Tuesday 17th March

The recent rain has topped the floods up nicely and they're looking really good now. On the bird front things have definitely stepped up a gear as spring starts to kick off. We finally had the first SAND MARTIN in the county which Steve Lavington spotted over the floods early afternoon today. Even better than that though was the pair of RED-CRESTED POCHARD which he also found. This species is less than annual on the Meadow - not surprising really as it's the wrong sort of habitat for them. Still, it's surprising how many years we do manage to have one or two pop in briefly. Sadly there was no sign of them by the time I visited late afternoon today.

There were finally some reasonable wader counts to report with 9 REDSHANK, 3 OYSTERCATCHERS and 2 DUNLIN on the floods today. SHELDUCK numbers are increasing gradually and Dave Doherty had an impressive 12 of them yesterday on the floods. The PINTAIL are still about with 7 of them today and there were four or so GADWALL about as well - the first for a while. The gull roost has been unproductive over the last few days with a COMMON GULL the only bird of note though Dave Doherty also had 2 YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS on Monday morning as well as 5 GOOSANDER. He also had a RAVEN which is always a nice bird to get on the Patch.

Up north in Wolvercote, Adrian Gray reported a Chiffchaff in his garden today. I've yet to hear one singing on the Patch but surely that will come any day now. So all in all, it's all kicking off nicely. It's such an exciting time of year!

In the absence of any decent bird photos here's a Common Quaker - the first moth of the year trapped in my garden

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