Rarity Round-up, 15th to 21st February 2020

Another week of wind and wuthering saw most of the action taking place in Northamptonshire’s northwest, which produced a second for the county – albeit briefly.

In a lean week for wildfowl, the nine Pink-footed Geese continued to be seen daily at Stanford, on the Northamptonshire side of the River Avon, until 18th.

Pink-footed Geese, Stanford on Avon, 17th February 2020 (John Moon)
Pink-footed Geese, Stanford on Avon, 17th February 2020 (John Moon)

So far, proving unusually scarce this winter, a Bittern was seen in flight close to Stoke Bruerne on 16th but a search of suitable habitat in the vicinity turned out to be fruitless the following day. This was, of course, not the case with Great Egrets, which were found at six localities during the week, with a maximum of up to three at Thrapston GP on 16th.

Great Egret, Summer Leys LNR, 18th February 2020 (Mark Tyrrell)

Making an all too brief sortie into the county, from across the border in Leicestershire, was this winter’s first Iceland Gull, an adult, found in the roost at Stanford Res on 18th.

Adult Iceland Gull, Stanford Res, 18th February 2020 (Chris Hubbard)

As if that wasn’t enough, a third-winter Kumlien’s Gull from the same Leicestershire stable appeared in the same roost! A double whammy, a county second and more than ample reward for the time invested at this site by its single, relentlessly enthusiastic observer. “It’s only a ‘sub’, chap,” the cynics may say but a great bird, nonetheless. The first acceptable record was as recently as March 2016, at Daventry CP. The only Caspian Gulls this week also appeared in the Stanford roost – a first-winter on 17th and a third-winter on 21st.

Third-winter Kumlien’s Gull, Stanford Res, 18th February 2020 (Chris Hubbard)
Third-winter Kumlien’s Gull, Shawell, Leics, 18th January 2020 (Mike Alibone). The same individual that visited Stanford on 18th February.

Just two reports of Short-eared Owls included the Borough Hill three on 17th and the one still at Harrington AF on 20th, the latter site also producing a Merlin on 17th.

Nordic Jackdaw, Stanford on Avon, 21st February 2020 (Steve Nichols). A very well-marked individual, showing all the features normally associated with the race monedula, i.e. extremely broad and prominent white neck sides (almost forming a collar), paler grey nape and – from some angles – seemingly paler underparts than British spermologus. The above features are also not too far adrift from being associated with Russian Jackdaw soemmeringii and do not necessarily rule this race out.

Back up at Stanford, at the field with the Percy Pilcher Monument, last week’s cute corvid showing characteristics of Nordic Jackdaw was again on show on 21st, while Ecton SF’s Siberian Chiffchaff was also still in situ on 17th, along with at least ten Common Chiffchaffs.

Siberian Chiffchaff, Ecton SF, 17th February 2020 (Bob Bullock)
Siberian Chiffchaff, Ecton SF, 17th February 2020 (Bob Bullock)

Stonechat numbers were down from last week, with singles only at Pitsford Res, Stanford and Wicksteed Water Meadows (Kettering). Now, if we can only lose those winds …

2 thoughts on “Rarity Round-up, 15th to 21st February 2020

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