European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus Records since 1969 (7-7)
Vagrant
The European Honey-buzzard is a summer visitor to Europe from its African wintering grounds with ten to twelve pairs breeding in Britain annually. In spring it is a late arriver in May/June and leaving by mid-September. European Honey-buzzards were common and nested regularly in the county's northern woods but apparently disappeared suddenly. The last recorded breeding was in the middle of the 19th century, but Rev.W.A.Shaw saw one on 26/09/1905 (site unknown), and reported that the keepers saw a pair throughout the summer. There have been only six other 20th century records all since 1969.

Black Kite Milvus migrans migrans (1-1)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 261)
The Black Kite breeds on the continent but not adjacent to Britain. It winters from the Mediterranean southwards. Non-breeders tend to wander further north and account for most of the British records most often in April/May.

Red Kite Milvus milvus milvus
Vagrant/Introduced Population
There is a small but expanding breeding population in central Wales that is mainly resident. Some juveniles disperse and return the next spring that may account for several records being in the second half of February. Red Kites were common and nested regularly in the northern woods, but apparently disappeared suddenly. Last breeding was in the 1840's. The status of this species can no longer be carefully reviewed with the re-introduction of birds in the North of the county. This re-introduction is part of a national project to create a breeding population in the Red Kite's historical range. The introduced birds are wing-tagged and have wandered from their original release site. A bird without wing-tags was seen associating with the released birds during the winter of 1996/97. It is included in the Red Data Book to assess the state of the introduction project. This is one of three British breeding species that is endangered on a world scale.

White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla (3-3)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - many pre 1957, 24 since)
White-tailed Eagle breeds in Scandinavia and usually winters no further south than Baltic coast. However, individuals are prone to venture in periods of adverse weather. White-tailed Eagles did breed in Britain, but there was a marked decrease with just a few pairs still breeding at the end of the 19th century. It became extinct as a British breeding species in the early 20th century, but has now been re-introduced into the Western Isles; all of these individuals are tagged. The bird that frequented Blatherwycke in the winter of 1897/98 returned in subsequent winters and was last recorded on 16/01/1902. This is one of three British breeding species that is endangered on a world scale.

Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus aeruginosus
Irregular Passage Migrant
About 100 pairs of Western Marsh Harrier breed in England, the majority of which migrate to Africa for the winter although a few over-winter in southern England. Juveniles leave in August while adults leave September/October most returning in March/April. Lord Lilford saw one in winter in the early 1860's between Aldwincle and Thrapston. This is his only reference to this species which is noteworthy considering that this species was exceedingly common in Whittlesea Mere and the adjoining Fens.

Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus cyaneus
Scarce Winter Visitor
A few hundred pairs of the Hen Harrier nest in Scotland, England and Wales. The few Northamptonshire records could be these, but are more likely continental visitors. Hen Harrier nested during Lord Lilford's boyhood near Clopton.

Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus (10-12)
Vagrant
Montagu's Harrier winters in Africa but some return to the continent early. Records in Britain are normally May to September, but there is the possibility of records as early as March. Each year eight to ten pairs breed in Britain. Lord Lilford states "From what I read in the 'Zoologist', the 'Field' and other publications I am disposed to consider this species as by far the commonest of the three harriers." The first record shot on 31/08/1894 was of a young one of the year, it had been 'haunting the neighbourhood for two weeks.' In 1949 at Ecton SF, a pair was present from 23/04/1949 until 15/05/1949. The ninth record in 1994 was present in the area surrounding Harrington Airfield from 24th May until at least 30th May. The bird appeared at the same time as a Hen Harrier in similar plumage and many observers enjoyed the identification problems created by the unusual circumstances.

Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis gentilis
Rare Sedentary
Goshawk has bred in England since 1968 due to escapes or the release of falconers' birds in Derbyshire. The range from this nucleus is still expanding and reached Northamptonshire in the 1980's. It is now probably a rare breeding species and numbers are likely to increase. However, as with other expanding species, this expansion appears to have stalled. Its secretive habits and difficult identification mean that it is probably under-observed. This species is likely to suffer persecution if it gains a stronghold in the county. It is included in the Red Data Book because of its rare breeding status.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus nisus
Resident
As with several other raptors the Eurasian Sparrowhawk suffered a marked decline in 1950's and 1960's, and every record was of note in the 1970's. It has now almost fully recovered to past population levels. Since its recovery it has been linked with the reduction in the numbers of songbirds. However songbird numbers did not suffer before the decline in the 1950's and 1960's and so linking the Eurasian Sparrowhawk's decline with less songbirds appears to be a red herring promoted by the powerful farming lobby. Lord Lilford commented that it was very common in all districts, with an incessant war of extermination carried on against it, with good cause, by preservers of game.

