It’s now looking and feeling a bit more like autumn, although winds remained firmly in the west for the last week and the early part of the period saw temperatures momentarily in the mid-twenties again. Consequently, there was nothing readily identifiable as being associated with an arrival from the east, although it was just about possible to feel a pulse in the neck of still largely dormant wader passage.
The week started with a new Garganey at Ravensthorpe Res on 1st and ended with another new one at Daventry CP on 7th. In between, one also remained at Stanwick GP until at least 5th. Sticking with the Nene Valley, a Bittern was seen in flight at Summer Leys LNR on 5th and Thrapston GP continued to be the most reliable site to see Great White Egret with one remaining throughout the week. Stanwick GP again produced one on 1st and 2 on 6th, while one visited Pitsford Res on 5th and another was at Summer Leys LNR on 7th.
Osprey numbers were well down on last week, with just singles at Hollowell Res on 1st and Pitsford Res on 5th. It’s worth mentioning that the last of the Rutland Water Ospreys had departed by 4th, while another from there had already reached Mauretania by 5th!
Considering how little wader habitat there is at Pitsford Res, it did rather well during the last two days of the period, producing 50% of this week’s ‘star cast’. As in previous years when the water level has been high, it was the area around the dam and Moulton Grange Bay which pulled in two Turnstones on 6th, followed by a Knot the next day, on 7th.
Elsewhere, a juvenile Ruff remained at Hollowell Res between 2nd and 4th, a Wood Sandpiper was found at Boddington Res on 1st with another reported from Stortons GP on the same date.
Having experienced a sudden, early departure of Common Terns, a single Black Tern moving south through Pitsford Res was a nice find on 5th but even better were two Sandwich Terns – an adult and a juvenile – at Boddington Res briefly on the morning of the previous day. The 5th produced both of this week’s Mediterranean Gulls – a juvenile at Pitsford Res and a first-winter at Stanwick GP, the latter still present the following day, while Stanwick also produced an adult Caspian Gull on 4th.
A second- or third-year Caspian Gull was also present on pools at Priors Hall, Corby on 1st. Single-figure counts of Yellow-legged Gulls came from Clifford Hill GP, Pitsford Res, Priors Hall, Ravensthorpe Res, Thrapston GP and Wicksteed Park Lake, although eighteen were counted at Stanwick on 4th.
A trickle of Common Redstarts continued with two at the popular site of Twywell Hills & Dales on 3rd, one at Daventry CP on 4th and, following last week’s, another male was trapped and ringed at Stanford Res on 6th.
There were more Whinchats this week, including at least five at Borough Hill on 2nd-3rd, up to three at Stanford Res on the same dates, two at Harrington AF on 3rd, 2 at Clifford Hill GP on 6th and singles at Hollowell Res between 4th and 7th and at Pineham, Northampton on 6th.
By contrast, Northern Wheatears were found at only 3 sites – one near Rushden on 1st and twos at Borough Hill and Pitsford Res on 3rd and 7th, respectively. Single White Wagtails were identified at Clifford Hill GP on 31st August and at Stanwick GP on 6th September.