4th April - Sandwich Tern

So March has finished and as I was writing up the monthly review on the Oxford Birding Blog along with Jason Coppock, it gave me a chance to reflect on what a good month it was on the Meadow: Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, a pair of Avocets and a Brent Goose were all great birds to have on our humble patch. Anyway, we're on to April now, arguably one of the most exciting months on the Meadow in terms of the arrival of new migrants.

The floods were briefly back in semi Lake Mode on the back of the recent rains but have now reverted to their usual shape, albeit nicely topped up at present. The rather "full" shoreline with lack of much mud has meant that they've not been quite so attractive to waders though and we've just had a few REDSHANKS and OYSETERCATCHERS over the weekend. Today however, late afternoon I found a genuine patch Mega in the form of a SANDWICH TERN washing and preening in the floods before settling down for the evening. This is an annual bird in the county but normally they are only seen briefly as they fly through, usually at Farmoor, and they are often very hard for county listers to catch up with (as I personally can testify). There's been a good inland passage of this species passing through the centre of the country already and Farmoor has already had a couple of them so it's a good spring for them. However, this is only the second ever record for the Meadow, with a pair reported along the river back in 1995 so a really top-draw patch bird.

A rather rubbish record shot taken in the gloom

Apart from that there were the usual five OYSTERCATCHERS, 2 Sand Martins, 3 Swallows and 1 HOUSE MARTIN and the single drake PINTAIL still. 

With almost all the summer migrants now up for grabs this month it's going to be an exciting few weeks - I can't wait!

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