Rarity Round-up 8th to 14th July 2017

A cooler week than the last, with temperatures ranging between the high teens and low twenties and, other than a hefty downpour on 11th, remaining dry. Winds varied between westerly and north-westerly, aiding the migration of Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits, which continued to arrive in appreciable numbers.

We are clearly experiencing the usual mid-summer lull, as far as ducks are concerned. Two Garganeys were the sole entry for the week – a juvenile at Stanford Res on 10th and an eclipse drake by the causeway at Pitsford Res on 10th and again on 13th-14th.

Eclipse drake Garganey, Pitsford Res, 10th July 2017 (Jacob Spinks)

The intriguing run of summer Bittern records continued at Summer Leys with daily sightings, in flight over the scrape and the car park, throughout the week.

Bittern, Summer Leys LNR, 8th July 2017 (Wayne Weedon)
Bittern, Summer Leys LNR, 10th July 2017 (Alan Coles)
Bittern, Summer Leys LNR, 12th July 2017 (Alan Coles)
Bittern, Summer Leys LNR, 14th July 2017 (Martin Swannell)

With the low water level it must be like shooting rats in a barrel for Ospreys visiting their now fondly favour’d site of Stanford Res, which drew one on 10th and two on 13th, while also continuing to attract Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits. Two were there on 9th, followed by twenty the next day and one from 11th to 13th. Elsewhere, thirteen arrived at Summer Leys on 9th with just two there the following day, two visited Pitsford Res on 8th, rising to three the next day, before falling to one on 10th and singles were at Stanwick GP on 8th and 10th and at Clifford Hill GP on 9th.

Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit, Stanwick GP, 8th July 2017 (Mike Alibone)

From one extreme to another, after last week’s one-day, Nene Valley ‘giant’, a Little Tern was picked up heading north over the causeway at Pitsford Res on 9th – however, it appeared not to be sticking around. The Mediterranean Gull family was still in residence in the Black-headed Gull colony at Stanwick GP this week. The two juveniles are now fully fledged and able to fly.

Juvenile Mediterranean Gulls, Stanwick GP, 8th July 2017 (Mike Alibone)

Elsewhere, an adult and an apparently unrelated juvenile visited Daventry CP on 11th and a juvenile was there on 14th. One size up, Caspian Gulls were also found at Stanwick, including an adult on 10th, a second-summer on 10th-11th and a first-summer on 13th. An adult also visited Pitsford Res on 10th. Yellow-legged Gull numbers increased dramatically this week with Stanwick GP accumulating a maximum of forty-two on 13th.

Second-summer Yellow-legged Gull, Pitsford Res, 9th July (Mike Alibone)

Away from here, a second-summer was at Pitsford Res on 8th-9th, a first-summer was there on 10th along with the autumn’s first juvenile on 12th and four on 14th. Elsewhere, an adult and a second-summer visited Daventry CP on 11th.

A juvenile Common Redstart was trapped and ringed at Stanford Res on 8th. It was a very young bird which appears, at first sight, not to have travelled far.

Juvenile Common Redstart, Stanford Res, 8th July 2017 (Adam Homer)

There is a possibility it fledged locally as this species once bred in some numbers in the grounds of Stanford Hall and a female with an active brood patch was also trapped at Stanford on 9th July 2015 so, who knows … Another young chat, a juvenile Northern Wheatear, was discovered at Pitsford Res on 13th – the first of the autumn and on a relatively early date for this species.

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