Rarity Round-up, 11th to 17th May 2019

A fine, dry week saw the pace of migration slow somewhat, although winds in the latter half were a keen north-easterly, turning to a strengthening easterly at the very end of the period. With all the summer visitors now in, speculation is running high on what might be found over the forthcoming two weeks.

Apart from a few thinly scattered Wigeon, the last vestiges of winter wildfowl remained in the shape of the first-summer Whooper Swan, still present at Thrapston GP until at least 12th, while the escaped female Bufflehead was seen again at Clifford Hill GP on 14th.

With singles at Thrapston on 12th-13th and one at Stanford Res on 16th, this week’s two Great Egrets doubled last week’s total but they generated little interest when compared with the reappearance of the Cattle Egret, back at the far north end of Stanwick GP from 12th until at least 14th. Assuming this is the same individual, which was last seen there on 23rd April, where has it been during the intervening period?

Away from the Nene Valley, roaming Ospreys continued to be reported, including singles at Stanford Res on 12th and at Hollowell Res on 13th and 16th-17th. Otherwise, it was a week of little action on the raptor front.

Male Ruff, Summer Leys LNR, 15th May 2019 (John Moon)

Male Ruff, Summer Leys LNR, 15th May 2019 (John Moon)

This was not the case with waders, however. With most of the occurrences in the Nene Valley, Summer Leys LNR produced two fabulously flamboyant male Ruffs from 14th until 16th with, following last week’s run, another Grey Plover there on the latter date. The week’s only Whimbrel was reported from Ravensthorpe Res on 11th while, back in the valley, two Bar-tailed Godwits were found at Clifford Hill GP on 14th, being joined there by a third the following day.

Bar-tailed Godwits, Clifford Hill GP, 15th May 2019 (Doug Goddard). Two of three present on this date.

Hollowell Res subsequently produced only the third Sanderling of the year so far, with one on Guilsborough Bay Point on 17th. Back at Summer Leys, following two Wood Sandpipers on the scrape last week, another turned up on 15th and two were present the next day, these figures being mirrored there by Greenshanks on the same dates. Five Greenshanks were at Ravensthorpe Res on 15th, followed by three more at nearby Hollowell two days later, on 17th.

After last week’s ‘big passage’, events this week were less dramatic when it came to Black Terns moving through the county. The 11th saw singles at Thrapston GP and Stanford Res, followed by three at the latter locality on 12th, two at Pitsford Res on 16th, with two also at Summer Leys/Earls Barton GP on the same date and two at Stanwick the next day.

Female Northern Wheatear, Clifford Hill GP, 11th May 2019 (Mike Alibone)

In terms of numbers, passerines were poorly represented over the past seven days. The Clifford Hill Northern Wheatears – looking very much like the ‘Greenlanders’ they surely are – had increased to at least five on 11th but had fallen back to two by 14th, while another two were found at Park Farm, Wellingborough on 11th.

Female Blue-headed Wagtail, Summer Leys LNR, 17th May 2019 (Mike Alibone)

A female presumed Blue-headed Wagtail appeared on the scrape at Summer Leys on 17th, although nothing about its appearance ruled out Grey-headed Wagtail but then, with flava wagtails, there is always that nagging complication of intergrades … Two Crossbills were mobile around Hanging Houghton on the last day of the period, apart from which, things were quiet.

Posted in Weekly Reports | Leave a comment

Northern Wheatears at Clifford Hill Gravel Pits

I spent some time with the Northern Wheatears at Clifford Hill GP this weekend. They were feeding around the base of a small group of trees alongside Hardingstone Dyke, which runs the full length of the southern side of the main barrage lake. Although two had been present since 9th May, there were at least five, including one male. All appeared to be of the Greenland race leucorhoa but it is, of course, not possible to say with any significant degree of certainty. Comments within captions, below.

First-summer male Northern Wheatear, Clifford Hill GP, 11th May 2019 (Mike Alibone). Brownish wings with pale fringes to coverts, along with blotchy, not clean black, ear coverts age this individual. Rich orange throat and upper breast, plus orange/buff-suffused underparts, bulky appearance and upright stance when standing and feeding, strongly suggest Greenland race, leucorhoa.

Female Northern Wheatear, Clifford Hill GP, 11th May 2019 (Mike Alibone). Showing similar features to the male in terms of richness and extent of throat and colour of underparts. Upright stance and longish legs show well here.

