The Week in Focus, 30th July to 5th August 2016

The county and country remained in a mild westerly airstream, which brought occasional heavy showers and a modicum of new migrants. Water levels are beginning to drop at some of the county’s reservoirs with Hollowell in pole position for attracting waders, along with other freshwater marginal foragers, and even the lowly, often overlooked Cransley has managed to pull a Dunlin this week …

We came dangerously close to having no ducks, dodgy or otherwise, to report this week but two female Red-crested Pochards were at Sywell CP on 5th and the summering eclipse drake Goldeneye at Stanford Res on 31st just about qualifies for a mention. A Great White Egret slipped into the pond behind the dam at Daventy CP on 2nd and was out again just as quickly, while scarce raptors included a flyover Honey Buzzard at Stanford Res on 30th and two – or, given the proximity of the locations, perhaps just one – Marsh Harriers, with singles near Walgrave on 31st and at Harrington AF on 2nd.

The only Little Ringed Plovers this week were a juvenile at Hollowell Res on 30th and four there on 5th, with an adult Ringed Plover there on the first of these two dates and

Juvenile Little Ringed Plover, Hollowell Res, 5th August 2016 (Mike Alibone)

two juveniles there on 4th. Two Black-tailed Godwits occurred during the period – both on 5th – at Daventry CP and at Summer Leys LNR while, back at Hollowell Res, up to nine Dunlins were still present between 30th and 4th, dwindling to three on 5th. Two were also at Pitsford Res on 2nd and one at Cransley Res on 4th.

Juvenile Dunlins, Pitsford Res, 2nd August 2016 (Alan Francis)

Four Greenshanks visited Hollowell Res on 5th and Common Sandpipers were reported from Hollowell Res, Pitsford Res, Stanwick GP, Summer Leys LNR and Sywell CP with no more than three at any one location.

Common Sandpiper, Sywell CP, 30th July 2016 (Martin Swannell)

With the exception of Stanwick, similar numbers of Green Sandpipers were at the same sites and, additionally, five were counted at Daventry CP on 4th, while single Common Snipes were at Summer Leys on 1st, 3rd and 4th and at Hollowell Res on 4th and 5th.

Green Sandpiper, Summer Leys LNR, 4th August 2016 (Ricky Sinfield)

Common Snipe, Summer Leys LNR, 1st August 2016 (John Nicholls)

Mediterranean Gulls are now filtering through in multiples, with a juvenile at Stanwick GP on 2nd being followed by an adult and two juveniles there on 3rd and a juvenile at Daventry CP the following day.

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull, Stanwick GP, 3rd August 2016 (Steve Fisher)

Numbers of Yellow-legged Gulls were, however, considerably down on last week’s three-figure total, with up to ten at Stanwick GP on 31st, singles at Pitsford Res on 2nd and  5th and at least seven at Daventry CP on 4th, while the only Caspian Gull was a near-adult at Stanwick GP on 31st.

Again, this week’s only Turtle Dove was at Harrington AF on 31st, where there was also a Common Redstart on the same date, and it appears that Stonechats may well have bred at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell, where two adults accompanied by two young juveniles were present on 30th and 3rd. At least six Crossbills were feeding in pines in the car park at Sywell CP on 5th.