Rarity Round-up 15th to 21st July 2017

The week was unsettled and frequently cloudy, with a series of Atlantic lows bringing sporadic rain on westerly, south-westerly and – as they crossed the country – easterly winds. Wader passage continued and gull numbers increased as water levels at local reservoirs continued to fall …

Last week’s eclipse drake Garganey remained close to the causeway car park at Pitsford Res until at least 16th, two Red-crested Pochards appeared in Walgrave Bay at the same location on 17th and the escaped, metal-ringed female Bufflehead resurfaced at Clifford Hill GP on 15th. However, it has probably remained there since its initial discovery, having elicited little interest since its captive origin was revealed.

Eclipse drake Garganey, Pitsford Res, 16th July 2017 (Mike Alibone)

The summering Bittern continued to be seen daily at Summer Leys until at least 19th, the same site producing a Great White Egret – arguably the first of the autumn – on 20th.

Great White Egret, Summer Leys LNR, 20th July 2017 (John Nicholls)

Ospreys were again fishing at Stanford Res on 16th and 18th and one wandering individual visited Summer Leys, appearing over the scrape there on 17th.

Osprey, Summer Leys LNR, 17th July 2017 (Alan Coles)

Fresh waders in this week included single Whimbrels in flight over Pitsford Res and Stanford Res on 17th, while numbers of Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits were substantially lower than last week with one at Summer Leys on 16th being followed by six there the next day and two visiting Stanford Res on 18th.

Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits, Stanford Res, 18th July 2017 (Chris Hubbard)

A Turnstone was found on the main lake at Stanwick GP on 19th before it moved to the islands in the A45 Lay-by Pit the following day, while a Curlew Sandpiper in flight north of Pitsford’s causeway on 17th was unfortunately not relocated.

At Daventry CP, an adult Mediterranean Gull appeared on 15th, following the adult there on 8th, which turns out had been ringed only a month before, on 6th June at Berendrecht, Antwerp, Belgium. Over in the Nene Valley at Stanwick GP, a juvenile was seen on 15th and an adult plus a juvenile were there on 17th. Stanwick also produced a first-summer Caspian Gull on 17th and a third-summer three days later, on 20th, while the maximum count of Yellow-legged Gulls there was thirty-four on 17th. Stealing Stanwick’s thunder – at least as far as this species is concerned – was, however, Priors Hall, where some newly created pools attracted at least one hundred on 18th – an astonishing number away from the Nene Valley. Pitsford Res was the only other locality from which Yellow-legged Gulls were reported, with one on 18th, three on 20th and two on 21st.

Third-summer Caspian Gull, Stanwick GP, 20th July 2017 (Steve Fisher)

The only passerines reported this week were a Pied Flycatcher and a Common Redstart in the hedge along the entrance road to Brixworth CP on the evening of 20th, both of which vanished immediately after their discovery.

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