Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Caspo Becoming Regular

13th November - the big male 1st winter Caspian Gull looks to be a regular visitor at the moment.  First seen last Friday, it was reported on both Saturday and Sunday and it came in again today.  The big gulls start arriving between 1:30pm and 2pm and today it came it about 1:50pm.  Luckily, most gulls were settling on the near spit, so it gave much better views than last Friday, although the gloomy light didn't help photos.  It had also picked up some yellow staining on the back of the right ear covert.

Shame I chopped his tail off!

Blurred! But shows his long legs
A female Goldeneye was also present, roosting in the NE corner.  These seem to be quite scarce here, so 3 birds this autumn is nice.  Other ducks that I bothered to count were 43 Wigeon, 18 Gadwall and 16 Shoveler.  Quite a few Teal, but these were too spread out to count easily.  The Green Sand was present again for quite a time, mainly on the back of the spit and the huddle of Snipe had risen to 8 birds.

Just before midday, a large flock of Golden Plover came in from the east.  They circled around quite high for several minutes presumably thinking about landing, but never came very low and then flew off west.  They then returned, circled around again before departing W/NW.  I find it quite hard to accurately estimate these large flocks, so took a photo and counted them on the computer - not the most interesting job!  I had thought about 600 - 700 birds, so a counted total of 741 means I wasn't too far out, though I usually under estimate.  These large flocks of Goldies when they occur seem to be about now up to the end of the year.

741 birds in here
Just after the Goldies had gone, my attention was drawn to a strange song coming from just behind me.  I didn't recognise the phrasing apart from the more obvious occasional 'chiff' and 'chaff'.  From this the bird was obviously a Chiffchaff, but was it nominate? - I haven't heard one with all the additonal phrases around the occasional 'chiff' and 'chaff' before.  It was around for about 15 minutes uttering short song phrases on and off, though I didn't hear it call at all.  It was very difficult to get a look at, feeding high in the trees and losing itself amongst the foliage.  The best I got on it from below was pale looking undersides, dark legs and quite a prominent supercilium and dark eyestripe, which also seems a bit odd for nominate Chiffchaff.  Unfortunately, it then disappeared - I'm hoping it sticks so that I can satisfy my curiosity.

Aa adult Herring Gull with a white darvic and black code A4HH appeared.  This bird has been seen before at LMGP, but not since spring 2010.  It was handled by the RSPCA as an orphan from Worthing ,West Sussex and was in the centre there for 32 days, released on 15/08/2006. It has been seen at Springfield Farm landfill on 19/07/2008 and 04/02/2011 and at LMGP on 03/10/2010.  I await further details of any subsequent sightings.

Last but not least - I met 2 older gentlemen who I don't know, but who appear to watch LMGP occasionally, often mid-week.  In chatting, they mentioned to me that about this time last year they had seen 3 'yellow-billed' swans on the lake that they had identified as 2 adult and a juvenile Whooper Swan.  Being only casual birdwatchers, they had never reported their sighting.  Amazing! wild swans are rare at LMGP and you think a site is well-watched, but obviously things get through, seen or otherwise!

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