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo buteo
Scarce Resident and Irregular Visitor
Common Buzzard breeds in Scotland, Wales, south-west England and fragmentedly in southern England and West Midlands. These British birds are dispersive over short distances. It was common and nested in the county's northern woods but died out in the early 19th century. Persecution still continues which stops it recovering its former range. It now breeds again in the county. It is included in the Red Data Book because of its rare breeding status.

Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus lagopus (10-11)
Vagrant
Numbers and distribution within the Rough-legged Buzzard's Scandinavian range vary dramatically because of fluctuations in the populations of lemmings and voles. It is an annual vagrant to the east coast of Britain from November to March with all county records from October to December. There were six other individuals reported in the 19th century but none were confirmed.

Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos chrysaetos (1-1)
Vagrant
Scottish and continental populations do not migrate and rarely disperse so records are more likely to be of escapes. Lord Lilford commented that the great majority of eagles recorded as Golden in county newspapers and elsewhere, as occurring from time to time in various parts of England had, on examination, proved to be White-tailed Eagles. Historically it has bred south to Derbyshire. The resident breeding population in Britain is in internationally important numbers.

Osprey Pandion haliaetus haliaetus
Irregular Passage Migrant
Osprey records have fluctuated over the years according to the size of the Scottish breeding population. With the continued increases in Scotland the number of records hopefully will also continue to increase. The pattern of records will now be influenced by the introduction scheme at Rutland Water.

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus tinnunculus
Resident and Winter Visitor
Common Kestrel is the commonest raptor in the county. Mainly non-breeders move, but other changes in numbers are influenced by winter visitors from north-west Europe. It is included in the Red Data Book because there is concern about possible declining numbers. It is often seen hovering beside roads but its liking for roadside verges is a double-edged sword, for many become roadside casualties.

Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus (6-6)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 710)
Red-footed Falcon breeds in several eastern European countries and winters in southern Africa. It has an unusual spring migration that carries it further west through West Africa than the autumn passage that has a more easterly bias. This gives rise to sporadic breeding much further west than its normal range. It is recorded every year in Britain.

Merlin Falco columbarius aesalon/subaesalon
Rare Winter Visitor and Passage Migrant
Icelandic birds subaesalon migrate to the British Isles and beyond. The British breeding population aesalon are usually only altitudinal migrants but first year birds often move south. Morton recorded breeding on Draughton Heath and in 1672 at Haybrig. The last breeding in the county was at Barnwell c1850. The British population is declining in numbers.

Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo subbuteo
Scarce Summer Visitor and Passage Migrant (Early and Late Dates)
Eurasian Hobby breeds in the southern half of England and winters in southern Africa. Northamptonshire is currently at the northern limit of its expanding breeding range.

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus peregrinus
Rare Winter Visitor and Passage Migrant
The Peregrine Falcon has British breeding populations are in Scotland, Wales, northern and south-western England. It is basically non-migratory, but individuals, mainly juveniles, wander widely in autumn/winter. Internationally important numbers breed in Britain.

Red Grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus (1-1)
Vagrant
The British breeding populations of Red Grouse are in northern and south-western England, Scotland and Wales. The British population has been reducing all of the 20th century. The nearest birds to Northamptonshire are in the Peak District. The British subspecies scoticus is virtually sedentary so future records are highly unlikely. The only county record was of a male shot near Warkworth in November 1892.

Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix britannicus (2-2)
Vagrant
The British breeding populations of Black Grouse are in northern and south-western England, Scotland and Wales. The nearest birds are in the Peak District but this population is essentially sedentary, so future records are highly unlikely. A hen was observed several times in 1849 near Cranford and in Grafton Park. Then in May or June of the next year, near Cranford, it was disturbed from a nest with 10 eggs. The eggs were put under a domestic hen but all proved rotten. Lilford thought that the nearest Black Grouse population at the time was in Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire. Although formerly widespread throughout Britain, the decline in range started before records began. Thus, the only other record is of one at Wigsthorpe in March 1895.

