Rarity Round-up, 15th to 21st September 2018

The week’s weather was strongly influenced by the Atlantic storm track with SSW winds pushing up from the continent and raising the temperature to a local high of 26°C on 17th. The following day, ‘Storm Ali’ (nothing to do with the author!) was named as it advanced rapidly eastwards, bringing strong west to south-westerly wind and rain and delivering at least one storm-driven bird to the county on 21st.

This week’s wildfowl included the female Ruddy Shelduck putting in two appearances at Stanford Res on 15th and 18th with the same site also producing a flock of eight Red-crested Pochards on the latter date.

Juvenile Garganey, Pitsford Res, 21st September 2018 (Martin Swannell)

The Garganey at Daventry CP remained until at least 20th and a, or ‘the’, juvenile at Pitsford Res was again seen between Moulton Grange Bay and the dam on 20th-21st. Meanwhile, Great White Egrets increased in both number and the number of sites they were found at this week – the latter from three to five.

Great White Egret, Pitsford Res, 16th September 2018 (Adrian Borley)

The Thrapston GP individual remained all week, one was at Pitsford Res on 15th-16th while last week’s bird at Summer Leys LNR was still present on 21st, being joined by another there on 18th. Two were also together at Sulby Res on 16th and one flew west over Ditchford GP on 17th.

Juvenile Spotted Redshank, Hollowell Res, 9th September 2018 (Mike Alibone)

Just one Osprey was seen – a migrant flying south at Cosgrove on 17th – and against a flimsy backcloth of commoner waders, the juvenile Spotted Redshank at Hollowell Res chalked up its second full week in residence on 21st. Bird of the week, however, was the Grey Phalarope deposited at Daventry CP, courtesy of ‘Storm Ali’, on 21st. Showing well, as they so frequently do inland, it pushes the number of county records this century into double figures.

Juvenile Grey Phalarope, Daventry CP, 21st September 2018 (Gary Pullan)

Juvenile Grey Phalarope, Daventry CP, 21st September 2018 (Bob Bullock)

Juvenile Grey Phalarope, Daventry CP, 21st September 2018 (Martin Swannell)

Pitsford’s juvenile Black Tern remained until at least 19th, ranging widely between the northern reserve area and ‘The Narrows’, well south of the causeway.

Juvenile Black Tern, Pitsford Res, 17th September 2018 (Alan Coles)

Another was found at Thrapston GP on 17th, where last week’s juvenile Little Gull remained on Town Lake until the same date. Just one Mediterranean Gull made it on to the weekly list, a first-winter at Daventry CP on 17th, and an adult Caspian Gull at Ravensthorpe Res on 15th, visiting nearby Hollowell Res on 21st, was the only one the county could muster for this species, as well. Numbers of Yellow-legged Gulls were down further on last week, with a juvenile at Daventry CP on 17th, an adult at Hollowell Res on 21st and up to three at Pitsford Res during the period.

Yellow-legged Gull, Pitsford Res, 17th September 2018 (Angus Molyneux)

Numbers of passerines also took a plunge, although a Pied Flycatcher seen briefly in canalside bushes near Thrupp, between Long Buckby Wharf and Welton, on 15th would constitute the only record for Northamptonshire so far this year. Otherwise, single Whinchats at both Blueberry Farm, Maidwell and Stanford Res on 15th and two again at the latter site on 17th, were a poor show considering this species had been present at seven localities during the previous week. Only one Northern Wheatear was found – on Pitsford dam on 18th – while a single White Wagtail was identified at Boddington Res on 17th, where it remained until 20th.

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