Thursday, 13 March 2008


Had the afternnon off today after a corking shift at York Hospital this morning. Well it was good compared to yesterday when i got alcohol gel chucked in my eye (accidentally) by a colleague. Think alcohol mixed with soap. It burns. Anyway, scabby eyes apart, I decided to head down to Wheldrake for a few hours and see what I could see on the patch. Lots of thrushes on the reserve but no Mistle Thrush (over 100 sp. on my patch list & no MT). Fighting Song Thrush was the highlight as were some mixed flocks of winter thrushes. Other passerines were busy singing there heads off. No Poecile action but plenty of Lotti's and Bluti's. the Curlews were singing and display flighting everywhere. On the pool a couple of pairs of Goldeneye were gorgeous synchronised diving (males are scarce at Wheldrake for some reason but usually a few fems about). The Reed Buntings have returned in small numbers but no singing. A pair of Little Grebe building a nest were a good sight as I rarely see them on site. Went down to Swantail for the gull roost wich was most excellent. As water levels were low the birds were at the southern end of the reserve spilling onto the refuge. At least 3 Glaucous Gulls were present including one massive one that flew around the hide. All were immatures as was an Iceland Gull with an all black bill. Other interesting gulls (but beyond my ID abilities) were a Herring Gull with a glauc like bicolour bill and a bird I was convinced was a 1st-w Iceland Gull but which had a tiny amount of black in the primary tips (like a BHG). It had a very different pattern and build to the argentatus Herrings that were knocking about. Also big numbers of intermedius LBBG which are unusual in the roost. A sprinkling of graelsii were nice. On my tramp back I flushed 3 Jack Snipe including one bird that gave a nice silhouette against the darkening sky.

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