The Week in Focus, 16th to 22nd July

In complete contrast to last week’s rather bland and dreary weather conditions, the wind swung south as a high pressure system crossed Europe, dragging hot and humid air from the Iberian Peninsula and raising local temperatures to the mid-thirties. A true taste of summer then, with, for good measure, some new autumn migrants arriving at the same time.

The injured Ruddy Shelduck was still at Pitsford Res on 17th, having walked or swam under the road bridge to reach Scaldwell Bay from the sailing club. The female Garganey remained at Stanwick GP on the same date and the drake Goldeneye – now in eclipse – was still at Stanford Res on 19th, while an unseasonal female Scaup visited Daventry CP on 22nd. A Bittern was found at Stanwick GP on 19th – this species is now becoming more frequent outside the winter period – while the inevitable deluge of Great White Egrets commenced on 22nd with an early morning arrival on the scrape at Summer Leys LNR. I would bet my bottom dollar we are in for a double-figure wintering population in Northants during 2016-17.

Great White Egret, Summer Leys LNR, 22nd July 2016 (Martin Swannell)

Great White Egret, Summer Leys LNR, 22nd July 2016 (Martin Swannell)

In a week of few raptors single juvenile Marsh Harriers were at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 22nd and over the scrape at Summer Leys on 17th, as was an adult

Juvenile Marsh Harrier, Summer Leys LNR, 17th July 2016 (Ricky Sinfield)

Peregrine, Summer Leys LNR, 16th July 2016 (Ricky Sinfield)

Peregrine the day before and the same site produced migrant Black-tailed Godwits, with at least thirty-four over on the evening of 17th and six on 20th.

Black-tailed Godwits, Summer Leys LNR, 17th July 2016 (Ricky Sinfield). Part of a flock of at least thirty-four migrating over the reserve.

Black-tailed Godwits, Summer Leys LNR, 20th July 2016 (Martin Swannell)

There were fewer Common Sandpipers this week, with one at Daventry CP on 18th followed by three there on 22nd, while another was at Pitsford Res on 20th and 22nd.

Common Sandpiper, Pitsford Res, 20th July 2016 (John Nicholls)

The only Green Sandpipers were at Daventry CP, where up to two were present between 18th and 22nd and the only Greenshanks were three at Stanwick GP on 20th along with three juvenile Redshanks there two days later.

Stanwick also produced a single adult Mediterranean Gull on 16th and 18th, which was highly likely to have been the same bird watched ‘anting’ with Black-headed Gulls over nearby Irthlingborough on the latter date. The first juvenile Med Gull of the autumn appeared at Daventry CP on 20th. Yellow-legged Gulls at Stanwick GP peaked this week at at least sixty-four on 18th, while elsewhere three different individuals visited Daventry CP between 18th and 22nd, the latter date also seeing two at Pitsford Res. An adult, a first-summer and second-summer Caspian Gulls came into the evening pre-roost gatherings at Stanwick GP intermittently between 16th and 20th and a second-summer visited Daventry CP on 18th.

Caspian Gull, Stanwick GP, 19th July 2016 (Steve Fisher)

Showing no signs of picking up in numbers, this week’s Turtle Doves were restricted to two again at Harrington AF on 20th and a Firecrest was still singing at one locality on 18th, while a single Crossbill flew over Denton Wood the following day and two more were over Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 22nd.