Thursday 28th March

The unseasonal Arctic conditions continue to plague us - it's nearly April now and yet there's no sign of a break yet. I realise that apart from one Chiffchaff record which may well just be an over-wintering bird, there have been no spring migrant sightings at all so far on the Patch. The recent rain pushed the floods out to "Lake Mode" briefly though they've quickly dropped back and are a nice size again. Over the last few days there has been little of note apart from a few SHELDUCK, an OYSTERCATCHER and a couple of REDSHANK. There are still lots of Siskins and a few Redpolls about along the canal between Walton Well Road and Aristotle Lane - they're in no hurry to leave I can imagine.

Today there was quite a reasonably sized gull roost for the time of year and the light was wonderfully flat for judging mantle tones. Mercifully there was no freezing wind to speak of so I was able to spend some time sifting through the flock. The COMMON GULL passage is well under way now good numbers of these lovely gulls dotting the roost and it's always fun to shift through them looking for that elusive Ring-Billed Gull - though no luck of course. The Golden Plover flock is of a decent size with several hundred birds and they're now coming into their summer plumage nicely. Today they were joined by a RUFF and three DUNLIN. Two of the SHELDUCK were around this evening as were three roosting GOOSANDER. There are plenty of winter ducks still around which quite sensibly are in no hurry to leave. I'm told that after this prolonged winter freeze that we're going to get an April heatwave - bring it on!

One of the many Common Gulls

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