Sunday 17th November: Caspian Gull

It's been a good week on the Meadow. The embryonic floods have managed to stay put and then this week the heavy rain on Friday morning really made a difference with the water area about quadrupling in size overnight. By Sunday morning there was a more or less complete run of water all the way from Stint Corner down to the Southern Tail. The birds are voting with their feet as well. By the end of the week the floods were covered in birds: there must be getting on for a thousand Wigeon now and several hundred Teal and Mallards. Starlings are working over the grass en masse and there are reasonable Lapwing numbers. Linnets and Meadow Pipits are also around in good numbers. In fact the only birds that we might expect that haven't been around are the Golden Plover: there have only been smatterings of this species over the last week.

There has even been the makings of a modest gull roost. Earlier in the week I counted a couple of hundred Black-headed Gulls and perhaps fifty large gulls at last light on Tuesday. However it's been a bit hit and miss with no roost to speak of on Friday. I think that really we need the floods to be a bit larger still for the roost really to kick off consistently. Still we can't really complain on the gull front: on Saturday afternoon Erik Sandvig managed to find a fine 1st winter CASPIAN GULL on the floods. According to Ian Lewington this bird spent much of October in the Didcot area. Let's hope that this is the first of many of this species on the Meadow now that the Meadow is attracting gulls again.

1w Caspian Gull (c) Erik Sandvig

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