Red-legged Partridge (C) Alectoris rufa rufa
Sedentary
Red-legged Partridge was initially introduced into Suffolk in 1770. This species was first recorded in Northants in the first half of the 19th century and the feral population became well established after 1860. It will soon be difficult to identify most individuals because of large numbers of Chukar Partridge Alectoris chukar that have been released in the 1980's and 1990's. Chukars inter-breed readily with Red-legged Partridge and the resulting hybrids are delightfully named 'Oggridges'.

Grey Partridge Perdix perdix perdix
Sedentary
From 1750 there was a marked rise in numbers of Grey Partridge due to increased nesting cover from enclosures, extra food from rotational farming and control of nest predators. Unfortunately, since 1950 there has been a steady decline due to modern agricultural methods and since the 1960's due to use of chemical sprays on cereal crops. This decline seems to continue unabated and if the current trend does not change, Grey Partridge, will be classed as a rare breeder by the turn of the century. The population is already localised with a healthy pocket around Hackleton although there are no apparent differences in farming practices here. It is included in the Red Data Book because of its declining numbers. Conservation headlands may well be important for this species.

Common Quail Coturnix coturnix coturnix
Irregular Summer Visitor
The Common Quail has a declining and fragmented breeding range in Britain. It winters in the West Mediterranean basin and Africa; south of the Sahara. There are marked annual fluctuations in many areas caused partly by invasion-type movements and extended migration in years with warm south-east winds in spring. In good years, which are becoming less regular, a few pairs breed. It is included in the Red Data Book because of its rare breeding status. It was a regular visitor in Morton's time but started to become less common in the middle of the 19th century. It was recorded more than once in winter in the 19th century.

Common Pheasant (C) Phasianus colchicus colchicus(?)
Sedentary
The Common Pheasant was first introduced into Britain in the late 11th century. The nominate race colchicus was introduced first but has been followed by several other races. They are reared and released in considerable numbers for sporting purposes and their numbers are kept high through these constant re-introductions of fresh stock.

Golden Pheasant (C) Chrysolophus pictus
Local Sedentary
Golden Pheasant was added to the British list in 1970. It was introduced into Northamptonshire in 1976 at Glapthorn Cow Pastures and a small population was present until 1995. This sedentary species is unlikely to recolonise because the other British populations are some distance away and are not expanding.

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus aquaticus
Rare Resident and Regular Winter Visitor
A resident species which is sedentary. The nature of this species habits make it difficult to assess but it is assumed to breed in small numbers. Continental birds occur in winter as a result of severe weather conditions. It is included in the Red Data Book because of its rare breeding status.

Spotted Crake Porzana porzana 20th century records (18-20)
Vagrant/Scarce Passage Migrant
Spotted Crake is a summer migrant to Britain with a small and scattered breeding population. Autumn dispersal begins in mid-July and gives rise to most Northamptonshire records that are in August/September. It bred fairly commonly in England before 1850, but since then has undergone a decline in numbers due to systematic drainage of wetlands. Lord Lilford noted that they were not a very uncommon visitor to the meadows of the Nene mainly in August, September and October. Despite there having been good numbers breeding just outside the county at Whittlesea Mere, breeding has never been proven here. It was possible to see up to three birds together at Ditchford GP in August 1981.

Corn Crake Crex crex
Vagrant
Corn Crake has undergone a decline since 1900 due to new machinery and early mowing. Its breeding range in the British Isles is now mostly in Ireland. There are also some scattered pairs in Scotland and a few in northern England and Wales. It winters in eastern Africa. Corn Crake was a very common summer visitor, breeding all along the Nene valley until the end of 19th century. It was recorded more than once in winter in the 19th century. This century there have been a few breeding records up until 1969, since then there have been only two records: 07/05/1972 at Billing GP and on 31/08/1987 between Daventry and Norton. This is one of three British breeding species that is endangered on a world scale and which is declining everywhere throughout its range.

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus chloropus
Sedentary and Winter Visitor
British birds are usually resident. Numbers are supplemented in winter by an influx from north-west European countries.

