Thursday 1st March

It was a lovely balmy day today once the lingering morning fog had finally burnt off. Conditions down on the Meadow this evening were gorgeous with not a breath of wind and some good birds to boot. On the way down I found the LITTLE GREBE still on the Spinney stream. At the floods on the wader front the REDSHANK count had swelled to an impressive 10 birds this evening so there is definitely some wader movement underway now. Just one DUNLIN was seen (though they can easily be overlooked) and the golden plover flock was a bit larger than of late though rather fragmented into different sub-flocks. Duck interest was maintained with 2 SHELDUCK, a similar PINTAIL count to of late and I also spotted a pair of gadwall in some video footage that I took this evening. However the greatest interest of the visit was to be found within the gull flock. There were three (yes three!) adult MEDITERRANEAN GULLS this evening, one with a full summer hood and two with nearly complete hoods which might have been a pair. There's no doubt that the spring passage of these beautiful gulls is now well and truly underway.

Mediterranean gulls

The most interesting bird of my visit was what I considered at the time to be a 3rd winter Caspian gull. However, in consultation with Ian Lewington he managed to put me straight and it turns out just to be another herring gull. In the cold light of morning I can see that of course he is correct and whilst it does have certain cachinnans characteristics such as the dark eye, the thick bill, large "jowl" and the fact that it doesn't bowl you over with its beauty all point to the fact that it's just another albeit rather strange herring gull. Clearly I still have a lot to learn!

Not a 3rd winter Caspian gull (thanks to Ian Lewington
for putting me straight)

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