Rarity round-up, 25th to 30th May 2019

The period’s weather fell under the influence of a westerly airflow, which brought intermittent sunshine and showers and, as it happens, very little change to the local birdscape. Topping the charts this week were three Cattle Egrets at Stanwick, all resplendent in summer plumage … and one up on last week’s total.

A late spring Ruddy Shelduck at Ravensthorpe Res on 29th, moving to nearby Hollowell Res the next day, was a tad earlier than would be expected for an overshoot from the European feral breeding population, many of which move north in the summer to moult in The Netherlands. This particular individual was unringed but that counts for little where this species is concerned.

The tally of Cattle Egrets in the county increased by 50% on last week’s total, with three at the northern end of Stanwick GP from 26th to 30th. They can often be difficult to see in the long grass and lightly undulating terrain chosen by the cattle. By contrast, the only Great Egrets reported were two at Summer Leys LNR on 29th.

Cattle Egret, Stanwick GP 27th May 2019 (Steve Fisher)
Cattle Egret, Stanwick GP, 29th May 2019 (Bob Bullock)
Cattle Egrets, Stanwick GP, 29th May 2019 (Bob Bullock)
Cattle Egrets and Little Egret, Stanwick GP, 29th May 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Continuing to put in erratic appearances throughout the week, Ospreys were again seen at Hollowell Res on 25th, Pitsford Res on 29th and Thrapston GP on 30th and they are likely to maintain their status as sole raptor representative within these reports … until something a little more exotic turns up, of course.

Osprey, Hollowell Res, 25th May 2019 (Alan Coles)
Osprey, Hollowell Res, 25th May 2019 (Alan Coles)

Wader passage has all but dried up. A Whimbrel dropped into Summer Leys scrape briefly on 25th and a Greenshank was on Round Island there on 30th and, of course, gulls are thin on the ground this time of the year, too. Maybe not too surprising was the appearance of an adult Mediterranean Gull at Summer Leys on 25th and another – or the same – at Stanwick GP on 28th. If they are breeding again somewhere, this year, then they are maintaining an ultra-low profile. Making a somewhat unseasonal appearance, a first-summer Caspian Gull appeared at Daventry CP on 30th.

Belated news of a Firecrest in a Braunston garden on 23rd May means that a passerine creeps into this week’s round-up. After a short video performance, it promptly disappeared.

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