Female Northern Wheatear, Clifford Hill GP, 11th May 2019 (Mike Alibone). Same individual as above. Note diffuse dark lores.

Female Northern Wheatear, Clifford Hill GP, 11th May 2019 (Mike Alibone). A different female, with sharply demarcated, solid black lores.

Female Northern Wheatear, Clifford Hill GP, 11th May 2019 (Mike Alibone). Same individual as above, with underparts strongly lit by sunlight. Very long primary projection is again a good pointer toward leucorhoa.

Ringing data from Leicestershire and Norfolk indicate the majority of migrant Northern Wheatears after 30th April are ‘Greenlanders’.

Posted in Wheatears, Chats and Thrushes | 1 Comment

Rarity Round-up, 4th to 10th May 2019

In a week when local temperatures remained depressed, Britain recorded one of its coldest May Day bank holidays on record and predominantly northerly winds and rain did their best to halt migration. Undeterred by the weather, migrants continued to push through, evidenced in the main by large numbers of hirundines and Common Swifts battling against the elements, alongside a notable second wave of Black Terns and a continuing northward movement of waders.

Summer visitors recorded arriving for the first time during the past week include:
10th May – Spotted Flycatcher, Daventry CP

Still in no apparent hurry to depart, the first-summer Whooper Swan remained at Thrapston GP until at least 8th, feeding with the resident Mute Swans in surrounding crop fields. Numbers of other wildfowl were, unsurprisingly, limited for early May but the monopoly maintained by Summer Leys LNR on Garganey was at long last broken when a drake appeared at Pitsford Res on 8th-9th, while the Summer Leys drake was still present, though elusive, on 10th. Stopping off on the latter date, two female Common Scoters were well north of the dam at Pitsford Res, while the escaped female Bufflehead, described as ‘legendary’ by BirdGuides, was back at Clifford Hill GP on the last day of the period. Since she was last seen there on 2nd, her roving nature has taken her up to South Yorkshire, where she spent at least two days at Old Moor, in the Dearne Valley, before returning to Clifford Hill!

Just one Great Egret, at Stanford Res on 4th-5th, ensured this species’ continued presence in the county this week but is that it now until its return in late summer?  After four Black-necked Grebes at Daventry CP, present for just one day, on 26th April, another appeared at the same site on 9th, again remaining for one day only.

Another week, another harrier – this time it was a Marsh Harrier which livened up Polebrook AF on 5th, following a Hen Harrier at the same locality last week but it was Ospreys which continued to steal the limelight. Pitsford produced multiple sightings of single birds on 4th, 7th and 10th, Hollowell yielded singles on 4th and 8th, with two there on 9th, one attracted unwanted attention from local gulls at Ravensthorpe on 8th and one was at Thrapston on 5th.

Osprey, Ravensthorpe Res, 8th May 2019 (Paul Crotty)

Wader passaged picked up more momentum after a relatively quiet period last week. Set against a backcloth of double-figure Dunlins and Ringed Plovers, scarcer species this week appeared in the form of two Avocets at Clifford Hill GP on 10th, following a run of Nene Valley occurrences earlier in the spring.

Avocets, Clifford Hill GP, 10th May 2019 (Mike Alibone)

More Grey Plovers also came through, including singles at Clifford Hill GP, Hollowell Res and Summer Leys – all on 8th, followed by two flying north-east over Pitsford the next day and another at Hollowell on 10th, while single Whimbrels were seen at Stanwick GP

Grey Plover, Clifford Hill GP, 8th May 2019 (Bob Bullock)

on 4th, Ditchford GP on 9th and at both Pitsford and Clifford Hill on 10th. But it was Bar-tailed Godwits which rose to prominence during the week, with one at Summer Leys on 4th and another there, showing well at different points around the reserve, for three days from 8th.

Whimbrel, Stanwick GP, 4th May 2019 (Mike Alibone)

Eighteen flew north over Pitsford on 8th, followed by another four over the next day. Pitsford also produced the only Sanderlings of the spring so far – one over north on 8th followed by a rather showy individual on the dam the next day. Back at Summer Leys, a Wood Sandpiper dropped on to the scrape before quickly departing on 7th and another followed the same pattern the next day, similarly moving on rather sharpish. Summer Leys has developed a track record as the classic locality for spring sightings of this species over the years.

