The Week in Focus 28th October to 4th November 2016

The high pressure system sitting over southern Britain for two days at the beginning of the period set the scene for dry weather throughout the county and produced locally ‘high’ temperatures of up to 18ºC. As winds swung more northerly for the remainder of the week, these were soon replaced by much lower temperatures with Northants experiencing its first frost of the autumn overnight on 1st. Apart from another flyover Gannet, the week remained relatively quiet.

After a respectable count at Pitsford Res last week, just one Pintail was reported – on 31st at Daventry CP, where up to two Red-crested Pochards were present between this date and 2nd, while up to fifteen were counted at Pitsford on 30th. Wildfowl of the week award, though, goes to the three Scaup which were found at Stanford Res on 3rd, with at least one remaining until the next day.

Following last week’s Gannet over Earls Barton GP/Summer Leys LNR, another juvenile flew low over M1 Junction 15A at Rothersthorpe, heading toward Northampton, on 29th but attempts to relocate it elsewhere along its assumed flightpath ended in disappointment for those who tried. Three Great White Egrets remained north of the causeway at Pitsford Res on 30th, singles were seen at Stanwick GP on 29th and Thrapston GP on 31st, the same date the Deene Lake individual was still appearing on the roll-call.

Great White Egret, Deene Lake, 31st October 2016 (James Underwood)

Great White Egret, Deene Lake, 31st October 2016 (James Underwood)

Raptors were again limited to a Marsh Harrier flying east over Daventry CP on 2nd, two Peregrines in Northampton on 29th with further singles at Stanford Res on 3rd and at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell the following day.

Golden Plover numbers topped two hundred and seventy at Polebrook AF on 30th, while smaller numbers elsewhere consisted of fifty-one at Daventry CP on 31st with seven at Thrapston GP the same day and only five again at Daventry CP on 2nd. A Black-tailed Godwit visited Pitsford Res on 29th, the same site hosting the week’s only Redshank and two Green Sandpipers the following day. Other Green Sandpipers a were one at Stanford Res on 30th, four at Daventry CP and five at Deene Lake on 31st and two again at Daventry on 2nd. The only other waders of note were five Dunlins at Stanford Res on         3rd, while single-figure counts of Common Snipe were made at Daventry CP, Deene Lake, Ditchford GP, Lamport and Pitsford Res.

Scarce gulls remained exactly that, with single adult Caspian Gulls at Pitsford Res on 29th and Stanford Res on 4th, while single adult Yellow-legged Gulls were at these same two localities on 29th.

At least one Bearded Tit was reported from Stanwick GP’s A45 Lay-by Pit on 31st, while Stonechats continued to be seen at Blueberry Farm, Deenethorpe AF, Deene Lake, Ditchford GP, Northampton, Stanwick GP, Summer Leys and Twywell Hills & Dales, with a maximum of eight at the first of these localities on 4th. Following last week’s flyover Water Pipit, another did the same at Daventry CP on 31st and four Rock Pipits visited Ditchford GP very briefly on 30th. Reports of Bramblings this week were few and far between with singles at Glyn Davies Wood on 29th, Hanging Houghton on 30th and three at Yardley Chase on 3rd, the latter site producing a single Crossbill on the same date.

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