Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Week's Highlights

5th February - 3 visits over the past week haven't given me any new year ticks and not a lot in the way of new birds, but these are some of the highlights:

Woodcocks are obviously like buses, as after a poor gull roost on the 1st, as I walked back to my car, one flew SW over the car and car park field and on over the STW where it was nicely underlit by the bright lights.  It was presumably heading to the riverside meadows to feed.

Pintail are still much in evidence and have been rising in number by 1 or 2 birds over the past few days.  Often asleep out of the water on the island, where they can be very difficult to see under the willows.  The original 3 males were joined by a further pair on the 28th - per my last post, which may or may not have moved on, as an additional pair was not reported again until last Saturday, 2nd.  Then on Sunday 3rd it was up to 6 and today 7 birds were showing, initially hidden away on the island, but in the afternoon showing well up-ending on the far side of the spit.  They comprised the original 3 males, plus 2 further pairs.

There were 2 male Shelduck present on 31st and 1st, but down to a single male today.  There was also an apparent influx of diving duck last week on the 1st - I counted 273 Tufted Duck, including my old friend the blue nasal-saddled female, BFK - see here and 85 Pochard.  Shoveler numbered 68, but I had to leave before the large numbers of Wigeon, Gadwall and Teal could be counted.  2 Dabchick have been more in evidence too.

A Chiffchaff on the 4th is a regular wintering collybita, as is the irregular Green Sand, which turned up on the spit briefly today.

Gull wise, Black-headed Gulls are present in many hundreds over the spit during the day, with hundreds more feeding on the flood meadows.  These have attracted an adult winter Med Gull recently and I'm sure with scrutiny, more will begin to turn up.  Common Gulls have also started their annual Spring build up, when 2-3000 birds will roost here.  LWHG have been fairly uneventful, certainly during my largely daytime visits - the roost might be more productive.  A count of 46 GBB Gulls on the 31st was my highest so far this year.  Today, pre school pick-up, a 1st winter Caspian Gull arrived, which is yet another new Casp for the year, making 3 1st winters and an adult so far in 2013.  This bird was mid-sized and had a distinctive dark shadow behind the eye forming a dark line from the eye towards the rear crown.  It also had the beginnings of a pale based bill, with the basal two thirds appearing paler than the black tip.  The pattern of the scaps was different to the other birds, with rows of little dark diamonds on the upper scaps - the thin dark shafts and anchor marks more evident on closer views.  It was always fairly distant, so with the usual apologies for poor record shots, here's a few to give you an idea of its appearance:

You can just see the long, thin pale pink legs

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