With little rain, and winds chiefly from the south-west, local temperatures reached a balmy 15°C at the week’s end. The local birdscape remained largely unchanged, although the discovery of the year’s first Bearded Tits, headed up by an exceptionally showy male, proved to be a popular draw throughout the period.
Wildfowl continued in very much the same vein as last week with, in the north-west of the county, the female Ruddy Shelduck still at Winwick Pools on 11th and the drake Red-crested Pochard seeing another week out at Stanford Res. Another drake was found at Pitsford Res on 15th. Not so far away, Ravensthorpe’s female Ring-necked Duck remained faithful to the location, moving into its fourth week on site at the end of the period. The same could not be said for the female Greater Scaup in the same area as it alternated between Hollowell and Ravensthorpe but it was still present at the latter site at the week’s end. Blatherwycke Lake’s drake, found on 10th, remained until at least 12th.
After wildfowl, and in the absence of any notable waders, gulls rule the wetlands. This week’s pick of the crop includes the first-winter Mediterranean Gull again in the roost at Stanford on 12th and 13th and an adult at Daventry CP, briefly, on 17th.
Stanford also produced an adult Caspian Gull on 13th, two adults and a near-adult were at Hollowell on the same date, a first-winter was at DIRFT 3 on 16th and two first-winters were at Daventry CP the following day.
Daventry also held a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull on 17th, while the regular wintering adult was still at Pitsford on 14th and 15th.
The first Short-eared Owl of 2023 was seen between Canons Ashby and Eydon on 12th. There have been very few about over the current winter period with the last being seen at Daventry CP on 15th December 2022.
Similarly, the first Bearded Tits of the year appeared at Stanwick GP on 11th. Two were present until 13th, after which a particularly showy male remained on site, wooing the crowds and revealing itself as a true exhibitionist, until the week’s end.
At the rather more subtle end of the scale, further up the Nene Valley, two Siberian Chiffchaffs remained at Ecton SF until at least 13th, while Stonechat numbers appeared to fall away to just two at Ditchford GP on 12th and the same number at Earls Barton GP on 15th-17th.