Monday 7 March 2011

Sunday 6th March 2011 - more local patching

Today I had already decided to get back over to the Cherry Hall site I was at yesterday to go through the Gulls on the flooded fields. So scope and bins in the rucksack I jumped on the bike and headed down the A6 to the area. A quick scan from the road showed up lots of Gulls, not in the numbers as yesterday but still a lot all the same. I rode onto the track leading up to the complex and noticed lots of Gulls in the fields to the south of me. I had a quick look but nothing too exciting turned up. the hedgrows had a large and very mobile passerine flock but as they wouldn't stay still I couldn't count what was in it but there was certainly mixed Yellowhammer and Tree Sparrow. The main field was surprisingly empty of Gulls as they seemed to be preferring the field next to it which was slightly out of view, but gradually Gulls started to fly in and soon I had lots of large Gull infront of me. Unfortunately I couldn't pick out anything too exciting, there was a large Herring Gull of the Caspian type, with long pinkish legs, white blob on the end of P10, very long bill and long primaries, it had a pale yellow eye though but everything else was perfect - the bill was enormous and straight. I had also picked out a possible juvenile Yellow Legged Gull when disaster struck - the whole lot took to the air and started to make their way back to the Sidegate Landfill site. A quick look round showed a couple with 2 dogs in the adjacent field making as much noise as possible. I now had a conundrum, this site was now probably ruined for today as not a single bird was in the area - the light was starting to fade so I had to decide whether to stay here and hope they come back or make my way down to Stanwick Lakes to see the Gull roost there. I decided on the Stanwick option and returned to my bike to find that I had obtained a puncture on the way here, so after pushing the bike back home I jumped in the car and made my way down to Stanwick. The lakes still held numbers of Tufted Duck along with a few Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Wigeon and Shoveler. Most of the Teal and Pochard seemed to have moved on but a few Goosander were still kicking around. Reassuringly lots and lots of Gulls were piling in down the Nene valley and when I reached the watchpoint I was greeted by the site of lots of them. I started scanning through them and after about half an hour I noticed a bright red bill shinning in the early spring sunshine. It was unmistakable with its black hood, white border around the eye and pure white primaries - a full adult Mediterranean Gull right out in the open. I made a quick phone call to a mate of mine, Bob Webster, who is a keen and very experienced local birder and as luck would have it he was only ten minutes away. Within a short while the bird was relocated and we had a good view, but this time it was in with all the Black Headeds so was a little more difficult to see. Still it was a good end to a good day out and I made my way back to the car as darkness fell wondering where I had put my puncture repair kit.

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