Weedon Bec Parish Council

Serving the people of Weedon Bec

Clerk: Mrs Susan Halkett
16, St Mary's Way, Weedon
Northamptonshire NN7 4QL

BIRD NOTES MARCH TO MID-MAY - Full text from June newsletter



The female Blackcap at the feeders in my garden during February made a return visit on 5th and 7th March, but not subsequently. One of the regular resident Grey Wagtails in the river valley and by the canal arm within the Depot was noted on 27th.


Two juvenile White-tailed Eagles from the Isle of Wight introduction scheme made trips through the County during the month, one of which roosted overnight near Grimscote on 3rd. This occurrence and others of 2 wandering birds in this and other parts of the County were never directly observed by any birders but had been regularly tracked by radio-tags that they were wearing (see the other reports of these 2 in the "Rarities Section" later.

Also during the month, there was a Nuthatch at Nobottle Wood, Goosanders and a Blackcap at Buckby Wharf, Lesser Redpolls and a Snipe at Cotton End Park, a Little Egret and Grey Wagtail at Whilton and Blackcap, Gadwall, Greylag Goose, Meadow Pipits and Kingfisher within Long Buckby


Sightings were of single Mediterranean Gulls on 5th and 15th , a Pink-footed Goose on 12th, 3 Yellow-legged Gulls on 15th with one on 16th and a Little Gull on 31st.


The only notification here was of an early Redstart on 31st.


RING-NECKED DUCK The regular drake spent from 1st to 17th at Ditchford gravel-pits (could have been seen from Stanwick Lakes Retail Centre), then moved to Stanwick gravel pits from 21st to 30th and it or another visited Clifford Hill gravel pits on 31st.

BLACK-NECKED GREBE There were 3 at Earls Barton gravel pits on 19th and one at Ditchford gravel pits on 31st

GLOSSY IBIS The same individual from earlier in the year spent from 7th to 31st at sites within the Thrapston gravel pits complex

BITTERN One seen at Earls Barton gravel pits on 7th

CATTLE EGRET Up to 5 were present at Stanwick gravel pits from 1st to 28th, one at Thrapston gravel pits on 11th and 12th , 4 at Ditchford gravel pits on 29th and one over Islip on 30th. This group is the product of successful breeding in Northants in the last 2 years, the first time ever.

WHITE-TAILED EAGLE In addition to the previously mentioned eagle which spent a night near Grimscote on 3rd, the same bird roosted at Bucknell Wood on the nights of 4th and 5th. Amazingly, the other youngster roosted, also at Bucknell on 22nd and 23rd.

CRANE One flew through at Thrapston gravel pits on 24th.

ICELAND GULL A juvenile was at Rushton Landfill site on 2nd and 4th.

WATER PIPIT One was at Hollowell reservoir on 30th.


Unusual local occurrences were of about 6 Sand Martins flying over on 17th and about 20 feeding along the canal arm in the Depot on 24th. Two House Martins were reported, also from the Depot area on 22nd. Single flyovers were of a Raven on 17th and a Little Egret on 17th.


A very busy time by the observers within the Long Buckby area as follows:- Lesser Redpoll (3 times), Tree Sparrow, Little Grebe, Nuthatch, White Wagtail, Wren (built nest on the top of an old Swallows nest), Black Redstart (13th), Ring Ouzel (14th), Wheatear (3 times), Reed Warbler, Yellow Wagtail (twice) and Grey Partridge. Elsewhere, Buckby Wharf held Grey Wagtail (14th), Siskin (16th) and Little Egret (24th). Cotton End Park had late Redwings on 16th, a Redstart and Brambling on 20th and a Greylag Goose on 27th. There was an early Swift at Dodford on 29th, a Redstart at Fawsley Park on 7th and 15th, Grey Partridge and late Fieldfares both on 28th at Litchborough, a Little Owl near Little Brington on 22nd and Ravens at Newnham Hill on 5th.


There was a Little Gull on 4th with 3 on 25th and a count of 150 Lesser Black-backed Gulls was made also on 4th. A single juvenile Shag appeared on 6th and remained until 23rd usually sitting on a tern raft on most days. A Redstart was seen close by on 14th and a late 2 Goldeneyes along with a Caspian Gull and some Common Terns were present on 18th. On 22nd, there were 2 Snipe and a pair of Pintails with 2 of the latter also on 9th.


A Black Redtart was reported on 2nd along with 3 Wheatears and a Water Pipit. The Black Redstart was still present on 5th and there were 2 Wheatears on 19th with one on 21st and 22nd. A Peregrine flew over on 22nd.


