Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata
Rare Winter Visitor
Red-throated Diver breeds in northern Europe including north-west Scotland and winters all around the British coast. It is almost an annual visitor to large bodies of open water in winter, most often during cold weather. Records have been increasing in the last twenty years and so it is no longer considered a vagrant. The large number of records in the winter of 1978/9 were part of an unusually high influx of divers and grebes inland. International important numbers winter and breed in Britain.

Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica arctica (16-16)
Vagrant
Black-throated Diver breeds in northern Europe including north-west Scotland and winters all around the British coast. Its status is of a rare winter visitor to Northamptonshire.

Great Northern Diver Gavia immer (27-27)
Vagrant
Great Northern Diver breeds in Iceland and winters around the British coast, more commonly in the West. It is a rare winter visitor to Northamptonshire with most in mid-winter. The eighth record, seen at Pitsford reservoir on 06/11/1960 stayed until 20/11/1960. It was seen again on 09/12/1960 and then appeared at Ravensthorpe Reservoir on 21/12/1960, staying for four days. The 17th record at Pitsford reservoir on 10/11/1986 was also seen at Earls Barton GP and Billing GP. The 19th record of an individual at Ringstead GP on 06/12/1990 was also seen at Thrapston GP. The large number of records in the winter of 1978/9 were part of an unusually high influx of divers and grebes inland. International important numbers winter in Britain.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis ruficollis
Resident, Winter Visitor and Passage Migrant
Little Grebe disperses to open water outside the breeding season. Other movements are linked to fluctuations in winter temperature.

Pied-billed Grebe Podylimbus podiceps podiceps (1-1)
Rare Vagrant
An adult in breeding plumage was seen until dusk at Ravensthorpe Reservoir on 26th April 1997. The water level was low and there was no suitable habitat for this species and hence it was gone by the next morning.

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus cristatus
Resident, Winter Visitor and Passage Migrant
There were only 42 breeding pairs of Great Crested Grebe in England in 1860. There is now widespread breeding in the county with nationally significant numbers at Pitsford Reservoir in winter. It shows distinct movements towards larger waters and the coast in winter. It is included in the Red Data Book because of these large wintering numbers.

Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena grisegena
Rare Visitor, Primarily Winter
A pair of Red-necked Grebe attempted to breed in the county in 1992 after individuals had been present during the summer in previous years. It winters in eastern Britain from southern Scandinavian and east European breeding populations. It has a very small British breeding population. The large number of records in the winter of 1978/9 were part of an unusually high influx of divers and grebes inland. It is included in the Red Data Book because it has attempted to become a breeding species.

Slavonian Grebe Podiceps auritus
Rare Visitor, Primarily Winter
Slavonian Grebe winters around coastal Britain from northern Scotland and Icelandic breeding populations. All records are August to April with the bulk between October and February. The large number of records in the winter of 1978/9 were part of an unusually high influx of divers and grebes inland.

Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis nigricollis
Rare Winter Visitor and Passage Migrant
Black-necked Grebe breeds scattered throughout Europe; very rarely in Britain although increasingly of late. County records have reduced this century. The large number of records in the winter of 1978/9 were part of an unusually high influx of divers and grebes inland. It unsuccessfully attempted to breed at Pitsford Reservoir in the late 1980's, hence its inclusion in the Red Data Book.

Northern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis glacialis (18-18)
Vagrant
British breeding Northern Fulmars were confined to St Kilda until 1878 from whence it has spread progressively around the British coast. It now breeds commonly around the British coast and disperses at sea outside of the breeding season. Its occurrences in Northamptonshire are usually associated with adverse weather conditions during spring and autumn; most records are in spring.

Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus (28-28)
Wreck Vagrant
The Manx Shearwater breeds on western and northern British Islands. Juveniles in autumn are the most likely to be seen in Northamptonshire and September has been the best month for records. It is not present in British waters in winter. International important numbers breed in Britain.

European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus (3-3)
Wreck Vagrant
European Storm-petrel breeds on western and northern British islands. Juveniles in autumn are most likely to be seen in Northamptonshire. It is not present in British waters in winter. International important numbers breed in Britain.

