Saturday 18th November

At last we've got some water on the Meadow! Whilst at this stage they are very embryonic floods, still it's enough to attract some birds back to the area again. It was about a couple of weeks ago that some rain finally tipped the balance in the water table and a thin sliver of water was formed at the northern end as well as a small pool by the Aristotle Lane entrance. I decided to pay a visit to see whether any birds had been attracted to the area and I was rewarded with a good haul. To start with there was a mixed flock of several hundred Greylags and Canada Geese all looking very much at home. Add to the mix a large number of Starlings, lots of Pied Wagtails and a dozen or so Lapwings and it was all looking great! I was just admiring the assembled throng when a dog walker decided to walk right through the centre of them putting every last bird up! This did at least flush ten or so Wigeon which I'd not spotted (only having my bins with me) who flew around making their distinctive calls before heading off elsewhere. Finally a flock of 25 Golden Plover made a low pass over the area, the first I'd seen in a while.

Young Lapwing on the floods
I've been visiting regularly since though there's not been much else of note apart from a brief brace of Teal and some loafing gulls (mostly Black-headed with one or two Lesser Black-backed). We did get our first waders in a long while in the form of a Dunlin and a also a Redshank (found by Ton Yeh) - it's nice to have these Meadow specialities back on the patch again. There was a brief flurry of interest when Martin Gebauer found four WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, though these turned out to be the usual, somewhat dodgy feral birds that have been knocking around for a number of years. They are somewhat darker than you'd expect and on some of them the white on their faces extends further up the forehead than normal so I think that there is some mixed parentage in there somewhere along the line.

The Dunlin
The "dodgy" White-fronted Geese
Other bits and bobs to report include the Little Grebe still about on the Castle Mill Stream, a Little Egret hanging out by the river as well as regular sightings of the Kingfisher. Finally a small flock of BRAMBLING, a real patch rarity, were seen by Nick Boyd along the river on Friday. Another Patch year tick no less!

Little Egret in a tree

What we really need is a lot more rain to take the floods to the next stage because as it stands they will soon dry out again. Sadly though it's been an unusually dry autumn so far and as yet there's no substantial rain on the horizon.

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