22nd November

After a couple of weeks with some great sightings it was only to be expected that things have been a little quieter these last couple of weeks though there was still plenty to see. Things started well with four Pochard found by Ollie Padget on the floods though they didn't linger. Like their recent more exotic Red-crested cousins they are not naturally at home on such shallow wasters as the Port Meadow floods have to offer so it was only to be expected that they would soon be gone. These actually weren't a year tick but were still nice to see. Apart from that, on the duck front this week there have been a smattering of Pintail records most days and a flock of up to 9 Egyptian Geese. This latter species count is a record, certainly since I've been birding the Meadow. Goosander numbers have been creeping up slowly with now 6 red-heads either roosting on the floods or hanging out on the river.

On the wader front there have been a few Dunlin about and a few Snipe records including a mystery one that was flushed at a very close distance by Thomas Miller at dusk. Close-flushing Snipe often turn out to be Jack Snipe and they can usually be identified by their jizz with a much more fluttery, silent and low flight than their commoner counterparts. Whilst Thomas's bird was indeed silent it was too dark to asses the flight style so it will have to be one that got away. Five Black-tailed Godwits one evening were a welcome sight though, despite the floods looking really great at the moment, they decided not to linger.

The gulling is improving steadily with at last some good numbers of larger gulls to look through. This has produced quite a few Yellow-legged Gulls (all adults so far) and another Mediterranean Gull one evening, a 1w bird courtesy of Ollie Padget. The highlight on the gulling front was the discovery of the first Caspian Gulls of the season by Thomas Miller with 2w and a 3w birds seen on the same day.


3w Caspian

2w Caspian, both courtesy of Thomas Miller

Away from gulls, Nick Boyd found a pair of Stonechat in the northern wilderness between the A34 and King's Lock. Also Manoj Nair saw a pair of Ring-necked Parakeets fly over recently. This species is just about annual and with the strengthening colony in the University Parks we can probably look forward to more sightings of this colourful species.

Final, Thomas Miller did the WeBS count (the Wetland Bird Survey) for November last week and came up with the following totals.

189 Barnacle Geese
164 Greylag Geese
176 Canada Geese
424 Wigeon
8 Shoveler
6 Mallard
72 Teal
15 Pintail
8 Golden Plover
259 Black-headed Gulls
12 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
3 Cormorant
3 Black-tailed Godwit

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