Leach's Storm-petrel Oceonodroma leucorhoa leucorhoa (23-25)
Wreck Vagrant
Leach's Storm-petrel breeds on some north-west British islands. All county records are September to January. In winter it mainly occurs further south, west of Africa, but a few stay in British waters throughout. The records of this species proved difficult to pull together as literature did not correspond. Leach's Petrel is included in Vagrant Data although only a provisional list of records could be compiled. International important numbers breed in Britain.

Northern Gannet Morus bassana (18-31)
Wreck Vagrant
The majority of the world population of Northern Gannet is in British waters. They breed nearest to the county at Bempton Cliffs and can be seen around all British coasts although they are most numerous on the west coast. They disperse in autumn with some birds, mainly adults, staying throughout the winter around the British Isles. Morton recorded one 'Soland Goose'(Anser bassanus) shot at Thenford. Internationally important numbers breed in Britain.

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo carbo
Regular Visitor
Dispersal of Great Cormorant from the breeding grounds is mainly coastal but increasing numbers move inland. Birds are now present throughout the year in the county. Lord Lilford reported several records including one killed at Whitewater Reservoir before 1855.

(Continental Great Cormorant) Subspecies Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis
Regular Visitor
The continental form sinensis is rapidly expanding its range. This must account for the considerable increase in numbers during the 1980's and 1990's and birds in our county are now mainly from this subspecies.

European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis aristotelis
Vagrant
The British breeding population of European Shag is dispersive although not as much as Great Cormorant and until very recently, there have been no notable inland movements. In 1996 more than ten birds arrived at Pitsford Reservoir in autumn. One of these birds, an immature, had been nest-ringed in Gwynedd, Wales. Lord Lilford noted several records and that 'it was surprisingly almost an irregular visitor'.

Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris stellaris
Irregular Winter Visitor
Britain's small resident population of Great Bittern disperse due to cold weather and small numbers visit from the continent mostly in mid-winter. Lord Lilford reported approximately 20 records. Before the c20 it bred in good numbers just outside the county at Whittlesea Mere and although it was not uncommon in the 18th century, there have been no records of breeding in the county. Britain has a declining breeding population of less than 25 pairs.

Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus minutus (5-5)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 444)
Little Bittern breeds throughout continental Europe where it is a summer migrant. It occurs in Britain mainly because of post-breeding dispersal. Birds have bred or summered very occasionally in Britain. In 1798 Baker commented with reference to Maidford, 'The Little Bittern was shot in this lordship about 20 years since'.

Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax nycticorax (8-9)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 606)
Black-crowned Night Heron breeds throughout continental Europe where it is a summer migrant. It occurs in Britain mainly because of post-breeding dispersal, but there are many British records scattered throughout the year. Lord Lilford admitted to being embarrassed of being a bird collector when he shot the first Black-crowned Night Heron (which was an adult female) in 1868. When the Wadenhoe bird was found in July 1886 he related: 'I did my best to atone for my former misdeed by issuing strict orders to prevent the destruction or molestation of this one.' The Fawsley Night Heron in November 1886 remained for most of the autumn but left when the frost and snow came; it then appeared again the next autumn. Lord Lilford released 2 young in 1887; they were seen several times shortly afterwards but nothing more came of this. The two birds at Ditchford gravel pits in April 1964 stayed until 03/05/1964.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta garzetta (22-26)
Rare Vagrant
Little Egret is a summer migrant to Europe. It breeds throughout southern continental Europe and occurs in Britain because of spring overshoots or post-fledging dispersal. The first record was recent, Thrapston GP 10/05/1984. The bird seen at Daventry CP on 18/05/1993 was later seen at Earls Barton GP. The bird seen at Ditchford GP on 29/04/1997 was also seen at Earls Barton GP where it was also seen on 05/05/1997 and 19/05/1997. An old record was rejected by Lord Lilford. It was removed from the list of British rarities in 1990.

