Rarity Round-up, 6th to 12th June 2020

Showers, a northerly blow and below average temperatures provided the overall backdrop for this week’s birding, although the wind had developed a strong easterly component by midweek. ‘Staying alert’ could not have been more appropriate advice for the period – there are clearly some quality birds still being found out there …

In a month not normally recognised for wildfowl, there was a decent crop – although how genuinely ‘wild’ they are is a matter of opinion. It would appear that Clifford Hill GP’s Pink-footed Goose relocated to Pitsford Res, where it was discovered in Scaldwell Bay on 9th. At least it’s moving in the right direction. A female Ruddy Shelduck was found at Hollowell Res on 7th, remaining there at the week’s end.

Female Ruddy Shelduck, Hollowell Res, 12th June 2020 (Jon Cook)
Female Ruddy Shelduck, Hollowell Res, 12th June 2020 (Jon Cook)

It is easy to speculate this is last year’s individual, returning to the same site to see out its summer moult. Having not been reported for more than a week, it appears that Stortons GP’s drake Red-crested Pochard has relocated to Stanwick GP, where one was present from 6th until at least 11th. Back at Hollowell, four Common Scoters dropped in on 8th.

Common Scoters, Hollowell Res, 8th June 2020 (Martin Swannell)

Following last week’s Brampton Valley Quail, another was singing at Harrington AF on 7th, proving itself a popular draw for listeners until 9th. It was sound-recorded during its stay. One was also reported from Haselbech on 7th. Fifty years of Northamptonshire Quail records are depicted here.

Stanwick continued to host at least two Cattle Egrets throughout the period, while the Great Egret at Thrapston GP was seen again on 9th.

Three localities produced Ospreys this week, down from last week’s seven. Singles visited Stanford Res on 7th and 10th, Hollowell on 7th, 8th and 12th and Thrapston on 10th and 11th, where Elinor Trout Lake is a popular draw.

Thrapston also produced an Avocet on 11th and three were on site there the following day, on 12th. Also in the Nene Valley, two Black-tailed Godwits visited Summer Leys LNR on 8th, followed thereafter by one on 10th-11th and one at adjacent Earls Barton GP, also on 11th. It is not known if all sightings were of the same two birds, or whether four were involved. Those on 11th involved both races, the commonly encountered Icelandic race islandica at Earls Barton and the much scarcer ‘continental’ race limosa at Summer Leys.



            Gulls and terns featured well for June. A first-summer Little Gull visited Stanford Res on 11th, a second-summer Yellow-legged Gull was at Hollowell Res on 8th and a late spring Black Tern appeared at Stanwick GP on 6th.

Following the ephemeral Rose-coloured Starling in Wellingborough on 26th May and the inevitability of an invasion, the floodgates duly opened and the UK received its fair share of ‘Rosy Pastors’ – in excess of seventy at the time of writing. As they crossed the country, expectations were running high at a local level before one was eventually found in a garden in Hackleton on 9th. It remained long enough for a quick pic and then it was off, never to be seen again. Or was it? It, or another, was reported flying between gardens in Great Houghton, only 4 km to the north, on 9th and 10th. While all this may have been somewhat vexing, to say the least, for those of us routinely cruising and scanning suburbia, scrupulously checking our local Starling flocks, it also offers hope and inspiration that persistence may yet pay off. There are surely more to be discovered. Keep calm and carry on kerb-crawling …

The only other passerines of note were Crossbills. One flew over Pitsford on 7th and approximately twelve were in Yardley Chase, at Denton Wood, the following day.

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