Another fast-moving fortnight in which early autumn wader passage upped tempo and was instrumental in producing the second Pectoral Sandpiper of the year. Other birds were, of course, available …
Not least of which was Hollowell Reservoir’s female Ruddy Shelduck, still present there on 3rd, while the first eclipse drake Garganey of the autumn checked in at Thrapston GP on 6th. A drake Red-crested Pochard, also in eclipse, appeared at Pitsford Res on 8th.
Numbers of Great Egrets climbed from just the one at Pitsford during the last period to two there by the end of this one, while one visited Stanford Res on 4th.
Single Ospreys were seen in flight over Hollowell on 3rd, west over Little Irchester on 5th, Pitsford on 6th and Stanford on 8th.
Against the now established backdrop of Green and Common Sandpipers, Black-tailed Godwits began to move through in reasonable numbers which included one at Hollowell on 29th, two at Summer Leys LNR on 2nd followed by nine there on 4th, eleven at Pitsford on 5th and singles at Summer Leys again on 6th and Stanford on 7th.
But the biggest surprise of the week was a Pectoral Sandpiper, originally found at Lilbourne Meadows NR on 2nd and quickly making the hop across to DIRFT 3’s A5 Pools, before moving back again to Lilbourne, where it remained until mid-afternoon the following day. There have been July records before but not as early as this one. In the life of the county bird report, Ditchford GP produced the previous earliest on 15th July 1987 while, a decade earlier, veterans will remember going for the bird which clung to the narrowest of muddy margins at Cransley Reservoir between 30th July and 9th August 1976 – at that time only the fourth county record. Hot on the heels of the Summer Leys individual, back in May, this month’s bird takes the DIRFT wader species tally to 26.
Also at Lilbourne and part of a recognised sizeable movement across the UK, three Wood Sandpipers dropped in on 29th.
And so on to gulls, with Daventry CP dishing up the first Mediterranean Gull of the autumn, an adult, on 8th. A first-summer Caspian Gull visited Pitsford on 28th and, becoming a little more abundant, Yellow-legged Gulls included singles at Wicksteed Park Lake (Kettering) on 26th, Pitsford on 27th-28th and 1st, with two there on 7th-8th, at least eight at DIRFT 3 on 30th and one at Stanwick GP on 5th.
Following a report of a Golden Oriole near Cotterstock on 28th, passerines were limited to male Common Redstarts at Lilbourne Meadows from 30th until at least 5th and one reported at Blueberry Farm (Maidwell) on 3rd and a female-type there the following day. In the same area, two Crossbills flew west over the Brampton Valley on 1st.