Sunday, 26 January 2020

Port Meadow :: 25 January 2020

This was my first ever visit to Port Meadow and was inspired by the recent sightings of Caspian gull. Grey wagtailI parked up at Walton Well Road car park and headed towards the flooded fields, not really knowing where I was headed. I bumped into another chap who asked where the wigeon were and I had to admit I hadn't got the foggiest. As I passed the trees on my right there were views of grey wagtail and numbers of chiffchaff - possibly my earliest ever.

As I approached the gate, I spotted a sparrowhawk coming low across the water and sweeping left along the tree-line. This spooked a large number of wigeon and teal out onto the water - they added to an incredible collection of Chiffchaffwigeon and a smaller number of teal. On the far bank were a few hundred lapwing which occasionally took to the air to join substantial flocks of BH gull.

Through the date I had redwing in trees across the meadow and buzzard and red kite above. I set up the scope and scanned the water picking out shelduck (5) and pintail (at least 4). I scanned the gulls but couldn't identify anything unusual.

I turned back, through the gate, and set up watch. A couple of other birders turned up and as we chatted, goosander (3) appeared. Long-tailed tit fed behind and a flock of golden plover passed over. Golden plover

After an hour I was running out of parking fee and headed back to the car, passing Adam Hartley (Gnome) on the way. As I stepped into the car a small flock of geese flew in from my left - I'd packed away all my kit and from a distance they looked like Canada geese - reports later suggested 150 barnacle geese had been there and perhaps these were the first of an influx. I didn't see any reports of anyone picking up the Caspian.

Sightings (31) included: black-headed gull, blackbird, blue tit, buzzard, Canada goose, carrion crow, chiffchaff, gadwall, golden plover, goosander, great tit, grey wagtail, greylag goose, herring gull, lapwing, lesser black-backed gull, long-tailed tit, magpie, mute swan, pied wagtail, pintail, red kite, redwing, robin, shelduck, shoveler, sparrowhawk, teal, wigeon, woodpigeon and wren.

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