Sunday 17th March

Sorry for the lack of posts but my six year old son managed to break his arm quite badly on Thursday and had to be rushed to hospital. Thankfully all is sorted now but that and then the solid rain between them have contrived to keep me from the Meadow for several days. Today when I went down I found the waters back in Lake Mode once again - it really doesn't take much at the moment to push it over the edge. There was just a faint ridge of grass along the river bank on which a small number of birds had gathered. However what they lacked in quantity they more than made up for in quality: for a start it was what photographers call "the golden hour" - the last hour of daylight when the sun is low and everything is lit with a beautiful golden glow. Also, all the birds are really close in this configuration so one could admire their wonderful lighting at close quarters. In addition, despite there only being perhaps a few dozen large gulls there were two YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS and a CASPIAN GULL (or hybrid - see below) in amongst them. There were also quite a few Common Gulls, many now in their smart summer plumage. On the wader front, four smart summer-plumaged BLACK-TAILED GODWITS were feeding at close quarters along with four SNIPE. The usual duck were dotted around in the distance and there was a single red-head GOOSANDER.

Caspian Gull

Concerning this gull, Ian Lewington writes:

"It's obviously got Cach tendencies in most ways. It's not a classic as we like to see them. It's scap markings are at the heaviest end of the range (rather mich-like) , the tertials are slightly notched and the underwing is a bit dusky. It might be a 2nd gen hybrid but it's probably closest to Cach than anything else. It's moult is advanced like mich but ok for Cach."

So, it's got the Caspian look and all the various parts fall within the acceptable Caspian range but a number of them are rather at the end of their ranges for it to raise questions about being a possible hybrid. An interesting bird!

..And for you laridophobes here one of the four Godwits

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