Newsround – 21st to 27th November 2020

The wind continued mainly southerly but a swing to the east occurred on the last day of the period. Becoming no easier to see, the male Parrot Crossbill remained into the week.

Continuing to elicit some interest, the Barnacle Goose flock, still present at Clifford Hill GP into this week, had significantly reduced to twenty by 21st and they remained there until the week’s end.

Barnacle Geese, Clifford Hill GP, 24th November 2020 (Doug Goddard)

One also lingered at Stanford Res all week. While the six Pink-footed Geese remained ensconced at Hollowell Res throughout the period, some inflight entertainment came in the form of a flock of some fifty to fifty-five heading north-west over Harringworth Lodge Lake on the morning of 21st. This appears to have been part of a wider national movement on the day and back at Stanford, two joined the local Greylags and three flew over.

Pink-footed Geese, Harringworth Lodge Lake, 21st November 2020 (James Underwood)
Pink-footed Geese, Harringworth Lodge Lake, 21st November 2020 (James Underwood)
Pink-footed Geese and Barnacle Goose, Stanford Res, 21st November 2020 (Matt Jackson)

The following day, five Whooper Swans flew east at the latter locality, constituting the 160th species for the year at that site, equalling its best-ever species total, which was in 2017. DIRFT 3 was paid a surprise visit by five Ruddy Shelducks on 22nd, although they were absent the next day, while the long-staying female was seen again at Hollowell on 26th-27th. Numbers of Red-crested Pochards fell to just four at Pitsford Res, although two were found at Clifford Hill GP on 23rd.

Ruddy Shelducks, DIRFT 3, 22nd November 2020 (Steve McAusland)

Looking set for a protracted stay, the juvenile Great Northern Diver remained throughout at Hollowell. Surprisingly, no Cattle Egrets were reported this week but Great Egrets continued to be reported from seven sites. Hollowell and Pitsford were the only sites away from the Nene Valley and Thrapston again logged the week’s highest site count of five on 27th.

Juvenile Great Northern Diver, Hollowell Res, 22nd November 2020 (Jim Dunkley)
Juvenile Great Northern Diver, Hollowell Res, 23rd November 2020 (Martin Swannell)

Following their initial discovery on 12th, three locally unseasonal Curlews continued to come in to roost on the DIRFT 3 A5 pools, being seen just prior to dusk on 23rd and 26th, while the only other notable wader was Jack Snipe, with singles at Hollowell on 23rd and Stanford on 27th, plus four on a field pool close to Ravensthorpe STW on 26th.

Curlew, DIRFT 3, 26th November 2020 (Mike Alibone)

In addition to the semi-regular third-winter Caspian Gull again at Hollowell on 24th, the same date saw a first-winter come in to roost at Boddington Res and three – an adult and two third-winters – were at DIRFT 3 on 26th.

First-winter Caspian Gull, Borrow Pit, Oxfordshire, November 21st 2020 (John Friendship-Taylor). This individual roosted at nearby Boddington Res on 24th November.
Third-winter Yellow-legged Gull (left), 23rd November 2020 and third-winter Caspian Gull, 26th November 2020, both DIRFT 3 (Mike Alibone)

This week’s Yellow-legged Gulls rallied somewhat, with one at Pitsford on 21st and 24th, two at DIRFT 3 on 23rd and eleven counted in the Boddington roost on 24th.

Two Short-eared Owls emerged during the period – one from a roadside field north of Sywell AF on 22nd and the other, remaining in the air for an hour, was at Pitsford on 26th, while this week’s Merlin was a female at Stanwick on the first of these two dates.

Short-eared Owl, Pitsford Res, 26th November 2020 (Ant Hall)

Wintering Stonechats were recorded from DIRFT 3, Hollowell, Lilbourne Meadows LNR, Pitsford, Stanford and Thrapston, with no more than four at any one site.

Male Stonechat, Lilbourne Meadows LNR, 23rd November 2020 (Mike Alibone)

Last week’s male Parrot Crossbill continued to elude, evade and generally played hard to get, being seen only briefly on 21st at Wakerley Great Wood, which continued to host Crossbills, clearly on the up this week, with at least sixty-one being present there on 27th. Up to nine were still being seen at Hollowell during the period, eight were still in Bucknell Wood on 22nd and singles flew over both Stanwick GP and Pitsford on 24th.

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