Newsround – 31st July to 6th August 2021

With temperatures a touch below average, the week shaped up to be rather unsettled, with low pressure systems feeding cooler Atlantic air into the UK. Migrants continued to trickle through in small numbers but the period was otherwise uneventful.

The sole wildfowl representative of the week can be summed up in a single word: Garganey. One was on show at Stanwick GP from 31st until at least 5th and last week’s Daventry CP bird was still present on 1st.

Just one Cattle Egret was present at Stanwick GP on 2nd-3rd, while Pitsford Res produced a Great Egret on 31st plus two there on 4th and singles also visited Summer Leys LNR on 1st and Blatherwycke Lake on 5th.  

After no reports at all last week, Ospreys made a bit of a comeback, with single birds at Stanford Res on 2nd, over Cottesbrooke on 3rd, Pitsford on 4th and at both Deene Lake and Hollowell Res on 5th.

Juvenile Osprey, Hollowell Res, 5th August 2021 (Jon Cook)

Hollowell also produced an early morning Marsh Harrier on 3rd – they are rarely recorded from this site – and further individuals were seen briefly at Stanford on 2nd and Thrapston GP on 4th.

Juvenile Marsh Harrier, Hollowell Res, 3rd August 2021 (Jon Cook)
Juvenile Marsh Harrier, Hollowell Res, 3rd August 2021 (Jon Cook)

Last week’s Harris Hawk remained in Duston, Northampton on 1st, local intel revealing that it has escaped from a Daventry-based falconer and has been on the loose for the last twelve months!

On the wader front, Black-tailed Godwits dominated the week’s proceedings, with eight at Clifford Hill GP on 31st followed there by four on 6th. Elsewhere, six flew over Stanford on 31st and one was at Daventry CP on 1st. Curlews away from breeding sites were limited to two at DIRFT 3 A5 Pools on 31st and 3rd and a Ruff was also present there on 4th. Greenshank numbers were again surprisingly low, with just one at Stanford on 4th.

As we head into autumn proper, gull numbers are visibly on the up and, among them, the first juvenile Mediterranean Gull of the season appeared at Stanwick on 2nd. A count of thirty-two Yellow-legged Gulls at the latter site on 5th was considered to be conservative as prolific late summer vegetation on site considerably hampered viewing of some four to five hundred large gulls there at the time. Smaller numbers elsewhere throughout the period included up to eleven at DIRFT 3, up to three at Pitsford and one at Daventry. This week’s Caspian Gulls were equally divided between DIRFT 3 and Stanwick, the first of these two sites providing two different adults on 1st and 3rd – the latter bearing a German ring. Stanwick’s two consisted of a third- or fourth-summer from 3rd to 5th, joined by an adult there on the latter date.

Adult Caspian Gull, DIRFT 3, 1st August 2021 (Mike Alibone)
German-ringed adult Caspian Gull, DIRFT 3, 3rd August 2021 (Mike Alibone)

To passerines … and four sites produced Common Redstarts this week, starting off with the long-staying female remaining at Lilbourne Meadows LNR until at least 4th. Elsewhere, up to three were seen at Blueberry Farm throughout the period, as was the same number at Harrington AF, where three were trapped and ringed on 2nd, and two were at Lamport on 5th. Other passerines reported were two Whinchats in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton, between 2nd and 4th and one at nearby Blueberry Farm on 5th and, hot on the heels of last week’s first, came more Northern Wheatears.

Northern Wheatear, Harrington AF, 3rd August 2021 (David Smith)

One was in the Brampton Valley on 2nd and 4th, one lingered at Harrington AF from 3rd to 6th and one was found at Blueberry Farm on 5th.

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