Monday, 21 October 2013

Late SWALLOWS in gale force southerly winds

Well with one month to go before the start of winter birding, one could be forgiven for still thinking it was summer today with the gale force SW wind blowing temperatures of 19 degrees C up from the Azores. It was very wet though, with pulses of heavy showers quickly passing through
I decided to visit WILSTONE RESERVOIR (TRING) in the hope of locating Dave Hutchinson's Scandinavian Rock Pipit but despite an exhaustive search (both by myself and later Bill Pegrum, Ed & Dave H again), it was nowhere to be found.
Highlight was undoubted the 3 late juvenile EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOWS that swept through in seconds, whilst the EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER flock now numbers 190.

The mass of Golden Plover now on the mud - 190 in total

 Otherwise, all 4 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS surviving, 1 juvenile RUFF and the ringed GREEN SANDPIPER, with 11 Great Crested Grebe, 31 Greylag Geese, 312 Wigeon, 501 Teal, 20 PINTAIL and 59 Mute Swans all counted.
The spit between the jetty and Drayton Bank is becoming increasingly popular with roosting gulls and today 49 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were present (both intermedius & graellsii), 3 Herring Gulls (including a sub-adult Argentatus) and an adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL.

Adult Yellow-legged Gull

Scandinavian Herring Gull

Intermedius & graellsii Lesser Black-backed Gulls

An exceptionally black Lesser Black-backed Gull - Baltic Gull? Look at the wing moult

Two adult Argenteus Herring Gulls

 At LATIMER'S GREAT WATER, just 4 Mute Swans, 20 Tufted Duck, 5 Mistle Thrush and 64 Jackdaw were encountered, whilst at a private site not that far away, a juvenile OSPREY was still performing incredibly well after successfully catching a small Perch; COMMON KINGFISHER too

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