The beginning of the week kicked off with Storm Brian bringing strong south-westerlies to the western part of the UK on 21st. Northamptonshire, though windy, did not experience the full force of the gales as the storm tracked north-eastwards, bringing southerlies, hence higher than average temperatures, to the county. In contrast to last week, the birding was pretty much back to levels normally to be expected locally in late October but migration continued apace and there was still plenty to look at, nonetheless.
The three Whooper Swans remained at Pitsford Res until at least 22nd and the juvenile Pink-footed Goose was still at Stanwick GP on 24th. Beyond that, the only other unusual wildfowl were escapees and included the returning female Wood Duck at the Wellingborough end of Ditchford GP on 26th, while the escaped, metal-ringed female Bufflehead was still at Clifford Hill GP on 22nd.
In addition to the three Great White Egrets at Pitsford Res until at least 25th, three were together among a thirty-four-strong flock of Little Egrets on Thrapston GP’s Aldwincle Lake on 21st, one remained at Ravensthorpe Res, being joined there by a second individual on 26th, the Stanwick bird remained all week, likewise being joined by a second on 25th and one flew west over Irthlingborough Lakes & Meadows LNR on 26th. Records from the Nene Valley locations may involve some of the same wandering birds but it’s probably safe to say that there must have been at least eight in the county during the week. Also in the valley, the Black-necked Grebe remained at Ringstead GP until at least 26th.
The raptor count was down this week, with single fly-over Merlins at Kingsthorpe (Northampton) on 21st and at Stanford Res on 27th and the county fared little better for waders, with single Black-tailed Godwits at Pitsford Res on 22nd and at Stanford Res on 27th, while last week’s Knot stayed at Hollowell Res until 22nd.
On a par with last week, just one Mediterranean Gull, an adult, visited Stanwick GP on 21st and the putative adult Azorean Gull – now moulting its head streaking and looking less than pukka as a result – was seen again on the Visitor Centre Lake there on 24th.
Between one and four Yellow-legged Gulls were seen at Boddington, Hollowell, Pitsford and Ravensthorpe Reservoirs, Daventry CP and Stanwick, while the adult Caspian Gull at Hollowell was joined there by a second-winter on 26th.
Passerine migrants were still much in evidence this week and, along with the many Redwings and first Fieldfares moving west, came two Ring Ouzels on 23rd – a short-stayer at Stanford Res and one which remained at Earls Barton GP until the next day. The 26th saw the discovery of a Black Redstart at Orlingbury – only the third in the county this year.
It was still present on 27th, allowing those who were interested, time to catch up with it. Up to three Stonechats were at reservoirs at Boddington, Hollowell and Pitsford throughout the week and one was at Preston Deanery on 23rd, while the UK’s Hawfinch
movement continued to deliver, with one at Dallington Cemetery on 21st followed by two there on 26th, one west over Irthlingborough on 23rd and two south over Daventry CP on 26th.