Newnham Hill Ring Ouzels

The discovery by Chris Coe, yesterday, of a Ring Ouzel at Newnham Hill, a locality which has, in recent years, established itself as a regular spring stop-off site for this species, sparked some debate about its age and sex.

It was still present this morning and Dave Warner located another one accompanying it, both birds remaining until at least late afternoon. While frequently retiring to the cover of one of the hill’s many hedgerows, both could often be seen feeding out on the open grassy slopes.

The news went out initially as a female being present on the hill but images released later suggested to some, at least, that it was a male, due to the extent of the white bib and the general ‘darkness’ of the plumage.

Female Ring Ouzel, Newnham Hill, 30th April 2019 (Mike Alibone). Note some minor streaking on the neck and throat.

Ring Ouzel sexing is oversimplified by many publications, which suggest that the difference between the sexes is as stark as it is in Blackbirds, i.e. the male is jet black and the female is brown. In reality, it is not that simple and the difference in the ground colours between the sexes is far less marked than it is in Blackbirds. This was highlighted by Shirihai & Svensson in their publication Handbook of Western Palearctic Birds, which also includes many useful photographs to illustrate the point.

Female Ring Ouzel, Newnham Hill, 30th April 2019 (Mike Alibone). Note heavier neck streaking.

In truth, male Ring Ouzels are never as ‘black’ as male Blackbirds and females are often very dark brown and can even appear almost blackish in the field. In some instances, females can be almost indistinguishable from males and when you throw first-summer birds into the mix, then things become more complicated, with first-summer males often closely resembling adult females to the point of being almost indistinguishable.

Female Ring Ouzel, Newnham Hill, 30th April 2019 (Mike Alibone)

Typical adult males normally look obviously black and will have a striking, contrasting, ‘clean’ white bib, which ends in a point at each side. Adult females can ‘appear’ really quite blackish and can have the same extent of bib but it is not usually gleaming white, being sullied with brownish scales and/or with smudgy brownish bleeding into it from the breast, to some degree. The sides of the bib do not end in a point and they are rounded or even square-ended. First-summers of both sexes, if seen well or in the hand, should show a moult limit in the greater coverts, i.e. the unmoulted outer few have broad (depending on wear) pale fringes, compared to the inners, which are more narrowly-fringed or largely plain. Adults have the same narrow fringes across the greater coverts, with the difference not so marked as it is in first-summers.

Female Ring Ouzel, Newnham Hill, 30th April 2019 (Mike Alibone). Illustrates just how ‘brown’ these individuals are.

The Newnham Hill birds are both adult females. When seen well, their plumage is dark brown, not black, their bibs are ‘dirty’ and do not end in sharp points at the sides and the greater covert fringes are all of even width.

I was lucky to catch up with them both today and pleased to be able to watch them in such a nice setting. With its far vistas, plentiful cover and easily observable open areas, Newnham Hill would appear to offer more to the birder than nearby Borough Hill, which has become more popular with the general public and now suffers massively from human disturbance.

Rarity Round-up, 20th to 26th April 2019

The generally easterly airstream continued to dominate, moving round to the south-east before eventually swinging south-west as ‘Storm Hannah’ approached at the week’s end. Local temperatures hit 24°C on 22nd, after which they fell away and showers ensued from 24th. Little Gulls and passage waders took centre stage, while summer visitors continued to arrive in small numbers.

Summer visitors recorded arriving for the first time during the past week include:
22nd April – Hobby, Blisworth
25th April – Common Swift, Daventry CP and Pitsford Res

Still there … the first-summer Whooper Swan entered another great week at Thrapston GP by remaining throughout, and the equally pitbound three Pink-footed Geese also nudged in on 20th, at least two of them still being present on 26th, while another pinkfoot visited Clifford Hill GP on 22nd. Summer Leys LNR again claimed exclusivity on the Garganey front, the drake there being joined by a female from 22nd – both appearing settled and staying throughout the week. The period’s token Red-crested Pochard – a drake – was at Clifford Hill GP on 23rd.

Whooper Swan, Thrapston GP, 22nd April 2019 (James Underwood)

Last week’s Cattle Egret remained with the herd of cows at the northern end of the Stanwick GP complex until at least 23rd and three Great Egrets were pushing the envelope at Thrapston on 20th and 26th, in contrast to singles only at Stanwick on 20th-21st, Grafton Regis on 21st, Stanford Res on 25th and Daventry CP on 26th.

