Saturday 23rd to Wednesday 27th July: Yellow-legged Gull

Things are still pretty quiet around the Meadow. The glorified puddle along the North Channel is still present and is attracting a few gulls for the evening roost though these are almost entirely black-headed gulls. The odd wader is dropping in there briefly: there was a DUNLIN on Monday and a GREENSHANK briefly on Tuesday and also one present at Wednesday lunch-time and the OYSTERCATCHERS are still seen on occasion. The post-breeding lapwing flock is getting larger with about 50 birds now loitering on the dried-up mud. The river shoreline continues to attract the occasional COMMON SANDPIPER with one there for the last three days and the odd LITTLE EGRET can also be seen along the river. The common tern families are still about and as noisy as ever. Perhaps the only change of note has been the sudden influx of canada geese with about 100 of these birds having re-appeared suddenly. Talking of geese, the leucistic EGYPTIAN GOOSE is still in residence amongst the feral greylags.

Common sandpiper along the river shore (taken last year)

In Burgess Field it's still pretty quiet though there are plenty of young birds about to be seen. On the butterfly front once again it's mainly gatekeepers in the grasses and the usual red admirals, peacocks and speckled woods elsewhere. On Wednesday I did my Big Butterfly Count there in the hot spot between the two copses and managed the following totals: 10 gatekeeper, 4 meadow brown, 2 small heath, 2 brown argus, 2 essex skipper, 2 speckled wood, 1 peacock. I was particularly pleased with the brown argus which is a new species for the patch for me at least. I dare say that they've been there in previous years but I've not spotted them before.

One of the brown argus. The dark spots on the forewing are
diagnostic and distinguish it from very brown female common blues

I came across this slow worm struggling along the path at
Aristotle Lane. I popped him back in the undergrowth where
he'll be a lot safer

On Wednesday evening Richard Foster found a cracking adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL on the floods. Given the time of year I'd been looking out for them for a while now but it was great finally to have one visit the much-depleted floods.

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