Saturday, 12 May 2018

Iceland Gull

I was most surprised to spot an Iceland Gull today. The previous latest spring record for Leicestershire & Rutland was May 2nd 1999 - an adult at Rutland Water seen by Andy Forryan.

Steve Nichols had stopped by for a quick chat and just as he was about to leave when I spotted this little beauty.

It was a dainty bird with distinctly pale coverts. It appears very similar to the one last seen on April 25th, The coverts are paler, but there is a mark under the eye that is also visible on the photos I took in April, so it must be the long staying bird. Where has it been hiding, as it hasn't been seen in the Draycote Water roost since the end of April?

Saturday, 28 April 2018


I soon gave up at Shawell this morning, as there was no tipping, the gulls were mobile and the weather was awful.

I decided to head off towards home and have a quick look at Brascote Pits. Despite the weather some warblers were singing including a very loud Lesser Whitethroat. I noticed a tern over the 'Mars Landscape Pool'. As I got closer I could see it was a Common Tern. There wasn't much else on the pool, so I retraced my steps back towards the footpath. As I neared the footpath I decided to swing right along the western side of the 'Beach Pool'. Something made me look back towards the 'Mars Landscape Pool' and I was surprised to see a drake Garganey in the centre of the pool. Fortunately it stayed until Adey Baker and Colin Green arrived and it was still there when we left the site.

This is only the third record, involving five birds, for the SW Leics area:

1976: two at Huncote Sandpits on October 9th (GAD).
2015: a pair at Brascote Pits on April 14th (AP et al).
          2018: drake at Brascote Pits on April 28th (CDB, ABa, CSG et al).

Drake Garganey, Brascote Pits, April 28th 2018

Monday, 23 April 2018

Catch Up.

I've had a few good few days since my last post: highlights being the arrival of many spring migrants including a singing Grasshopper Warbler near Huncote. This species is very scarce in my local area, especially for me as I can hardly hear them anymore. Adey first heard it and we both saw it briefly.

The Caspian Gull 'Larry' reappeared at Stoney Cove for a couple of days, which was a surprise.

First-Summer Caspian Gull, Stoney Cove, April 2018

The regular juvenile Iceland Gull was still at Shawell on Saturday, which extended the latest date by a bit more. Hopefully it will stay a bit longer.

Juvenile Iceland Gull, Shawell Sandpit, April 21st 2018

Finally a colour-ringed Caspian Gull from Germany was also present in the sandpit - X935.

First-Summer Caspian Gull - X935 - Shawell Sandpit, April 21st

Monday, 16 April 2018

Glaucous Gull

A few posts back I predicted that the latest date for a 'white-winger' at Shawell would be beaten this year. April 15th 2017 was the latest sighting to date. Steve Nichols and I recorded two Iceland Gull on Saturday,  but that was only the 14th. I received a text from Steve this afternoon with photos of a Glaucous Gull he'd found in the sandpit off Gibbet Lane. Steve had broken the record, but I wanted to share in the fun, so I went over to Shawell after work.

There was no sign of any 'white-wingers' in the sandpit, but there was plenty of gulls, so there was a chance it would return. I noticed a large flock of gulls circling above the landfill and amongst them I could see a very white gull. Luckily it headed for the sandpit where it joined the resting gulls. It was a second calendar-year Glaucous Gull - pale tip to its bill, but its wings are very pristine and so only a youngster.

Eventually I was a able to enjoy a fly past of this massive beast and also close infront of it was the regular juvenile Iceland Gull.

Second Calendar-Year  Glaucous Gull, Shawell April 16th 2018
Second Calendar-Year Glaucous Gull, Shawell April 16th 2018
Second Calendar-Year Glaucous Gull, Shawell April 16th 2018
Second Calendar-Year Iceland Gull, Shawell April 16th 2018

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Sunday Morning Bash

This morning I tried a few sites close to home. At Brascote Pits one of the male Ring Ouzels was still lingering and it showed well but briefly in an Ivy covered tree close to the double gate that leads to the 'Beach Pool'.

After there I tried a site near to Kirby Mallory where I was delighted to flush a Jack Snipe. This is the first sighting, as far as I remember, since 2010 in the south-west Leicestershire recording area.

Before arriving at Brascote I had headed out west and at Norton-juxta-Twycross I spotted a pair of Grey Partridge, which is nice these days.

Female Grey Partridge
Male Grey Partridge