From plain white to full kaleidoscope colour – well, almost – unarguably the most attractive find of the week was four gorgeous summer-plumaged Black-necked Grebes at the southern of Daventry CP on 26th. Ones and twos have occurred before but four together is unheard of in recent times, if not unprecedented.

Black-necked Grebes, Daventry CP, 26th April 2019 (John Moon)

On the raptor front, Marsh Harriers appeared in the Nene Valley at Summer Leys and adjacent Mary’s Lake on 20th and 22nd respectively – the first of these sporting green wing-tags, indicating it had been ringed as a nestling in Norfolk, by the North West Norfolk Ringing Group, sometime between 2011 and 2017.

Osprey, Ravensthorpe Res, 22nd April 2019 (Jonathan Cook)
Osprey, Hollowell Res, 23rd April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Single Ospreys were seen in flight on 22nd at Pitsford Res, Ravensthorpe Res, Stanford Res and Stanwick GP, on 23rd, 24th and 26th at Hollowell Res and on 25th again at Pitsford Res.

Avocet, Summer Leys LNR, 20th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Wader numbers ramped up with, as usual, the Nene Valley Flyway offering the most attractive habitat for pit stops. Heading the species cast, two Avocets arrived at Summer Leys on 20th and two also visited Ditchford GP’s Irthlingborough Lakes & Meadows LNR the following day.

Whimbrel, Stanford Res, 25th April 2019 (Chris Hubbard)

More Whimbrels came through, with twos at Clifford Hill GP and Summer Leys on 23rd, followed by three different individuals at Stanford Res on 25th and two again at Hollowell Res on 26th. In terms of sheer numbers of waders, Summer Leys had the lion’s share, with a single Black-tailed Godwit on 22nd, two on 23rd and a rather regal forty-seven, briefly, on 24th. Elsewhere, there were two at Thrapston GP on 23rd. Similarly, Bar-tailed Godwits at Summer Leys followed suit, with twenty-eight through east on 22nd, up to three different individuals on 23rd and two more on 24th. The 24th also saw two at Stanwick GP and singles at Hollowell Res and Clifford Hill GP, while the latter site produced a different, lingering bird on 25th-27th.

Black-tailed Godwits, Summer Leys LNR, 24th April 2019 (Steve Brayshaw)
Black-tailed Godwits, Summer Leys LNR, 24th April 2019 (Steve Brayshaw)
Bar-tailed Godwit, Summer Leys LNR, 24th April 2019 (Steve Brayshaw)
Bar-tailed Godwit Clifford Hill GP, 25th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Back at Summer Leys, the spring’s first Turnstone was found, along with a Ruff on 25th and, hot on the heels of the first last week, four more Greenshanks comprised singles at Pitsford Res on 20th, Stanford Res on 21st and Clifford Hill GP on 23rd and 25th.

No late April would be complete without the appearance of at least one Little Tern and so it was, on 25th, two appeared – one at Boddington Res, hanging around long enough to be photographed and the other putting in a brief appearance at Thrapston GP.

Little Tern, Boddington Res, 25th April (Mike Pollard)

More Black Terns continued to trickle through with two at Clifford Hill GP on 20th, followed by two at Thrapston GP on 22nd-23rd and singles at Stanford Res and again at Clifford Hill GP on 25th. Small numbers of Arctic Terns also made their way through the county in small numbers, with Thrapston GP producing one on 22nd while, on 23rd, Summer Leys produced two, Clifford Hill GP two, Stanwick two and Hollowell two and, on 25th, two were at Boddington and three at Pitsford. The 22nd-23rd delivered this week’s quota of Little Gulls with the first of these two dates seeing seven at Summer Leys, four at Clifford Hill and two at Thrapston, while the following day the same sites held twelve, four and one, respectively.

Little Gulls, Summer Leys LNR, 22nd April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Meanwhile, the roving pair of adult Mediterranean Gulls cruised over Stanwick twice on 22nd before again moving to Summer Leys later the same day, prior to being observed copulating there on 23rd. A lone, first-summer dropped into the Black-headed Gull colony at Stanwick, briefly, on 22nd.