GREAT NORTHERN DIVER The same juvenile or another from earlier in the year re-appeared at Pitsford reservoir from 14th to 20th.

GLOSSY IBIS This scarce bird remained in the area alternating between Stanwick gravel pits and Thrapston gravel pits from 2nd to 17th.

SPOONBILL Two birds were seen briefly at Stanwick gravel pits and Earls Barton gravel pits on 8th and were re-located at Ditchford gravel pits (by Delta Lake near Stanwick Lakes Retail Park) roosting in trees on the following day

CATTLE EGRET The group of up to 4 were seen at Stanwick gravel pits on dates between 3rd and 22nd , one of which visited Ditchford gravel pits on 13th.

PALLID HARRIER A sub-adult male was provisionally identified at Pitsford reservoir on 23rd. If substantive this would be a new County record.

GLAUCOUS GULL A single juvenile was at the DIRFT3 complex near Crick on 8th and 11th.

ICELAND GULL A juvenile was also at DIRFT3, also on 8th.

WILLOW TIT Now a rare bird locally , recorded at Delapre Park and Boddington reservoir.

WOODLARK One flew over Onley on 16th.

WOOD WARBLER Singing passage migrants were at Abington Park, Northampton and at Earls Barton gravel pits both on 28th.

PIED FLYCATCHER Singles appeared at Boddington reservoir on 15th , Kelmarsh and Earls Barton gravel pits on 23rd and a very obliging male was at Abington Park, Northampton on 28th.

WATER PIPIT Two were reported from Earls Barton gravel pits on 2nd with one to two at Hollowell Reservoir on 3rd and one at Pitsford reservoir on 16th.


By now the majority of summer visitors are in the Country, many of which are restricted in their chosen habitat or by their scarcity and therefore are unlikely to occur around the Village. Those which are usually easy to see or hear include Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers, Swallows and eventually House Martins and Swifts in their usual numbers. By now the surrounding hedgerows are no doubt sporting singing Whitethroats.

PS. At last, 2 Swifts over Weedon 14th May

The appearance of a dead adult Mute Swan in a field near Upper Weedon early in the month caused a lot of speculation from local people as to the reason why it died. There were no overhead power lines in the vicinity and no obvious dangers to be seen. Close observation showed however that the corpse was quite dishevelled and it was decided that it had been trampled by the cows in the field in their over-exuberance of curiosity, especially as they had been seen to be standing in a tight circle around it at one time.

Apart from seeing a fledgling Blackbird being fed in my garden which had probably been hatched in surrounding properties, I seem to have had no birds breeding within the garden until, in the last few days, a Dunnock has been carrying nesting material into a dense Yew bush.


Attention paid to Fawsley Park on 2nd and 10th resulted in the observation of Common Sandpiper, Tawny Owl, Little Owls, Hobby and Grey Wagtails. Adjacent Badby Wood revealed Ravens and Lesser Redpolls on 7th. A Blue Tit which had been ringed at Astcote in late Fedruary was found drowned at Nether Heyford on 4th and a garden feeder in the same village attracted a Siskin on 2nd with 2 there on 3rd.


The only known record was a reported Little Gull on 8th.


In contrast to the above, this site had a busy time, mainly due to the appearance of a Wryneck which was closely observed and photographed by a succession of visitors from 2nd to 5th. This attraction led to the finding of Wheatears, Whnchats and singles of Grasshopper Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart and Tree Pipit between 1st and 9th.


BLACK-NECKED GREBE Three spent just one day at Ravensthorpe reservoir on 2nd.

CATTLE EGRET Up to 4 were again regular at Stanwick gravel pits and a wanderer probably from this group made its way to Pitsford reservoir and was present from 7th to 14th.

DOTTEREL A really scarce occurrence of 2 in a bean field near Piddington from 1st to 5th was yet another attraction for birders.

TEMMINCK'S STINT Yet another fairly rare bird alternated between flooded shallow pools at the DIRFT3 Industrial Site near the Warwickshire border (viewable from a lay-by on the A5) and at nearby Lilbourne Water Meadows on 6th and 7th.

WRYNECK See above (Borough Hill)

WILLOW TIT Two at Boddington reservoir on 2nd.

WOOD WARBLER Further songsters at Barnwell Country Park on 1st and Stanwick gravel pits on 11th.

BLUE-HEADED WAGTAIL A possible at Lilbourne Water Meadows on 6th.

Chris Coe 01327 340493

Posted: Mon, 17 May 2021 10:43 by Susan Halkett

Tags: News