29th April

The change in the weather to a more unsettled regime has transformed the floods from looking very anaemic (we'd already lost half the southern leg) through to being back on top form. What's more the change had brought us a couple of really good birds. The first was on Tuesday which was pretty rainy all day. I ventured out for a lighting visit at lunchtime and was rewarded with a Greenshank, a Little Ringed Plover and a late Yellow Wagtail. Later that afternoon when Dave Lowe paid a visit, along with another Wheatear, he managed to turn up a Black Tern, grounded by the weather and sitting on a small rock at the north end. This species is a real patch Mega with only one other record (in early May 2011) since 2000. Whilst it's a more than annual passage visitor to the county, they are almost always seen at Farmoor rather than in such a shallow pool as the Meadow floods. The bird stayed until about 7:15 pm when it flew northwards along the river.

The Black Tern in the gloom

The next day Dave Lowe was out again at first light and at 6:45 a.m posted news about a Grey Plover on the floods. This species used to be a just about annual visitor to the floods but always turned up quite late in the passage season and since over the last few years we've not had any flood waters left by then, we've not had one for a while now. I ventured down before starting work for the day and it was still there though there were no more subsequent reports after that.  An evening visit turned up a party of small waders with 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Dunlin as well as 9 Shelduck and the usual two Oystercatchers. There was also a bonus Egyptian Goose on the floods which was nice to see.

The Grey Plover

The forecast had been for this unsettled weather to continue for quite some time but sadly it now seems to have reverted back to predicting more sunny conditions ahead. So this will in all likelyhood be the start of the terminal decline in the floods. I'm just hoping that we're going to have one more really good bird for the season. Fingers crossed!

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