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.
Keeping up a local presence, a single Great Egret was at Pitsford Res on 17th.
Sharing the period’s Ospreys were Blatherwycke Lake on 19th, Hollowell on 17th and 20th and Stanford on 16th and 21st.
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.
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.
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.
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 …?