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Summer Leys LNR, 23rd April 2019 (Bob Bullock)
First-summer Mediterranean Gull, Stanwick GP, 22nd April 2019 (Mike Alibone)

Passerines took a bit of a back seat this week. Northern Wheatears were reduced to two at Harrington AF on 20th and one there on 25th, plus singles at Summer Leys on 23rd and near Upper Benefield on 26th.

‘Channel’ Wagtail, Stanford Res, 24th April 2019 (Steve Nichols)
‘Channel’ Wagtail, Stanford Res, 24th April 2019 (Dan March)

The undoubted star, however, was a smart ‘Channel’ Wagtail, which graced the dam at Stanford Res during the evenings of 23rd-25th, while the number of White Wagtails logged fell again to just two – one at Hollowell on 23rd and the other at Clifford Hill on 25th.

Rarity Round-up, 13th-19th April 2019

The prolonged easterly airstream continued as the Scandinavian high pressure system filled and slipped further south, dragging warm air up from the continent as it did so. By the week’s end, local temperatures had hit 22°C and migrants continued to arrive in significant numbers throughout the period.

Summer visitors recorded arriving for the first time during the past week include:
13th April – Reed Warbler, Earls Barton GP
14th April – Common Whitethroat, Stanford Res
16th April – Cuckoo, Barnwell CP/Salcey Forest
17th April – Whimbrel, Hollowell Res/Summer Leys & Lesser Whitethroat Summer Leys
18th April – Nightingale, Thrapston GP
19th April – Garden Warbler, Stanford Res/Thrapston GP

Now sporting a predominantly yellow bill, thereby graduating to ‘first-summer’, the Whooper Swan continued its prolonged stay at Thrapston GP throughout the week, as did at least two of the three Pink-footed Geese. Summer Leys LNR retained its monopoly on Garganeys, a drake remaining for the duration and being joined there by another on 17th, while Daventry CP produced the only Red-crested Pochard of the week, a drake on 19th.

A Great Northern Diver was again reported from Pitsford Res on 16th – the day prior to a Cattle Egret being discovered feeding with cattle at the northern end of the Stanwick GP complex, where it remained at the week’s end. It’s difficult to be certain but it would seem highly likely this is the same individual which had been present, on and off, in the nearby Delta Lake area of Ditchford GP, where it was last seen on 30th March. The contours and vegetation of its chosen feeding area, at Stanwick’s North Lake, render it difficult to see, suggesting it may have been on site for some time prior to 17th.

Cattle Egret, Stanwick GP, 19th April 2019 (Mike Alibone)

By contrast, Great Egrets were, as usual, far more obvious, with Stanford Res taking the lion’s share of three on 13th and 16th, while Summer Leys retained two and singles were seen Daventry CP, Earls Barton GP, Foxholes Fisheries (Crick), Oundle, Stanwick and Thrapston.

Ospreys were recorded at four sites during the period, including singles in the Nene Valley – flying east at Earls Barton GP on 13th and west at Oundle on 15th – at Hollowell Res, where there were two different birds on 16th and at Pitsford Res on 16th, 18th and 19th.

Whimbrel, Hollowell Res, 17th April 2019 (Martin Swannell)
Whimbrel, Summer Leys LNR, 17th April 2019 (Amir Mughal)
Whimbrel, Summer Leys LNR, 18th April 2019 (Alan Coles)

Wader passage continued to gain momentum as another Grey Plover appeared at Clifford Hill GP on 18th, remaining there the following day. The first Whimbrels of the spring appeared on 17th, when two visited Hollowell Res and one was found at Summer Leys, from where further records of one came on 18th and 19th and two Black-tailed Godwits remained there from 16th to 19th.

Whimbrel, Summer Leys LNR, 18th April 2019 (Ian Hicks)
Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlins, Summer Leys LNR, 17th April 2019 (Alan Coles)
Black-tailed Godwits, Summer Leys LNR, 19th April 2019 (Alan Coles)

A Bar-tailed Godwit also put in a brief appearance at Summer Leys on 15th and another appeared at Clifford Hill GP, late on 19th while back at Summer Leys, a Ruff was present on 15th and again on 17th. Up at Stanford Res, the year’s first Greenshank was found on the dam on 15th, while single Jack Snipes lingered at Hollowell Res on 13th and on floodwater at Barnwell the following day.

