Saturday, 24 January 2009

Thursday 22nd January 2009

One of those days!

Funny how sometimes you can have a torrid birding visit to a usually fruitful site, only to follow it up with a super visit to another place just down the road. My 2 visits today were alike as chalk and cheese! Firstly the boring bit - I visited Bystock Reserve and WRC (remember that?). Highlights were a Great Spotted Woodpecker heard on getting out of the car, and a little later a couple of Goldcrests. Yep, it was that exciting. However, later in the afternoon I popped down to Mudbank Lane in Exmouth and scanned over the estuary where the tide was right in. At first I thought my luck hadn't changed. Usually there are masses of Wigeon, Pintail and Dark-bellied Brent Geese to seen here. Today there was a single female Wigeon! Obviously something had disturbed the birds. Cursing the day I was having, I 'scoped a little farther out. A female Goldeneye was seen diving in the shallows over Cockle Sand. I was aware of a fair few gulls flying in to roost, coming down the estuary. Mindful of the fact that an Iceland Gull had been reported at this time yesterday, I decided to check the gulls flying in. Several of the gulls were flying in over the submerged Cockle Sand (entering my local patch boundary) and landing on a fairly distant protruding sandbar. I soon picked out an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, a patch yeartick, but this was quickly surpassed by the Iceland Gull flying in over Cockle Sand and landing next to the Lesser Black-back! This bird was an immature bird, I tend to lean towards a second-winter bird, as it was quite white, where a first-year tends to be a bit more biscuit-coloured. I quickly 'phoned the news out, and within 15 minutes was joined by 3 other birders, who I eventually managed to put on the gull. The bird was quickly becoming hidden by arriving gulls, however, luckily it had developed an uncanny knack of moving further away from the incoming gull rush and showing fairly well, even if it was quite distant. So, after a very lean day for birds, I was finally rewarded by persistance

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