Newsround – 20th to 26th March 2021

It was a cool start to the week before northerly winds quickly gave way to westerlies and south-westerlies, temperatures rose a touch and migration began to gain a little more momentum. In fact, with the arrival of more spring migrants, some tantalisingly brief encounters and long-staying rarities still on tap, it was a great week for late March, whichever way you slice it …

Geese made a comeback this week, albeit in minimum numbers. Among them, an adult Dark-bellied Brent Goose at Ditchford GP’s Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows LNR from 23rd until the week’s end – a species which has established itself as a regular spring passage migrant over recent years.

Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Ditchford GP, 23rd March 2021 (Bob Bullock)
Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Ditchford GP, 23rd March 2021 (Nick Parker)

A first-winter White-fronted Goose joined local Greylags at Stanford Res over exactly the same period while, overnight on 22nd, microphones pointing skyward picked up a calling Pink-footed Goose on nocturnal migration over Scaldwell.   

First-winter White-fronted Goose, Stanford Res, 24th March 2021 (Chris Hubbard)

The same migration station also picked up flight calls of seven Common Scoters (groups of one, 4 and 2) over an hour’s duration, late in the evening on 24th. How did we ever manage without ‘nocmig’ in the past?

The appearance of a drake Ring-necked Duck at Stanwick GP, for one day on 21st, sparked interest and speculation that it was a new bird, as opposed to the Ditchford drake on an awayday. The latter was still in situ on 25th, so who knows … Also sticking it out for the duration was the drake Greater Scaup, accompanied the presumed female Greater Scaup x Tufted Duck hybrid, off Pitsford dam. A puzzling individual which is more ‘Greater Scaup’ than anything else and in the right light, shows a green sheen to the head. Work that one out! It also roamed to the causeway on at least one occasion.

Hybrid female Greater Scaup x Tufted Duck, Pitsford Res, 25th March 2020 (Tony Stanford)

Star rarity of the winter, the Thrapston Glossy Ibis, remained settled in its favoured horse field throughout the period.

Glossy Ibis, Thrapston GP, 21st March 2021 (Mark Tyrrell)

Four Cattle Egrets were at the established feeding site of Stanwick on 20th, while Great Egrets were at Pitsford, Stanford, Summer Leys and Thrapston, with a maximum of four at the last of these sites on 23rd.

And if the above is old hat, then from now on our county’s bodies of water will be livened up somewhat with the return of this year’s Ospreys, the first of which was seen flying north over Spratton on 21st. Others quickly followed, with one over Bulwick on 24th and reservoirs at Hollowell, Ravensthorpe and Pitsford each receiving a slice of the action on 25th.

So, from the tangible to the intangible. Enter … another White-tailed Eagle from the Isle of Wight – the third to have visited us so far this year. This week’s, a second calendar year female, G405, flew north from Wiltshire on 22nd and amazingly, chose to roost is in exactly the same location, near Silverstone, as G318 a few weeks ago. Her journey north continued the following day, having left the roost site at 08.30 and taking two hours to fly north-east through the county and on into Lincolnshire. Again, it’s astonishing that such a large bird can slip through unnoticed. Clearly nocmig and satellite tracking are helping us to ‘see the unseen’ – although clearly not in the same context as suggested in the tagline of one leading optical manufacturer …

Female White-tailed Eagle G405 movements through Northamptonshire 23rd March 2021 (Tim Mackrill)

Continuing on the ‘big bird’ theme, though arguably less spectacular, a Common Crane flew north over Thrapston GP, late in the morning, on 24th.

On the wader front – and somewhat predictably these days – the first Avocets started to come through, beginning with a short-staying bird on floods at Lower Barnwell Lock on 20th, followed by an all-day stayer at Clifford Hill GP on 23rd and two at Ditchford GP’s Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows LNR the following day.

Avocet, Clifford Hill GP, 23rd March 2021 (Ant Hall)

Single Curlews were at DIRFT 3 Pools on 21st and in flight, north, over Pitsford on 24th, while a first-summer Black-tailed Godwit remained at Summer Leys from 22nd until the week’s end. Apart from two at Stanwick on 20th and the same number at Pitsford on 23rd, Summer Leys grabbed the lion’s share of this week’s Dunlins with up to six between 20th and 23rd. Single Jack Snipes were at Hollowell on 20th and 23rd and at Clifford Hill GP on 21st.

