Rarity Round-up 27th May to 2nd June 2017

The calm after the storm. After some sporadic heavy rain during the first forty-eight hours, warmer weather set in as winds swung between west and south-east and temperatures edged momentarily into the high twenties. As May turned into June, the northward flow of wetland migrants enjoyed by all in the preceding weeks almost dried up and we entered a quiet period, enlivened for some at least by the brief appearance of an Arctic Skua on 2nd.

At Stanford Res the first-summer Eurasian White-fronted Goose visited again on 30th but was not alone in being the only winter visitor lingering ludicrously late at this site. A drake Garganey continued a run of intermittent appearances at Summer Leys, showing there on 28th, 1st and 2nd, while two – presumably a pair – were at Stanwick GP on 29th. The only other wildfowl during the period were Red-crested Pochards, which included a drake and a hybrid female at Pitsford Res on 27th and two drakes bouncing back and forth between Ditchford GP’s Irthlingborough Lakes & Meadows LNR and Stanwick GP between 27th and 31st.

The latter site produced another late spring Bittern, which flew on to the A45 Lay-by Pit on 29th. On 2nd June, a Honey Buzzard was reported circling above Oundle before flying south-west, a Marsh Harrier flew east at Summer Leys on 27th, while an Osprey fishing at Stanford Res on 29th-30 and again on 2nd was perhaps not entirely unexpected, given the small number of breeding pairs in the region.

Grey Plover, Stanford Res, 2nd June 2017 (Chris Hubbard)

Above average numbers of Avocets have occurred this spring and more appeared this week, with two at Stanwick GP on the evening of 28th, although they were nowhere to be seen the following day. The trickle of waders continued with two more Grey Plovers – one at Pitsford Res on 29th and the other at Stanford Res between 31st and 2nd, while a Turnstone visited Pitsford Res on 27th, followed by two more there on 31st. Hollowell Res produced the week’s only Greenshank, on 28th, while last week’s potentially record-breakingly late Jack Snipe proved officially to be just that, remaining there until at least 1st.

Turnstone, Pitsford Res, 31st May 2017 (Stuart Mundy). One of two present at this site on the same date.
Jack Snipe, Stanford Res, 31st May 2017 (Chris Hubbard)

Bird of the week, however, was the light morph adult Arctic Skua, which circled high above Daventry CP, late in the morning of 2nd, before drifting off north-west. Spring records are not unprecedented but even a stayer in autumn would be kinda nice …

After the full-on spring passage of Black Terns there was just one, at Pitsford Res, on 30th, when two Yellow-legged Gulls were at the same site. More unusual was the fly-over of two Hawfinches at Harrington AF on 29th – probably the first record for the site.

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