Sanderling, Pitsford Res, 9th May 2019 (Bob Bullock)

After a week without any, Black Terns were back in the spotlight, being found at ten localities, including the county’s reservoirs as well as various sites along the Nene Valley. It seems likely that more than one hundred and twenty were recorded, the largest flocks of which were twenty at Stanwick GP on 7th, sixteen at Pitsford Res on 8th and twelve at Stanford Res on 7th.

Black Terns, Stanford Res, 7th May 2019 (Chris Hubbard)

Black Tern, Earls Barton GP, 8th May 2019 (Ken Prouse)

Black Tern, Earls Barton GP, 8th May 2019 (Ken Prouse)

Black Tern, Stanford Res, 8th May 2019 (Steve Nichols)

Black Tern, Stanwick GP, 10th May 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Black Tern, Stanwick GP, 10th May 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Two Little Terns also made the news – one reported at Ravensthorpe Res on 8th, the other stopping off briefly at Summer Leys the following day. Arctic Terns continued to pass through in small numbers throughout the week, with single-figure counts from eight localities, the highest being seven at Hollowell Res on 8th.

Little Tern, Summer Leys LNR, 9th May 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Passerines were thin on the ground. One of the two Ring Ouzels remained at Newnham Hill until 6th and a rather lean serving of Whinchats included singles at Earls Barton GP and Sywell CP on 4th and two at Clifford Hill GP on 9th-10th.

Male Whinchat, Sywell CP, 4th May 2019 (Ian Hicks)

Male Whinchat, Clifford Hill GP, 9th May 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Northern Wheatear and Whinchat, Clifford Hill GP, 9th May 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Northern Wheatears were still to be found in select locations. A single female was at Borough Hill on 5th, another lingered at Summer Leys from 5th to 8th, a male was found near Glapthorn on 6th and two were at Clifford Hill GP on 9th – this number having doubled by the following day. The smart male ‘Channel’ Wagtail, found at Stanford Res as long ago as 23rd April, has remained on site on the Leicestershire side of the reservoir ever since, venturing into Northamptonshire again on 10th.

Male ‘Channel’ Wagtail, Stanford Res, 9th May 2019 (Chris Hubbard)

Tree Pipit, Stanford Res, 7th May 2019 (Chris Hubbard)

Tree Pipit, Stanford Res, 7th May 2019 (Chris Hubbard)

Stanford also produced a Tree Pipit on 7th and, for a change, it wasn’t simply a fly-over – unlike the vast majority of reports of this former widespread breeder, now sadly reduced to scarce migrant status.

Posted in Weekly Reports | Leave a comment

Bambouzeled: more notes on the Newnham Hill Ring Ouzels

Following the age and sex analysis (or ‘speculation’ may now be a more apt term) of last week’s Newnham Hill Ring Ouzels, I received some excellent images from Bob Bullock of one of the two females. This was the first of the two to be found, on 29th April – the one without the heavily-marked throat.

Although photos can be deceptive, the first of the three images, below, depicts a dark-looking individual, which appears to show a moult limit in the greater coverts of the left wing, i.e. the outer coverts have broad pale (juvenile) edges and the inners appear to be new, adult-type feathers. Ageing from this image in isolation would put the bird into the first-summer court. The general darkness of the plumage and the relative prominence of the whitish bib, ending in a point at the sides, would suggest a male.

Female/first-summer male Ring Ouzel, Newnham Hill, 29th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

However, the second image, of the other side of the bird, appears to show some uniformity across the greater coverts, the bird appears slightly browner and this would point to adult female – so that’s a puzzle.

Female/first-summer male Ring Ouzel, Newnham Hill, 29th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Head-on, the third image highlights the bib, which is really rather dull and contains plenty of dark scales – probably more than would be expected in a first-summer male. So, still likely to be a female, then and probably adult as the bib looks to be adult in its extent and prominence.

Female/first-summer male Ring Ouzel, Newnham Hill, 29th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Tricky stuff – comments welcomed! Many thanks to Bob for his fine images.

Posted in Thrushes# | Leave a comment

Rarity Round-up, 27th April to 3rd May 2019

Last week’s prolonged easterly airstream unfortunately broke down and gave way to winds from a westerly quarter, ultimately turning northerly at the week’s end. As a result, and in stark contrast to the last review period, passage migrants took a tumble in numbers, the heady flow of godwits and Little Gulls dried up and there was only one ‘first-time’ summer visitor reported.

