Tuesday 2nd April: Spring Migrants, A Little Gull & A White-fronted Goose

At last I have some definite spring migrant news to report. This morning when I was going for a brisk walk along the canal to loosen up before a day ahead sitting at my desk I heard my first WILLOW WARBLER of the year singing, appropriately enough, in a Willow Tree. Keeping it company were a total of five LESSER REDPOLL that I've been hearing for the last week or so in the same spot.

Later on this afternoon I went to check out the floods which are being kept nicely topped up by the intermittent rain. The 13 SHELDUCK are still around and another birder also reported the CAPE SHELDUCK as still being around as well. The usual 5 OYSTERCATCHERS were the only waders present and I've still personally yet to see a Little Ringed Plover on the floods this year. At least my Hirundine blank was finally broken when I spotted two SAND MARTINS and a SWALLOW hawking over the floods. It really does warm ones cockles to see them back again.

What was probably the highlight of the visit was when in amongst the Greylag Geese I noticed a WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE. It clearly wasn't one of the usual mongrel group of five birds that hang out here from time to time and certainly seemed to be a pure White-front. It looked like a 1w/1s bird with a full white blaze around the beak but only reduced black markings on the belly. A rampaging dog that was chasing every bird on the floods (why do dog owners allow their pets to do this?) put it up along with the rest of the flock which flew to the river where I finally managed to get some video footage of it.

It's always difficult to tell the provenance of single geese but it's here at the right time of the year, it seemed wary to me and it's a young one (which are more inclined to get lost) so as long as it doesn't hang around for an indecent length of time I'm tempted to count it on the year list.

In my goosey excitement I forgot to mention the lovely LITTLE GULL that was found earlier today on the Meadow by Dave Daniels and photographed by Roger Wyatt. They are always gorgeous little things to see gracing the Meadow floods in the spring.

Photo (c) Roger Wyatt

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