Ruff, Summer Leys LNR, 15th April 2019 (Rishi Askoolum)
Greenshank, Stanford Res, 15th April 2019 (Chris Hubbard)

Hot on the heels of last week’s, a trio of Black Terns included one briefly at Summer Leys on 18th and two at Hollowell the next day. Similarly, an Arctic Tern was at Summer Leys on 16th and further down the valley, two visited Ditchford GP on 19th. Numbers of Little Gulls fell flat compared with the previous week’s influx, with Summer Leys producing one on 17th and 18th, two visited Wicksteed Park Lake on the same dates and two were at Thrapston on 18th-19th.

Adult Little Gull, Summer Leys LNR, 18th April 2019 (John Moon)

Coming to a Black-headed Gull colony near you, two adult Mediterranean Gulls – clearly a ‘pair’ in the traditional sense of the word – appeared to be prospecting suitable breeding sites in the Nene Valley on 19th, being seen first at Stanwick before moving to Summer Leys and then heading back down the Nene to Thrapston. Last of the larids, this week’s ‘token’ Yellow-legged Gull was at Pitsford Res on 15th.

Adult Mediterranean Gulls, Stanwick GP, 19th April 2019 (Mike Alibone)

Late in the season but not unprecedented, a Short-eared Owl was out at the northern end of the Stanwick complex during the evening of 19th and the wintering Great Grey Shrike remained in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton until at least 17th. The second Woodlark to be found in the county this year flew east over the dam at Pitsford Res on 15th. Surprisingly, for a species which breeds only tens of kilometres from Northamptonshire and is also a migrant, there have been only three previous records this century (2001, 2014 and 2016) as well the aforementioned individual in January this year, if accepted.

Male Pied Flycatcher, Barton Seagrave, 16th April 2019 (Stephen Quincey)

Of more reliable occurrence and only to be expected in April, however, is Pied Flycatcher but predicting just where one will turn up is far less easy. Trees bordering a playing field at Barton Seagrave would not be the first choice locality for many a birder to go looking but that’s precisely where one was found, late in the evening on 16th.

Male Common Redstarts (Gary Pullan). Hellidon, 13th April 2019 (left), Daventry CP, 16th April 2019 (right).

Common Redstarts were a little more abundant, though, with single males at Hellidon on 13th and 18th, Daventry CP on 15th, near Rothersthorpe on 16th and at Summer Leys on 19th, while Northern Wheatears were even better represented by singles at Stanwick and Pitsford Res on 15th, Harrington AF on 16th and 19th, near Brackley on 17th, at both Kelmarsh and Rushden on 18th and in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton on 19th. In addition, five were at an undisclosed locality on 18th. This week’s White Wagtails were fewer in number compared with last week and included singles at Stanford Res on 14th and 19th, with three there on 17th and further singles at Pitsford Res on 14th and Hollowell Res on 17th.

Rarity Round-up, 6th to 12th April 2019

Following last week’s swing to a south-easterly airstream, the period began with more of the same, the wind quickly turning east to north-east as a high pressure system became anchored over Scandinavia for much of the week. Low cloud, mist and occasional drizzle ensued – such conditions being the stuff of dreams on the east coast in autumn. This was, however, Northamptonshire in early April but the birds did not disappoint, with Little Gulls once again rising to prominence alongside early Black Terns and the arrival of more summer visitors.

Summer visitors recorded arriving for the first time during the past week include:
7th April – Black Tern, Summer Leys LNR
8th April – Arctic Tern, Hollowell Res
10th April – Tree Pipit, Daventry CP

Still in apparently no hurry to leave, the first-winter Whooper Swan remained at Thrapston GP until at least 7th and the three Pink-footed Geese continued to be seen there, present and correct, through to the week’s end, on 12th. A drake Garganey also remained at Summer Leys LNR throughout the period and last week’s drake Red-crested Pochard was still at Pitsford Res on 10th. However, it was the Nene Valley that cashed in on the first spring migrant Common Scoters of 2019, with four remaining all day at Summer Leys on 9th.

Common Scoters, Summer Leys LNR, 9th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

After an apparent absence of two weeks, a Great Northern Diver was reported again at Pitsford Res on 8th and apart from three Great Egrets at Thrapston GP on the same date, twos were seen at each of Stanford Res and Sulby Res, while singles were present at Ravensthorpe Res, Stanwick GP and Summer Leys.

