty Tern 1980, Bridled Tern 1993) passing without incident.

The injured Ruddy Shelduck had little choice but to remain at Pitsford Res, where it was present in the vicinity of the sailing club. One of the two which probably originated from the feral population on continent and overshot the established Dutch summer moulting grounds, it is unlikely ever to make it back. Aside from this, Stanwick’s drake Garganey, still present on the A45 Lay-by Pit on 29th, was the sole representative of scarce wildfowl during the period.

Video Caption

Two Ospreys were seen on 2nd – one flying over Pitsford dam toward Holcot, the other over Earls Barton GP toward Great Doddington. This week’s Peregrines were one at Earls Barton GP on 29th, two there on 2nd and one over Broadholme STW at Ditchford GP on 31st while, sadly, last week’s escaped male Barbary Falcon x Gyrfalcon hybrid was found dead at Felmersham in Bedfordshire.

Osprey and Peregrine, Earls Barton GP, 2nd June 2016 (Alan Coles)
Osprey and Peregrine, Earls Barton GP, 2nd June 2016 (Alan Coles)

Numbers of passage waders were understandably low with, aside from local breeders, just one Dunlin at Summer Leys on 29th, four Redshanks flying east over Stanford Res on 2nd and a Common Sandpiper at Ditchford GP on 29th-30th.

On the passerine front, the exciting discovery of three singing male Firecrests was made at an undisclosed locality on 28th and the singing male Common Redstart remained in Badby Wood on the same date.

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