Rarity Round-up, 27th June to 3rd July 2020

Atlantic low pressure systems dominated the week’s weather, bringing rain and generally unsettled conditions on a mainly south-westerly airstream, while return wader passage gathered pace …

This week, the female Ruddy Shelduck appeared settled throughout at Hollowell Res, with other new wildfowl be represented only by a female Red-crested Pochard at Pitsford Res on 29th and a drake there on 3rd.

Continuing the trend in summer records, a Bittern was found at Stanwick GP on 3rd – no doubt a reflection of the recent significant increase in the UK’s breeding population.

Bittern, Stanwick GP, 3rd July 2020 (Steve Fisher)

Up to four juvenile Cattle Egrets remained at Ringstead GP, visited sporadically by the adults, both of which were seen feeding around the main lake at adjacent Stanwick GP, while the only Great Egrets this week were fly-over singles at Stanford Res on 27th, 30th and 1st and one still at Hollowell Res on 1st-3rd.

Adult Cattle Egret, Ringstead GP, 29th June 2020 (Adrian Borley)
Juvenile Cattle Egret, Ringstead GP, 30th June 2020 (Mike Alibone)

Hollowell also continued to hold fishing Ospreys, where there were singles on 28th and 29th, with the nearby localities of Pitsford and Harrington AF producing fly-overs on 27th and 30th, respectively, with one fishing at the first of these two sites on 3rd.

On the wader front, the first Whimbrel of ‘autumn’ flew south at Pitsford on 3rd but it was the usual summer spill of Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits moving back south through the county which made up the bulk of the week’s waders.

Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits, Summer Leys LNR, 2nd July 2020 (Ady Leybourne)
Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits, Stanwick GP, 2nd July 2020 (Steve Fisher)

On 27th, twelve were at Stanwick and one visited Summer Leys LNR, followed by two at the latter locality on 30th. The 2nd, though, saw a flock of approximately forty drop into Stanwick GP for some 35 minutes before continuing their journey south, with the same day seeing five at nearby Ditchford GP and one, plus three more, at Summer Leys. Singles then visited Pitsford, Stanwick and Summer Leys the following day, with the latter site producing a Greenshank on 27th.

Greenshank, Summer Leys LNR, 27th June 2020 (Ricky Sinfield)

Following last week’s news of Mediterranean Gulls successfully breeding at Stanwick, two adults and two juveniles remained there throughout the period, becoming more mobile around the site by the week’s end. Three Yellow-legged Gulls were at Pitsford Res on 27th with one again on 3rd, while the second-summer remained at Hollowell until at least 1st.

Juvenile Mediterranean Gulls, Stanwick GP, 30th June 2020 (Mike Alibone)

Adult and juvenile Mediterranean Gulls, Stanwick GP, 30th June 2020 (Mike Alibone)

Passerines rarely feature in June-July, so an early migrant male Common Redstart at Harrington from 28th until 3rd was a bonus following a spring in which few were recorded. Crossbills continued to be seen, although in much smaller numbers compared with last week’s influx. Five flew south-west at Stanwick on 27th, two were in pines at Hollowell on 29th and four were seen heading south-west over Stanford Res on 2nd.

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