Friday 28th March: Iceland Gull Again

It's been a rather "samey" few days on the Meadow with the usual birds in the usual places. Granted the floods are looking great and the recent top-up from the rain has ensured that they're not going stale and there are still plenty of birds to look at but there's not really been anything "different" this week. SHELDUCK numbers have been fluctuating in the mid teens before hitting a new peak of 17 birds today (a new record I believe) with the CAPE SHELDUCK still hanging around to add a touch of the exotic. OYSTERCATCHERS numbers have varied between 3 and 6 birds, clearly enjoying the soft muddy margins of the floods. There have even been been some Golden Plover with an impressive flock of 200 on Thursday though just 2 birds on Friday. The GOOSANDER have been around occasionally with 3 red-heads present on Thursday. There have even been some gulls about though this time of year the remaining stragglers are starting to look very strange. All the prime good looking gulls have paired up by now leaving the dregs of the larid world to loaf about and bemoan their failure to find a mate. There have been a couple of birds with paler, light-fringed primaries though that's been about all they had going for them on the Kumlien's/Thayer's scale. Interestingly the (or a) juvenile ICELAND GULL was reported again today (Friday) at 11:30 am on RBA though unsurprisingly there was no sign of it when I visited later on in the day.

One of many of the Shelduck that are currently in residence on the floods (c) Roger Wyatt

All in all a good selection of birds though you'll notice that they're all "winter birds" and there is still a definite lack of spring migrants. In fact, apart from Roger Wyatt's LRP sighting on Monday there's not been so much as a sniff of one. Now that we're back to the warm proper spring weather I am definitely expecting that to change over the coming days - fingers crossed!

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