Summer visitors recorded arriving for the first time during the past week include:
3rd May – Whinchat, Duston (Northampton)

Making it into May, the first-summer Whooper Swan was still footloose at Thrapston GP on 2nd. This species does not form pair bonds until two years old, so it’s clearly in no rush to go anywhere … just yet. Also at the same site, at least two of the three Pink-footed Geese were still with the Greylag flock on 30th. The county’s only  Garganey to date this year was the pair at Summer Leys, where they appeared settled until 30th, at least.

Drake Garganey, Summer Leys LNR, 30th April 2019 (Adrian Leybourne)

Not even the slightest hint of adrenaline was associated with the finding of a Bufflehead at Clifford Hill GP on 2nd. Yes, after almost a year’s absence, ‘Buffy’ was back. Since her initial discovery, at Clifford Hill GP in June 2017, this itchy-footed, attention-seeking female on the run from captivity has been doing her level best to tease birders the length and breadth of the country. Spring 2019 alone has seen her visiting Baston, Lincolnshire (30th March), Ouse Washes, Cambridgeshire (2nd-13th April), Potteric Carr, South Yorkshire (18th April), Ouse Washes again (19th April), Hanningfield Reservoir, Essex (21st April), Holme Pierrepont, Nottinghamshire (23rd April) and Fairburn Ings, West Yorkshire (27th-29th April).* Quite an amazing series of movements – assuming just one bird is involved.

Just three Great Egrets were present in the county this week, this total comprising singles at Daventry CP on 27th, Thrapston GP on 30th and Stanford Res on 1st. Following the recent good winter locally, another Hen Harrier, a ‘ringtail’, was seen at Polebrook AF on 29th but more commonly encountered nowadays are Ospreys, singles of which were seen at Pitsford Res on 28th and 29th, Hollowell Res on 30th, Daventry CP and Foxholes Fisheries (Crick) on 1st and Thrapston GP on 2nd and 3rd. Continued successful breeding, resulting in a growing population over the border at nearby Rutland Water, has led to a diaspora, with a number of pairs now having become established in the region around, but away from, Rutland. In this respect, we can look forward to this unique and magnificent raptor being more frequently encountered locally with every passing year.

Waders this week were in short supply. Whimbrel numbers nudged three, with singles over Boddington Res and at Summer Leys on 27th and again at the latter locality on 30th. We scraped just one Black-tailed Godwit – at Ditchford GP on 27th – while Summer Leys produced the only Bar-tailed Godwits, with singles there on 27th, 2nd and 3rd.

The trickle of Arctic Terns continued this week, most occurring on 27th, upon which twos were at Clifford Hill GP, Hollowell Res and Stanford Res, one was at Pitsford Res and up to eighteen were at Boddington Res. Stanford produced a loner on 30th and two were at Pitsford on 3rd. Meanwhile, the locally roving pair of adult Mediterranean Gulls cruised east over Summer Leys on 28th.

Passerine passage enjoyed a bit of a revival compared to last week’s low numbers and rather narrow species mix. This week’s star attraction arrived in the shape of two rather classy female Ring Ouzels, which graced Newnham Hill on 30th, following one there on the previous day and one remaining until 2nd.

Ring Ouzels, Newnham Hill, 30th April 2019 (Mike Alibone)

A ‘female-type’ Black Redstart was reported from St Peter’s Church at Deene on 28th. Said to have been present for several days, it was nowhere to be seen on 29th. A Common Redstart was at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell on 27th and single Northern Wheatears were Summer Leys on 28th, Harrington AF on 29th-30th and at Moulton on 30th and a male Whinchat was found at Duston (Northampton) on 3rd.

Female Northern Wheatear, Moulton, 30th April 2019 (Darryl Sutcliffe)

The rather smart ‘Channel’ Wagtail at Stanford Res lingered into the new week but wasn’t seen again after 27th, while the number of White Wagtails totaled just two, at Hollowell Res on 27th and at Summer Leys on 3rd.

* information courtesy of Josh Jones (BirdGuides)

Posted in Weekly Reports | Leave a comment

Newnham Hill Ring Ouzels

The discovery by Chris Coe, yesterday, of a Ring Ouzel at Newnham Hill, a locality which has, in recent years, established itself as a regular spring stop-off site for this species, sparked some debate about its age and sex.

It was still present this morning and Dave Warner located another one accompanying it, both birds remaining until at least late afternoon. While frequently retiring to the cover of one of the hill’s many hedgerows, both could often be seen feeding out on the open grassy slopes.

The news went out initially as a female being present on the hill but images released later suggested to some, at least, that it was a male, due to the extent of the white bib and the general ‘darkness’ of the plumage.

