Newsround – 12th to 18th March 2022

The continuing southerlies off the near continent remained dominant throughout the period but the mild, dry conditions were rudely interrupted by a deluge of heavy rain mid-week. ‘Wet Wednesday’ saw parts of the county receive around 75% of their average March rainfall, causing localised flooding within a matter of hours. By contrast there was only a trickle, not a torrent, of spring migrants, as two more summer visitors were added to the county year list.

Demonstrating a migrational tour de force was a certain stripey-headed duck, the advance guard of which arrived at Pitsford Res on 15th, quickly to be followed by more the next day. Enter stage right … a flotilla of Garganeys – eight to be precise, comprising seven drakes and a female, which pitched up at Stortons GP ahead of the rain on 16th. Remarkably, this appears to be the largest recorded flock size for Northamptonshire but they had all moved on by the following morning, and a lone female was then discovered at Pitsford later in the day.

As in the previous week, other ducks were also available – these including the drake Red-crested Pochard at Daventry CP and the drake Common Scoter at Stortons, both of which were present until 13th.

Drake Common Scoter, Stortons GP, 4th March 2022 (Mike Alibone)

The Stanwick White-fronted Goose trio remained until at least 17th.

Pitsford’s juvenile Great Northern Diver completed yet another week, still being present there on the last day of the period.

Back to Stanwick, where the Glossy Ibis again remained throughout the period and the week’s highest tally of four Great Egrets was present the following day. Numbers of the latter continued to dwindle, Stanford Res producing a maximum of three on 13th,  while singles were at Summer Leys LNR between 13th and 17th and Ravensthorpe Res on 14th.

In a nod to early spring, the first Osprey of 2022 was seen cruising north over Wicksteed Park, Kettering on 17th.

Kicking off the week’s waders were two rather fine Avocets, which remained throughout the day on the north side of Clifford Hill GP’s Main Barrage Lake on 15th.

Avocets, Clifford Hill GP, 15th March 2022 (Ant Hall)

The same day saw a Black-tailed Godwit paying a brief visit to Ditchford GP, while the wintering Ruff remained at Summer Leys all week.

Ruff, Summer Leys LNR, 14th March 2022 (Mark Tyrrell)

Other wintering waders included both Common Sandpipers, the longest staying at Earls Barton’s New Workings (North) and the relatively recent individual on, and around, Pitsford Res dam. Daventry CP continued to produce the highest single-site count of Jack Snipes, with seven there on 14th and four on 16th.

Common Sandpiper, Pitsford Res, 12th March 2022 (Doug Goddard)

It would be good to have reported a glut of gulls this week but, sadly, things were quite the opposite. An adult Mediterranean Gull at Daventry CP on 17th was the only one of its kind, while second-winter Caspian Gulls visited Stanwick on 13th and DIRFT 3 on 15th – the latter date also delivering the week’s only Yellow-legged Gull, an adult, at Pitsford.

Second-winter Caspian Gull, DIRFT 3, 15th March 2022 (Mike Alibone)

Passerines again fared poorly, with Ravensthorpe’s Black Redstart at the on-site waterworks scraping in on 12th. Where were all the Northern Wheatears …?

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