Newsround – 11th to 24th June 2022

Mid-June and the sounds of summer come to the fore. We’re not talking Glastonbury – or Grantchester Meadows, come to that – no, for those with their ears tuned in the period’s highlights were characterised by the ephemeral and the invisible …

But first, not escaping attention – though likely escaping captivity – the Pink-footed Goose reported at Clifford Hill GP on 5th appears to have resurfaced at Ravensthorpe Res on 18th. Only a stone’s throw away, at Hollowell Res, the returning female Ruddy Shelduck looks set to be gracing us with its presence for yet another autumn after reappearing there on 12th. It was still seemingly settled on site a week later, on 19th.

Now, nipping nefariously into the nebulous – sometime … somewhere … supposedly … near Brafield-on-the-Green … a singing Quail was reported – getting a token mention here only as a result of its potentially being the sole record of 2022 … so far.

Typically more tangible, though, three White Storks were circling high above Summer Leys LNR on 19th. Whatever their origin, undeniably it’s been, to date, a grand year for the species in Northants.

White Storks, Summer Leys LNR, 19th June 2022 (Keith Griffiths)
White Stork, Summer Leys LNR, 19th June 2022 (Keith Griffiths)

Keeping up a local presence, a single Great Egret was at Pitsford Res on 17th.

Great Egret, Pitsford Res, 17th June 2022 (Tony Stanford)

Sharing the period’s Ospreys were Blatherwycke Lake on 19th, Hollowell on 17th and 20th and Stanford on 16th and 21st.

Osprey, Hollowell Res, 20th June 2022 (Jon Cook)

But it was the latter site which produced the goods in the wader camp with a short, drop-in visit by three Continental Black-tailed Godwits on 15th. June is a classic month for the occurrence of wandering, non-breeding nominate limosa race birds, which are very scarce in Northants and massively outnumbered during spring and autumn by their much commoner Icelandic counterparts.

Continental Black-tailed Godwit, Stanford Res, 15th June 2022 (Chris Hubbard)
Continental Black-tailed Godwits, Stanford Res, 15th June 2022 (Chris Hubbard)

Staying with Stanford, a first-summer Arctic Tern was present there on 13th, following what was presumably the same bird visiting Pitsford the previous day.

First-summer Arctic Tern, Stanford Res, 13th June 2022 (Chris Hubbard)

June is not exactly the best month for gulls so a third-summer Yellow-legged Gull at Stanwick on 15th, along with a Caspian Gull hybrid there on the same date at least secure a mention in the annals.

Caspian Gull hybrid, Stanwick GP, 15th June 2022 (Steve Fisher)

Saving the best for last, though, a Nightjar was heard in an undisclosed area at Barnwell during the evening of 16th. There must surely be more of these around in the county, so … if you go down to the woods tonight you could get a big surprise … but nothing like the surprise one lucky birder got when a European Bee-eater flew south over Clifford Hill GP on 21st. Experiencing a quirky juxtaposition of jubilation and frustration, alas, as so often is the case, it was heard only, despite calling seven times in passing. Hot on the heels of one last year, on 17th April over Summer Leys, if accepted, this will be only the sixth county record. With a breeding attempt in Norfolk, it’s been a good year for this species in the UK. Coming to a set of wires near you, soon, perhaps …?

Newsround – 28th May to 10th June 2022

As we move squarely into summer, the slow-down in the discovery of new birds continues and a further squeezing of the spring sponge delivered little at popular birding sites. Two ethereal, fly-over raptors sparked some momentary interest. Time to blow the dust off the barbecue …

Wildfowl were back on the menu during the period although, given the time of year, a Pink-footed Goose at Clifford Hill GP on 5th seems most likely to have resulted from dodgy descendance. Clearly in season, though, were single drake Garganeys at Stanwick GP on 29th, Thrapston GP on 31st and at Summer Leys LNR between 3rd and 7th.

Further down the Nene Valley, after an absence of some three and a half weeks, the White Stork sporting a small metal ring on its right tarsus, was back, if only for two days, on 5th and 6th. Will it ever reveal its ring number? A single Great Egret flew over Stanford Res on 2nd.

White Stork, Lower Barnwell Lock, Oundle, 5th June 2022 (Tony Winn)
White Stork, Lower Barnwell Lock, Oundle, 5th June 2022 (Tony Winn)
White Stork, Lower Barnwell Lock, Oundle, 6th June 2022 (Nick Parker)

On the raptor front, single Ospreys flew over Walgrave on 28th, Blatherwycke Lake on 31st and Stanford Res on 2nd, while a ringed male, ‘T3’ from the Rutland Water project, visited Hollowell Res on 6th and 9th. Further reports of fly-over raptors included a Honey Buzzard near Hartwell on 31st and a White-tailed Eagle moving east, from the A14, near Naseby on 2nd.

Male Osprey, Hollowell Res, 9th June 2022 (Martin Swannell)

Meanwhile, DIRFT 3 chalked up its 25th species of wader with the arrival of two (not three, as previously reported) Avocets on 8th. They did not linger. Other waders included a Tundra Ringed Plover at Stanwick on 3rd and five Sanderlings paying a brief visit to Summer Leys on 5th.

Avocet, DIRFT 3, 8th June 2022 (Steve Nichols)

Beyond that, the period delivered two Caspian Gulls – a third-summer and fourth-summer – to Stanwick on 3rd and an ‘all-day’ Black Tern to Stanford on 30th. The spring of 2022 has proven to be a bleak one in terms of records of the latter species. Hopefully, autumn will be a different story …

Black Tern Stanford Res, 30th May 2022 (Bob Bullock)