A distant view of an unidentified male harrier at Fawsley Park on 7th suggested another week in which a Hen Harrier visited the county, but these days nothing is a given and, as they say, other harriers are available …  Prior to that it had also been seen at nearby Eydon. Ospreys continued to move through, with singles visiting Pitsford Res on 8th, Ravensthorpe Res on 9th, Summer Leys on 10th and 11th, Ditchford GP on 11th and Thrapston GP on 12th. On 11th, the Summer Leys sighting of one moving east was only 25 minutes prior to that of the eastbound bird at Ditchford and indeed, all the Nene Valley occurrences may have referred to the same individual. Also on the move, another Common Crane flew high north over Hanging Houghton, early in the evening on 12th.

Grey Plover, Hollowell Res, 8th April 2019 (Martin Swannell)
Grey Plover, Hollowell Res, 8th April 2019 (Martin Swannell)

Wader interest was piqued this week as the first two spring Grey Plovers made landfall at Hollowell Res on 8th, both remaining until the following day, when two Black-tailed Godwits were found at Stanwick GP and a Bar-tailed Godwit appeared at Clifford Hill GP.

Bar-tailed Godwit, Clifford Hill GP, 9th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)
Bar-tailed Godwit, Clifford Hill GP, 9th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Hot on their heels came a Knot on the A45 Lay-by Pit at Stanwick, on 12th, although its visit there was all too brief before it continued its northward migration, moving on shortly after its discovery.

Knot, Stanwick GP, 12th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

In addition to these expected spring migrants, single Jack Snipes were still at Hollowell Res on 6th and at Upton Mill (Northampton) on the same date.

Following the trickle of Little Gulls during the last day of the previous week, the dam burst and many more appeared at reservoirs and gravel pits across the county. The largest numbers arrived on 8th, when the highest site counts were twelve at Stanford Res and eleven at Hollowell Res and 9th, when twelve were at Clifford Hill GP. Additionally, records throughout the seven days came from Boddington Res, Ditchford GP, Pitsford Res, Ravensthorpe Res, Stanwick GP, Summer Leys and Thrapston GP. The influx is likely to have involved almost one hundred birds.

Adult Little Gull, Hollowell Res, 8th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)
Adult Little Gull, Hollowell Res, 8th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)
Adult Little Gull, Hollowell Res, 8th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)
Little Gull, totals by day, 6th-12th April 2019

Caught up among the many Little Gulls and no doubt ushered in by the easterly winds, were the first Black Terns of the spring. One at Summer Leys on 7th was quickly followed by another at Clifford Hill GP the following day. These two are the earliest ever to be recorded in Northants, both narrowly beating the previous record holder, which was at Ditchford GP on 9th April 2017. Arctic Terns arrived too, with singles at Hollowell Res on 8th, Boddington Res and Clifford Hill GP on 9th and two paid a brief visit to Stanwick on 10th.

Arctic Tern, Hollowell Res, 8th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)
Arctic Tern, Hollowell Res, 8th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Stanwick also produced all two of this week’s Mediterranean Gulls – an adult on 6th and a second-summer on 8th-9th while all, bar one, Yellow-legged Gulls were to be found at Daventry CP, which held singles from various age groups on 7th, 9th 11th and 12th with two there on 8th. The other one was at Pitsford Res – also on 8th.

Great Grey Shrike, Hanging Houghton, 12th April 2019 (Ken Prouse)

The long-staying, wintering Great Grey Shrike – by far the easiest to see in the county for decades – remained in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton throughout the week but the other passerines recorded this week were all of a transitory nature.

Female Ring Ouzel, Gretton, 7th April (James Underwood)

Two Ring Ouzels comprised singles at Gretton on 7th and another photographed in a garden at Hellidon the following day. A male Common Redstart was in scrub north of Mary’s Lake at Earls Barton GP on 11th and more Northern Wheatears included two at Clifford Hill GP from 6th to 11th, one at Pitsford Res on 7th and up to four near Bugbrooke on 7th-8th, while two relatively early male Greenland Wheatears were found in a paddock east of the country park at Daventry on 11th.

