Milton Keynes rarities and ridiculous birders

There have been a few rare bird news circulating in town in the last few weeks. Among those there was Bearded Reedling, Great Northern Diver, Slavonian Grebe and Rough-legged Buzzard. These reports appeared on Twitter and Birdguides, but have never been through the local SMS alert system.

Most of the records were posted by an unknown birder and as usual local birders (twitchers) became suspicious immediately. That didn’t really surprised me as I’ve been going through this process since I moved to England. Despite the Bearded Reedling was relocated by a local birder and the record became kinda ‘accepted’, the community remained suspicious when the Great Northern Diver was reported. Nobody managed to see that.

Then a few days ago a Slavonian Grebe was reported from the Willen Lake and yet again a series of cynical posts appeared in the local mailing list. One of the biggest twitchers in England had to say this: “I have been in the game of news dissemination long enough to smell a rat and this one leaves a long trail of doubt.” He said this without going to Willen Lake and tried to find the grebe.

Then all the cynical twitchers has been put to shame, when one of the locals finally got out to Willen and re-found the Slavonian Grebe. I also have seen it a few hours ago.

When I moved to England I had a few cases, when I had to think, I was a bad birdwatcher and it’s better to sell my binoculars. It started with the observation of a family of Common Cranes in Tyringham about two years ago. Nobody believed me. Then I saw a Redpoll and I got a feedback, that it was quite uncommon (in fact it wasn’t). I got another one, after I reported a Common Crossbill. None of them are mega species. Probably I can say, I am from a Common Crane kingdom, where I’ve seen tens of thousands of them in Hungary.

All these happenings are forcing me into giving up reporting and just focusing my own birding. I don’t even give a damn who trusts me or not, whether my records will be included in the annual reports or not. I’ve been birding long enough not to play with rarities just to make my whatever lists more impressive. I’m happy that other Buckinghamshire birders share my thoughts about those self-conceited birders. Luckily there are many kind and approachable ones.

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Bearded Reedling. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The price of being a bird conservationist

Many years ago one of my non-birding friends tried to help me to get my life sorted. One of the ‘lessons’ he taught me, and what many of my current friends would argue with, to get rid of all the negative things from my life. Keep or move away from people with toxic souls, stop listening news on media. I immediately questioned him, but tried reducing negative news to reach me. Suddenly, it worked. And it worked better and better, day by day.

However, I couldn’t completely exclude negative things from my life, simply because I’m addicted to the conservation of birds. In our time being a bird conservationist of any level is one of the most challenging activities. To do it right we have to be emotionally connected to birds and the whole ecosystem. And it is a ‘Catch 22′. State of birds reports are emerging weekly, more and more bird species are in the brink of extinction, less and less money is available to avoid the irreversible processes. We are touched emotionally every day, yet we keep fighting.

If we count the number of issues waiting for being solved and the success stories in bird conservation up to date, we see huge differences. Yes, issues are more frequently coming up than success stories. Still, those success stories give us power not to stop fighting. Fighting means we have to let negative news in our life. Somehow they are different from those we see on news channels about wars, murders, corruption, global warming, lies or who know what else.

I dedicate this post to Everyone who cares about wildlife. Should he or she be a celebrity standing out for birds, a scientist, an ex-hunter who works as a ranger against poachers, a volunteer or a simple parent who teach his or her child not to hate, but respect wildlife and Everyone in between!

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I’m happy to be have nature loving kids with equipped with tenderness and sensitivity towards our feathered friends. © Gyorgy Szimuly

 

Record numbers of Red-breasted Goose in Hungary

Watching tens of thousands flying Red-breasted Geese is definitely one of most incredible birding spectacle in Europe. © Nikolai Petkov

Watching tens of thousands flying Red-breasted Geese is definitely one of most incredible birding spectacle in Europe. © Nikolai Petkov

Earlier this week the first ever Red-breasted Goose census took place in Hungary, following an increased number of observations across the country. The census resulted incredible numbers of these beautiful and globally threatened goose species.