Female Ring Ouzel, Newnham Hill, 30th April 2019 (Mike Alibone). Note some minor streaking on the neck and throat.

Ring Ouzel sexing is oversimplified by many publications, which suggest that the difference between the sexes is as stark as it is in Blackbirds, i.e. the male is jet black and the female is brown. In reality, it is not that simple and the difference in the ground colours between the sexes is far less marked than it is in Blackbirds. This was highlighted by Shirihai & Svensson in their publication Handbook of Western Palearctic Birds, which also includes many useful photographs to illustrate the point.

Female Ring Ouzel, Newnham Hill, 30th April 2019 (Mike Alibone). Note heavier neck streaking.

In truth, male Ring Ouzels are never as ‘black’ as male Blackbirds and females are often very dark brown and can even appear almost blackish in the field. In some instances, females can be almost indistinguishable from males and when you throw first-summer birds into the mix, then things become more complicated, with first-summer males often closely resembling adult females to the point of being almost indistinguishable.

Female Ring Ouzel, Newnham Hill, 30th April 2019 (Mike Alibone)

Typical adult males normally look obviously black and will have a striking, contrasting, ‘clean’ white bib, which ends in a point at each side. Adult females can ‘appear’ really quite blackish and can have the same extent of bib but it is not usually gleaming white, being sullied with brownish scales and/or with smudgy brownish bleeding into it from the breast, to some degree. The sides of the bib do not end in a point and they are rounded or even square-ended. First-summers of both sexes, if seen well or in the hand, should show a moult limit in the greater coverts, i.e. the unmoulted outer few have broad (depending on wear) pale fringes, compared to the inners, which are more narrowly-fringed or largely plain. Adults have the same narrow fringes across the greater coverts, with the difference not so marked as it is in first-summers.

Female Ring Ouzel, Newnham Hill, 30th April 2019 (Mike Alibone). Illustrates just how ‘brown’ these individuals are.

The Newnham Hill birds are both adult females. When seen well, their plumage is dark brown, not black, their bibs are ‘dirty’ and do not end in sharp points at the sides and the greater covert fringes are all of even width.

I was lucky to catch up with them both today and pleased to be able to watch them in such a nice setting. With its far vistas, plentiful cover and easily observable open areas, Newnham Hill would appear to offer more to the birder than nearby Borough Hill, which has become more popular with the general public and now suffers massively from human disturbance.

Posted in Thrushes# | Leave a comment

Rarity Round-up, 20th to 26th April 2019

The generally easterly airstream continued to dominate, moving round to the south-east before eventually swinging south-west as ‘Storm Hannah’ approached at the week’s end. Local temperatures hit 24°C on 22nd, after which they fell away and showers ensued from 24th. Little Gulls and passage waders took centre stage, while summer visitors continued to arrive in small numbers.

Summer visitors recorded arriving for the first time during the past week include:
22nd April – Hobby, Blisworth
25th April – Common Swift, Daventry CP and Pitsford Res

Still there … the first-summer Whooper Swan entered another great week at Thrapston GP by remaining throughout, and the equally pitbound three Pink-footed Geese also nudged in on 20th, at least two of them still being present on 26th, while another pinkfoot visited Clifford Hill GP on 22nd. Summer Leys LNR again claimed exclusivity on the Garganey front, the drake there being joined by a female from 22nd – both appearing settled and staying throughout the week. The period’s token Red-crested Pochard – a drake – was at Clifford Hill GP on 23rd.

Whooper Swan, Thrapston GP, 22nd April 2019 (James Underwood)

Last week’s Cattle Egret remained with the herd of cows at the northern end of the Stanwick GP complex until at least 23rd and three Great Egrets were pushing the envelope at Thrapston on 20th and 26th, in contrast to singles only at Stanwick on 20th-21st, Grafton Regis on 21st, Stanford Res on 25th and Daventry CP on 26th.

From plain white to full kaleidoscope colour – well, almost – unarguably the most attractive find of the week was four gorgeous summer-plumaged Black-necked Grebes at the southern of Daventry CP on 26th. Ones and twos have occurred before but four together is unheard of in recent times, if not unprecedented.

Black-necked Grebes, Daventry CP, 26th April 2019 (John Moon)

On the raptor front, Marsh Harriers appeared in the Nene Valley at Summer Leys and adjacent Mary’s Lake on 20th and 22nd respectively – the first of these sporting green wing-tags, indicating it had been ringed as a nestling in Norfolk, by the North West Norfolk Ringing Group, sometime between 2011 and 2017.