Adult Mediterranean Gulls, Stanwick GP, 26th March 2021 (Steve Fisher)

In contrast to last week, Mediterranean Gulls were confined to the two Nene Valley locations of Stanwick and Summer Leys, where they were seen almost daily, the first of these sites producing up to three on 23rd and Summer Leys, one throughout the period. All were adults. At least one Yellow-legged Gull continued to frequent Pitsford and Caspian Gulls materialised in the form of an adult at Hollowell on 23rd and a first-winter at Boddington Res on 25th.

Coming to a gravel pit near you: Common Tern at Thrapston on 26th just misses earliest ever, on 23rd March in 2005. In the vanguard for our summer breeders, it’s the first of many more soon to come.

Meanwhile, Harrington Airfield’s Short-eared Owl was still present on 22nd, as was the female Merlin there and a male turned up on site on 24th, while another was seen at Stortons GP on the same date. It’s been a good winter for them locally.

To passerines and an early House Martin, at Raunds on 21st, constitutes another near miss, just two days off the earliest ever, on 19th March in 2001. And upholding the scarcity flavour of the week … a Black Redstart, seen only briefly at Ashton STW on 24th. Two Stonechats clung on to the ashes of winter still this week, with one at Summer Leys on 20th and another at Clifford Hill on 21st, subsequently being replaced by Northern Wheatears – the first being at Wigsthorpe on 22nd, followed by one at Clifford Hill on 26th. Two were also reported from the Blueberry Farm/Brampton Valley area on 22nd. They have arrived in the county a little later than expected this year. Two more White Wagtails arrived this week – one at Ecton SF on 22nd and the other at Thrapston the following day but neither beats a nice spring Rock Pipit, one of which paid a brief visit to Stanwick on 21st before flying of east.

Female Crossbill, Hollowell Res, 22nd March 2021 (Jon Cook)
Male Crossbill, Hollowell Res, 22nd March 2021 (Jon Cook)

All of this week’s Crossbills were seen at Hollowell between 20th and 23rd, with a maximum of fifteen there on 22nd.

Age and subspecific ID of Summer Leys Black-tailed Godwit

One for the analytically-minded …

A Black-tailed Godwit has been present on the scrape at Summer Leys LNR since 22nd March and by all accounts, it’s still present today. Because of its rather drab colouration, it seems to have attracted little interest – after all, it’s not the type of super-rusty, spangled-mantled individual which usually finds favour with photographers. So, let’s take a closer look.

First-summer Black-tailed Godwit, Summer Leys LNR, 24th March 2021 (Mike Alibone)

Its overall grey appearance suggests three main possibilities: it’s an adult which has not yet developed full summer plumage, it’s an adult which has attained summer plumage but remains largely grey, or it’s a first-summer which will not develop full summer plumage this year. It also raises the question, which race is it?

Probably 99.9% of the Black-tailed Godwits passing through Northants are of the Icelandic race, islandica. In full summer plumage they are extensively rusty below and spangled rusty-chestnut and gold on the upperparts – more so in males. The much rarer ‘Continental’ Black-tailed Godwit of the nominate race, limosa breeds in very small numbers in the UK, no further away than the Ouse Washes. They are less extensively and less intensively coloured, frequently being much greyer (especially females) and subtly structurally different, i.e. generally longer-legged, longer-necked, with broader-based, longer bills. For an excellent, detailed, in-depth analysis, see the definitive paper documenting 30 years of study by Mark Golley here.

First-summer Black-tailed Godwit, Summer Leys LNR, 24th March 2021 (Mike Alibone)

So, on a closer examination of our Summer Leys bird, it becomes immediately apparent that it’s not uniform grey. There’s an area on the wing, which is lighter and zooming in through a telescope, this light area can be identified as very worn and faded coverts, which look quite pointed and ‘tatty’. These are old juvenile coverts, which may be retained for up to 12 months, becoming worn, while the remainder of the body plumage is, in comparison, fresh, non-juvenile plumage. The tertials are similarly worn.