Great White Egret Egretta alba alba (3-3)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 86)
The Great White Egret breeds in central Europe and winters south to northern Africa. The 2nd record was first seen on the 18/02/1994 at Thrapston GP and was then seen on 20/02/1994 at Earls Barton GP. The third record was present intermittently at Billing Aquadrome from 28th November to 1st December 1997. The bird roosted nearby and was usually present in the Aquadrome in the early morning and late evening. It was seen at other sites in the Nene Valley between Northampton and Thrapston. The same individual was then seen in Cambridgeshire in December 1997 before returning to Northamptonshire in January 1998.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea cinerea
Resident
Grey Heron is widely distributed and breeds locally, mainly in heronries. There are two major heronries at Althorpe House and Titchmarsh. Another has developed in the last 15 years at Earls Barton GP. Odd pairs have nested away from these sites but the vast majority find the safety and structure of life at the heronries too important, despite needing to travel large distances to feed. Some disperse outside of the breeding season. The are a few immigrants from the continent (chiefly Scandinavia and the low countries) in winter. Lord Lilford noted the recorded nesting at Althorp in 1567.

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea purpurea (13-13)
Vagrant
Purple Heron is a summer migrant that breeds throughout most of continental Europe and occurs in Britain because of spring overshoots or post-breeding dispersal. The bird at Ravensthorpe Reservoir on 17/07/1987 was presumably the bird seen in the evening of the same day flying over Ditchford GP.

Black Stork Ciconia nigra (1-1)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 150)
The Black Stork breeds in central Europe and the Iberian peninsula and winters in tropical Africa.

White Stork Ciconia ciconia ciconia (8-13/14)
Vagrant
White Stork is a summer migrant that breeds throughout most of continental Europe. In 1875 a small flock of either six or seven were seen flying from Northampton to Courteenhall by two observers - one of them, Sir Hereward Wake, saw them over his park at Courteenhall.

Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia leucorodia (17-27)
Vagrant
Eurasian spoonbill is a summer migrant. The nearest breeding population to Britain is in the Netherlands with other breeding populations in south-east Europe. British records are as a result of post-fledging dispersal or from birds that have returned to their continental breeding grounds but as non-breeders, have tended to wander. Occasionally some birds over-winter in southern Britain when it is unseasonably mild. Usually seen as single birds, but, exceptionally, four at Pitsford Reservoir on 11/04/1983, and 8 immatures at Pitsford Reservoir on 29/09/1984.

Mute Swan Cygnus olor
Sedentary
The Mute Swan has a semi-domesticated local population. These populations show local movements particularly short-distance moult migrations to form sizeable flocks. In the Nene Valley such flocks occur near Northampton and Wellingborough.

Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii
Regular Winter Visitor (Early and Late Dates)
Tundra Swan breeds in northern Russia and winters in north-west Europe. Lord Lilford lists two records. There has been a significant reduction in the number of records in recent years.

Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus
Scarce Winter Visitor
Whooper Swan breeds in Iceland and winters mainly in Ireland and Scotland. Recently a sizeable winter population has built up in the Ouse Washes that should have led to more records in Northamptonshire but has in fact had the opposite effect. Lord Lilford listed several records. It breeds from time-to-time in Scotland and wintering numbers in Britain are internationally important.

Bean Goose Anser fabalis fabalis/rubrirostris
Vagrant
Bean Goose breeds in northern Scandinavia and winters in northern Europe with a few in Britain. There are a few species of goose that might warrant inclusion in the Vagrant Data but it is difficult to find all records because so many reports are of grey-geese sp. There is also the possibility of individuals being escapes.

Pink-footed Goose Anser brachryhynchus
Rare Winter Visitor and Passage Migrant
Pink-footed Goose breeds in Iceland and eastern Greenland. It winters locally throughout Britain with the nearest concentration around the Wash. Lord Lilford noted that Pink-footed/Bean Geese regularly wintered before 1856 on stubble fields and water meadows around Lilford. With some degree of confusion due to identification problems, he confirmed only two positive Pink-Footed Goose records and no Bean Goose records. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons albifrons
Irregular Winter Visitor and Passage Migrant
Greater White-fronted Goose breeds in northern Russia and winters locally throughout Britain. The Slimbridge population must pass nearby on migration.

(Greenland Greater White-fronted Goose) Subspecies Anser albifrons flavirostris
Vagrant
This subspecies breeds in eastern Greenland and winters in Ireland and Scotland. It is a vagrant to England. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Greylag Goose Anser anser anser/rubirostris
Sedentary
The local feral population of Greylag Goose resembles the Siberian race rubrirostris with pink bills rather than the orange-billed race anser that has a small Scottish population and is also a winter visitor to northern Britain. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain

Canada Goose Branta canadensis canadensis
Sedentary
Canada Goose has a substantial feral population that apparently is continually increasing in numbers. It was first introduced into Britain in the 17th century.

Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis
Vagrant
Barnacle Goose breeds in eastern Greenland and Spitsbergen and winters very locally in Ireland and Scotland. Some siberian birds have occurred in southern England but occurrences in the county are most likely of dubious origin. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Brent Goose Branta bernicla bernicula
Vagrant
Records are of the dark-bellied race bernicula that breeds in northern Russia and winters on the east and south coasts of Britain. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Egyptian Goose (C) Alopochen aegyptiacus
Vagrant
The resident feral population of Egyptian Goose in eastern England was first introduced in the 18th century. It was added to the British list in 1970.

Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
Regular Visitor
Common Shelduck breeds around the coast, on the Ouse Washes and recently in small numbers in Northamptonshire. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Mandarin Duck (C) Aix galericulata
Local Resident and Irregular Visitor
Mandarin Duck is present in Britain as a result of escapes and deliberate releases. The small, feral breeding population centered around Apethorpe is now expanding west along the Nene Valley. It was added to the British list in 1970.

Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
Regular Winter Visitor
Eurasian Wigeon breeds in Iceland, Scotland and a few parts of England. Winter birds are mainly from Iceland. Recently a few have stayed later and a couple have even summered. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

American Wigeon Anas americana (4-4)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 297)
American Wigeon breeds in southern Canada and northern USA and winters in the USA. The first county record of this British rarity was at Hollowell Reservoir on 12/11/1955. It stayed until 20/12/1955 and was then seen at Pitsford reservoir on the first two days of 1956. The third record, a male, was first seen at Ditchford GP on 24/11/1982. It returned each winter until 1985/6 and was recorded at sites in the Nene Valley from Ditchford GP to Thrapston GP.

Gadwall Anas strepara strepara
Resident and Winter Visitor
Most Northamptonshire records of Gadwall come from a feral population descended from stock introduced in Norfolk c1850. A few pairs breed and then numbers increase in autumn to over-winter. Lord Lilford noted that the first few records were in the 1880's. Thrapston GP and Hollowell Reservoirs have significant national numbers and for this reason it is included in the Red Data Book. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Common Teal Anas crecca crecca
Regular Passage Migrant and Winter Visitor
Common Teal breeds in Iceland, northern Europe, Scotland and scattered throughout the rest of British Isles. Winter birds are mainly visitors from Iceland and northern Europe. A few are recorded in summer each year. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

(Green-Winged Teal) Subspecies Anas crecca carolinensis (6-6)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 280)
Green-winged Teal breeds in northern North America and winters in southern North America. The first record at Ditchford GP in April 1980 was also seen at Ravensthorpe and Hollowell Reservoirs. The fifth record at Stanwick GP in March 1993 was also seen at Ditchford GP. The sixth record at Stanford Reservoir in November 1995 was also seen at Ravensthorpe Reservoir where it was also seen in January 1996.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos
Resident and Winter Visitor
Mallard is a numerous and widely distributed species. Numbers are supplimented by winter visitors from northern Europe. Numbers are artificially supported by birds bred for food production.

Northern Pintail Anas acuta acuta
Scarce Winter Visitor and Passage Migrant
Records of Northern Pintail are from the small British population and birds from Iceland, Fenno-Scandia and Russia. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Garganey Anas querquedula
Scarce Passage Migrant (Early and Late Dates)
Garganey is a summer visitor from Africa. Most county records are as a result of post-breeding dispersal from the small and variable breeding population. Lord Lilford mentioned three records. It has bred sporadically in the county. The British breeding population is less than 50 pairs and declining.

Blue-winged Teal Anas discors (2-2)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 164)
Blue-winged Teal breeds in North America and winters in southern USA and northern South America. Most British records are from September to January.

Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Local Resident and Regular Passage Migrant
The Northern Shoveler has recently begun to breed in the county in small numbers. Most of the British breeding birds migrate to southern Europe. Wintering birds come from Iceland, Fenno-Scandia and Russia. It is included in the Red Data Book because of its rare breeding status and because significant numbers winter at Pitsford Reservoir and Thrapston Gravel Pits.

Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina
Irregular Visitor
Red-crested Pochard winters in scattered populations around the Mediterranean with very scattered breeding in northern Europe. Northamptonshire records come from these or more probably escapes. Records should be September to March if all birds originate from continental populations. However, records are throughout the year indicating the probability of escapes. The feral breeding population in south-west England probably accounts for most records.

Common Pochard Aythya ferina
Local Resident and Regular Winter Visitor
Common Pochard occasionally breeds in the county. The small British breeding population is supplemented in winter by birds from north-eastern Europe. It is included in the Red Data Book because of its rare breeding status. This is a rare breeding species in Britain.

Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris (2-2)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 377)
Ring-necked Duck breeds in central Canada and winters in southern North America to Panama. The first county record at Ditchford GP in April 1979 was also seen at Hollowell and Ravensthorpe Reservoirs. It is likely to be removed as a British rarity soon although it is difficult to identify in some plumages. Many sightings could be of birds with a dubious origin.

Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca (20-24)
Vagrant
Ferruginous Duck winters in the Mediterranean basin and is a scattered breeder in eastern Europe. There is always the suspicion of escapes being responsible for records in Britain although all but one records are September to April; in line with the expected pattern for this species. The first county record at Sulby in 1905 was also notable because four birds were present. The 18th record, first seen on 28/10/1994 at Ditchford GP, was also seen at Stanwick GP and Earls Barton GP until it was last seen in mid-December.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Scarce Resident and Regular Winter Visitor
Tufted Duck is a winter visitor from Iceland, Fenno-Scandia and Russia. It is included in the Red Data Book because of its significant wintering numbers at Pitsford Reservoir. Small numbers stay throughout the year and breed in small numbers.

Greater Scaup Aythya marila marila
Irregular Winter Visitor and Passage Migrant
Greater Scaup is a winter visitor from Iceland, northern Scandinavia and northern Russia. It is recorded almost annually but there are less than 10 records each year. Lord Lilford noted several records.

Common Eider Somateria mollissima mollissima (19-71)
Vagrant
Northamptonshire records of Common Eider are from the Scottish breeding population dispersing southwards or from Dutch birds wintering. All records have been October to March. Six birds were recorded at Pitsford on 17/02/1981. An unprecedented influx at the end of October 1993 was part of a larger movement into the midlands. It was apparently a movement that was not linked to other species and one could assume that it was not linked to the weather.

Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis (28-35)
Vagrant
Long-tailed Duck is a winter visitor probably from Iceland, or perhaps northern Scandinavia or northern Russia; mainly to the Scottish coast. Most records should be November to February and as yet it has not been recorded in July and August.

Common Scoter Melanitta nigra nigra
Irregular Winter Visitor and Passage Migrant
Common Scoter is a winter visitor from Iceland, northern Scandinavia and northern Russia to all British coasts. There is also a small British breeding population.

Velvet Scoter Melanita fusca fusca (21-27)
Vagrant
The British wintering population of Velvet Scoter is fragmented around the British coast from Fenno-Scandian and Russian populations. All records have been October to January with the best month being November. The first record at Lilford 24/11/1877 was an adult male seen by Lord Lilford's brother.

Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula clangula
Regular Winter Visitor
Common Goldeneye breeds in northern Europe, Fenno-Scandia, Russia and a small, expanding British breeding population in Scotland. In winter it can be found throughout the British Isles on suitable waters. Lord Lilford reported Common Goldeneye as uncommon and not annual.

Smew Mergellus albellus
Irregular Winter Visitor
There is a small wintering population of Smew in south-east England from birds breeding in northern Scandinavia and northern Russia. Movements in winter are associated with severe weather conditions and the best months are January and February.

Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
Scarce Winter Visitor
The British breeding population of Red-breasted Merganser disperses in autumn around the coast. These birds are joined by some Icelandic and Scandinavian birds.

Goosander Mergus merganser merganser
Regular Winter Visitor
Goosander is a winter visitor from northern Britain, Fenno-Scandia and northern Russia. Lord Lilford rated its occurrence as 'occasional'.

Ruddy Duck (C) Oxyura jamaicensis jamaicensis
Local Resident and Regular Winter Visitor
The British feral population of Ruddy Duck shows movements normally from small waters to larger tracts outside of the breeding season. In autumn there are small movements southwards to southern Europe.