It was pretty much déjà vu as far as the week’s weather was concerned, with no real let-up in the westerlies until the week’s end, when the winds swung northerly, introducing a colder, more wintry airstream. There were few new avian arrivals, either, but there was still a grand selection of interesting fare to focus on.
Appearing settled, last week’s Dark-bellied Brent Goose remained with the Canada Goose flock around the Main Barrage Lake at Clifford Hill GP throughout the period. Bets are on to see if it stays into winter proper. Meanwhile, at Stanford Res, the roving, escaped Cackling Goose put in a brief appearance on the last day of the week and just down the road, Hollowell’s Pink-footed Goose had moved to Ravensthorpe Res, where it was seen on 22nd. Hollowell Res, itself, was paid a brief visit by nine Whooper Swans on 21st, obviously choosing not to linger.
At Pitsford Res, Red-crested Pochards appeared to vary in numbers by the day, peaking at sixteen on 21st, while last week’s ‘redhead’ and eclipse drake Smew were the only other ducks of note, remaining on Ringstead GP’s Brightwells Lake until 23rd, after which they did a bunk.
After last week’s all-time high, numbers of Cattle Egrets tumbled to just two in flight over Stanwick GP on 23rd and a mere five remained in the fabled cattle field north of Ringstead GP, where the record-busting sixteen had been present on 16th-17th. Numbers of Great Egrets, on the other hand, continued to climb, setting another Northants site total record of eighteen at Pitsford on 21st and 25th. Elsewhere, Hollowell held three and Ditchford GP, two, while singles were also found at Foxholes Fisheries (Crick), Ravensthorpe, Ringstead and Summer Leys LNR.
A ’ringtail’ Hen Harrier was reported from Harrington AF on 21st.
On the wader front, the late, late Wood Sandpiper show continued at Pitsford throughout the week, the long-staying Ruff remained at Summer Leys and the Common Sandpiper at Earls Barton GP’s New Workings (North) was still present at the period’s end.
Gull numbers remained low and included the third-winter Caspian Gull at Hollowell on 22nd and 24th, with another – or the same – visiting Stanford on the first of these two dates, while an adult was in the roost at Boddington Res on 26th. The same roost produced four Yellow-legged Gulls and the adult continued to be seen at Pitsford throughout the week.
Just two species represented this week’s passerines, with Stonechats found at Clifford Hill, Ditchford, Hollowell, Pitsford and Sywell CP and no more than two at any one locality. Worthy of a mention, if only for sheer numbers, Bramblings came to the fore once again and after last week’s prediction of more to come, an estimated three hundred showed up at Harrington on 21st, falling to around two hundred on 23rd and tens by the week’s end.