Local Redditch birder Neil Duggan had kindly offered an evening out at the biggest Gull roost in the region, at Chasewater, and Matt G the Ealswood Birder and i tagged along in the hope of jamming in on some of that White winger action, and checking a few of the nearby Gulling sites in the hope of picking something up.
We were meeting at Upton Warren, and i got there early to have a check of the Flashes. A Lapwing flock was commuting between the fields and the 2nd flash, making it awkward to get a decent view from the feeder hide. Upon exiting the hide i was watching 2 Goldcrest in a trackside bush when Matt walked down the path towards me that he'd just had a Golden Plover in the Lapwing flock! We moved back into the feeder hide and started scanning the Lapwings at the back of the flash, and there it was, a Golden Plover sitting among them! We watched it walking around in the flock before taking flight and giving us some nice views. Cue a digi-scoped record shot.
Heading north, we first dropped into the West Midlands gull hotspot of Stubbers Green which was practically devoid... A few Great Black Backs and Lessers. Errr, not the best of starts.
It was still some time until the roost, so we then headed over to my new found Gulling spot, at Kingswood lakeside. At least we had Gulls this time! But again it seemed out luck wasn't there, as in the flock were only the expected Herring, LBBG and BHG. Scanning the Gulls flying up above the tip i got exited when i saw a Gull with white wing tips circling with about 10 other Gulls. Sadly however, it didn't seem to be one of the true white wingers. Despite having obvious white wingtips, the had a fairly dark grey 'saddle' on its back, obviously wrong for either of the hoped for species. The bird was at some distance however, but in good light we agreed to call it as an abbarent gull sp.
A lot of the birds were staring to fly over to Chasewater so we decided to follow in the hope we would have more luck there, and then it just got worse. The birds had obviously decided to pitch up at the furthest reaches of the Reservoir, right at the north end, making viewing from the south end almost impossible.
2 Goldeneye were showing fairly well
As was this Common Gull
A adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL was picked out of the closest large flock of BHG at the end of the dam. A stunning 90 % summer plumaged bird, with bright white primary's and an almost fully black hood. If you ask me, one of the most stunning of the small Gulls, and probably one of my favorites!
As the light got worse, i picked up another adult MED Gull, this time a winter plumaged bird, which i believe Neil got onto, but quickly disappeared within the flock (A very common occurrence at Gull roosts). These two alone made my day as it was the one Gull that i had missed on previous roosts this year, so it was nice to have caught up with two of them!
Going back onto the large Gulls they had still failed to move any closer. A adult Yellow legged Gull was showing in the birds in front of the sailing club but that's as good as it got. Many birder's didn't even bother to stay around as they knew the task was almost impossible. But the three of us soldiered on until dark, with absolutely no reward. The day got even worse later that night when news emerged on what the gullers had seen from the west shore.
So yeah, not the most 'to plan' day you could have had, and it is a real shame that we didn't pick up any white wingers, as at the time any would have been lifers for my companions. Sorry i couldn't get you them, i'll just have to owe you a repeat visit so we can get them!