The Week in Focus, 3rd to 9th September 2016

Conditions remained warm and dry as a westerly airstream gave way to winds from the south from mid-week, bolstered by a high pressure system over eastern Europe. There was no shortage of migrants across the board but the week again passed with no sign of the long overdue ‘big one.’

Predictably, the Ruddy Shelduck remained at Pitsford Res and the juvenile male Garganey at Summer Leys LNR throughout, while the juvenile female was still present at Daventry CP until at least 7th and another visited Hollowell Res on 4th. Of potential interest to some was the rediscovery of the female Red-crested Pochard x Ferruginous Duck hybrid at Pitsford Res on 5th.

Juvenile drake Garganey, Summer Leys LNR, 4th September (Mike Alibone)

Juvenile drake Garganey, Summer Leys LNR, 4th September (Mike Alibone)

Remaining slippery and elusive, the juvenile Shag continued its exclusively early morning/late evening appearances at at Stanwick GP until at least 4th and the Great White Egret from 1st reappeared at Summer Leys/Earls Barton GP on 4th-5th.

Continuing their autumn run, Marsh Harriers were seen in the Brampton Valley on 5th and 7th, at Harrington AF and Summer Leys on 6th and at Pitsford Res on 9th.

Marsh Harrier Pitsford Res, 9th September 2016 (Alan Coles)

Marsh Harrier Pitsford Res, 9th September 2016 (Alan Coles)

In contrast to last week, four passage Ospreys comprised singles at Pitsford Res on 3rd, over Fotheringhay on 6th, flying east along the Nene valley between Wollaston and Irchester on 8th and south-west over the M1 near Flore on the same date. Peregrines, too, were up, with singles at Clifford Hill GP on 3rd, Daventry CP on 6th, at Elton and in the Brampton Valley on 7th, at Harrington AF on 7th-8th and at Bozenham Mill on 8th, while lingering Hobbies were still at seven localities during the week.

Waders continued to be reported from a variety of localities and, in a week with no Little Ringed Plovers, Ringed Plover numbers were on the up with two at Summer Leys on 4th-5th, five at Hollowell Res on 4th increasing to six on 6th and then ten from 7th to 9th and one at Pitsford Res on 6th-7th.

Juvenile Ringed Plover, Pisford Res, 6th September 2016 (Martin Swannell)

Juvenile Ringed Plover, Pisford Res, 6th September 2016 (Martin Swannell)

Juvenile Ringed Plovers, Hollowell Res, 7th September 2016 (Martin Swannell)

Juvenile Ringed Plovers, Hollowell Res, 7th September 2016 (Martin Swannell)

A Black-tailed Godwit visited Daventry CP on 4th and, again, there was only one record of Ruff – five at Hollowell Res on 9th. Apart from one at Boddington Res between 3rd and 6th, Hollowell produced the week’s only Dunlins with up to four there throughout the period. The most widespread and commonly occurring wader of the autumn, Common Sandpiper, continued to be seen in good numbers throughout the period, being recorded from ten localities with a maximum of four at Hollowell Res on 5th, while Green Sandpipers were down on last week with one at Naseby Res on 4th and up to two at Daventry CP between 4th and 7th and the same number at Summer Leys between 5th and 9th. A Spotted Redshank was found at Naseby Res on 9th, this species having become a regular – though very scarce – passage migrant in the county over the last ten to fifteen years. It’s not proving to be a good autumn for Greenshanks and numbers continued at a very low ebb with just one at Summer Leys from 4th to 7th.

Greenshank, Summer Leys LNR, 7th September 2016 (Ricky Sinfield)

Greenshank, Summer Leys LNR, 7th September 2016 (Ricky Sinfield)

This week’s gulls threw up a couple of first-winter Mediterranean Gulls – Pitsford Res on 3rd, Boddington Res on 4th and two more at Daventry CP on 7th while, again, the adult gull showing characteristics of Azorean Yellow-legged Gull briefly visited Stanwick GP on 9th, the same individual having also visited Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire (less than 20 km distant) on 5th. Small numbers of Yellow-legged Gulls formed the basis of records from Draughton, Pitsford Res, Hollowell Res and Daventry CP with no more than five or six at any one location, while this week’s Caspian Gulls comprised a juvenile at Daventry CP and a third-winter at Boddington Res – both on 6th.  What was potentially the year’s last Common Swift was seen over Raunds on 3rd and, hot on the heels of last week’s Pied Flycatcher at Denton Wood, three more appeared – all in suburban Northampton – with two at Harlestone Road Allotments and one at Bradlaugh Fields, all three of which were found on the evening of 7th.

Pied Flycatcher, Northampton, 7th September 2016 (Stuart Mundy)

Pied Flycatcher, Northampton, 7th September 2016 (Stuart Mundy)

Common Redstart numbers dwindled somewhat to one at Clifford Hill GP on 3rd, a male at Pitsford Res on 5th, single juveniles trapped and ringed at Stanford Res on 6th and 8th, twos at each of Blueberry Farm, Walgrave and Harrington AF on 7th and one at the latter locality the following day. Whinchats were found again at six localities, with up to three at both Clifford Hill GP and Sywell CP, singles at Creaton, Lilbourne and Walgrave but the maximum was six at Blueberry Farm on 5th, when there were also up to three Stonechats there.

Whinchat, Clifford Hill GP, 6th September 2016 (Bob Bullock)

Whinchat, Clifford Hill GP, 6th September 2016 (Bob Bullock)

Whinchat, Clifford Hill GP, 6th September 2016 (Bob Bullock)

Whinchat, Clifford Hill GP, 6th September 2016 (Bob Bullock)

Whinchat, Sywell CP, 8th September 2016 (Alan Francis)

Whinchat, Sywell CP, 8th September 2016 (Alan Francis)

Fewer Northern Wheatears were in evidence this week with singles near Finedon on 3rd and Clifford Hill GP the following day, rising to two there on 6th and one was at Harrington AF on 8th. Still in short supply, a Tree Pipit flew over Blueberry Farm on 5th, while a juvenile Crossbill visited a lone pine tree in a Wellingborough garden briefly on 6th.

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