Common Coot Fulica atra atra
Resident and Winter Visitor
The British population of Common Coot is not wholly resident; numbers are supplemented in winter by an influx from north-west and western Europe. This species forms large flocks on reservoirs in winter. The national population is declining. Northamptonshire has significant numbers wintering numbers and for this reason it is included in the Red Data Book.

Common Crane Grus grus grus (6-8)
Vagrant
A migration route from Scandinavia & Baltic countries to the Iberian peninsula gives rise to British records of Common Crane. The nominate race that occurs in Northamptonshire is grus. There is a subspecies named lilfordi that breeds east and south of the Black Sea, however, these birds are resident. Coincidentally, the first county record was of two birds at Lilford Hall on 27/05/1937. Common Crane was a British rarity until recently, so occurrences in Britain are accidental. The small breeding population in East Anglia may give rise to more records in the future.

[Crane sp] Grus sp (1-1)
Vagrant
The other species of cranes that occur in Britain are Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis and Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo. Sandhill Crane is a rare vagrant from the USA that has only occurred in Britain on 2 occasions. As yet Demoiselle Crane has not been accepted on the British list and records are currently considered to be escapes. This status may change in the future.

Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax (1-1)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 187)
The Little Bustard breeds in a scattered pattern throughout France and migrates to southern Europe. In some years it only go south when forced to do so by severe weather, even as late as December. This species suffered a marked decline in numbers in the late 19th century and early 20th century and consequently its British status changed from irregular to rare. The only record in Northamptonshire is of a young female shot at Rothwell on 20/11/1858.

Great Bustard Otis tarda tarda (1-1)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - many pre 1959,30 since)
The north European population of Great Bustard is basically resident and is sometimes displaced in severe weather conditions. It formerly bred in many parts of Britain but has been eradicated by over-hunting and loss of habitat. It was last recorded breeding in England in the early part of the 19th century. From then on it was a winter visitor from the continental and as this population also declined, then so did British records. It has been a British rarity since 1910. Morton commented that he had heard of only 2, but only gave details of one of them: one shot approximately 1700 at Moulton.

Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus ostralegus
Irregular Visitor
The British wintering population of the Eurasian Oystercatcher is all around the British coast. These birds are from dispersed British breeders and north European birds. Currently, its' status in Northamptonshire could be described as 'a rare breeder and a scarce passage migrant'(see Visitors to Northamptonshire). It is included in the Red Data Book because of its rare breeding status. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus himantopus (2-2)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 330)
Black-winged Stilt has a fragmented breeding population throughout Europe, the closest just across the channel. These populations are sedentary with some northern birds moving south in the winter. British records are mainly passage migrants and are becoming more scarce. The second record of an individual at Earls Barton GP on 15/05/1997 was seen and enjoyed by many birdwatchers. It has bred in Britain in 1945 and 1987.

Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta (21-67)
Vagrant
The Pied Avocet bred in eastern England until the mid-19th century and re-established breeding again in mid-20th century. The small British breeding population in East Anglia, winters in south-west Britain so presumably passes through, or at least nearby, the county on migration. Flocks of more than ten have been: 12 at Pitsford Reservoir/Ravensthorpe Reservoir in July 1976 and 17 at Ringstead GP on 27/03/1983. All records are March to September apart from 12/12/1995.

Eurasian Thick-knee Burhinus oedicnemus oedicnemus (10-10)
Vagrant
Eurasian Thick-knee is a summer migrant from North Africa and Spain to southern and eastern England; the nearest being in Cambridgeshire. It has had a declining British population since the middle of 19th century.

Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola pratincola (2-2)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 74)
Collared Pratincole winters in Africa and summers locally in the Mediterranean basin. The second record at Earls Barton GP in May 1996 was seen previously at Draycote Water and subsequently in East Yorkshire and the Netherlands.

Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni (2-2)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 30)
Black-winged Pratincole winters in Africa and breeds on the Russian Steppes.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius curonicus
Scarce Summer Visitor and Passage Migrant (Early and Late Dates)
The British population of Little Ringed Plover is still fairly small. Its range has continued to increase since the first British breeding in the 1938. This growth in range is linked with climate and the man made habitats of gravel-pits and reservoirs that prove suitable for breeding. There is a notable early date of 20/03/1953.

