Rarity Round-up 1st to 7th April 2017

With the country under the influence of a slowly moving high pressure system, the weather remained dry and relatively warm, with southerly winds at the beginning of the period changing briefly to north-easterlies, before reverting to southerly at the week’s end. More migrants appeared, including the first Common Sandpiper, Common Redstarts and Ring Ouzel.

Wildfowl numbers continued to drop, although the Sywell CP Whooper Swan – seemingly under the radar last week – was found still to be present until at least 5th and a new Eurasian White-fronted Goose turned up at Daventry CP on 7th.

Eurasian White-fronted Goose, Daventry CP, 7th April 2017 (Gary Pullan)

Also new were two Garganeys – both on 7th – including a female at Summer Leys LNR and a drake at Hollowell Res. Staying put, though, were the drake Red-crested Pochard at Earls Barton GP, which was still present on 4th – with the Thrapston three still in situ on 2nd – while the long-staying female Scaup at Stanwick GP remained until at least 5th and the Long-tailed Duck at Stanford Res was still present at the week’s end.

Garganey, Hollowell Res, 7th April 2017 (Cathy Ryden)

There were no reports of the Pitsford Slavonian Grebe this week but a Black-necked Grebe at Daventry CP from 4th to 7th and a Red-necked Grebe at Stanford Res on 7th – both resplendent in summer plumage – more than made up for its absence.

Black-necked Grebe, Daventry CP, 3rd April 2017 (Bob Bullock)

Harriers took precedence in this week’s raptor rares, with a Marsh Harrier over the reedbed at Stanwick GP on the evening of the 1st and a ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier in flight over wind turbines near Burton Latimer on 5th. There was, perhaps surprisingly, just one Osprey reported – a male flying over Blatherwycke Lake on 2nd.

Hen Harrier, Burton Latimer, 5th April 20127 (Alan Francis)

Just two more Little Gulls were seen – appropriately enough a first-summer at Summer Leys on 1st and an adult at Daventry CP two days later, on 3rd, while the latter site also briefly hosted a fourth calendar year Caspian Gull the following day. A first-summer Mediterranean Gull appeared equally briefly at Stanwick GP on 2nd.

First-summer Little Gull, Summer Leys LNR, 1st April 2017 (Martin Swannell)

With the local winterers gone, a migrant Short-eared Owl over Pitsford Res on 2nd was a nice surprise and there were yet more Waxwings to be found – up to thirty-five in Northampton were in the vicinity of Rushmere Road/Billing Road East between 4th and 7th, some eighteen of which moved to nearby Abington Park on the latter date.

Waxwings, Northampton, 6th April 2017 (Bob Bullock)
Male Waxwing, Northampton, 6th April 2017 (Cathy Ryden)
Waxwing, probably young male, Northampton, 5th April 2017 (Bob Bullock)

In the west of the county, a male Ring Ouzel was ranging widely in the region of the footpath near the top of Newnham Hill on 2nd while, back in Northampton, a female Common Redstart was found at Bradlaugh Fields on the same date, followed by a male near Long Buckby on 7th.

Male Ring Ouzel, Newnham Hill, 2nd April 2017 (John Friendship-Taylor)

Two more White Wagtails appeared – both at Stanford Res – where there was one on 1st and another on 6th and two Crossbills were located in Bucknell Wood an 2nd.

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