Sunday, 10 January 2010

Rare Gulls spurn my Year List on to 119 species


Much lying snow still around, with many side roads still in an atrocious condition and quite challenging. The threat of heavy snow never materialised and in fact temperatures climbed to 2 degrees for much of the day, heralding a slight thaw. The easterly wind moderated during the day.

It was a tour of many local water bodies today, with the highlight being a total of 60 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS seen.


Both PEREGRINES were roosting on the flat SW side of the building at 1439 hours, the female eating a Common Starling.

(1500-1600 hours; partly with Tim Watts)

On the main BBOWT Lake, highlight was undoubtedly the site record flock of 16 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS - 14 of which were feeding on the reed-fringed east bank and another pair in the extreme NE corner. There were also 3 Great Crested Grebes, pair of Mute Swans, 14 Gadwall, 22 Tufted Ducks and 9 Pochard.

Vast numbers of gulls were feeding over the landfill, as well as 8+ Red Kites.

Tim had seen the GLAUCOUS GULL roosting and preening on the ice just before I arrived into the hide (see his fantastic photographs above) and after realising it had flown off, I went to the Sailing Lake and scanned. Within a couple of minutes, I relocated it - a very dark juvenile and a typical brute of a bird - in amongst a pre-roost gathering of just 738 gulls. It represented my 117th species of the year.

I then settled down to scan the rest of the flock which contained the regular adult CASPIAN GULL, at least four adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS, 103 Great Black-backed Gulls, 297 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 140+ Herring Gulls (including both British and Scandinavian, several adults of the former now being completely white-headed) and just 12 Common Gulls.

The Sailing Lake also held a single RUDDY DUCK, 8 Eurasian Wigeon and 4 COMMON GOLDENEYES, whilst 30+ Fieldfares were feeding by the road.


As I drove back through Aylesbury on Weedon Road, a flock of 7,000 COMMON STARLINGS wheeled back and forth low over the houses and industrial estates. This was some spectacle, and the sound of the wing-rush as they swept over my head as I stood in Priory Crescent was absolutely awesome.

Lee G R Evans

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