Well, I've got back from my holidays to find that the sunny weather has at last dried out the floods enough for a decent bit of shoreline. Sure enough this has done the trick and the Meadow has got from a bleak and boggy place to a wonderful wader magnet in the space of a few days. Fortunately people have been popping in to visit this week so I was able to report some of the birds that were around and today was a particularly good day. I myself couldn't visit until last light when in the gloom of dusk I got rather excited by the yellowish colour of a wader's legs. Fortunately, thanks to a quick call to Ian Lewington, he managed to talk some sense into me and I realised that it was simply a juvenile REDSHANK - I remember being caught out by this issue this time last year. I must remember for future reference how yellow their legs look, especially in the reddish glow of a sunset.
Anyway, enough of my ID inefficiencies, there were lots (easily one thousand plus) gulls roosting on the Meadow, including the 1st summer LITTLE GULL, now sporting more or less proper white primaries - it was nice to see that it was still around. There were also a few large gulls finally starting to make an appearance, mostly lesser black-backed though with a few herring gulls as well. No sign of any yellow-legged gulls despite the good numbers over the hill at Farmoor presently. The full wader tally from today was: 2 WOOD SANDPIPERS, 4 COMMON SANDPIPERS, 6 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS, 1 DUNLIN, 27 Little Egrets, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 3 GREEN SANDPIPERS (flew over South calling), 1 REDSHANK and 1 OYSTERCATCHER. My thanks to Justin Taylor and Jarrod Hadfield who contributed some of the sightings.
A stunning photo of one of the wood sandpipers taken by Stephen Burch (c).