Sunday 18th November: Waxwings!

There are a few snippets of news from the last couple of days. Firstly, yesterday the CASPIAN GULL was on show in the roost again along with at least 3 adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS once again. Unfortunately for some unknown reason the majority of the roost was spooked suddenly at one point and headed off to Farmoor instead. Despite losing so many birds, it's always a stunning sight when the whole gull roost takes off en masse, creating an amazing "snow storm" effect. We're getting a wonderfully huge roost on the Meadow at present and the birds are much closer than you'll ever get at somewhere like Farmoor so people who enjoy sifting through a gull flock (I know it's not to everyone's taste) might well like to consider a visit down to the Meadow whilst it's on such good form.

The Caspian Gull (c) Badger

I've heard back from Ian Lewington about this latest Caspian and he agrees with me that it's a different bird from last week's one. The latter had the classic underwing of a "Pontic" gull, i.e. a western Caspian Gull, whereas this latest one has a lot more black on the primary undersides which indicates that it's an eastern bird. If it lingers I'll try to get a decent underwing shot so that this can be checked out in more detail.

There's been a pick-up in activity on the wader front. Today Sydney Penner reported 15 RUFF, 1 REDSHANK and 7 DUNLIN on the floods though apparently some dogs were allowed to run rampage over the floods which probably resulted in everything being flushed.

The highlight of the day was a report of 4 WAXWINGS found by Tom Evans in a tree in Bainton Road briefly before they flew off. Normally, Oxfordshire doesn't manage to get these gorgeous birds until right at the end of the season so to have some sightings so early is a real bonus - it looks like being another good Waxwing year. I really hope that I manage to get some in my garden again like I did a couple of years ago. Anyway, Bainton Road is certainly within the Port Meadow catchment area so that's another year tick bringing up the total to a more respectable 130.

Garden Waxwing in February 2011

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