Tuesday 1st May

I can't quite believe that we're in May already. To have floods, grey skies and rain makes it seem more like the middle of winter rather than the height of spring. The delayed fallout from the weekend's rain meant that the Meadow was even more flooded today than yesterday with the water now going almost all the way to the top of Burgess Field. Flood conditions can often make for quite interesting birding as it usually leaves a narrow strip of grass between the floods and the river where the birds often congregate. Today on a midday visit there were quite a few birds to keep my attention and I managed another couple of Patch year ticks.

Phil Chapman's two LITTLE GULLS were still there hawking away for insects on the east side of the floods and making the black-headed gulls look large and clumsy by comparison. The WHIMBREL was also there, enjoying the boggy conditions. The OYSTERCATCHER was knocking about still and three LITTLE EGRETS and a summer plumage DUNLIN added to the wader variety. The two common terns were also around, sleeping on a piece of drift wood. On the duck front, unusually there were a dozen TUFTED DUCK which we usually only get when the surrounding pits are frozen over. The ROSY-BILLED POCHARD added a touch of the exotic from a distance and the couple of dozen non-breeding mute swans were still mooching about. There was no sign of the wheatears but a couple of YELLOW WAGTAILS were working their way along the grass "island". As I was walking past Medley Farm I heard the distinctive trill of a LESSER WHITETHROAT and shortly afterwards managed to pick him out in one of the tree tops. He was working his way along the river, singing as he went. Finally, as I was walking back the sleek shape of a HOBBY flew low over my head before hurrying onwards to the North. The hobby and the lesser whitethroat are two new Patch year ticks so we're gradually making up the lost ground.

Digiscoped Whimbrel shots...

...And some video footage. You Tube applied a brightening 
function to the footage which remakes a remarkable difference
 if you compare it to the photos though perhaps it is
a little over the top

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