Wednesday 9th May: Garganey

The Meadow has suddenly got very quiet again. Whilst the floods were super-sized suddenly there were waders everywhere and we had the usual good numbers of interesting birds to look through. However as soon as they've gone back down to more normal size there's not a wader to be seen anywhere. I'm wondering if it's something to do with the fact that instead of the usual "hard" border between the water and the shore, at present there's just waterlogged grass around the edge with not much of a well-defined border. When the floods were right up then there were just little well-defined islands that the waders could work their way around. It's just a theory but the contrast between the birds last week and the complete lack of waders this week is very marked.

Yesterday there was virtually nothing to report. Today, however was rather better: for a start there were loads of hirundines and swifts around again hawking very low over the water which is always a pleasure to see. The ROSY-BILLED POCHARD is still hanging around and according to convention I have to give a name to any long-staying plastic duck so I shall christen him "Ronald". There were a couple of LITTLE EGRETS - they've been around for some time now and I saw one catch a fish yesterday so the recent top-up of the floods will no doubt have added a lot of trapped fish fry to the flood water. The herd of non-breeding mute swans has now reach 33 (thanks to Sydney Penner for counting them) and there were even a couple of TUFTED DUCKS this afternoon. There was also a nice GARDEN WARBLER singing away right by the path next to the allotments and showing quite well. However, the highlight of the day was a drake GARGANEY along the West Shore another Patch Year Tick. We usually manage to get this handsome duck on the Meadow and the conditions do look very good for it so I wouldn't be altogether surprised if it is a failed breeder which hangs around for a little while. Let's hope so.

Back to classic record shot quality for this videograb of the drake Garganey though it was on the opposite side of the floods (which is quite a long way away at the moment), it was dark and gloomy and it was windy enough to shake the 'scope and camera almost constantly.

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