Heavy rain, high temperatures and continuing southerlies brought more interesting autumn visitors to the UK than they did locally. However, there was still much to focus on throughout the week, although the bottom line is … it wasn’t overly different to the week before.
While the long-staying Pink-footed Goose in the Hollowell/Ravensthorpe area was seen just the once – at Ravensthorpe on 24th – six in flight over Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 28th were clearly on the wild side, representing a slice of the annual seasonal movement of this species across the UK. Once again, the peripatetic female Ruddy Shelduck popped up at Stanford Res on 22nd.
In comparison to last week, this week’s Red-crested Pochards were rather more numerous and widespread, being seen at five localities. Pitsford Res retained the lion’s share with eleven there on 25th, at least nine of which were still present at the end of the period. Stanford upped its on-site total from last week’s four to six from 25th – the same date marking the appearance of three at Summer Leys LNR. Daventry CP got in on the action with two on 27th, while one lingered at Ravensthorpe from 25th until the week’s end.
There was no significant change to the numbers and localities as far as Cattle Egrets were concerned. The week opened with three at Stanwick GP on 22nd and closed with four there on 26th, while last week’s bird – mobile around Summer Leys from 18th – lingered in the area until at least 25th and one was seen at Ringstead GP on 26th.
This week’s raptors were distilled into a single juvenile Marsh Harrier again paying a brief visit to Summer Leys on 25th.
Scarcer waders were drifting ever closer to the edge of the radar with, looking like becoming a long-stayer, last week’s seemingly settled Black-tailed Godwit still lingering north of the causeway at Ravensthorpe throughout. Another also visited Summer Leys on 28th, while a single Jack Snipe was located at Hollowell on 22nd.
There was no real change to this week’s gulls and it looks like staying that way until the winter weather works its magic and hopefully becomes instrumental in dishing up some ‘white-wingers’ at the end of the year. For now, though, the closest we’ll get is Mediterranean Gull, although this week’s bird in the roost at Stanford on 22nd and 28th was a first-winter.
Caspian Gulls consisted of a near-adult at Stanwick on 22nd and one at Hollowell on 24th, with two there the following day. Daventry dished up a first-winter on 26th and 28th, accompanied by an adult on the latter date and a third-winter visited Boddington Res on 28th. Boddington also scored the highest Yellow-legged Gull total of at least five on 28th. Elsewhere, it was ones and twos at Daventry, Hollowell, Pitsford, Stanwick and Thrapston.
This week’s Short-eared Owls were limited to one hunting around the radio mast and concrete blocks on the summit of Borough Hill, at dusk, on 25th.
Last week’s Bearded Tits at Stanwick took a further tumble with just one being seen there on 22nd and again on 24th before apparently melting away. Two were subsequently discovered on the west side of the main lake at Wicksteed Park, Kettering on 28th. A Whinchat turned up at Hollowell on 22nd. Although this is recognisably late, it’s not the latest ever – that accolade falls to one at Hemington on 9th November 1977. Back at Hollowell on 22nd, the week’s top count of Stonechats, six or seven, beat four or five at Pitsford on the same date, while smaller numbers were also seen at Borough Hill, Brampton Valley, Clifford Hill GP, Harrington AF and Summer Leys.
To round off, two more Rock Pipits featured this week – one at Hollowell on 23rd and the other at Ravensthorpe on 25th.