Rarity Round-up, 31st March to 6th April 2018

Last week’s downpours morphed into a weekend deluge, creating widespread flooding which was most evident in the Nene Valley. Water levels there rose dramatically, creating additional – though short-lived – marshland habitats and engulfing well established islands at several wetland localities. As the floods drained slowly away, the end of the week saw a return toward normal water levels and temperatures rose as a southerly wind predominated. Summer visitors new in were House Martin and Yellow Wagtail on 3rd and Willow Warbler on 5th.

A Pink-footed Goose was discovered with Greylags at Clifford Hill GP on 31st but it had departed by the following day. The bill pattern and lack of white feathers at the bill base confirmed it was not the bird which has remained throughout the winter in the vicinity of Stanwick GP, where it was seen again on 6th.

Pink-footed Goose, Clifford Hill GP, 31st March 2018 (Bob Bullock)
Pink-footed Goose, Clifford Hill GP, 31st March 2018 (Mike Alibone)

Also in the Nene Valley, single Great White Egrets were seen at Earls Barton GP/Summer Leys LNR on 31st, 2nd and 6th, at Ditchford GP on 1st and at Stanwick GP on 6th. Again, a considerable difference in bare part colouration confirmed the presence of at least two different individuals.

Two more Ospreys this week – both on 2nd – included one around Ravensthorpe Res and one over the A43 between Broughton and Cransley. More will surely follow but there was a notable absence of other raptors during the period.

On the wader front, an early Bar-tailed Godwit flew east at Stanwick GP on 2nd and two Black-tailed Godwits visited Summer Leys LNR on 5th, a Greenshank – an uncommon spring migrant – visited Stanford Res on 5th and a Jack Snipe remained at Hollowell Res on 1st.

Greenshank, Stanford Res, 3rd April 2018 (Chris Hubbard)

Eleven Little Gulls flew east through Clifford Hill GP on 2nd but a first-winter Kittiwake, discovered in Pitsford’s Pintail Bay on the same date, was unfortunately found dead there the next day.

First-winter Kittiwake, Pitsford Res, 2nd April 2018 (Richard How)

Last week’s total of Mediterranean Gulls was doubled this week, with two being seen – one at Stanwick GP on 3rd and the other at Daventry CP the following day; both were adults. Larger larids included two Yellow-legged Gulls at Daventry CP on 4th, a second-winter Caspian Gull at Hollowell Res on 1st, followed by a first-winter there, two days later, on 3rd.

Male Northern Wheatear, Clifford Hill GP, 31st March 2018 (Bob Bullock)

Passerine migrants continued this week with two more Northern Wheatears at Clifford Hill GP on 31st and three near Brackley on 2nd, while the same Brackley locality produced two White Wagtails on 2nd-3rd and another was found at Thrapston GP on 6th. Hawfinches lingered into April with two at Dallington Cemetery, Northampton on 31st and four or five still at Thenford Churchyard on the same date, while Polebrook AF produced one on 5th. Last week’s Corn Bunting again visited private feeding stations in Hinton on 2nd and adjacent Woodford Halse on 4th.

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