In my last post things had been relatively quiet up until the weekend and for this last week more or less the same thing happened. There had been relatively little to report during the week: I had been checking out the gull roost each evening though it's still mostly just Black-headed Gulls with one or two Common Gulls and hardly any larger gulls. One evening there was an adult Yellow Legged Gull (the first of the season) but that was about it. Golden Plover numbers have been building gradually so that by Sunday there were about 300 of them. Part of my daily ritual on a visit to the Meadow is to scour through the Plover flock looking for American Golden Plover, somewhat of a speciality of the Meadow with the only two county records for this species both coming from Port Meadow. The Barnacle Geese are still around, numbering up to 250 or more at times. There are also increasing number of Wigeon and Teal, all enjoying the perfect flood conditions.
The hightlight of the week was on a Sunday visit during the blustery conditions of Storm Aiden with the discovery of three Red-crested Pochards on the floods. This species is less than annual on the Meadow - as a diving duck the shallow waters of the floods are not really suited to their feeding habits. There were not very settled and kept swimming about during the time I was there and it was not really surprising that they'd gone by the evening.
|A video grab of the three Red-crested Pochards|
To round off a good day, Ollie Padget discovered yet another Mediterranean Gull (a 2nd winter) in the roost. I particularly like his video grab as it's sums up the difficulty of picking out Med Gulls from the sea of Black-headed Gulls - see if you can spot it yourself!
|Spot the Med Gull!|
Looking forward to November, historically there have been a few decent records on the Meadow during this month with Great White Egret, Grey Phalarope and of course American Golden Plover all seen in past years. With so many westerly storms having passed through recently I'm still hopeful of something American, perhaps a Pectoral Sandpiper or even a Franklin's Gull. I find that I need some kind of dream like this to keep me motivated enough to check out the patch each day and you never know, one day it might just happen!