Thursday, 12 March 2009

First of the Year

Thursday 12th March 2009

Back to birding today, starting in a nice bit of Warwickshire countryside around Church Lawford- Bumbling Bears country. No sign of winter thrushes around Lawford Heath just a few Skylarks but the thick roadside hedgerows near Church Lawford held a small numbers of Tree Sparrows and a small flock of Yellowhammers.
As I reached Draycote it started to drizzle. After renewing my annual car park permit and checking the ex-cafe for Moths I set off to Toft. Not many people about and not too many birds. The Red necked Grebe had moved further round towards Toft bay. On the way back a Great northern Diver had moved in quite close to the pontoons. After a coffee it was time for phase 2, a walk to the valve tower. At Rainbow corner I caught sight of my first summer migrant, a single Sand Martin. (121)Continueing round, half a douzen Goosanders were still present but no sign of the Rock pipit which had been around for the previous couple of days. A second Great northern Diver was close in on Draycote Bank. It was defintely a second bird as the photograph shows it has an extended upper mandible.

The pager had been telling be of a Kumlien's Gull at Shawell, Leicestershire all day but having failed on a previous visit for an Iceland Gull there I wasnt exactly going to race over there. However, looking at the map it was fairly close to Draycote and an easy route so I thought it was worth a go. By now it was a nice spring day with pleasant sunshine and a light breeze. I was surprised there was no-one on site when I got there as there had been a number of pager messages and Kumlien's although not a full species are not that frequent in the Midlands. I scanned the few gulls on the pool with no luck but with a constant stream of new gulls dropping in there was a good chance it would come in later. Birders also began to drop in and with more eyes focussed it wasn't long before the 2w Kumlien's Gull was found. It showed well both in flight, on the water and on the bank.

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