Rarity Round-up, 24th to 30th March 2018

In contrast to the previous week, this last week was milder with the more usual Atlantic airstream dominating – and bringing some hefty downpours to boot. Summer visitors new in were Garganey, Common Tern and Swallow on 30th and the first migrant Northern Wheatear on 26th.

Remaining until at least 27th, the wintering Pink-footed Goose kept up its visits to the main lake at Stanwick GP while, further down the Nene Valley at Oundle, the first Garganey of the year, a male and female, were found on floodwater on 30th, although they did not linger. More Common Scoters came through this week, with two drakes at Daventry CP on 24th, quickly followed by six – including five drakes – at Stanford Res the following day.

Common Scoter, Daventry CP, 24th March 2018 (Gary Pullan)
Common Scoters, Stanford Res, 25th March 2018 (Chris Hubbard)
Common Scoters, Stanford Res, 25th March 2018 (Chris Hubbard)
Common Scoters, Stanford Res, 25th March 2018 (Chris Hubbard)

Pitsford’s Slavonian Grebe was last reported on 27th, while Great White Egrets were dramatically reduced to one, mobile around Earls Barton GP/Summer Leys LNR between 27th and 30th.

Great White Egret, Summer Leys LNR, March 2018 (Bob Bullock)

Following the first, on 13th March, two more Ospreys were seen heading north this week – one high over Daventry CP on 26th, followed by another over Pitsford Res the following day. The only other raptors of note were single Merlins, both on 26th, comprising a female flying north at Daventry CP and a male hunting over farmland at Merry Tom Lane, north of Chapel Brampton.

Among more common fare, this week’s scarcer waders were limited to a Black-tailed Godwit on floodwater at Oundle on 28th and two Jack Snipes at Hollowell Res on 24th plus one at Stanwick GP on 26th.

Kittiwake, Stanwick GP, 24th March 2018 (Steve Fisher)
Kittiwake, Ravensthorpe Res, 25th March 2018 (Stuart Mundy)

Single adult Kittiwakes visited Stanwick GP on 24th and Ravensthorpe Res the following day but the only Mediterranean Gull this week was an adult at Thrapston GP on 29th. Larger gulls, too, were in short supply with just two Yellow-legged Gull at Daventry CP on 24th and a second-winter Caspian Gull at Hollowell Res on the same date.

Male Northern Wheatear, Whiston Locks, 26th March 2018 (Leslie Fox)

The first migrant Northern Wheatear was found at Whiston Lock on 26th while Hawfinches were still in evidence this week, with seventeen at Polebrook AF on 24th, dropping to three by 30th and a Corn Bunting visited a private feeding station in Woodford Halse on the latter date.

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