Newsround – 4th to 11th November 2022

With the continuing run of unseasonally mild weather, what seemed set to be a lacklustre week was rescued at the eleventh hour by an unexpected reignition of autumn wader passage, along with the arrival of a deep water diver – all very conveniently in one place …

However, the period opened and closed with a rather reduced selection of wildfowl – in this case limited strictly to Red-crested Pochards. While Daventry CP hung on to its one and only drake, numbers built at Stanford Res, which came clearly to the fore by producing fourteen – eleven of which were drakes – from mid-week onwards. During the same period, not even one of Pitsford’s former double-figure flock was anywhere to be seen.

At the week’s end, though, it emerged that the latter locality had clearly traded up its ducks deluxe for a more exciting model in the form of the annually expected Great Northern Diver, a juvenile of which checked in for an overnight stay, late on 11th.

The removal of the Doddington cows from the field next to Summer Leys heralded the departure of the Cattle Egret, which had been accompanying them for the last couple of weeks. That just left the traditional location of Stanwick GP to deliver the goods, with one on 6th, ten leaving the roost there early on 7th, five on site on 9th and ten flying over on 11th.

But it was Pitsford which, once again, entered the limelight by pulling all of this week’s waders out of the hat on the last day. So, only the 5th this year, a juvenile Little Stint appeared just north of the causeway on 11th. It is one of the latest to occur in Northamptonshire, although small numbers were still being seen in at least nine other UK counties during the period.

Juvenile Little Stint, Pitsford Res, 11th November 2022 (Mike Alibone)

Somewhat uncannily, though, the appearance of a Wood Sandpiper in the same area, at the same time, almost mirrors last year’s December appearance of a bird which spent the greater part of the winter in the county, after first spending time at Eyebrook Res in Leicestershire. History appears to have repeated itself this year, with one, said to be a juvenile, at Eyebrook last week. Although difficult to age with certainty, the Pitsford bird appears to be an adult. If so, is it a returning bird … and how long will it stay?

Wood Sandpiper, Pitsford Res, 11th November 2022 (Mike Alibone)

Last up, a Common Sandpiper was also found on the dam at Pitsford on 11th. While no biggie, it’s well out of season.

But if Pitsford was the place for waders, then Stanford was the place to be for gulls, having produced three different Mediterranean Gulls during the period. First up was an adult in the roost on 5th, followed by a first-winter, nightly, from 6th to 8th and then a different first-winter on 11th. Larger larids were also available, represented by an adult Caspian Gull in the Stanford roost on 6th and 8th, a near-adult at DIRFT 3 on 9th and a first-winter at Daventry CP the following day.

Near-adult Caspian Gull, DIRFT 3, 9th November 2022 (Mike Alibone)

The small number of Yellow-legged Gulls this week comprised an adult in the Stanford roost on 6th plus two there on 8th, single adults at Daventry CP on 7th and Summer Leys on 11th and one at Pitsford on the latter date.

A Short-eared Owl was at Farthingstone on 11th and a male Merlin at Stanford on 6th. Passerines were in short supply with this week’s Stonechats appearing to take a tumble with twos at DIRFT 3 on 5th and Sywell CP the following day, while three were at Pitsford on 11th. Apart from that, a Water Pipit paid a brief visit to the Scrape at Summer Leys on 6th.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.