First-summer Black-tailed Godwit, Summer Leys LNR, 24th March 2021 (Mike Alibone)

This puts the bird in the first-summer age group, which will not have developed conventional adult summer plumage. Easy on good views. But what about race? That’s a little more tricky. As far as structure is concerned, the legs are largely hidden (although the tibia looks short), the neck and bill do not seem overly long, nor does the bill look particularly broad-based, although from different angles all these features appear to vary, as evidenced in the accompanying images. On balance it does not stand out as being an obviously large, lanky individual. However, it may be a male – which is smaller and shorter-billed than a female.

First-summer Black-tailed Godwit, Summer Leys LNR, 24th March 2021 (Mike Alibone)
First-summer Black-tailed Godwit, Summer Leys LNR, 24th March 2021 (Mike Alibone)

Though assessing the structure is tricky, the clue lies in the plumage. Zooming in again reveals the feather colouring of the few adult-type feathers which have emerged on the scapulars being the rather orangey/gold and black of islandica – versus the pale yellowish and black of limosa – and there is even one very ‘chestnutty’ one showing, while those on the breast, where colour is visible, are rather dark rufous-chestnut instead of limosa’s paler rusty wash.

First-summer Black-tailed Godwit, Summer Leys LNR, 24th March 2021 (Mike Alibone)

So, after a bit of detective work, there we have it: first-summer Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit. There’ll no doubt be many more of these godwits to come as we move deeper into spring and early summer.

Newsround – 13th to 19th March 2021

In stark contrast to last week’s rush of early spring migrants, blustery north-westerlies, quickly followed by cold north-easterlies, effectively put the lid on any further arrivals of summer visitors. Meanwhile, Thrapston’s long-staying Glossy Ibis remained top of the leaderboard as far as rarities were concerned.

There were no new wildfowl, either – ‘nocmig’ notwithstanding, of course. The two Barnacle Geese which arrived at Pitsford Res last week were still in place on 17th, with another appearing at Summer Leys LNR on the same date. Pitsford also retained its showy drake Greater Scaup off the dam, with the female Greater Scaup x Tufted Duck hybrid in tow, all week, while Ditchford GP’s drake Ring-necked Duck remained until at least 15th, as did the drake and ‘redhead’ Smew there.

Drake Greater Scaup, Pitsford Reservoir, 16th March 2021 (David Smith)

Which brings us neatly to this week’s ‘nocmig’ events. The nocturnal equivalent of visible migration watching, employing sound recording equipment to capture the flight calls of migrating birds, is gaining in popularity. After delivering the county’s earliest-ever Little Ringed Plover last week, Scaldwell’s migration station was again tuned in, producing recordings of flocks of migrating Common Scoters during the hours of darkness on 15th and 18th. As we enter the peak season for this species, hopefully there will be some more tangible, ‘on the ground’ birds found during the next week or two.

Arguably best new bird of the week – at least for those who were in the vicinity of Summer Leys on the last day of the period – was Black-necked Grebe. One found on the main lake there during the morning was shortly followed by the discovery of two more over the other side of Mary’s Lane, on the lake of the same name, early in the afternoon. Three of these dapper, summer-plumaged birds in close proximity is unusual but still falls short of matching the recent ‘flock’ of four at Daventry CP in April 2019.

Black-necked Grebe, Summer Leys LNR, 19th March 2021 (Bob Bullock)
Black-necked Grebes, Earls Barton GP, 19th March 2021 (Mike Alibone)

Meanwhile, further down the Nene Valley, last week’s rumours of the Glossy Ibis frequenting the horse field behind the lay-by on the A605 east of Thrapston, morphed into reality when it was found to be feeding happily there on 14th. It remained settled for the next three days, after which it became more elusive.

Glossy Ibis, Thrapston GP, 16th March 2021 (Mike Alibone)

Also more elusive this week were Cattle Egrets, with sightings at Stanwick limited to one on the ground on 15th and two flying over, two days later, on 17th. And as for Great Egrets, well, they were restricted to just the five localities of Ditchford – where there were potentially up to eight on 17th, Pitsford, Stanford, Summer Leys and Thrapston.