On 6 November 1,733 Red-breasted Goose were counted. Most of the birds were found in the Hortobágy National Park in Eastern Hungary. A single flock of 581 birds and another big one of 412 birds were present on two fishpond. On the wetlands of my former local patches, the Old Lake of Tata and the Ferencmajor fishponds resulted 5 Red-breasted Geese, but this number has increased to 29 by today.

One of the big Red-breasted Goose flocks over the puszta of Hortobágy National Park. © Sándor Borza

One of the big Red-breasted Goose flocks over the puszta of Hortobágy National Park. © Sándor Borza

Hungarian goose experts speculated that this event was the beginning of the split of the wintering sites. It is known that the Arctic breeder Red-breasted Goose is wintering along the northern and western coast of the Black Sea, but small number of birds spend the winter in the Carpathian Basin (Central Europe). It needs further investigations wether something has happened on the traditional wintering sites or this is just a one-off event.

Another classic photo of the puszta with Red-breasted Geese. © Zsolt Ampovics

Another classic photo of the puszta with Red-breasted Geese. © Zsolt Ampovics

On the very same day more than 50 Lesser White-fronted Goose and tens of thousands Greater White-fronted Goose were counted across the country. However not all goose species are doing well. Worryingly low numbers of Tundra and Taiga Bean Goose have been registered in my hometown where it had been a dominant goose species in the ’90s. Less than 1% of the total number of wild geese (15,000 birds) was Tundra or Taiga Bean Goose on the Old Lake of Tata this morning. One of my very best friends, László Musicz said.

Soon we have to initiate the legal protection of the Tundra Bean Geese. A decade ago everyone would have been laughing on such a proposal, then a few years ago we started scratching our head, and today it became a reality.

I will follow the progress reports from Hungary and post updates regularly. Huge thanks for the photos to Sándor Borza (Hungary), Zsolt Ampovics (Hungary) and Nikolai Petkov (Bulgaria).

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More information about the Red-breasted Goose conservation project can be found on http://redbreastedgoose.aewa.info About the Lesser White-fronted Goose visit http://www.piskulka.net © Nikolai Petkov

Update on 10 November 2014

The Hortobágy National Park (HNP) Authority published an update on their website with the final total number of Red-breasted Geese counted during the census. According to the report over 2,000 Red-breasted Geese have been recorded in the whole country including 1,806 birds within the Hortobágy National Park territory.

Sadly, the Tundra/Taiga Bean Goose numbers equalled with the Globally Threatened Lesser White-fronted Goose, while more than 230,000 Greater White-fronted Geese were present in the HNP alone. This issue has to be taken seriously without any further delay!

Source

Self assessment crisis

I have not been living peaceful times in the last few years. Besides family issues, I cannot get rid of the frustration I’ve been feeling by one the distant happenings. This is the lack of graduation, which forced me to work in areas I didn’t want, and in most of the cases, I didn’t like. Life wasn’t simple in the communism era and, at least for our family, sending me to the university was not possible. Without blaming anything or anyone, it certainly affected my entire life.

Getting closer to 50, I know how many wonderful things I could have done for birds by simply being graduated. That document can open lots of doors as easily as the lack of it keeps doors closed. I just recently faced a not so pleasant reaction on the lack of graduation, when I prepared my first shorebird migration research project. I honestly told one of the biologists, who studied Little Ringed Plover, that I wasn’t a scientist. He immediately stopped communicating me, despite he was quite enthusiastic about my plans.

I know, and many would agree, that one doesn’t have to be graduated to be good in an area. I have been trying to work accordingly, and trying to educate myself, but it still makes unhappiness. I’ve been dreaming about working in an organisation for shorebirds for ages. For the reasons described above, it doesn’t seem to be realistic or at least not easy. I saw so many ‘officers’ working for bird conservation without having any related background or even the slightest interest in birds. They simply had a kind of degree, and this makes me even more frustrated. They are career builders and can’t wait for 5:30PM to come every day. Saving birds without feeling passionate about them is like having sex without love. I might be too passionate about birds, I don’t know.