Great Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula hiaticula
Rare Summer Visitor and Scarce Passage Migrant
Great Ringed Plover is mainly a coastal breeder but recently in Britain it has become more frequently recorded inland and now breeds annually in Northamptonshire. Continental birds are included in the movement of birds on passage. Lord Lilford recorded it as uncommon and irregular, mostly in spring. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrius alexandrius (11-13)
Vagrant
Kentish Plover winters around the Mediterranean basin and breeds as near as the French coast at Calais. It bred in Kent/Sussex until 1930. All recent records in the county have been April/May. Lord Lilford rejected a report of this species in 19th century, so the first county record was of two at Daventry Reservoir on 04/09/1939.

Eurasian Dotterel Charadrius morinellus (10-40)
Vagrant
The Eurasian Dotterel winters in North Africa and most British birds breed in the Cairngorms. Northamptonshire records result from a few birds using normally traditional stopping places (mostly in spring). An exceptional record was of 20 at Aldwincle on 13/04/1887. Seven birds at Morcott (Leics) on 20/05/1905 could have also been seen in Northamptonshire. Numbers are probably increasing or this species has been under-recorded.

American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica (2-2)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 186)
American Golden Plover breeds in northern North America and winters in South America. Nearly all British records are in the autumn.

European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria (apricaria/altifrons)
Regular Passage Migrant and Winter Visitor
Apricaria the northern race breed Iceland, Fenno-Scandia, Russia and a few northern Britain. Altifrons the southern race breed on most uplands in Britain but are mainly resident. Most Northamptonshire sightings are apricaria. Currently these subspecies are not recognised by most authorities but have been included here because the Northamptonshire records can be more easily understood by using these old definitions. Clifford Hill GP has recently held nationally significant winter numbers and hence its inclusion in the Red Data Book. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Irregular Passage Migrant
Grey Plover winters scattered all around the British coast from northern Russian breeders. It shows the pattern of a 'scarce passage migrant' but has a scattering of records almost covering the summer and winter. More birds occur in autumn. Lord Lilford reported a record of two birds in a flock of Golden Plovers. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Sociable Plover Chettusia gregaria (2-2)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 37)
Sociable Plover breeds on the Russian Steppes and winters in East Africa.

Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Resident, Passage Migrant and Winter Visitor
The local breeding population of Northern Lapwing is supplemented by visiting birds dispersing from breeding grounds in central Europe during June. This is followed by the autumn migration of Scandinavian birds and eastern Europe. In winter large movements occur associated with hard weather.

Red Knot Calidris canutus canutus/islandica
Irregular Passage Migrant
Islandica breeds in northern Greenland and Canadian high-arctic islands and winters coastal north-west Europe. Canutus breeds north-central Siberia and migrates through western Europe to winter in West Africa. It shows the pattern of a 'scarce passage migrant in autumn', but has scattered records all through the winter and spring and most of the summer. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Sanderling Calidris alba
Irregular Passage Migrant
Sanderling breeds in northern Greenland, Arctic Canada and Arctic Siberia and winters coastal north-west Europe. It shows the pattern of a 'scarce passage migrant' but has a few fragmented records throughout the year. More recently a pattern of normal autumn records has developed. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Little Stint Calidris minuta
Rare Spring and Scarce Autumn Passage Migrant
Little Stint breeds in northern Norway and northern Russia, a few winter in the Mediterranean basin but mostly in central and southern Africa.

Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii
Vagrant
Temminck's Stint breeds throughout northern Scandinavia and northern Russia and a few pairs in Scotland. A few winter in the Mediterranean basin but most are in central Africa. There is very notable record of a bird in winter at Ecton Sewage Farm from 21/12/1968 to 11/01/1969. The first eight county records were all at Ecton SF beginning in May 1946. It is basically a vagrant to Northamptonshire, but there are too many records for it to be included in the Vagrant Data.

White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis (1-1)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 281)
White-rumped Sandpiper breeds in northern North America and winters in South America.

Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii (2-2)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 142)
Baird's Sandpiper breeds in northern North America and winters in South America. The second record at Daventry CP in September 1996 was present at the same time as another nearctic species: Wilson's Phalarope.

Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos (21-23)
Vagrant
Pectoral Sandpiper breeds in Siberia and the northern Nearctic and winters South America. It is an annual vagrant to Britain presumably arriving across the Atlantic, but some probably come through Asia directly from the Siberian populations as a result of reverse migration. Strong concentrations of autumn records in the west point to birds of North American origin. It is an autumn visitor with all records from the second half of July to early October.

