Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Little Gull again, plus a year-tick

With lots of long shifts at the warehouse I work at and not many days off recently, what with the busy run-up to xmas, I've missed visiting Earlswood some days this month. Most unusual for me these days, was only being able to make one 20-minute visit to the lakes in a period of five days - very depressing! Please get in touch if you've seen anything interesting at Earlswood recently, as I could easily have missed it, and many thanks to those who have reported their sightings to me already.

Terry's Pool has been more productive than usual recently. Firstly Robin Moore alerted me to an interesting duck there, which is likely to have been the female Mandarin Duck that I saw in the same area today. Then Jon Chidwick texted me about two Gadwall there, a species I've been waiting all year to see at the lakes for my patch year-list, but alas it was a day that I was working a 6am-5pm shift so definitely no chance of twitching! Not expecting them to still be there based on past experiences, I managed to see them (two males) during a brief visit yesterday, my 125th bird species seen at Earlswood this year! Even more surprisingly, they were still present for a third day today when I did this month's WeBS counts, and also seen by Tony Philp. With rain forecast tonight there's a fair chance they'll still be there tomorrow. Also seen at Terry's Pool today was the long-staying male Shoveler and a flyover Mistle Thrush, with a male Common Pheasant showing briefly on the path along the south side of Windmill Pool. Another surprise yesterday was a first-winter Little Gull flying around the lakes, viewed from the causeway, with rather worn black markings on the wings and tail, which I think was a different bird to the one seen on the 10th; not certain though as the first bird was not seen as well given fading light so tricky to compare, and as I said I've missed visiting some days, when a bird wandering the local area might have made other visits. Interestingly a report of Little Gull came from nearby Bartley Reservoir today, but I don't know the details.

M.P. Griffiths

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