Rarity Round-up, 3rd to 9th February 2018

A return to weather more typical of winter this week, with an overcast, miserable and wet start quickly being replaced by cold, easterly winds from northern Europe, turning northerly toward the week’s end.

The Ravensthorpe Whooper Swan showed no signs of departure this week and, at Stanwick, the Pink-footed Goose was still present on 6th. Five Red-crested Pochards appeared at Summer Leys LNR on 3rd but their number had quickly dwindled to two by 5th, while the Thrapston two had grown to three by 4th and the female Scaup remained off the dam at Sywell CP the following day.

A little on the scarce side this winter, a Bittern was seen coming into roost at dusk in the reedbed at Stanwick GP on 6th and 8th and Great White Egrets continued to be seen at the currently favoured localities of Ditchford GP, Ravensthorpe Res, Stanwick GP and Summer Leys, with a maximum of three at the latter locality on 4th, although two were at Stanwick GP on 6th and 9th. Pitsford’s Slavonian Grebe remained until at least 8th, staying faithful to the area between the sailing club and Pintail Bay.

After being seen at Pitsford Res once last week, the ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier put in another appearance there on 3rd, constituting this week’s only scarce raptor and, for the first time in a ‘long time’, there were no notable waders during the period.

The gull roost at Pitsford Res harboured a first-winter Kittiwake on 4th and two Mediterranean Gulls – a first-winter and a second-winter – on 8th, all perhaps early spring migrants, while 4th also produced a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull at Rushton Landfill, an adult at Hollowell Res on the same date and a second-winter was in the Pitsford roost on 8th. The wintering adult Caspian Gull at Hollowell Res was joined there by a first-winter on 4th and the only other was a second-winter at Pitsford roost on 8th.

Male Hawfinch, Thenford, 6th February 2018 (Tony Vials)

Apart from a Firecrest in scrub alongside Harper’s Brook, at Lowick on 4th, the only other passerine action was restricted to that flock of at least twenty Hawfinches at Thenford Churchyard, which were still present on 6th, while one was found at Pitsford Res on 3rd.

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