Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Blenheim Palace :: 16 April 2019

Another day off as it is the end of my holiday year at work, and as the family are all off work due to school or University Easter breaks. We decided to visit Blenheim Palace for a walk, and because there was a Bonaparte's gull reportedly still present. It was reported to be on the old shooting hide by the boardwalk on Queen's Pool this morning but when we got there there was no sign, although there were common and artic tern; one of each. It was interesting to see the grey herons and little egrets in the trees on the island in Queen's Pool.

We strolled round the grounds and as we reached the turn I dropped round the edge of Queen's Pool again; still no sign. We continued back to the bridge and could see some birders on it. From here we could see numerous sand martin and swallow, but no Bonaparte's gull. I talked to a couple of the guys and no one had spotted it recently.

The family were growing restless and so we headed back towards the Visitors entrance for afternoon tea. I could see some gulls off to my right and so negotiated to head off on my own to look over to the back end of the South Lake, west of the bridge. I could see one of the birders I had talked with (Dave Lowe) and dropped down to see what he had found. Sure enough the Bonaparte's gull was there and spinning round with a number of black-headed gulls. I took some decent photos given the poor light and gentle drizzle, unfortunately of the wrong bird! I did get a few of the right bird, but poor and from distance. Bonaparte's gullWe also had flypasts from the terns, particularly the arctic.

The family were waiting and so I had to leave without a better opportunity to get a decent photo, now that it was feeding on the opposite bank.

Sightings (29) included: arctic tern, black-headed gull, blue tit, Bonaparte's gull, Canada goose, carrion crow, chiffchaff, common tern, coot, cormorant, goldfinch, great tit, grey heron, greylag goose, jackdaw, little egret, mallard, moorhen, mute swan, pheasant, pied wagtail, red kite, rook, sand martin, shelduck, swallow, teal, tufted duck and woodpigeon.

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