Saturday 9th March: Kittiwakes & Avocets

It always catches me by surprise when spring starts to kick off: one minute you're scratching around for the usual winter birds and suddenly there's a rush of new stuff around. It all started off when Dave Doherty found a couple of KITTIWAKES on the Meadow first thing this morning - these are annual passage migrants to the county though almost always at Farmoor and to my knowledge this was the first report on the Meadow, certainly since I've been birding it. There has also been a report of one at Pit 60 as well as lots of inland sightings throughout the country so clearly a strong passage going on today. This was confirmed when Alex Martin had another one (or one of the original two) fly over the Meadow at 3:45 pm. Apparently two birds were seen later at Farmoor before flying back towards the Meadow so they may well have roosted on the patch tonight.

There was strong supporting interest in terms of wader passage today with lots of reports coming in during the day. To start with four more AVOCETS dropped in mid-afternoon to join our long-staying bird which is still with us. A BLACK-TAILED GODWIT was reported by Ian Smith with a second one joining it later on in the day (per Jarrod Hadfield). RINGED PLOVERS accumulated during the day with a total of five by the end. To add to that there were a total of 10 DUNLIN, the usual OYSTERCATCHER, a brief CURLEW (there was also one yesterday) and a single REDSHANK

Here's a videograb of the original Avocet (c)Badger

On the duck front, Badger reported a couple of TUFTED DUCKS and someone actually went to the trouble of estimating the duck numbers with 1500 odd Teal and 521 Wigeon as well as a GOOSANDER and 20 odd PINTAIL. To round things off Jarrod Hadfield had another RAVEN sighting. Alll in all, a very exciting day on the patch.

...and one of the two Tufted Ducks (c) Badger

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