Rarity Round-up, 5th to 11th May 2018

In a week when the most exciting thing was the weather – a record early May bank holiday temperature of 25°C locally – birding fell flat in comparison to the previous seven days. The clear skies, lack of rainfall and an uplift in temperature, caused by a high pressure system importing warm air from south-east Europe, provided conditions conducive to non-stop migration, with few birds deciding to make landfall.

Most of this week’s action came from the Nene Valley, where the only Garganey during the period was a drake at Stanwick GP on 9th-10th and looking like a non-breeding, first-summer bird, the mobile Great White Egret was again at Summer Leys LNR on 5th and 7th.

Great White Egret, Summer Leys LNR, 7th May 2018 (Ricky Sinfield)

Further down the valley, an Osprey was fishing at Thrapston GP’s Elinor Trout Lake on 6th and 8th and singles visited Hollowell Res on 7th and Pitsford Res on 11th.

Osprey, Thrapston GP, 8th May 2018 (Alan Francis)
Osprey, Pitsford Res, 11th May 2018 (Martin Swannell)

Following the high count of Black-tailed Godwits at Clifford Hill GP last week, numbers crashed to just two at Summer Leys on 5th, the latter site attracting four Wood Sandpipers on 6th, with two remaining the following day, while a Ruff was present there on 8th-9th. Clifford Hill, meanwhile, produced the second Sanderling of the spring with a one-day bird on 7th.

Narrowly making it on to the list this week was Arctic Tern, with singles flying west at Clifford Hill GP on 10th and at Pitsford Res the following day. A first-summer Little Gull lingered on Gull Island at Summer Leys on 5th and two adult Mediterranean Gulls again visited Stanwick on 7th, with one still there on 9th, while a first-summer Caspian Gull and an adult Yellow-legged Gull were at Daventry CP on 11th.

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Stanwick GP, 7th May 2018 (Mike Alibone)

Passerine migrants were in short supply, with Northern Wheatear standing out as the only noteworthy species in this group. Clifford Hill GP was still the top venue at which last week’s double-figure collection of ‘Greenlanders’ fell to seven on 5th, two on 6th and one on 7th.

Male Greenland Wheatear, Clifford Hill GP, 6th May 2018 (Mike Alibone)

Elsewhere, up to three were at Chelveston AF on 5th-6th and singles were found at Polebrook AF and Summer Leys on 5th, in Kingsthorpe (Northampton) on 6th and near Horton on 7th.

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