Newsround – 17th to 23rd October 2020

With winds predominantly from the south and sporadic heavy showers, one bird stood head and shoulders above the crowd, however, its visit to the county was short-lived …

Last week’s newly arrived mini-flocks of eight and four Pink-footed Geese at both Hollowell Res and Thrapston GP, respectively, remained throughout the period, while the re-emergence of the female Ruddy Shelduck at Hollowell on 20th broke a three-week absence from the site. Once again, Thrapston produced more Common Scoters, a female and two drakes on Town Lake, briefly, on 19th.

Pink-footed Geese, Hollowell Res, 20th October 2020 (Bob Bullock)
Pink-footed Geese, Thrapston GP, 23rd October 2020 (Adrian Borley)
Female Ruddy Shelduck Hollowell Res, 20th October 2020 (Bob Bullock)

Up to ten Cattle Egrets lingered at their favoured locality, Stanwick GP, throughout, while Great Egrets were found at nine sites, with a maximum of five at Summer Leys LNR on 18th.

Cattle Egrets, Stanwick GP, 17th October 2020 (Jon Andrews)
Great Egrets, Summer Leys LNR, 18th October 2020 (Ricky Sinfield)
Great Egret, Summer Leys LNR, 21st October 2020 (Ricky Sinfield)

Summer Leys also hung on to its red wing-tagged juvenile female Marsh Harrier until at least 22nd.

Marsh Harrier, Summer Leys LNR, 19th October 2020 (Doug Goddard)
Marsh Harrier, Earls Barton GP, 21st October 2020 (Ricky Sinfield)
Black-tailed Godwit, Hollowell Res 18th October 2020 (Jon Cook)

Waders were down to just single Black-tailed Godwits visiting Summer Leys on 17th and Hollowell Res the following day, the latter site also producing a third-winter  Caspian Gull on 23rd, while another, or the same, visited Daventry CP on 18th. One to two Yellow-legged Gulls were found at three sites which included Hollowell Res, Priors Hall and Willowbrook Industrial Estate (both Corby), while at least ten were present at Thrapston GP on 19th.

Adult Yellow-legged Gull, Willowbrook Industrial Estate, Corby, 19th October 2020 (James Underwood)

Back on dry land, this week’s token Merlin, a juvenile, was hunting farmland between Quinton and Preston Deanery on 22nd. However, the period’s biggest bombshell was the discovery of a first-winter Dartford Warbler in a private garden in Blakesley, where it remained for no longer than ten minutes, on 17th. This is only the fifth record for the county and the first for ten years (full details here).

First-winter Dartford Warbler, Blakesley, 17th October 2020 (Colin Stafford)

And autumn wouldn’t be autumn without at least one Ring Ouzel but the one arriving this week was not at any of the traditional localities. Discovered eating Rowan berries in Brampton Ash on 22nd and remaining secretive, it was believed to have been present in the area for a few days prior to this date.

Female Stonechat, Yardley Chase, 22nd October 2020 (Bob Bullock)

Stonechats maintained a high profile, being seen at seven localities, with no more than three birds at any one of these. And in what has turned out to be an extremely good autumn for Crossbills, four sites produced birds this week, with twelve seen flying south near Kirby Hall, Deene, on 18th, one at Weldon on 19th, fifteen in Bucknell Wood on 22nd and one flying west over Tiffield the following day.

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