Sometimes I feel, that the only way to work more seriously for shorebirds is to establish an own organisation. Luckily there are successes, what keeps me going on. The World Shorebirds Day is definitely one of these success stories I have to be proud of. Nobody asked me about my graduation and yet it worked wonderfully. I might need professional advice or feedback from my community to step over this self-assessment crisis. It certainly affects my future productivity.

I feel some relief since my son’s been a university student and working hard for his degree.

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Frampton Marsh visit

The RSPB Frampton Marsh is one of the key roosting sites in the area. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The RSPB Frampton Marsh is one of the key roosting sites in the area. © Gyorgy Szimuly

It’s been a busy weekend with the BirdFair at Rutland Water, but birding somehow wasn’t on the priority list. As expected, by Sunday afternoon I couldn’t stay indoor anymore, so I decided to explore another new coastal birding site. We visited the RSPB Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire.

From the seawall beautiful salt marsh can easily be watched. © Gyorgy Szimuly

From the seawall beautiful salt marsh can easily be watched. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Plenty of Ruffs were feeding in the area. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Plenty of Ruffs were feeding in the area. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Only a part of this vast area is accessible, but it still holds a nice number of birds including many waders. Birding was rather challenging today due to the strong wind, what made holding the binocular steady nearly impossible. The most abundant species of the marsh was the Black-tailed Godwit with both Icelandic and Europen subspecies. Northern Lapwing, Mallard and Eurasian Teal (Or Eurasian Green-winged Teal) was the most abundant species. Among the rarities I saw two unseasonal Brant Geese and a long staying Glossy Ibis, which was feeding just next to the footpath. While the visit was short, it gave me an impression of the birdlife of Frampton Marsh. It definitely worth for more frequent visits as this is one of the closest coastal areas to my home.

There must be a Glossy Ibis on this image. © Gyorgy Szimuly

There must be a Glossy Ibis on this image. © Gyorgy Szimuly

List of birds seen:

Graylag Goose 3
Brant Goose 2
Barnacle Goose 1
Canada Goose 183
Mute Swan 14
Common Shelduck 33
Eurasian Wigeon 4
Mallard 317
Northern Shoveler 9
Green-winged Teal (Eurasian) 83
Common Pochard 1
Tufted Duck 9
Little Grebe 4
Great Crested Grebe 4
Great Cormorant 6
Gray Heron 4
Little Egret 7
Glossy Ibis 1
Eurasian Spoonbill 1
Eurasian Moorhen 22
Eurasian Coot 49
Pied Avocet 15
Northern Lapwing 101
Common Ringed Plover 3
Common Redshank 6
Eurasian Curlew 3
Black-tailed Godwit 396
Ruff 27
Dunlin 2
Common Snipe 8
Black-headed Gull 127
Lesser Black-backed Gull 4
Stock Dove 1
Common Wood Pigeon 3
Common Swift 1
Common Kingfisher 1
Bearded Reedling 1
Bank Swallow 280
Northern Wheatear 1
European Starling 398
Western Yellow Wagtail (Yellow) (M. f. flavissima) 10
White Wagtail 2
Meadow Pipit 3
European Goldfinch 1
Eurasian Linnet 8

Pectoral Sandpiper at Manor Farm

Most probably as a result of the remnants of the Hurricane Bertha, hit southwest England early Sunday, a local mega turned up close to my home. Rob Hill, the local expert of Manor Farm spotted a Pectoral Sandpiper on the west end of the quarry.

As weather improved slightly, we left for some birdwatching, targeting to find the reported male Whinchat. A few minutes after our departure, I got the news about the Pectoral Sandpiper. Sharp turn and I was on my way to Old Wolverton, hoping that Rob Hill, the finder, was still there.

Manor Farm quarry in late afternoon. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Manor Farm quarry in late afternoon. © Gyorgy Szimuly

He was there and another birder was coming next to me. I’ve never met any of these local birders before, so it was nice to see some of them. Rob was very kind and let me watch the bird through his spotting scope. One of the guys thought it was an adult bird, but I thought it was a fresh juvenile. The bold rufous-creamy edges on the scapulars and the whitish line on the sides of mantle made it a juvenile bird.