Great Egrets, Summer Leys LNR, 14th March 2021 (Ricky Sinfield)

After last week’s Marsh Harrier at Summer Leys, another flew over Byfield on 19th, and then we entered the unidentified raptor zone, with the same day producing a harrier sp. flying north-east over Little Irchester and, potentially more exciting, an eagle sp. flying over Byfield in the direction of Fawsley later in the day. The latter escaped positive identification but was presumed to be a White-tailed Eagle and with the Isle of Wight reintro birds criss-crossing the country in recent weeks, that would seem to be the logical conclusion. Now, that would have been the end of it, except for the fact that, praise be to satellite-tracking … none of the IoW birds was in the area at the time. What with a ‘wild’ White-tailed Eagle moving through Suffolk and Cambridgeshire earlier in the week, speculation is rife …

In terms of species selection, this week’s waders were … last week’s waders. Single Curlews visited Stanford on 14th, Pitsford on 15th and Summer Leys on 15th-16th, while, of two which were present at Clifford Hill GP on 16th, one was multicolour-ringed, the combination of which narrowed it down to one of five or six individuals from the population breeding in the Brecks. This is currently being monitored by the BTO with the aim to better understand how habitat is influencing breeding success and how management may be better targeted to help the species, which is currently in decline. A rather smart, summer-plumaged Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit visited Summer Leys from 14th to 16th and the same site produced a Dunlin on 15th-16th and three on 19th. One also visited Stanwick on 17th. Two Jack Snipes were at Pitsford on 15th and one was found at Ditchford on 17th.

Black-tailed Godwit, Summer Leys LNR, 16th March 2021 (Doug Goddard)

Hot on the heels of last week’s first-winter at Boddington Res came more Kittiwakes and Stanford was in line to receive its own in the well-watched gull roost there on 15th. This was followed by an adult at Stanwick on 16th and sadly, an adult was found dead at Hollowell on 17th. Caspian Gulls made a comeback on 16th, when a first-winter appeared at Daventry CP and a second-winter was found in less salubrious surroundings at Rushon Landfill.

Adult Kittiwake, Stanwick GP, (Steve Fisher) and first-winter Caspian Gull, Daventry CP, (Gary Pullan) – both 16th March 2021.

Daventry also produced a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls, with a third-winter on 15th and a second-winter the following day, while up to two were at Pitsford throughout the week. The recent run of Mediterranean Gulls also continued with Stanwick stealing the crown from Stanford in terms of numbers. Three were present on 19th, two on 13th and one on 14th-16th, while Stanford’s gull roost held single adults on 13th and 17th plus a second-winter on 14th. Elsewhere, single adults were at Daventry CP on 15th and Summer Leys on 19th.

Adult Mediterranean Gulls. Left: Stanford Res, 17th March 2021 (Chris Hubbard), right: Summer Leys LNR, 19th March 2021 (Bob Bullock)

On dry land, Harrington Airfield’s Short-eared Owl made it through to another week, being seen again on 16th, when the onsite Merlin was also present until at least 18th. Another Merlin flew north at Boddington Res, also on 16th.

Passerines mustered two Stonechats – one at Harrington on 14th, the other being at Clifford Hill on 18th, while Crossbills held steady with in excess of twenty at Salcey Forest on 16th, several still at Wakerley Great Wood on 14th, three at Hollowell on 15th and one at Pitsford on the same date.


Newsround – 6th to 12th March 2021

This week was very much a tale of two halves, the first of which saw us under a relatively mild southerly airflow that proved to be highly conducive to spring migration. The second half of the period delivered persistently strong to gale force west to south-westerlies, with gusts topping 55 mph but as far as spring migrants were concerned, we were very much in the zone …

The wildfowl line-up didn’t change appreciably and beyond two Barnacle Geese putting in an appearance and settling at Pitsford Res from 6th until 11th, the only really new arrivals were a briefly staying Pink-footed Goose at Daventry CP on 12th, a White-fronted Goose at Priors Hall, Corby, for one day only, on 7th and a drake Greater Scaup, off the dam at the aforementioned reservoir, on 9th.

White-fronted Goose, Priors Hall, 7th March 2021 (James Underwood)
Adult drake Scaup, Pitsford Res, 11th March 2021 (Ant Hall)
Adult drake Scaup, Pitsford Res, 12th March 2021 (Bob Bullock)
Adult drake Scaup, Pitsford Res, 12th March 2021 (Bob Bullock)

It was still present at the week’s end, accompanied by a female which showed the hallmarks of a Greater Scaup x Tufted Duck hybrid, although it appeared to display mainly Scaup characteristics. The other hybrid of the back end of this winter – the female Ferruginous Duck x Pochard – surfaced again at Stanwick GP on 8th. The ongoing presence of Ditchford GP’s drake Ring-necked Duck continued until at least 9th, as did that of the drake Smew there, accompanied by the fidgety ‘redhead’ for one day only, on 6th.

