Rarity Round-up 12th to 18th August 2017

This week was largely dry but the winds varied between north-westerly and south-westerly – hardly conducive to migrants from the continent. Lingering ducks and egrets, a continual stream of godwits and news that Northamptonshire’s 11th Night Heron had been present in the county for well over a week, under the dreaded ‘locality withheld’ caveat, did little to lift local spirits.

Two Garganeys were again in Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Res on 12th, while last week’s female Common Scoter remained at Daventry CP until 14th and the escaped, metal-ringed female Bufflehead reappeared at Clifford Hill GP on 13th. A singing male Quail was a bonus for ringers at Harrington AF between 01.30 and 02.00 on 16th. Insomnia clearly has its plus points.

Female Common Scoter, Daventry CP, 14th August 2017 (Gary Pullan)

The shock revelation, this week, that a juvenile Night Heron had been present and photographed in the vicinity of a garden pond in Blisworth, from late July to at least 7th August, will have come as a blow to many. Attempts made to persuade the landowners to ‘let people in’ had apparently failed. Even the promise of flashing the cash reportedly cut no ice. Clearly, then, if you’re lucky enough to have a pond in your garden you don’t need the extra dosh to get by … Oh well, there’s always Great White Egret to fall back on, with the now seemingly settled Pitsford individual – joined by a second until 13th – offering unrestricted viewing all week. Tongue, cheek and all that.

Raptors were rationed during the period, with a juvenile Marsh Harrier flying west over fields north of Great Brington on 18th, an Osprey visiting Hollowell Res on 13th and 14th and one flying high over Pitsford, without stopping, on 16th.

The week’s highest count of Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits was made at Pitsford Res, where twenty-nine arrived on 12th, six were there from 13th to 15th and three until the week’s end. The only other site visited by this species during the period was Stanford Res, where one remained from 13th to 15th and two more appeared on 18th. Hanging on into the new week was Stanwick GP’s adult Knot, still on the Visitor Centre Pit until 12th.

Adult Knot, Stanwick GP, 12th August 2017 (Mike Alibone)

Adult Knot, Stanwick GP, 12th August 2017 (Mike Alibone)

The only Mediterranean Gull was a juvenile at Boddington Res on 12th, similarly the only Caspian Gull was one at Clifford Hill GP the following day, while between one and two Yellow-legged Gulls occurred at Pitsford Bes, Boddington Res, Stanford Res, Daventry CP and Clifford Hill.

Adult female Common Redstart, Stanford Res, 14th August 2017 (Peter N)

Common Redstarts were more in evidence this week, with 13th producing four at Fawsley Park, two at Clifford Hill GP and a female, initially ringed as a nestling at Ripon in Yorkshire in June, controlled at Harrington AF. Another female was trapped and ringed at Stanford Res the following day. A very early juvenile Stonechat was found at Clifford Hill GP on 13th and the same date produced nine migrant Tree Pipits at Harrington AF.

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