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
Rare Spring and Scarce Autumn Passage Migrant
Curlew Sandpiper breeds in northern Siberia and winters in Africa. Europe is on its migration route.

Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima (15-15)
Vagrant
Purple Sandpiper breeds in northern Scandinavia and Iceland and winters along coastal north-west Europe. All county records are from August to November except one spring record on 26/04/1978.

Dunlin Calidris alpina schinzii/alpina/arctica
Regular Passage Migrant and Winter Visitor
The subspecies arctica breeds in north-east Greenland, alpina northern Scandinavia and northern Russia and schinzii breeds in south-east Greenland, Iceland and scattered throughout northern Europe including the uplands of Britain. It winters around coastal north-west Europe and the Mediterranean basin. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus falcinellus (1-1)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 196)
Broad-billed Sandpiper breeds in central Scandinavia and north-west Russia, winters south-east Asia.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis (3-3)
Vagrant
Buff-breasted Sandpiper breeds in arctic North America and winters in South America. An indirect migratory route out across the Atlantic is the cause of annual records in Britain. It is recorded as regularly in the British Isles as it is on the East Coast of the United States. Most records in Britain are in September and it is often seen in small groups. Until the 1980's it was a British Rarity before a predictable pattern of records emerged.

Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Regular Passage Migrant and Irregular Winter Visitor
Ruff breeds in Scandinavia, Russia and scattered throughout northern Europe including a small population in East Anglia. Its numbers have declined because of drainage of former wetlands. It winters mostly in Africa with a few around coastal Europe and Mediterranean basin. It has become more common in winter in Britain. Lord Lilford noted only a few records and that there had never been any breeding records.

Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus
Local Winter Visitor and Passage Migrant (Early and Late Dates)
Jack Snipe breeds in north-eastern Scandinavia and northern Russia and winters throughout the British Isles and the Low Countries. In Northamptonshire it is widely but locally distributed.

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago gallinago/faeroensis
Rare Resident, Regular Passage Migrant and Winter Visitor
The Common Snipe has suffered loss of habitat through drainage and irrigation of wet grassland. Having undergone severe reductions in its numbers, the very small breeding population of gallinago in the county is currently stable. Migrants and winter visitor are faeroensis from Iceland, Faeroes, Orkney and Shetland or gallinago from Scandinavia and Russia. It is included in the Red Data Book because of its declining numbers and rare breeding status; less than 10 pairs now breed in the county.

Great Snipe Gallinago media (4-5)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 108)
Great Snipe breeds in Russia, Norway and Poland and winters in Africa. It was seemingly commoner in Britain in the 19th century. Records in Britain are widely distributed and are mainly in the autumn.

Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus (1-1)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 158)
Long-Billed Dowitcher breeds in north-east Siberia and Alaska and winters in southern USA and central America. Its migration route has a distinctive north-west/south-east bias to it which probably accounts for the relatively high number of occurances in Britain that are nearly all in the autumn.

[Dowitcher sp] Limnodromus sp (2-2)
Rare Vagrant
Short-Billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus breeds in southern Alaska and central and eastern Canada, winters in southern North America and northern South America. Long-Billed Dowitcher breeds in north-east Siberia and Alaska and winters in southern USA and central America. Short-Billed Dowitcher movements are essentially north/south. Long-Billed Dowitcher's migration route has a distinctive north-west/south-east bias to it, which probably accounts for the considerable imbalance of records of the two species in Britain: Long-billed - many and Short-billed - five. The two records are likely to have been Long-billed Dowitcher but the difficulty of identification makes their specific identity unknown.

Eurasian Woodcock Scolopax rusticola
Local Resident and Winter Visitor
The Eurasian Woodcock is widely but locally distributed in the summer months. The breeding population in the county has steadily declined over the last 30 years. Some county birds move south in autumn but numbers are supplemented in winter by visitors from eastern Europe, Scandinavia and Russia. Lord Lilford commented on only a few breeding records. It is included in the Red Data Book because of its declining numbers.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa limosa/islandica
Irregular Passage Migrant
Islandica breeds Iceland, Scotland and northern Norway, limosa breeds in the rest of the Palearctic range including England. There are scattered breeding populations in Europe with small numbers in Britain. Black-tailed Godwit winters in a fragmented pattern around coastal western Europe, but mainly in Africa. It shows the pattern of a 'rare spring and scarce autumn passage migrant', but scattered records throughout the year reflect the close proximity of wintering quarters on the south coast. Historically it declined to extinction in the early 19th century but now increased breeding numbers in East Anglia may account for the increase of records recently.

