On the back of a continuing westerly airflow, the week kicked off with some serious bluster as Storm Franklin pushed in off the Atlantic. But it was very much a case of in like a lion, out like a lamb, as the last day of the period dawned calm and bright, providing ideal conditions and ample opportunity to catch up with this week’s star bird, the second Glossy Ibis of 2022.
Wading through the wildfowl has taken little time of late, as we’ve been no more than ankle-deep, with geese largely propping up the cohort and ducks in short supply. The Barnacle Goose at Pitsford Res stood up to be counted on 20th, while Ravensthorpe’s Pink-footed Goose remained with the local Greylags there until at least 24th. The three long-staying White-fronted Geese at Stanford on Avon saw another week out and the three at Stanwick GP were joined by a fourth bird on 22nd, all of which were still present at the week’s end.
With winter ducks deluxe in seriously short supply, birders had to make do with last week’s drake Red-crested Pochard, on show throughout the period at Earls Barton GP, while another drake turned up at Ravensthorpe on 22nd, remaining there until at least 24th.
The juvenile Great Northern Diver, first found on 23rd January, clocked up a month’s stay and saw another full week out at Pitsford.
Headliner of the week, then, was the second Glossy Ibis in as many months – a bird which followed hot on the heels of the 30-minute wonder at Summer Leys LNR on 10th January. With a good sixty-five noted across Britain over the past week or so, it would have been disappointing if Northants hadn’t been paid another visit. Fortunately, after its discovery at Stanwick’s North Lake on 24th, it was still present the next day, thereby allowing many a second bite of this 2022 cherry.
Stanwick also hosted all of this week’s Cattle Egrets – two on 22nd, four on 23rd and five on 25th. Topping fourteen on the latter date, the same site again produced the highest tally of Great Egrets, while smaller numbers elsewhere included fives at both Ditchford and Thrapston GPs, two at Ravensthorpe and singles at Earls Barton, Hollowell Res, Pitsford, Stanford and Summer Leys.
On the wader front, the long-staying Ruff was still to be found at Summer Leys until at least 23rd but it appears we now have two wintering Common Sandpipers in the county – the Pitsford bird remaining all week, while the Earls Barton individual was relocated on 21st, having repositioned itself on a different pool, where it was still present at the end of the period.
Gulls left their mark, making further advances on last week’s numbers, with a second-winter Mediterranean Gull in the roost at Boddington Res on 21st and a new adult found in the Stanford roost the following evening. Caspian Gulls hit their highest weekly site total so far, with Rushton Landfill producing two first-winters on 21st, an adult and a third-winter on 22nd and a first-winter, second-winter, two third-winters and a fourth-winter on 25th. Elsewhere, a second-winter was in the Stanford gull roost on 21st and an adult visited Hollowell Res on 22nd.
Smaller numbers of Yellow-legged Gulls were in evidence and included one at Stanford on 21st and a third-winter in the roost there, nightly, from 22nd to 25th, while at Pitsford an adult was present on 19th and 20th, along with a fourth-winter on the latter date.
Suboptimal viewing conditions, combined with a lack of observer coverage, resulted in the Duston Mill Dartford Warbler dropping off the radar this week. It may still be there, of course. Otherwise, it was indeed slim pickings on the passerine front, with only small numbers of Stonechats including top counts of three at Earls Barton and Hollowell on 22nd and twos at Ditchford GP on the latter date and at Thrapston on 25th.
The two Hawfinches at Cottesbrook were still present and dodging the gusts on 19th and 20th.