Newsround – 4th to 10th February 2023

A mainly westerly airstream, a series of overnight frosts and generally dry conditions throughout appeared to have little influence on what was being seen over the review period. With nearly all of last week’s rares still in place, things remained pretty much unchanged as the week panned out.

A goose-free week means we can avoid the debate on whether or not some locally reported species are truly wild – or can we? Some interesting news emerged this week concerning the female Ruddy Shelduck which has been visiting the north-west of the county for the last few years. Seen at Winwick Pools on 8th and 9th, the local farmer has confirmed its presence there on most days over the last three winters, normally arriving in November and, one year, staying until April. This explains its more often than not absence from Hollowell and several other regularly birded localities in the area … but where does it go during the spring and summer months?

Female Ruddy Shelduck, Winwick Pools, 8th February 2023 (James Urwin)

Meanwhile, last week’s female Red-crested Pochard stayed at Summer Leys LNR until at least 8th and the long-staying drake remained on site at Stanford Res throughout the period. Similarly settled, the Ravensthorpe Ring-necked Duck saw another week out and the female Greater Scaup appears now to be favouring the latter site over its former abode at nearby Hollowell. Another Greater Scaup – this time a drake – was found at Blatherwycke Lake on the last day of the week. The fine drake Smew lingered at Pitsford Res until at least 6th and a Slavonian Grebe was present at the same site on 5th but apparently not since.

The sole representative for this week’s waders was Jack Snipe, one of which was present at Hollowell between 6th and 10th and the other was in the Brampton Valley below Brixworth on the first of those two dates.

And as for gulls … in terms of species, it was all pretty much as last week, with Stanford’s roost pulling in two Mediterranean Gulls – an adult on 7th and a first-winter on 9th and 10th. It also produced a near-adult Caspian Gull on 8th and three (two adults and a third-winter) on 10th. Hollowell held four adult Caspians on 8th and two adults and a second-winter on 10th, while two adults were among the many large gulls at DIRFT 3 on 8th.

The Brampton Valley played host to this week’s raptors on 6th, when a Marsh Harrier was seen near Blueberry Farm and a Merlin was below Hanging Houghton.

Passerines were at a premium during the period, with just one Siberian Chiffchaff identified at Ecton SF between 4th and 9th, the number of Common Chiffchaffs there also down in numbers compared to a couple of weeks ago.

And that just leaves Stonechat, with twos at Ditchford GP, Oundle Water Meadows and Pitsford – all on 6th, singles at Burton Latimer and Earls Barton GP on the same date, two again at Pitsford on 9th and one at Hartwell on 10th.

Male Stonechat, Upton CP, 8th February 2023 (Tony Stanford)

One thought on “Newsround – 4th to 10th February 2023

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