Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Med arrives on patch!!! (1st January 2014)

Birding on New Years day only began after I rolled out of bed after midday.  I'd already broken my promise of waking up at the crack of dawn to be on patch so I had no excuse to ditch my patch this early on.

patching in the rain

I headed straight for the fields behind the RSSKL and the Yellowhammer flock at Berrybushes Wood staggering into a side-on wind and horizontally falling rain, conditions were far from luxurious.  None the less, I'd already clocked up a few species by the time I reached the A41 bridge and in the field ahead, I was already clenching my fists in glee when a flock of Black-headed Gulls whirled and landed in the field just opposite.  They were continuously on the move and before even reaching the field, they'd moved out of sight to the far end near Middle Farm.  I decided it was worth a detour to check them more closely, however on finally reaching the farm, the flock had dispersed and moved to the other end.  Time to give up...

En route to the Yellowhammer site, 2 Grey Wagtails flew over together (the first time I've seen them on farmland here!)  A couple of sheep fields later and I was greeted with the sight of c.50 Yellowhammer fly in, a great sight to behold on such poor quality farmland!

After watching them for a considerable amount of time, I decided to head back towards Chipperfield Road, bypassing Langley Lodge.  I was lucky enough to chance directly upon the gull flock again which had kindly decided to place itself directly in the middle of the path in the cow fields.  They were milling around a little but it was easy enough to scan through them which led to the discovery of a rather more well built white winged BhGull sized bird with slithers of black to the outer primaries.  I was only on it in flight for the best part of 3-4 seconds but by then I was already on the phone to my brother shouting the news down the line of another patch mega, MEDITERRANEAN GULL!!!  It was quite clearly a classic second winter bird with the usual amount of black still remaining in the primary tips and even when stood feeding, the wing tips appeared mostly white.  The head and bill colour was also typical of this age group with a smudged dark mask and a reddish bill (not yet the bright red of an adult).  It was a surprisingly slender bird (which gave it an attenuated look) and a bit of a runt compared to the chubbier birds I'm used to in Falmouth as it wasn't much different in profile compared to the neighbouring BhGulls.  None the less, I was punching the air with happiness as it'd been a long awaited bird for me which finally disproved my doubts that it wasn't just the same individual BhGulls and Common Gulls that bothered to visit my patch.

less than ideal viewing conditions

2nd winter Mediterranean Gull! The first I've seen on the KL patch

Ephraim was on the scene shortly and seeing him approach from the opposite side of the field, I gave him a wave to let him know where I was stood.  This was the stupidest thing I could possibly have done as the whole gull flock took flight, circled upwards and dispersed, DAMN!!  Unfortunately, despite investing considerable effort to try and relocate it we failed.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Samuel, great find! You didn't notice a silver ring on its leg at all did you? Guessing not by those lovely viewing conditions! I'm wondering if this is the same bird I had last year between Corner Hall & Apsley (1st Winter at the time) as it would be great to have a returning bird to look out for each winter.