Two Weeks in Focus, 11th to 24th June 2016

The past two weeks have been influenced by weather systems from the Atlantic, with predominantly overcast conditions, heavy showers and thunderstorms accompanying hot air from Europe at the end of the period. Southbound waders at several localities were clear indications that ‘ornithological autumn’ was well underway.

Usually in the vicinity of the sailing club grounds, the injured Ruddy Shelduck was reported from Pitsford Res all week and a female Garganey was seen at Stanwick GP on 13th.

Ruddy Shelduck, Pitsford Res, 22nd June 2016 (John Nicholls)

As wildfowl numbers began to build at some of the larger bodies of water, ducks on the move included a drake Red-crested Pochard at Thrapston GP from 16th to 19th, one at Pitsford Res on 17th and two there on 21st, while a drake Goldeneye at Stanford Res earlier in the month was likely to have been the same individual present at Pitsford Res from 18th.

Red-crested Pochards, Pitsford Res 21st June 2016 (Jacob Spinks). The extensive and sharply defined white under tail coverts and white throat along with the pale occipital border of the female suggests hybridisation, as does the lack of any pink in the bill, although the latter may be a sign of immaturity.

Red-crested Pochards, Pitsford Res 21st June 2016 (Jacob Spinks)

Just one Quail was reported during the period – a male singing in set-aside west of Everdon on the evenings of 21st and 22nd. Ospreys continued to be seen, with one over Borough Hill and two at Welford Res on 11th and singles at Hollowell Res on 19th, Pitsford Res on 22nd and over Welford on 23rd, while single Peregrines visited Clifford Hill GP on 11th, Summer Leys LNR on 20th and Thrapston GP the next day.

Already autumn has begun. Waders were noted moving south and, aside from two young Little Ringed Plovers at Summer Leys, a fully-fledged juvenile appeared at Stanwick GP on 13th and seven new arrivals were counted there on 24th. Stanwick also produced two Ringed Plovers on 13th when two – perhaps the same – also visited Summer Leys. Curlews made news this week. Aside from wandering individuals at Clifford Hill GP on 11th, Lilbourne on 14th and Stanford Res on 21st, a pair with three young was discovered at a new breeding site, which is good news for a species over which national concern has been highlighted this year. A Black-tailed Godwit paid a brief visit to Summer Leys on 13th and three more – one of them colour-ringed – were there on 24th. The colour-ringed individual was ringed at Farlington Marshes, Hampshire on 5th September 2010.

Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits, Summer Leys LNR, 24th June 2016 (Adrian Borley)

Common Sandpipers returned right on cue with one at Pitsford Res on 22nd, followed by two there the next day, a Green Sandpiper was at Stanwick GP on 21st and Greenshanks were earlier than normal with singles at Stanwick on 11th and Pitsford on 17th. Just one Redshank was seen at Stanwick on 24th.

For the gullers, the expected annual build up in numbers of Yellow-legged Gull got underway at Stanwick GP with an adult there on 13th, followed by a second-summer on 20th and six were present by 24th.

Yellow-legged Gull, Stanwick GP, 24th June 2016 (Steve Fisher)

Black Terns paid a surprise visit to Earls Barton GP on 11th when three were found on Mary’s Lake, while the dearth of Turtle Doves continues with up to two at Harrington sporadically between throughout the period and singles at Grafton Park Wood on 17th and Twywell Hills & Dales on 21st. A juvenile Siskin on a garden feeder at Orlingbury on 14th was unusual and is suggestive of a local origin.