Newsround – 17th to 23rd July 2021

In a week in which temperatures hit a high of 29°C, the wind fluctuated between north and north-easterly and the weather remained dry, as did the birding scene, with nothing outstanding turning up to quicken the pulse.

The sole species representing the wildfowl in this week’s steady-as-she-goes birding endeavours across the county appeared in the form of two Garganeys, with one at Stanwick GP on 19th and the at Pitsford Res on 22nd.

An early morning Quail was reported from Brackley on 21st and Stanwick’s Cattle Egret total leapt to two on 18th-19th dropping back down to one on 22nd-23rd, while the only Great Egret this week was one at Thrapston GP on 19th-21st.

Cattle Egret, Stanwick GP, 23rd July 2021 (Steve Fisher)

Raptors, too, were limited to single Ospreys at Stanford Res on 17th, in flight over Brigstock CP and Fermyn Woods on the same date and one at Thrapston GP on 19th.

We’re not yet out of July and for the 4th week running, the top wader was yet another Wood Sandpiper, which flew off south-west only minutes after being located at the eastern end of Earls Barton GP’s Hardwater Lake on 17th. Coming in at second-best was a Whimbrel making a short stopover at Clifford Hill on 19th, while the only Curlew of the week was one at DIRFT 3 on 18th, along with two Black-tailed Godwits there on the same date with one remaining the following day. Stanwick also produced one of the latter species on 19th, followed by three on 23rd and the same site held a male Ruff for a day on 17th.

Black-tailed Godwits, Stanwick GP, 23rd July 2021 (Steve Fisher)

Apart from an average scattering of Common Sandpipers, Little Ringed Plovers and the odd Dunlin or two, the only other wader of note was Greenshank, with one at Summer Leys LNR on 17th and the rest at DIRFT 3, where there was one on the same date, two on 18th-19th and one from 21st to 23rd.

DIRFT 3 was also the place to be for most of this week’s large, white-headed gulls, with a ‘sub-adult’ Caspian Gull there on 17th, followed by a first-summer of the same species the next day. Two Yellow-legged Gulls were also there on 17th and four on 18th, one was at Pitsford Res on 19th and three there on 20th and, on 23rd, five were found at Stanwick and one at Thrapston. An adult Mediterranean Gull visited Daventry CP on 19th.

Mediterranean Gull, Daventry CP, 19th July 2021 (Gary Pullan)

To passerines … and Common Redstarts were still very much in evidence this week with last week’s female still at Harrington AF on 17th, another female in a Pitsford garden on 18th and two at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 19th and 22nd. Two Whinchats were reported from the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton on 20th-21st.

Let’s hope next week delivers something a little different …

Newsround – 10th to 16th July 2021

An ‘Azores High’ moving west to the UK eventually delivered the long-awaited clear skies and soaring temperatures by the week’s end, although winds remained largely northerly throughout the period. Conditions were thus conducive for southbound migrants, which were again very much in evidence this week.

One bird going against the grain, though, was the Pink-footed Goose of clearly suspect origin, staying put at Pitsford Res on 10th.

Stanwick GP’s Cattle Egret staged its obligatory one-day appearance on 14th, while Great Egret numbers continued to build with up to three at Summer Leys LNR/Earls Barton GP throughout the week.

Great Egret, Summer Leys LNR, 15th July 2021 (Adrian Leybourne)

At appears that 10th July was raptor day, with single Ospreys at Pitsford and Hollowell Res and a Marsh Harrier logged going north over Moulton.

Topping the waders bill again this week was another Wood Sandpiper, mobile between DIRFT 3 and the adjacent Lilbourne Meadows LNR on 12th – this time doing the decent thing and staying around until the following day, when one also visited Earls Barton GP’s Hardwater Lake.

Wood Sandpiper, Lilbourne Meadows LNR, 13th July 2021 (Gary Pullan)

DIRFT 3 also produced two Black-tailed Godwits on 10th, the same date that seven appeared at Clifford Hill GP, followed by two – maybe four – at Summer Leys/Earls Barton between 13th and 15th. Hot on the heels of the autumn’s first Greenshank at Pitsford last week, two were at DIRFT 3 on 13th, followed by one there on 15th.  

The latter site again held the highest number of Yellow-legged Gulls, with twelve on 13th while, elsewhere, four were at Pitsford on 12th with two there on 15th and one was at Thrapston GP on 12th.

Juvenile Pied Flycatcher, Bucknell Wood, 16th July 2021 (Harry Appleyard)
Juvenile Pied Flycatcher, Bucknell Wood, 16th July 2021 (Harry Appleyard)

There can be little argument that bird of the week was the juvenile Pied Flycatcher found at Bucknell Wood on 16th – an early autumn migrant following three spring records in late April.

