23 February 2009

Three more of them there gull things...

Yesterday afternoon I subjected myself to (what I think is) one of the most mind numbing aspects of birding... a gull roost! Why do people do it? For over 2 hours I sat on a wooden picnic bench, with my eye fixed to the eyepiece of my 'scope, and stared out at thousands of small, medium and large white, grey and black blobs! And all for nothing - well, almost nothing.

I begrudgingly dragged myself over to Foremark Reservoir in the hope of adding Iceland Gull to my "10-Mile List" but the gull had other ideas and failed to come in to the roost. It wasn't a total waste of 2 hours of my life though as I was lucky enough to get Herring Gull, 2 Mediterranean Gulls and a Yellow-legged Gull, all of which were new birds for the year. If it hadn't have been for those three species I think I could quite easily have thrown my 'scope and binoculars in the reservoir and then jumped in after them! If anyone is planning on trying for the Foremark Iceland Gull feel free to use my bench... I don't think I'll be needing it any time soon!

Oh, one more gull issue before I move on... Yesterday morning I washed the car, it looked great, all black and shiny in the sun. I parked at Foremark and within minutes around 200 Black-headed Gulls had spotted something in the car park that must have looked like food. Shiny black car + gulls = one heck of a lot of sh*t! I washed most of the car off again, in the dark, once I got home!

Before Foremark, I had stopped off at Barrow upon Trent Gravel Pits, a site I'd not yet visited this year. I failed to locate the Red-legged Partridges that I had hoped for but did pick up one new species in the form of Meadow Pipit. Four Scaup were on the main lake, a male and 3 females - I assume they were the birds that have been on Swarkestone Sailing Lake for the past month or so.

In total I recorded 33 species in just over an hour with some of the more notable being a Shelduck, 180 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 100 Tufted Duck, 4 Goldeneye, 2 Goosander, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard, Stock Dove, Grey Wagtail and a large mixed flock of Fieldfare and Redwing. With the exception of the Scaup all the birds seen were common enough species but it was a nice walk around all the same, and it sure beat the heck out of freezing my butt off whilst looking at those damn gulls later in the afternoon!

The "10-Mile List" now stands at 94 species.

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