The last Common Swifts soared against these beautiful clouds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The last Common Swifts soared against these beautiful clouds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

I didn’t walk on the route as I used to, but enjoyed the beautiful sunset with dramatic clouds on the sky. Among the regular shorebirds, Northern Lapwings, a Ruff, a Dunlin, Green Sandpipers, Common Sandpipers, Little Ringed and Common Ringed Plovers were present, but the Pectoral Sandpiper was feeding alone and separated from other birds.

Just before light started to decrease, Rick and Elis Simpson arrived to see this rarity. It’s always nice to see the Wader Quest couple, especially in the field.

It was my first Pectoral Sandpiper seen in the United Kingdom, but unfortunately no image is available to illustrate.

A bitter taste conclusion

I don’t consider myself a big ‘give-uper’, but sometimes I just can’t figure out what step would be necessary to move forward. Today I made a decision to stop working on the WorldWaders News Blog. I don’t feel good at all as it was my child and my passion at the same time. A bit more than 4 years ago I set up this WordPress site driven by an idea to collect news about shorebirds from around the world and publish them in a single website. I thought it was a good idea to offer a more comfortable way to learn more about shorebirds (or waders if you like).

Despite it didn’t get much attention by wader scientist and larger conservation bodies, I carried on and kept asking permissions re-posting news. I failed to find co-authors who could help making this news platform more diverse and colourful. Finally the numbers, the cruel numbers made my decision.

The blog was born in May 2010. During the 51 months I posted 254 news, what is 4.9 news per month. It is definitely not enough for keeping the audience awake, although I didn’t really run the blog in 2014. In 51 months the blog got only 70 followers. A part of the followers have nothing to do with shorebird conservation or research and not even the birds in general. Since the site moved to WordPress from Posterous it got 30,855 clicks. There were about an additional 70,000 clicks when the site was running under Posterous, which was later stopped offering blogging service. So, the blog altogether got about 100,000 clicks, which means 65 clicks a day. One of the clicks always made by my dear Son. Haha… The best ever day in its history was earlier this year, when a Slender-billed Curlew was supposedly seen in Serbia. On the day we released the news, it got 6,419 views. The total views on this single news exceeded an unbelievable 10,000 views. If I deduct it from the 100,000 total views, the number of daily visits is just 58.

These are the numbers. Let’s say, it had a quite modest publicity despite my best efforts, social media sharing with a potential reach of about 5,000 friends/followers (90% of them are connected to birds). I must have done something wrong or the failure might be related to my personality, I don’t know. It definitely pulls me back from shorebird conservation in general, but the devotion of loving shorebirds will never be taken away. However, I’m still hoping that the World Shorebirds’ Day can make a difference and it can be a success. I enjoy organizing it, and at least I’ve got some encouraging feedback. Despite I’ve got some quite frustrating feedback from leaders of some national bird conservation societies, I keep working on this event. I know, it never will be a boom event until a big organization is offering an ‘umbrella’ (not financially), but I keep working on it.

I’m very sad about the WorldWaders News Blog. I keep the blog open for anyone who wants to read old news, but I stop posting items.

I don’t blame anyone, not even myself…

This image is about patience and faith, what I seem to have lost somewhere. © Andrea Szimuly

This image is about patience and faith, what I seem to have lost somewhere. © Andrea Szimuly

Manor Farm Quarry at dawn

In the last few months I simply couldn’t manage to wake up early to spend some precious time with birds. When I finally decided to go to sleep, it had already started to dawn. The Manor Farm Quarry seemed to be a good choice for an early morning birding. When I arrived European Robins started to sing and call, Canada Geese flew off to feed on nearby fields and Western Jackdaws left their roosting site next to the Aqueduct. Opposite the manor the resident Little Owls were ready for daytime roosting. Surprisingly, I found 4 birds around the big tree.