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica lapponica
Irregular Passage Migrant
Bar-tailed Godwit breeds in northern Scandinavia and northern Russia and winters along coastal western Europe. Numbers fluctuate from year to year and dates of records are well distributed. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
Scarce Passage Migrant (Early and Late Dates)
Whimbrel breeds in Iceland, Scandinavia and northern Russia and also on the Northern Isles and the Caithness region. It migrates south to coastal Africa. This is a relatively easy species to record on migration because of its distinctive 'seven whistle' call. Lord Lilford reported a few each spring and a considerable number in autumn - up to 80 in a flock.

Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquarta arquarta
Rare Summer Visitor and Passage Migrant
Migrant Eurasian Curlews mainly from the Low Countries and Scandinavia normally account for winter birds in coastal Britain. Lord Lilford noted no breeding, just a few annually on migration. Breeding is in very low numbers, with only 1/2 pairs succeeding or attempting to breed. It is included in the Red Data Book because of its rare breeding status. Internationally important numbers breed and winter in Britain.

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
Rare Spring and Scarce Autumn Passage Migrant
Spotted Redshank breeds in northern Scandinavia and northern Russia. It winters in a fragmented pattern around coastal western Europe and the Mediterranean basin, but mostly in central Africa.

Common Redshank Tringa totanus totanus
Resident, Passage Migrant and Winter Visitor
The Common Redshank has a small breeding population associated with gravel workings, but it prefers less well-managed wet grassland. Some breeders move to the coast but winter numbers are supplemented by visitors from Iceland and northern Europe. Lord Lilford noted small numbers on migration with just a few breeding records. It is included in the Red Data Book because of its rare breeding status. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.

Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis (2-2)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 101)
Marsh Sandpiper breeds in south-east Europe and central Russia and winters in Africa.

Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Scarce Spring and Regular Autumn Passage Migrant
Common Greenshank breeds in northern Scotland, Scandinavia and Russia. It has a fragmented winter population in western Europe and the Mediterranean basin, but mostly in Africa. There is a small wintering population in southern England which explains the few winter records in the county. Lord Lilford recorded only one flying over near Barnwell station on 21/05/1874.

Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca (1-1)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 23)
Greater Yellowlegs breeds across Canada and winters in southern USA and Central America.

Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes (5-5)
Rare Vagrant (British Rarity - 183)
Lesser Yellowlegs breeds across Canada and winters in south-east USA and Central America.

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Regular Passage Migrant and Winter Visitor
Green Sandpiper is a fresh-water species that breeds in Fenno-Scandia and Russia and winters in southern England. Individuals can spend up to nine months on their wintering grounds. In Britain spring passage begins April. One parent, usually the female, leaves the breeding territory in late May or early June. Autumn migrants in Britain materialise from late June onwards. Numbers have increased since the 1960's.

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Rare Spring and Scarce Autumn Passage Migrant (Early and Late Dates)
Wood sandpiper breeds in Fenno-Scandia, Russia and a few pairs in Speyside and winters in Africa. Very rarely birds over-winter, hence a notable record at Sywell Reservoir on 14/02/1954.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Regular Passage Migrant
Common Sandpiper breeds in Fenno-Scandia, Russia, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and northern England. It winters mostly in Africa, but some scattered around coastal western Europe and the Mediterranean basin. Lord Lilford related a few breeding records at the end of last century but there have been none since then. It is a candidate for breeding in the future because of suitable conditions and the close proximity of other breeding grounds.

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres interpres
Irregular Passage Migrant
Ruddy Turnstone breeds around coastal Fenno-Scandia and Russia and winters around coastal western Europe and Africa. It shows the pattern of a 'scarce passage migrant' but, numbers fluctuate and dates are scattered. Wintering and migrant populations include birds from the north-east Nearctic as well as Palearctic breeders. Internationally important numbers winter in Britain.