Rarity Round-up, 7th to 13th October 2017

Although it remained largely dry, the west wind continued to blow, swinging north during the early part of the week and then south-southwest, off the continent, elevating temperatures to around 20ºC at the week’s end. Birding came close to floundering in mediocrity but was rescued, in part, by the arrival of some choice winter wildfowl and some obvious visible migration – otherwise there was little change in the birds on the ground during the period.

Two fine adult Whooper Swans arrived at Pitsford Res on 7th – the joint second earliest arrival date (with 1990) in nearly fifty years after the earliest on 29th September 2007. They remained throughout the week.

Whooper Swans, Pitsford Res, 7th October 2017 (Mike Alibone)

Following the usual early autumn influx into the UK, a juvenile Pink-footed Goose appeared with Greylags at Stanwick GP on 12th, while last week’s female Red-crested Pochard remained at Stanford Res until 7th.

Juvenile Pink-footed Goose, Stanwick GP, 12th October 2017 (Steve Fisher)

With Pitsford Res continuing to hold on to its two Great White Egrets north of the causeway all week, two more were found – one at Ravensthorpe Res on 8th-9th and the other at Stanwick GP from 8th to 13th.

Great White Egret, Stanwick GP, 12th October 2017 (Steve Fisher)

For the second week running a Merlin appeared, this time at Daventry CP on 9th, while a late Hobby – likely to be the last of 2017 – was chasing Meadow Pipits at Stanford Res on the same date.

Also late, a juvenile Little Ringed Plover was at Hollowell Res on 7th, from which date a single Black-tailed Godwit remained at Stanford Res until 12th. Last week’s Little Stint (or another) was at Pitsford on 9th, while the only other wader of note was a Jack Snipe at Deene Lake on the same date.

Back on Stanwick’s Visitor Centre Lake, the putative adult Azorean Gull put in another appearance on 10th. Well documented in a series of images, it should surely be identifiable, one way or another, shouldn’t it …?

Putative adult Azorean Gull, Stanwick GP, 10th October 2017 (Steve Fisher)

The only Yellow-legged Gulls were up to three at Pitsford between 8th and 12th, up to five at Stanwick GP between 7th and 11th and one at Daventry CP on 9th, while the adult Caspian Gulls at Hollowell and Naseby were seen on 7th and 9th respectively with the latter date producing another adult at Stanwick and a first-winter at Pitsford.

Adult Yellow-legged Gull, Stanwick GP, 11th October 2017 (Steve Fisher)

There was again no shortage of Stonechats, which were reported from seven localities, with a maximum of six at Hollowell Res on 10th and 13th – the latter date also producing a

Stonechat, Pitsford Res, 8th October 2017 (Martin Swannell)

Stonechat, Hollowell Res, 13th October 2017 (Martin Swannell)

Northern Wheatear, Hollowell Res, 13th October 2017 (Martin Swannell)

Northern Wheatear there, while two Hawfinches were a vizmig flyover for one lucky observer at Cotton End Park, Long Buckby on 10th

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