A potential first for Britain was identified over at Grafham Water today in Cambridgeshire in the shape of the fairly newly-named Cape Gull (formerly Kelp Gull) which is a Southern Hemisphere gull taking the niche occupied in the Northern Hemisphere by the Great Black-backed Gull. This species has extended it's range over the decades, travelling up from Southern Africa and breeding along the Atlantic shores of North Africa followed by sightings in Iberia and France and those that study potential vagrancy to these shores have predicted one being spotted in the UK some day soon!
This bird posed for the crowds unaware of the excitement it had created, mixing in with a flock of Yellow-legged Gulls for company. It wasn't surprising that plenty of Northants birders took the relatively short journey to Grafham, particularly those interested in gulls, and it was good to catch up with quite a few faces rather than just reading about what they have seen on-line!
In Northamptonshire the heat of the day probably caused a certain paucity of records but birds at Pitsford Reservoir included five Red-crested Pochards, a Great White Egret, a Green Sandpiper, a Yellow-legged Gull and a Wheatear, mostly in the Scaldwell Bay.
Over at Stanford Reservoir the Osprey appeared again, a Tree Pipit was seen and other birds included five Lesser Whitethroats, two Cetti's Warblers and five Ravens.
The White-rumped Sandpiper was still at Eyebrook Reservoir again today and a Great White Egret was at Daventry Country Park (no confirmed sightings of the Ferruginous Duck today). At Summer Leys an Osprey was seen over the Main Lake and there were two Great White Egrets, two Green Sandpipers and two broods of Tufted Ducks.
A Green Sandpiper on a pond at Boughton Pocket Park was a good find and a Hobby was hunting down dragonflies at Harlestone Lake this morning.
Two Whinchats were in the Brampton Valley between Hanging Houghton and Cottesbrooke at 'shrike hedge' and at Harrington Airfield there was a juvenile Whinchat at Bunker Three, several Grey Partridges and a Clouded Yellow butterfly. Stanwick Pits attracted two Redshanks, five Common Sandpipers and three Water Rails and an Osprey from the Rutland scheme was photographed at Hollowell Reservoir.
It would appear that low water levels over the southern half of Britain has created plenty of draw-down at reservoirs and gravel pits and as a result the wader passage we expect to be polarised at this time of the year is more scattered as the birds have plenty of venue choice.
The video below (of a madcap garden Weasel) is courtesy of Fiona Barclay 😁
|Reed Bunting courtesy|
of Lewis Aaron.