Osprey, Ravensthorpe Res, 22nd April 2019 (Jonathan Cook)

Osprey, Hollowell Res, 23rd April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Single Ospreys were seen in flight on 22nd at Pitsford Res, Ravensthorpe Res, Stanford Res and Stanwick GP, on 23rd, 24th and 26th at Hollowell Res and on 25th again at Pitsford Res.

Avocet, Summer Leys LNR, 20th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Wader numbers ramped up with, as usual, the Nene Valley Flyway offering the most attractive habitat for pit stops. Heading the species cast, two Avocets arrived at Summer Leys on 20th and two also visited Ditchford GP’s Irthlingborough Lakes & Meadows LNR the following day.

Whimbrel, Stanford Res, 25th April 2019 (Chris Hubbard)

More Whimbrels came through, with twos at Clifford Hill GP and Summer Leys on 23rd, followed by three different individuals at Stanford Res on 25th and two again at Hollowell Res on 26th. In terms of sheer numbers of waders, Summer Leys had the lion’s share, with a single Black-tailed Godwit on 22nd, two on 23rd and a rather regal forty-seven, briefly, on 24th. Elsewhere, there were two at Thrapston GP on 23rd. Similarly, Bar-tailed Godwits at Summer Leys followed suit, with twenty-eight through east on 22nd, up to three different individuals on 23rd and two more on 24th. The 24th also saw two at Stanwick GP and singles at Hollowell Res and Clifford Hill GP, while the latter site produced a different, lingering bird on 25th-27th.

Black-tailed Godwits, Summer Leys LNR, 24th April 2019 (Steve Brayshaw)

Black-tailed Godwits, Summer Leys LNR, 24th April 2019 (Steve Brayshaw)

Bar-tailed Godwit, Summer Leys LNR, 24th April 2019 (Steve Brayshaw)

Bar-tailed Godwit Clifford Hill GP, 25th April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Back at Summer Leys, the spring’s first Turnstone was found, along with a Ruff on 25th and, hot on the heels of the first last week, four more Greenshanks comprised singles at Pitsford Res on 20th, Stanford Res on 21st and Clifford Hill GP on 23rd and 25th.

No late April would be complete without the appearance of at least one Little Tern and so it was, on 25th, two appeared – one at Boddington Res, hanging around long enough to be photographed and the other putting in a brief appearance at Thrapston GP.

Little Tern, Boddington Res, 25th April (Mike Pollard)

More Black Terns continued to trickle through with two at Clifford Hill GP on 20th, followed by two at Thrapston GP on 22nd-23rd and singles at Stanford Res and again at Clifford Hill GP on 25th. Small numbers of Arctic Terns also made their way through the county in small numbers, with Thrapston GP producing one on 22nd while, on 23rd, Summer Leys produced two, Clifford Hill GP two, Stanwick two and Hollowell two and, on 25th, two were at Boddington and three at Pitsford. The 22nd-23rd delivered this week’s quota of Little Gulls with the first of these two dates seeing seven at Summer Leys, four at Clifford Hill and two at Thrapston, while the following day the same sites held twelve, four and one, respectively.

Little Gulls, Summer Leys LNR, 22nd April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

Meanwhile, the roving pair of adult Mediterranean Gulls cruised over Stanwick twice on 22nd before again moving to Summer Leys later the same day, prior to being observed copulating there on 23rd. A lone, first-summer dropped into the Black-headed Gull colony at Stanwick, briefly, on 22nd.

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Summer Leys LNR, 23rd April 2019 (Bob Bullock)

First-summer Mediterranean Gull, Stanwick GP, 22nd April 2019 (Mike Alibone)

Passerines took a bit of a back seat this week. Northern Wheatears were reduced to two at Harrington AF on 20th and one there on 25th, plus singles at Summer Leys on 23rd and near Upper Benefield on 26th.

‘Channel’ Wagtail, Stanford Res, 24th April 2019 (Steve Nichols)

‘Channel’ Wagtail, Stanford Res, 24th April 2019 (Dan March)

The undoubted star, however, was a smart ‘Channel’ Wagtail, which graced the dam at Stanford Res during the evenings of 23rd-25th, while the number of White Wagtails logged fell again to just two – one at Hollowell on 23rd and the other at Clifford Hill on 25th.

Posted in Weekly Reports | Leave a comment