Drake Ring-necked Duck, Ditchford GP, 6th March 2021 (Adrian Leybourne)

Further down the Nene Valley and after a week with no reports, the Glossy Ibis was back on Thrapston GP’s Aldwincle Lake – if only intermittently – on 7th-9th. Prior to this it was rumoured to have been frequenting the horse field behind the lay-by on the A605, just east of Thrapston. Also in the same area, a Cattle Egret was seen in fields between the edge of the town and the footpath from said lay-by to Town Lake during the evening of 11th, before being relocated on the nearby Heronry Lake the following morning. Likely though it is to be one of the Stanwick troop, a new bird can’t be fully ruled out and up to five were still at the latter locality on 6th-7th. Thrapston also trumped all other sites for Great Egrets this week, with up to six there on 11th, while three were at Summer Leys, on and off, and singles were seen at Blatherwycke Lake, Clifford Hill GP, Pitsford, Stanford Res and Stanwick. Arguably more attractive and undoubtedly more difficult to get to grips with than any of the above this week, was the Bittern that dropped into reeds at Summer Leys on 7th.   

Summer Leys also briefly attracted a Marsh Harrier for half an hour on 9th, another Marsh Harrier went through at Stanford Res on 7th and in the north of the county, a ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier coasted over the road between Deenethorpe and Upper Benefield on 6th.

‘Ringtail’ Hen Harrier, Upper Benefield, 6th March 2021 (Bob Bullock)

So, more on that Little Ringed Plover touched on above. A single call on a nocmig recording device, at 00.03 hours on 7th was all it took to make its way into the record books as Northamptonshire’s earliest ever spring record, beating the previous earliest, which was on 10th March 1983. Now, imagine if it had been four seconds earlier … Following this one, another was seen flying around the new workings at Earls Barton GP on 9th.

Little Ringed Plover, Scaldwell, 7th March 2021. Click image for recording & further details.

Single fly-over Curlews occurred at Stanford Res on 6th and 8th and this week, other large waders were also available in the form of Black-tailed Godwits, with singles on 8th and 9th at Pitsford and the same two days at Stanwick, while one which flew over Ecton Brook, Northampton on the morning of 9th seems highly likely to have been the same individual located at Ecton SF later in the day.

Black-tailed Godwit, Pitsford Res, 8th March 2021 (Ant Hall)
Black-tailed Godwit, Ecton SF, 9th March 2021 (Mike Alibone)

Single Dunlins visited Stanwick GP on 9th and 11th and two were at Summer Leys on 10th, while wintering Jack Snipes were up to four at Pitsford and three at Hollowell Res.

Jack Snipe, Hollowell Res, 7th March 2021 (Jon Cook)

Associated with that big south-westerly blow was a first-winter Kittiwake, which joined the gull roost at Boddington Res on 11th. It was not entirely alone as others were also seen well inland in Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire during the adverse weather.

First-winter Kittiwake, Boddington Res, 11th March 2021 (Gary Pullan)

Mediterranean Gulls continued to appear nightly at Stanford’s gull roost, which peaked at three on 7th, while last week’s Thrapston individual was again seen on 9th and single Yellow-legged Gulls appeared at three sites, which included adults at Hardingstone GP on 8th, Stanford on 12th and at least one at Pitsford all week.

Adult and second-winter Mediterranean Gulls, Stanford Res, 7th March 2021 (Chris Hubbard)

Continuing the poor winter for this species, the Harrington Airfield Short-eared Owl remained until at least 9th.

Well, if last week delivered our first Sand Martin of the year, this week it was the turn of the first Swallow, with two appearing at Clifford Hill on 9th. Once again, these proved to be record-breakers, the previous earliest being a full week later, on 16th March 1977. Wow! It wasn’t quite the same for White Wagtail, though, with this week’s birds at Thrapston and Stanford on 7th, Hollowell on 9th and by the A14 east of Woodford on 12th coming nowhere near the earliest, which was on 25th February 1995.

