Rarity Round-up, 21st to 27th April 2018

The uber spring-like temperatures from the end of last week tailed off after the first two days of the period as the Atlantic jetstream moved north, allowing a predominantly westerly airflow to bring more blustery, showery conditions throughout the remaining days. The only on cue summer visitors new in during the period were Common Swifts from 22nd, while a White Stork caused a stir in the Nene Valley on 21st.

In addition to the two which remained at Lower Barnwell floods until 23rd, more Garganeys appeared this week, with 24th seeing the arrival of a drake at Boddington Res and two at Summer Leys LNR, which were still present on 27th, when they were joined by a third. Another drake was found at Thrapston GP on 26th before being joined by a female there the following day. The only other wildfowl of note were the male and female Red-crested Pochard still at Kislingbury GP until at least 24th.

Drake Garganey, Summer Leys LNR, 26th April 2018 (Chris Donohoe)

Great White Egrets remained very much in evidence. One continued to be seen intermittently at Summer Leys up to 23rd, two reappeared on Lower Barnwell Floods on 22nd, with at least one remaining until 25th, singles were at Clifford Hill GP on 22nd and in flight, north, over Pitsford Res on 25th, while two flew west over Billing Aquadrome the following day. This week’s star of the Nene Valley was …

Another fine, summer-plumaged Black-necked Grebe was discovered this week – this time at Pitsford Res, where it was present south of the causeway on 24th-25th and after a scattering of Ospreys last week, a single ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier flying east at Borough Hill on 25th was the only notable raptor during the period.

Waders were similarly lacking in numbers, with just three Whimbrels – one north over Hollowell Res on 24th and two at Summer Leys on 27th – and two Wood Sandpipers at Summer Leys on 26th, one of which remained the following day, when a Greenshank was also present there. All of these were set against a backcloth of small numbers of commoner migrant waders, including Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover and Dunlin.

The thin sprinkling of Arctic Terns this week comprised three at Pitsford Res on 22nd and two there on 25th-26th, one at Hollowell Res on 23rd, followed by two on 26th and approximately fifteen there the following evening, at least two at Clifford Hill GP on 23rd, two at Daventry CP on 25th with one there on 27th and two at Summer Leys on the same date.

Adult Kittiwake, Thrapston GP, 22nd April 2018 (Mike Alibone)
Adult Kittiwake, Thrapston GP, 22nd April 2018 (Mike Alibone)

Sometimes appearing moribund but clearly able to fly, the adult Kittiwake at Thrapston GP remained until 22nd, after which it could not be found. A three-day stay at one locality is extremely unusual, if not unprecedented, and this individual may well be the last record for the spring. The two adult Mediterranean Gulls, previously seen at Stanwick, visited Summer Leys on 24th with one of these remaining there the following day.

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Summer Leys LNR, 24th April 2018 (Ricky Sinfield)

Three Ring Ouzels were reported in hedgerows and rape fields, south-east of Farthingstone on 21st and the first migrant Whinchat of the spring turned up at Boddington Res on 24th, while Northern Wheatears continued to trickle through, with Clifford Hill GP again producing the maximum count of eight on 22nd. Elsewhere, two were at Borough Hill and singles at Newnham Hill and Bugbrooke on 21st, two were at Wappenham and five at Borough Hill on 22nd and three were between Shutlanger and Alderton on 26th. A male Greenland Wheatear was at Ringstead Grange Quarry on 22nd. Lastly, a Tree Pipit was found at Borough Hill on 21st and it, or another, was present there the following day and a White Wagtail – unusually scarce this spring – was at Summer Leys on 27th.

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