Yes, that statement is true, although with some overlap surely, i have seen 17 Med Gulls ( In numbers of 1 ,9, 5, and lastly 2, which i will talk about now) this year alone at Upton Warren. WHAT A RUN!
Shannon, 'The Girlfriend' and her little sister, Lauren, accompanyed me to the reserve today to see what was about, so that i could teach them the 'ropes' of birding, to digiscope, and just generally a nice time out in the sun! (And proberbly a little bit of trying to keep me happy by going out birding)
Well, the sun was number 1 ticked off almost immidiatly, as it was bright and warm, a nice way to spend a chilled few hours down by the lake.
We had a hour and a bit, so i thought that the flashes would be the better choice, being more 'bird rich' at the moment and should be more productive.
Immidatly upon reaching the hide, i spotted the 2 BLACK-TAILED GODWIT's feeding at the back of the flashes. These birds showed that at least there was abit of wader passage going on, despite the passage verging on dire this year.
It was nice to get back to basics while out with the two girls, as i took time looking for species that i usually wouldnt, and spend time pointing them out, showing them through the scope, and describing why they were what they were.
Time was also spent learning Lauren to Digi-scope, which i must say, she picked up very quickly, and she got some very good shots of both the Curlew and the Lapwing's. Actually, really good for a first attempt. So, if you ever read this Lauren, Well done. It took me a hell of a long time to actually learn to Digi-scope, so to pick it up that quickly was an achievement!
I was also suprised by how good both of them were at picked out birds aswell, and, i must say, i was quite proud when Shan was correctly identifying Green and Common Sandpipers, and picking up the Godwits in flight, being chased by a LBBG!
Lucky for us. This ment that the Godwit's then landed quite close to the hide, and we were treated to some amazing views. The juvenile bird was stunning, in it's very fresh, bright orange plumage, so therefore presumably a bird of the 'islandica' race.
(Please click on the photo's for better viewing.)
As can be seen, the adult, in complete contrast, was a very scruffy looking bird, as you would expect. However, the bird was obviously moulting into winter plumage, as can be seen by the extensive grey hue's coming through.
For me though, the highlight was when i picked up a juvenile MEDITERRANEAN GULL flying in with a small party of BHG, the bird then proceeded to land at the back of the flashes with the flock, and i was able to show my favorite gull to them. Black tailed Godwit and Med Gull is a good couple fo have on a first birding trip!
After a few minuites however, i was suprised when i saw another MEDITERRANEAN GULL fly in with the BHG. I knew two had been seen together earlier, so i shouldnt have been too suprised, but a great sight, of what is still, not a common bird around here.
Here you can see both birds, both 1 in from each side, and both juveniles. One of the birds was wearing a red leg ring which read 'H5FO', which was found out to be a bird originating from Hungary! This bird had flew 1,100 miles east in just over 2 months since being ringed to be in front of us here at Upton, simply mindblowing if you ask me, 1000 miles at 2 months old!!
Lucky for us aswell, the unringed Med gull decided to move closer, and i was able to take some better pics.
Ive wanted to see a fresh juv for ages, and this is about as close as i will get without visiting a nesting site, as the bird had only just started moulting its scapulars.
Also of note was 10 Green Sandpipers, 3 Common Sandpipers, 20c Curlew and a brief Kingfisher that flew past on the way back to the carpark!
A nice visit, shared with my lovely obliging girlfriend and her sister :)