East end of the quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The east end of the quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Manor Farm from the east end of the quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Manor Farm from the east end of the quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Gravel quarry now used by birds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Gravel quarry now used by birds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

I enjoyed the four hour walk with finding many mixed songbird flocks containing mainly European Blue Tits, Great Tits and Long-tailed Tits, but every flock had a few European Blackcaps or Common Chiffchaffs as well. I saw a lot of European Green Woodpeckers assuming at least 3 successful breeding pairs in the area.

Common Ringed Plovers are regular migrants in the Manor Farm Quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Common Ringed Plovers are regular migrants in the Manor Farm Quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

There were some shorebirds (waders) in the quarry, but way less than on the coastal wetlands. The most numerous species were the Northern Lapwing roosting at the eastern end of the quarry. Little Ringed Plovers, Green Sandpipers and Common Sandpipers were feeding in the middle of the area. Despite the site could be good for migrant shorebirds, it rarely holds a larger number of birds. All in all, it was good sitting down in the far corner of the quarry and watch birds peacefully. Tufted Ducks, Mallards and Common Coots still had just a few days old downy ducklings and ‘cootlings’.

Common Sandpipers were calling frequently on the edge of the quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Common Sandpipers were calling frequently on the edge of the quarry. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Green Sandpiper. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Green Sandpiper. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Here is the list with numbers:

Graylag Goose 37
Canada Goose 178
Mute Swan 11
Gadwall 6
Mallard 86
Green-winged Teal 3
Tufted Duck 41
Gray Partridge 1
Little Grebe 3
Great Cormorant 4
Gray Heron 6
Little Egret 16
Common Buzzard 1
Eurasian Moorhen 30
Eurasian Coot 66
Northern Lapwing 206
Common Ringed Plover 2
Little Ringed Plover 5
Common Sandpiper 4
Green Sandpiper 4
Common Redshank 1
Ruff 2 (one was overflying)
Black-headed Gull 425
Lesser Black-backed Gull 43
Common Tern 36
Common Wood Pigeon 43
Little Owl 4
Common Swift 31
Common Kingfisher 5
European Green Woodpecker 8
Eurasian Magpie 15
Eurasian Jackdaw 52
Rook 2
Carrion Crow 67
Bank Swallow 6
Barn Swallow 11
Common House Martin 28
Great Tit 10
Eurasian Blue Tit 32
Long-tailed Tit 21
Eurasian Treecreeper 3
Eurasian Wren 27
Willow Warbler 1
Common Chiffchaff 4
Sedge Warbler 3
Eurasian Reed Warbler 3
European Blackcap 19
Garden Warbler 1
Greater Whitethroat 1
European Robin 28
Eurasian Blackbird 27
Song Thrush 8
Mistle Thrush 2
European Starling 8
Dunnock 6
Western Yellow Wagtail (Yellow) (Motacilla flava flavissima) 1
Gray Wagtail 2
White Wagtail (British) (Motacilla alba yarrellii) 10
Common Chaffinch 7
Eurasian Bullfinch 5
European Greenfinch 8
European Goldfinch 56
Eurasian Linnet 9

White-rumped Sandpiper is my new Western Palearctic shorebird

We were just about to go out somewhere for having fun, when a news about a White-rumped Sandpiper was posted via BirdGuides mobile app. As I have never seen White-rumped Sandpiper in the Western Palearctic, and it is a shorebird, it was obvious to jump to the Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve in Lincolnshire.

Adult White-rumped Sandpiper in breeding plumage in its Canadian Arctic breeding grounds. © Shiloh Schulte

Adult White-rumped Sandpiper in breeding plumage in its Canadian Arctic breeding grounds. © Shiloh Schulte

Thanks to a rater slow Monday afternoon driving, we arrived late to the Tennyson’s Sands, a part of the massive nature reserve. I first went to the northern hide and spent some time alone. I enjoyed watching and listening shorebirds undisturbed. The view was something I have been dreaming about for a while. Wonderful and colourful waders were in front of the hide, including a flock of adult Dunlin, Sanderling, but also many European and Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits and a few Red Knot, all still in breeding plumage. The numbers were not big, but still it was a pleasant and tranquillizing half an hour.