White Wagtail, Stanford Res, 10th April 2019 (Mike Alibone)

Making up for a rather poor showing of just one last week, White Wagtails rose to prominence with up to twelve at Clifford Hill GP between 6th and 11th, two at Summer Leys on 9th and singles at Hollowell Res on 9th and Stanford Res on 10th and 11th. Now a lamentably scarce migrant, a Tree Pipit flew north over Daventry CP on 10th. This former local breeder is difficult to catch up with locally – hopefully there will be a few more to come …

Rarity Round-up, 30th March to 5th April 2019

Despite a warm start on day one, temperatures subsequently plummeted as the winds quickly swung northerly, remaining so for much of the week. Hail and snow were notable features of 3rd, before the wind did a one-eighty at the end of the period and more welcome south-easterlies helped lift temperatures and spirits by producing a last-minute flush of Little Gulls.

Summer visitors recorded arriving for the first time during the past week include:
30th March – Common Sandpiper at Pitsford Res & Yellow Wagtail at Hollowell Res
2nd April – Common Tern at Daventry CP and Willow Warbler at Summer Leys LNR
3rd April – Sedge Warbler at Earls Barton GP
4th April – House Martin at Stanford Res
5th April – Common Redstart, Moulton & Grasshopper Warbler, Summer Leys LNR

Hanging on in there, the first-winter Whooper Swan and the three Pink-footed Geese were still at large at Thrapston GP on 3rd and 4th respectively, while last week’s drake Garganey (or another) was at Summer Leys LNR from 1st to 5th, being joined by a second drake on 4th. Last week’s drake Red-crested Pochard was still at Pitsford Res on 3rd.

Great Egret, Stanford Res, 30th March 2019 (Matt Jackson)

Great Egret numbers continued to dwindle. No more than two were reported at each of Stanford Res, Summer Leys/Earls Barton GP and Thrapston and last week’s Cattle Egret remained at Ditchford GP’s Delta Lake until at least 30th.

As we emerge from what has already been acknowledged as a good winter locally for Hen Harriers, another ‘ringtail’ was seen in flight between Stoke Albany and Desborough AF on 4th.Northbound Ospreys continued to move through, including singles over the A43 near Bulwick on 30th, at Pitsford Res on 1st and at Hollowell Res on 3rd and 4th. The Pitsford individual was a male, which had been ringed (‘03’) at Rutland Water in a previous year and was paired with a female there last year. At the time ‘03’ reached Pitsford, the female had already arrived at Rutland and paired up with a different male and by 3rd, ‘03’ still had not appeared back at ‘his’ nest …

Osprey, Pitsford Res, 1st April 2019 (Matthew Rivers). Male ’03’ from Rutland Water.

This week’s waders were limited to three – maybe four – Black-tailed Godwits at Summer Leys on 30th, with one remaining until the following day. Always well-received and a delight to watch, arguably the most popular new arrivals this week were the adult Little Gulls appearing at the eleventh hour, on 5th. No doubt aided and abetted by the strong south-easterly airstream, these included singles at Daventry CP, Stanford Res and Summer Leys, while two were found at Hollowell.

Adult Little Gulls, 5th April 2019. Left, Daventry CP (Gary Pullan), right, Stanford Res (Chris Hubbard)

Also never to be sniffed at, summer-plumaged adults of the ‘big version’, Mediterranean Gull, were at Summer Leys on 30th and two visited Stanwick on 31st and 5th, while a second-summer was seen at Pitsford on 30th.

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Summer Leys LNR, 30th March 2019 (Ricky Sinfield)

Two Short-eared Owls this week comprised a fly-by at Blueberry Farm (Maidwell) and one still at Neville’s Lodge (Finedon) on 1st, while the long-staying Great Grey Shrike remained at the first of these two localities throughout the period.

Great Grey Shrike, Hanging Houghton, 1st April 2019 (Alan Coles)
Great Grey Shrike, Hanging Houghton, 1st April 2019 (Matthew Rivers)

Over at Wicksteed Park, Kettering, a ‘Nordic’ Jackdaw was seen on 2nd and the first Common Redstart of the spring – a male – was found at Moulton on 5th.

‘Nordic’ Jackdaw, Kettering, 2nd April 2016 (Alan Francis)

More Northern Wheatears appeared this week, with singles at Harrington AF and Kingsthorpe Meadows LNR (Northampton) on 31st and one again at Clifford Hill GP on 5th but still thin on the ground, a White Wagtail appeared at Hollowell Res on 4th.

Male Crossbill, Wakerley Great Wood, 31st March 2019 (James Underwood)

In the far north of the county, two Crossbills – a male and female – were still at Wakerley Great Wood on 31st.