Rarity Round-up, 23rd to 29th December 2017

Despite the week’s weather being influenced by a largely westerly airstream, resulting in a mild first half of the period, the winds turned northerly for a short spell during the second half, bringing low temperatures and snow, which was heaviest in northern parts of the county. The festive period slipped by quietly with no new birds being discovered.

Still in situ, Ravensthorpe Reservoir’s juvenile Whooper Swan was still on view to those walking off the Christmas excess on Boxing Day and the long-staying female Scaup was still present at Sywell CP on the same date.  The drake Smew, discovered at Ditchford GP’s Higham Lake on 18th, remained until 23rd before hopping across the A6 to Stanwick GP, where it was refound on the A45 Lay-by Pit (North) on 28th.

Hollowell’s juvenile Great Northern Diver remained throughout but Great White Egrets were reported from only three localities, with Pitsford Res, Ravensthorpe Res and Thrapston GP holding two a piece.

Great White Egret, Ravensthorpe Res, 24th December 2017 (Mike Alibone)

No unusual waders this week and winter gulls included two Yellow-legged Gulls at Stanford Res roost on 23rd, an adult at Hollowell Res on 24th and a first-winter at Pitsford Res on 25th plus a sub-adult in the roost there on 28th. The usual adult Caspian Gull was still at Hollowell Res on 23rd, being accompanied by a first-winter there, three days later, on 26th, while a second-winter was in the gull roost at Pitsford on 27th. Looking likely to be the only ‘white-winger’ of the first part of the winter, the juvenile Glaucous Gull found at Rushton Landfill on 22nd was seen there again on 24th and 28th, while the only Hawfinches reported this week were two at the regular site of Blatherwycke Churchyard on 26th and 28th.

With this being the last round-up of 2017, I would like to thank all who have contributed records and sightings via the various media channels and to extend a special thank you to all those who have sent in the photographs which bring the weekly reports to life. Happy New Year to all!

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