I was focusing on the small Calidris group feeding in front of the hide. Counting birds also helps in the careful separation of different species. It didn’t take too long to spot a bird with different jizz. A silvery sandpiper with a horizontally elongated body, longer tail and wings popped out from the flock. I could watch them for about 15 minutes while they moved from a little muddy island to another. It was feeding intensively and stopped for preening for a few minutes only. Then, by some reason, the whole mixed flock flushed off and landed in the southern end of Tennyson’s Sands.

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Black-tailed Godwits feeding in the Tennyson’s Sands of the Gibraltar Point NNR. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Later the flock was relocated by a local birder, but most of the birds stayed out of view behind a larger vegetated island. As lights decreased fast I left the area, but remained satisfied what the Gibraltar Point offered me.

It’s not possible to define the origin of the vagrant White-rumped Sandpipers in Great Britain. Most probably they are coming from the Canadian Arctic, but westward movements from far northeast Siberia is also possible (like the Great Knot(s) appearance two weeks ago in Norfolk or in Poland).

Plumage colour pattern and the colour tones of its nesting habitat allows the White-rumped Sandpipers a perfect camouflage. © Shiloh Schulte

Plumage colour pattern and the colour tones of its nesting habitat allows the White-rumped Sandpipers a perfect camouflage. © Shiloh Schulte

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The White-rumped Sandpiper is such a finely marked shorebird making it an elegant member of the Calidris group and one my favourite sandpiper species from the Americas. © Shiloh Schulte

Huge thanks to Shiloh Schulte for his lovely images, who recently returned back from the Arctic Canada where a group of scientists studied shorebirds. Also, thanks to BirdGuides for spreading the news.

Shorebird numbers:

Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) 32
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) 29
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) 4
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) 1
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) 1
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) 6
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) 3
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) 159
Red Knot (Calidris canutus) 5
Sanderling (Calidris alba) 19
Dunlin (Calidris alpina) 46
White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis) 1 ad
Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) 6

Update: the other morning the sandpiper was found again with another rare shorebird, a Broad-billed Sandpiper!

Rarity finding accomplished

It was another impressive birding day in England. We headed very early in the morning to Dorset to find another long-staying rarity, a 1st summer Ross’s Gull. This red-legged Little Gull-like bird was first reported on 21 May from Bowling Green Marsh near to Topsham.

The rain stopped by our arrival and weather turned to be very pleasant. The Bowling Green Marsh Hide was empty at 9AM allowed me to watch the gorgeous feeding Black-tailed Godwits in breeding plumage. A Green Sandpiper, Common Redshanks, already in winter plumage, and Northern Lapwings were the representatives of waders. Gulls seemed to be somewhere else, so I decided to walk to the other hide.

RSPB Bowling Green Marsh is one of the roosting sites of the birds of the Exe Estuary. © Gyorgy Szimuly

RSPB Bowling Green Marsh is one of the roosting sites of the birds of the Exe Estuary. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The hide is offering an open view to the Exe Estuary and its mudflat. The tide was coming so it was just a question of time for the birds being pushed back to the roosting site of Bowling Green Marsh. On the mudflat I couldn’t spot the Ross’s Gull, so as the high tide was progressing, I decided to return back to the other hide. Not surprisingly, it was full of birdwatchers. They knew the bird would come with the high tide as many times for weeks now.

Incoming tide in the Exe Estuary. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Incoming tide in the Exe Estuary. © Gyorgy Szimuly

It took a while till all the gulls returned for roosting. The first excitement emerged by the arrival of a 1st summer Little Gull, which was claimed as a Ross’s Gull by one of the birders. A pro birder, means really skilled, birder corrected the identification and suddenly people got quiet again. After all, the Ross’s Gull appeared with the last flocks of gulls. It provided a very nice view both in flight and on the mud. After landing I had a chance to watch it through an incredible Swarovski modular scope of that keen birder. What a view it was! The resident Carrion Crows often flushed the gulls, what the Ross’s Gull didn’t tolerate too well and flew off the area.

