After what has seemed like a very long holiday period it's back to normality at last. With the changing of the year of course comes the re-starting of the year list: it's the one time of the year when one really pays close attention to those common birds that normally tend to get ignored. I've not been in a great hurry to see everything trusting that things will be found in their own time. So far I've ticked off about 50 or so birds and by the end of February I'd expect this figure to get up to around the 75 mark.
The Meadow floods are looking very good at present i.e. nice and full without being too large and there are plenty of birds to look through. Over the last few days as well as the usual winter ducks and commoner gulls there have been peak counts of 4 REDSHANK, 2 DUNLIN, a few dozen Lapwing and Golden Plover, 6+ PINTAIL, 4 GOOSANDER and 3 SHELDUCK all gracing the floods. I've seen a Kingfisher along the Castle Mill Stream and also along the canal and Roly Pitts reported a TUFTED DUCK on the Thames a few days ago.
At last there seem to be some decent white-winged gull numbers in the country so it's time to start looking through the Meadow gull roost for Icelands and Glaucs. So far the best that I've come up with has been a 1w YELLOW-LEGGED GULL.