It was very dark and gloomy when I visited the Meadow today late afternoon which was rather frustrating as the patch was absolutely heaving with birds which were hard to make out in all the murk. There were the usual winter ducks in good numbers with a couple of SHELDUCK of particular note. Still only modest numbers of Golden Plover though the Lapwing count must have been at least 200 birds. There were lots and lots of gulls: easily the largest count so far since the floods have returned though the darkness and the fact that they were densely packed meant that it was hard to look through them. Eventually a dog walker "obliged" by setting his beast free to romp through the water thereby putting everything up. Whilst I always curse when this happens the truth is that it does often give one a chance to see what has been lurking away, especially with small waders such as Dunlin. There weren't any of those today but I did hear (but not see) a REDSHANK calling. After the dog had gone, the reshuffled gulls chose to mill about in the middle of the water and were therefore much easier to sift through. Four adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS and 3 Common Gulls were the pick of the bunch.