Unseasonally high temperatures borne out of prolonged and blustery south-westerlies resulted in little change to the birdscape … unless, of course, you were a golfer.
Only time will surely tell but it’s looking like at least seven Pink-footed Geese have opted for Hollowell Res as a favoured wintering area this year and if the female Ruddy Shelduck follows last year’s tack she, too, looks set to remain there into the winter months. Another Pink-footed Goose was seen flying west with a sizeable flock of Greylags over Ecton SF on 30th. This week also saw the arrival of a number of Red-crested Pochards at three localities, with five visiting Summer Leys LNR on 27th, eight at Pitsford on 28th increasing to fifteen the following day and at least eleven still present on 30th. A drake was also at Stanwick GP on the last of these dates.
Over the years, the number of scarce and rare birds found on golf courses is legend – a prime example in more recent times appearing in the shape of an invitingly attractive Cream-coloured Courser – an apt name, if ever there was – at Herefordshire’s Kington GC, in May 2012, many local birders making the trip to see it. While Northants is unable to lay any comparable claims, what appears to have been a flock of five Glossy Ibises flying south-west over Kingsthorpe GC, last week, on the morning of 22nd, almost qualifies at a local level. Appearing at the height of a late autumn influx, which saw up to forty across southern Britain, including a flock of five in Hampshire on 20th, they would constitute the 6th county record, if accepted. Perhaps more of us should take up golf …
Back down to earth, up to six Cattle Egrets remained at Stanwick throughout, while Great Egrets maxed out with four at Hollowell on 26th and between one and two were seen at each of seven further localities. There was only one sighting of the wandering red wing-tagged juvenile female Marsh Harrier this week – again at Summer Leys on 26th.
In a the first waderless week for months and with only gulls to fall back on, Summer Leys also produced a Mediterranean Gull on 30th, the same date an adult Caspian Gull was found at Hollowell, the latter site also producing a Yellow-legged Gull on 26th and 30th, while another was also in the gull roost at Stanford Res on the first of these two dates.
Back over at Stanwick, a Jackdaw showing characteristics of the nominate race monedula – a white collar worker from Scandinavia, colloquially know as Nordic Jackdaw – appeared among around one thousand ‘regular’ Jackdaws on 30th. The last one reported locally was at Stanford on Avon in February.
Stanwick was also one of five sites to hold between one and three Stonechats, with a further site, Hollowell, claiming the week’s maximum of five on 28th.