Wednesday 5th March: Caspian Gull & Mediterranean Gull

It's been a fairly productive few days on the Meadow since my last posting. The weather has been improving and we seem to be through the rainy season now though the floods are still rather full. The improving weather has meant that the gull roost hasn't always been very numerous though there's usually been plenty of birds to look through. The MEDITERRANEAN GULL spring passage is well underway now in the county with Farmoor scoring good counts of several birds quite often. Not to be outdone, the Meadow has turned up another one itself in the form of a smart summer plumaged adult that was picked out by Liam Langley from the throng of Black-headed Gulls though it disappeared before I could get any photos. The Common Gull spring passage is also underway and I keep looking out for a Ring-billed Gull in amongst them though so far no luck.

This evening there were very few gulls though what it's lacked in quantity it seems to be making up for in quality in the form of a lovely, heavily marked 1st winter CASPIAN GULL that was reasonably close in (by current Meadow standards at least). Ian Lewington said that he saw the same bird at Appleford on the 10th of last month though it's not been reported since then.

1 winter Caspian Gull

Apart from the gulls the 6 REDSHANK were around at the start of the week though they've not been seen for the last couple of evenings. The two SHELDUCK are usually around and yesterday there were 21 PINTAIL though they'd gone this evening. A few GOOSANDER are still loitering as well.

With spring now knocking on the door we should start getting the first arrivals shortly - Sand Martins are usually the first to arrive followed by the Little Ringed Plovers though given the present extended state of the floods I'm not sure how easy it's going to be actually to spot them: they'll be so far away!

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