Newsround – 7th to 13th August 2021

Another unsettled week, again largely influenced by Atlantic low pressure systems. Nevertheless, migration continued apace and a number of ‘autumn firsts’ put in appearances during the period.

Still settled at Stanwick GP, last week’s Garganey remained until at least 12th, being joined by another on 9th and 10th.

Garganey, Stanwick GP, 8th August 2021 (Adrian Borley)

But the ducks-deluxe slot was filled this week by two Red-crested Pochards – a female at Stanford Res throughout the period and an eclipse drake at Pitsford Res from 11th until 13th. They have been uncharacteristically scarce this year, with January duos at Pitsford and mobile between Kislingbury GP and Stortons GP, followed by just one at Clifford Hill GP on 4th March.

Female Red-crested Pochard, Stanford Res, 7th August 2021 (Ewan Turner)

An escaped Fulvous Whistling Duck at Sulby Res/Welford Res also provided a modicum of interest on 8th.

Two Quails were reported from Harrington AF on 10th.

Great Egrets were limited to one at Stanford on 10th and Pitsford holding up to four throughout the week, while it looks like our recent Cattle Egret colonisation has ground to a halt, with Bedfordshire proving more attractive to them this year.

Great Egret, Pitsford Res, 13th August 2021 (Tony Stanford)

A tidy showing of raptors this week featured multiple Ospreys, which included two at Pitsford and one at Stanford on 10th, three high over Cottesbrooke on 11th, plus two at Hollowell Res and one at Pitsford on 12th. And, as is the way with August, a run of pristine juvenile Marsh Harriers continued with singles at Summer Leys on 8th and 10th-11th and at Pitsford on the same dates.

Juvenile Marsh Harrier, Summer Leys LNR, 8th August 2021 (Keith Griffiths)
Juvenile Marsh Harrier, Summer Leys LNR, 11th August 2021 (Clive Bowley)

On the wader front, Black-tailed Godwits continued to trickle through in small numbers, which included singles at Summer Leys LNR and Clifford Hill on 7th and 8th, respectively and seven at Stanwick GP on the last of these two dates. A single Curlew was at DIRFT 3 A5 Pools on 10th, the same date delivering the autumn’s first Turnstone, which put in a brief appearance on Pitsford’s causeway. Despite a blank last week, the county’s so far excellent run of Wood Sandpipers continued with singles at DIRFT 3 on 10th and at Stanwick on 12th-13th. Conversely, it’s been poor as far as Greenshank numbers are concerned with, this week, just three flying through at Daventry CP on 12th.

Meanwhile, a juvenile Caspian Gull found at Stanwick on 8th piqued interest at both local and international levels as it bore a ring inscribed 686-U, allowing it to be traced to a scheme indicating it had been ringed as a pullus on 31st May 2021 at Dynin (lhota), Jihocesky. Kraj, in the Czech Republic. A great record of a true Eastern European migrant, having travelled a distance of 1128 km in its first couple of months.

Czech Republic-ringed juvenile Caspian Gull, Stanwick GP, 8th August 2021 (Steve Fisher)

Other Caspians were also available, however, with a ‘near-adult’ also visiting Stanwick daily between 7th and 10th, an adult at Pitsford on 8th and a second-summer there on 9th, plus an adult at DIRFT 3 on 10th.

Adult Caspian Gull, DIRFT 3, 10th August 2021 (Mike Alibone)

Unsurprisingly, Stanwick also accounted for the lion’s share of this week’s Yellow-legged Gulls, with at least twenty there on 7th, this number having dwindled to eight by the end of the period. Three other sites produced smaller numbers, with six at Harrington AF on 7th, two at DIRFT 3 on 8th and four on 10th, and three at Pitsford on 9th with one on 10th.

The first of the autumn’s Black Terns appeared at Pitsford on 12th, when two adults were found in Scaldwell Bay, while another autumn first – a Merlin – flew over Harrington AF on 9th.

To passerines … and Common Redstarts continued to feature strongly this week, with the long-staying female, again accompanied by the male, remaining at Lilbourne Meadows LNR throughout. Elsewhere, Harrington produced one on 7th and four on 9th, Blueberry Farm, Maidwell held two on 8th and three on 10th, singles were at Pitsford on 10th and Stanford on 12th and the week closed with two at Honey Hill on 13th.

Female Common Redstart, Lilbourne Meadows NR, 10th August 2021 (Mike Alibone)
Male Common Redstart, Honey Hill, 13th August 2021 (Jon Cook)

Two Whinchats were reported from Pitsford on 10th, while single Northern Wheatears were at Harrington on 9th and 13th, Pitsford on 10th and at both Borough Hill and Welford Res on 12th.

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