Monday 20th February: Merganser

Today it was back to the usual late afternoon visits for the Meadow gull roost. There was a bit of a breeze which gave it a rather chilly feel this afternoon. The waders from yesterday were still about with the 2 RUFF, 3 REDSHANK and 3 DUNLIN as well as a flock of a couple of hundred golden plover, a couple of which were sporting nearly complete black underparts already. There were eight PINTAIL today in amongst the ducks. The gull roost was a rather modest affair with one common gull and a second winter YELLOW-LEGGED GULL the pick of the bunch. The highlight of the day was with sawbills: first three GOOSANDER flew low over the floods towards the Castle Mill Stream, presumably the same three birds that were there last week. As it got darker four more came down to the floods themselves together with a red-head RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. This last species is not that common a bird in the county (probably just about an annual visitor) so it was a good bird to see on the patch and is another patch year tick.

There are definite hints of springs about: yesterday there was a singing reed bunting on Burgess Field and a skylark in full song on the Hinterland. Today's black-bellied golden plovers are further signs that it's just around the corner now and I can't wait for the sand martins and little ringed plovers that should be coming in March.

A videograb of tonight's merganser

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