Thursday 6th December: Brent Goose & Caspian Gull

I haven't been able to get out to the Meadow over the previous two days but I was intrigued to hear of a sighting yesterday of a Brent Goose that had been reported to Ian Lewington. Therefore, this afternoon with some time on my hands I decided to check it out. The floods have receded a bit more and now there is a perfect narrow strip of grass between the river and the flood waters. The latter are partially frozen at present though the river flow is managing to keep the western half ice free still. As expected the birds were all congregating on this grass island at a nice close distance. As I walked along the west bank of the river almost the first bird that I saw was indeed the DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE feeding away opposite the sailing club. Close by there was a host of waders with now 7 RUFF, the four BLACK-TAILED GODWITS still, 5 REDSHANK and one DUNLIN all showing nicely just across the river. 

Although it was still a while before dusk there were already quite a few gulls around and I soon came across a gorgeous first winter CASPIAN GULL on the floods. Amazingly this is the fourth different individual of this species that we've had in about a month now. We don't get so many juvenile/first-winter birds of any gull species on the Meadow, certainly not compared to somewhere like Appleford so it was nice to see a first winter as a change from the usual adult birds.

A couple of digiscoped shots of the Brent Goose...

...and some videograbs of the Caspian Gull... well as some record shot Caspian video.

The Meadow has been making great strides over the last month or so with lots of new year ticks and the Brent Goose adds one more to the year tally as well as being another personal patch life tick following on from the Marsh Tit. With the floods in the state that they're in at present the Meadow really is on top form and if anyone fancies some top class winter birding then I can thoroughly recommend a visit down to the Meadow before the floods go down too much.

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