Another sign that winter is in full retreat was, once again, the lack of Stonechats, with just one being seen, at Welford Res, on 11th. Crossbills still abound, however, with as many as fifteen still at Hollowell on 7th and nine still on 9th, while 6th saw one at Bucknell Wood and two at Scotland Wood, 7th saw three still at Wakerley Great Wood, four flew south over Denton Wood on 8th and two flew south-west over Harrington AF on 12th.

Newsround – 27th February to 5th March 2021

Under the influence of a southerly airstream, the mild weather continued into the early part of the week, bringing with it a waft of Saharan dust which, having entered the atmosphere, resulted in some spectacular sunrises. Along with this came our first summer visitor … and another eagle.

In the first gooseless week since early October last year, we were left with barely a handful of quality quackers propping up the local wildfowl cohort. On which note the drake Ring-necked Duck remained settled on Ditchford GP’s Big Lake throughout the period while, on the adjacent Skew Bridge Lake, the drake Smew also saw the week out, although the accompanying ‘redhead’ appeared to be absent after 27th. Another – or perhaps the same – ‘redhead’ appeared at Summer Leys LNR on 3rd. Colourful but no cigar, a drake Red-crested Pochard was found at Clifford Hill GP on 4th.

Drake Ring-necked Duck, Ditchford GP, 28th February 2021 (Adrian Borley)

Cattle Egrets continued to feature regularly in their favoured Stanwick feeding area but four were also found among sheep on the reserve at Summer Leys on 28th. In stark contrast to last week, Great Egret numbers were down, with no more than three reported at any one of the seven localities they were found at.

Great Egret, Pitsford Res, 4th March 2021 (Tony Stanford)

Another week, another White-tailed Eagle or, more correctly put, ‘G318’ paid a return visit. After her previous visit last month, the ‘Lady from the Island’ flew west into the county from Buckinghamshire on the afternoon of 3rd and ended up roosting in a small wood approximately 2.5 km south of Grimscote. The following day, she flew 18.5 km south and roosted in Bucknell Wood near Silverstone before leaving the county on 5th and moving 66 km south-west through Oxfordshire. If such a large bird can slip through the county unnoticed, what else are we routinely missing?!

Movement of White-tailed Eagle G318 through Northants, 3rd-5th March 2021 (Tim Mackrill)

This week saw numbers slide on the wader front, with three Ringed Plovers returning to an undisclosed breeding site on 1st and single fly-over Curlews at DIRFT 3 on 28th and Stanford Res on 4th. Dunlins were limited to singles at both Clifford Hill GP and Stanwick GP on 4th, while the only Jack Snipes were two at Pitsford Res on 3rd.

Conversely – and unsurprisingly – numbers of Mediterranean Gulls ramped up considerably, with Stanford’s gull roost claiming the lion’s share of at least two different birds over 27th, 1st-2nd and 5th. Boddington Res also produced its own duo in the roost there on 28th. Others were more readily available during ‘normal’ daylight hours at Thrapston GP daily on 3rd to 5th, at Earls Barton GP on 3rd, at Stanwick on 4th and Daventry the following day. Again, all birds were adults. Rushton Landfill’s long-staying juvenile Iceland Gull chalked up twenty-eight days on site this week, still being present there on 4th, while more meaty fare in the shape of a first-winter Caspian Gull was at DIRFT 3’s A5 Pool on 28th and single Yellow-legged Gulls were seen at Pitsford on 2nd and 5th.

Juvenile Iceland Gull, Rushton Landfill, 27th February 2021 (Alex Holt)

Juvenile Iceland Gull, Rushton Landfill, 4th March 2021 (Mike Alibone)

The Harrington Airfield Short-eared Owl – one of the very few in the county this winter – remained throughout the week but it’s proving to be a good one for Merlins, this week’s comprising singles at both Rockingham and Upper Benefield on 1st and Pitsford Res on 3rd.

Topping the passerines, the male Bearded Tit resurfaced at Stortons GP on 28th and fittingly, out of that Saharan dust, came our first Sand Martin of the year, at Summer Leys on 3rd. Otherwise, it appears numbers of Stonechats plummeted this week – Pitsford being the only site from which they were reported. But we’re hanging on to our Crossbills, with as many as ten still at Hollowell throughout the period and fifteen still at Wakerley Great Wood on 5th.