Adult female Common Redstart, Lilbourne Meadows LNR, 15th July 2021 (Mike Alibone)

More Common Redstarts also appeared this week. Aside from the female found at Lilbourne Meadows on 6th and remaining until 15th, there were at least four reported from Blueberry Farm, Maidwell between 13th and 16th and a female was at Harrington AF on the last of these two dates.

Newsround – 3rd to 9th July 2021

A series of easterly moving Atlantic lows delivered both southerly and northerly airstreams during the period, along with both sunshine and showers, none of which appears to have had any bearing on the week’s produce. However, following on from last week, there were further sure signs of early autumn movements across the avian spectrum.  

Deemed almost obligatory to receive a mention, the decidedly dodgy Pink-footed Goose from back in June popped up again at Pitsford Res on 4th. Without it, there would be no wildfowl appearing in the week’s line-up …

Pink-footed Goose, Pitsford Res, 4th July 2021 (Angus Molyneux)

Also scraping in was a/the one-day Cattle Egret at Stanwick GP on 6th, while the Great Egret total doubled from last week’s one to singles at Stanford Res from 3rd to 5th and at Earls Barton GP on 4th.

Single Ospreys visited Stanford on 4th and Thrapston GP on 8th.

Another Wood Sandpiper – again an all too brief stayer – topped the waders bill this week, making a short evening stopover at DIRFT 3 on 5th. The same site also hosted seven Curlews on 3rd and another was calling north-east of Pitsford on the same date. DIRFT 3 also produced three Black-tailed Godwits on 3rd, five on 5th, one on 6th and two on 9th.

Black-tailed Godwits and Curlew, DIRFT 3, 3rd July 2021 (Gary Pullan)
Black-tailed Godwits, Summer Leys LNR, 3rd July 2021 (Paul Wyer)

Elsewhere, five were at Summer Leys LNR on 9th, with four on 3rd, one on 4th-6th and one at Pitsford on 7th, the latter site also producing the first Greenshank of the autumn on the same date. With small numbers of Green Sandpipers now trickling through, a double-figure count of ten at Lilbourne Meadows LNR on 8th was noteworthy.

As usual, DIRFT 3 was the place to be when it came to all of this week’s Caspian Gulls, with two first-summers there on 3rd, a third-summer on 5th, 6th and 8th and at least three first-summers on the latter date.

Third-summer Yellow-legged Gull, DIRFT 3, 6th July 2021 (Mike Alibone)

Yellow-legged Gull numbers continued to build there, also, with up to six from 3rd to 6th and between twelve and fifteen on 8th. Elsewhere, four were at Pitsford on 9th, two on 5th and one on 6th-7th, while an adult was at Stanwick on 6th.

Male Common Redstart, Stanford Res, 4th July 2021 (Phil Adams)
Female Common Redstart, Lilbourne Meadows LNR, 6th July 2021 (Mike Alibone)

The autumn’s first Common Redstart, found at Stanford Res last week on 2nd, was still present and remained until 5th, neatly followed by single females at Pitsford Res on 6th and Lilbourne Meadows from 6th until the week’s end.

Newsround – 26th June to 2nd July 2021

A mixed bag of weather had little bearing on the selection of this week’s birds, which more than hinted that early autumn passage was well underway.  

This was not applicable, of course, to the single, presumed resident, Cattle Egret hanging on at Stanwick GP throughout the week, nor to the wandering summertime Great Egret at Summer Leys LNR on 26th and at adjacent Earls Barton GP on 1st.

Ospreys, too, were all likely to have been from the Midlands breeding population – this week’s comprising singles at Hollowell Res on 27th and 1st, Naseby Res on 28th, Daventry CP on 29th and Blatherwycke Lake on the same date.

But it was a Wood Sandpiper at Stanwick on 28th which provided the amuse-bouche for autumn, along with a supporting cast of two Green Sandpipers, while six more Green Sandpipers also appeared together at Deene Lake the following day. Black-tailed Godwits turned up at three sites, which included two at Ditchford GP and one at Summer Leys on 30th, followed by one at Stanwick on 2nd.

Black-tailed Godwit, Summer leys LNR, 30th June 2021 (Ricky Sinfield)

This week’s gulls were pretty much last week’s gulls. An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Summer Leys on 26th, followed by a first-summer at Stanwick the next day. Further gull action came from DIRFT 3’s A5 Pools, where a first-summer Caspian Gull was present on 27th and 2nd, the same site hosting three Yellow-legged Gulls on 27th, one on 29th and four on 2nd.

Male Common Redstart, Stanford Res, 2nd July 2021 (Chris Hubbard)

Along with the above waders, underlining that initial taste of autumn was a male Common Redstart, found at Stanford Res on 2nd – no doubt the first of many more to come …