Rarity Round-up, 2nd to 8th March 2019

Winds this week remained south-westerly to westerly and frequently blustery, with sporadic showers, although temperatures were still above average for the time of year. Highlights included an Iceland Gull in the north-west of the county and more Crossbills in the north-east and close to the county town while, apart from a certain roving Ring-necked Duck, the reservoirs and the Nene Valley remained cool, calm and collected …

The week opened with two Whooper Swans flying east over Duston, Northampton on the morning of 2nd, while the first winter remained in situ on Thrapston GP’s Town Lake until 4th. At least two Pink-footed Geese remained at the latter site until the week’s end and the two Pinkfeet showed up again at Stanford Res on 8th, after going AWOL for the previous six days. The only Red-crested Pochard of the week was a drake at Hardingstone GP on 5th and the drake Ring-necked Duck relocated at Stanwick GP on 28th remained until 2nd, before vanishing for the rest of the period.

Juvenile Great Northern Diver, Pitsford Res, 5th March 2019 (Beth Clyne)

Pitsford’s two juvenile Great Northern Divers were still ensconced, north of the dam, on 7th but there was a marked decline in reports of Great Egrets, with four at Thrapston on 2nd dwindling to one by the week’s end, three at Summer Leys throughout and three at Stanford Res on 5th, dropping to one on 7th.

Single Jack Snipes were at both Hollowell Res and Stanford Res on 2nd and at Boddington Res the following day.

Second-winter Iceland Gull, Stanford Res, 6th March 2019 (Chris Hubbard)

March is a prime month for passage Mediterranean Gulls – check your local roosts for one of these fine, black-hooded beauties. Two or three adults were seen this week, including singles at Daventry CP on 4th and 7th and at Stanford Res on the latter date, this last locality also producing a second-winter Iceland Gull in the roost on 6th. A third-winter Yellow-legged Gull visited Pitsford on 2nd and the adult was still at Hollowell Res, along with the first-winter Caspian Gull still, on 5th and an adult Caspian again visited Boddington Res on 3rd.

Male Crossbill, Wakerley Great Wood, 4th March 2019 (Ken Prouse)
Female Crossbill, Fineshade Wood, 5th March 2019 (Tony Vials)
Male Crossbill, Fineshade Wood, 5th March 2019 (Tony Vials)

With Irchester CP appearing to have fallen out of favour with Crossbills this week, Wakerley Great Wood took on the mantle, hosting up to a dozen birds in the vicinity of the car park between 2nd and 4th. On the opposite side of the A43, at nearby Fineshade Wood, two were present on 5th, a single female was found in the pines in Hollowell’s Guilsborough Bay, on 2nd and up to eleven were at Harlestone Heath on 8th.

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