The local weather for this two-week period was largely calm and settled, remaining under the influence of an airstream from the near continent, despite the best efforts of ‘Storm Hector’ to disrupt on the penultimate day. The birding pace understandably slowed considerably, although the period gave rise to some bizarre birds, as well as the first southbound passage wader of the ‘autumn’ – a Common Sandpiper on the last day.
The drake Garganey remained at Stanwick GP until at least 5th, the year now having bottomed out as far as wildfowl numbers are concerned. A Quail singing at Harrington AF on 3rd did not linger, unlike the adult Gannet previously reported over both Earls Barton GP and the A6 near Rushden on 1st, which was relocated at Clifford Hill GP, where it remained for at least forty minutes on the morning of 2nd.
The almost resident – presumably first-summer – Great White Egret remained at Thrapston GP throughout and another was seen flying over Aston le Walls on 8th.
The biggest surprise of the period also came from the western part of the county, where three Greater Flamingos were seen flying north-west over Farthingstone on the evening of 14th. In a laudable effort of derring-do, the observer gave chase by car but ultimately lost them and a subsequent search at Daventry CP and DIRFT/Lilbourne Meadows proved fruitless. Greater Flamingo is always a difficult one to assess. There is a series of supposedly vagrant records from a broad swathe of European countries as far north as Lithuania (or Finland according to IUCN), while the European population is estimated at 45,000-62,400 pairs and is said to be increasing (IUCN). However, the escape/feral possibility remains high – although three together … go figure.
An increasingly common sight in summer nowadays, single Ospreys were seen at Thrapston GP on 7th, Weldon Quarry and Deene Lake on 9th and at Hollowell Res on 13th and 15th but arguably more unusual was the first-summer Caspian Gull observed with a small flock of loafing gulls at Rushton Landfill on 9th. The main part of the landfill here is currently being capped off while a new excavation has been opened up, further from the traditional observation point along Oakley Road.
Another surprise report involved a Golden Oriole singing in the eastern suburbs of Northampton during the early hours of 3rd, the day after a Wood Warbler was discovered singing at Fineshade Wood, where it remained until at least 9th.