Ross's Gull is a unique-looking gull with red legs. © Steve Rogers (www.swoptics.co.uk)

Ross’s Gull is a unique-looking gull with red legs. © Steve Rogers (www.swoptics.co.uk)

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Another unique feature of the Ross’s Gull is the long wedge-shaped tail. © Steve Rogers (www.swoptics.co.uk)

Records from Bowland Green Marsh:

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) 1
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) 4
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope) 2
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 7
Green-winged Teal (Eurasian) (Anas crecca) 4
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 1
Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea) 1
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) 3
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) 2
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) 9
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) 7
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) 1
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) 8
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) 1
Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus) 1
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) 9
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) 19
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) 55
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) 132
Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) 3
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 550
Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus) 1
Ross’s Gull (Rhodostethia rosea) 1 1st summer
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) 5
European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus graellsii) 1
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) 2
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis) 6
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) 4
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 3
Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) 4
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) 7
Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) 2
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 2
Common House-Martin (Delichon urbicum) 6
Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) 2
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) 4
Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) 7
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) 2
Eurasian Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) 3
European Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) 1
Greater Whitethroat (Sylvia communis) 1
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) 2
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) 2
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 2
Dunnock (Prunella modularis) 6
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) 1
European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) 2
Eurasian Linnet (Carduelis cannabina) 1

On the way to Portland Bill I came across a large mixed flock of Common Swift (360), Common House Martins (24) and Barn Swallows (12). I have never seen such a large Common Swift flock and it surprised me to see it in the beginning of July. I know very little about their biology and life cycles, but must have finished breeding. Along the East Yorkshire coast 5.200 birds were counted today.

At the Portland Beach Road at Wyke Regis I stopped to check Mediterranean Gulls at the lagoon. They were in various phases of moult into their winter plumage. Gorgeous Little Terns, summer plumaged Dunlins, Sanderlings and Common Ringed Plovers made the tiny mudflat exciting.

East end of the Fleet. © Gyorgy Szimuly

East end of the Fleet. © Gyorgy Szimuly

eBird checklist from the east end of the lagoon:

Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) 12
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) 1
Sanderling (Calidris alba) 1
Dunlin (Calidris alpina) 13
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 18
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) 69 (two colour ringed birds with green with white codes)
European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 19
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) 2
Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) 21
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis) 3
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) 3
Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis) 1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 63
White Wagtail (British) (Motacilla alba yarrellii) 2

Portland Bill was very crowdy, but I was hoping to find some seabirds, following  the exciting morning news about the observation of a Black-browed Albatross. As I entered the cliffs, I picked 3 fast flying shearwaters just meters from the shore. They were my very first Manx Shearwaters ever. I sat down on a rather comfortable cliff and enjoyed birds flying by for more than an hour. Off-shore, I counted some more Manx Shearwaters, but no skua or other shearwater species was seen. I tried hard to spot a European Storm-Petrel, but I couldn’t find one.

Sea view from Portland Bill. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Sea view from Portland Bill. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The lighthouse of Portland Bill is one of the popular attractions of the south coast. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The lighthouse of Portland Bill is one of the popular attractions of the south coast. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Records from Portland Bill:

Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) 1
Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) 22
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) 19
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) 1
Common Murre (Uria aalge) 18
Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) 6
European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 17
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) 9
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis) 4
Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) 2
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 42
White Wagtail (British) (Motacilla alba yarellii)
Rock Pipit (Western) (Anthus petrosus petrosus) 1
Eurasian Linnet (Carduelis cannabina) 14
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 1

Many thanks to the unknown birder in the hide who allowed me to watch the Ross’s Gull through his spotting scope. Special thanks to Steve Roger for allowing me to use his photos of the Bowling Green Marsh Ross’s Gull.

Life list increased by two and now is at 2.182!