Rarity Round-up, 31st May to 7th June 2019

As we entered the summer lull, a westerly to south-westerly airstream initially brought a heady mix of mid-twenties temperatures and dry sunny conditions, later followed by sunshine and showers. ‘Storm Miguel’, a swirling low pressure system moving north from Iberia, brought rain on gathering south-easterlies at the very end of a not too species-rich period.

Last week’s newly arrived Ruddy Shelduck moved from Ravensthorpe Res and remained settled at nearby Hollowell Res throughout the period. Might it remain into the summer to moult and become temporarily flightless, as others have done in previous years?

First-summer female Ruddy Shelduck, Hollowell Res, 5th June 2019 (Mike Alibone)

First-summer female Ruddy Shelduck, Hollowell Res, 6th June 2019 (Jon Cook). The grey centres to the outer three greater coverts, just visible in the image, age this bird as a first-summer and the white face mask barely contrasting with the remainder of the rather worn and faded head sex it as a female.

In the first Great Egret-free week of 2019, remaining throughout were the three Cattle Egrets at the northern end of Stanwick GP, mirroring the small flocks currently residing in north Norfolk.

Osprey, Hollowell Res, 1st June 2019 (Alan Coles)

Osprey, Hollowell Res, 1st June 2019 (Alan Coles)

Coming to the fore, Ospreys were reported from five localities, with Hollowell – highest in the reliability stakes – producing birds on 31st, 1st, 2nd and 5th, followed by singles at Biggin Lake (Oundle) on 1st, Thrapston GP on 2nd, flying north over Irthlingborough on 3rd and at Pitsford Res on 5th.

The only migrant wader this week was a Grey Plover, found at Hollowell on 7th.

Little Tern, Wicksteed Park Lake, 31st May 2019 (Alan Francis)

Little Tern, Wicksteed Park Lake, 31st May 2019 (Alan Francis)

Further scarce migrants appeared in the shape of two Little Terns, surprisingly suburban, at Wicksteed Park Lake (Kettering) on 31st. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they did not linger and neither did the first-summer Arctic Tern, which appeared at Summer Leys on 1st.

First-summer Arctic Tern, Summer Leys LNR, 1st June 2019 (Matt Hazleton)

First-summer Arctic Tern, Summer Leys LNR, 1st June 2019 (Matt Hazleton)

An adult Yellow-legged Gull kept the larids afloat this week, with an adult mobile between Hollowell and Ravensthorpe on 5th.

Short-eared Owl, Grendon, 6th June 2019 (Ken Prouse)

Somewhat unseasonal for Northamptonshire, a Short-eared Owl was observed between Grendon and Easton Maudit on 6th, moving on after a brief interaction with a hunting Barn Owl.

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