My back having siezed for some unknown reason on Friday, Saturdays walk and count was taken at an unusually delicate pace and all the better as the weather was fine the Skylarks called overhead and water levels had dropped to a level allowing full access along the bumpy road for the first time in a week and a half. The Redpolls, Robins and Bullfinches were all active in the hedgerows and a single Chiffchaff called. A lone Whooper Swan flew off the flood with a Black tailed Godwit, 2 Ruff, 24 Curlew and 150 Lapwing remaining along with scores of Gulls. The return stagger found two Stonechat feeding, No 116 on the year list. I was joined by GB who also found a Whinchat indicating the birds were on passage which is sad as Stonechat bred here regularly till the recent bad winters. Then STH and PJA called by and we chatted about the relative differences between our patches which are only 5-6km apart noting that Little Gull, recorded at Arcot / West Hartford was missing from my list. Two Buzzards called overhead and three Jay flew from the wood as we made our separate ways.
After an abortive afternoon on the coast I returned to have a final look before the Saturday evening televisual torture. As I set off from the car ADMc rode alongside on his new bike and we chatted as we made our way up the road. Now Andys bike list is close or may now exceed my Northumberland list and as we met AB at the goats we had barely turned the corner when Andy called Little Gull and there was the little treasure and No117 to boot.
Not to mention the light levels which started at overcast and ended in bright sun. That's my excuse for not making better of the splendid opportunity.
Anyway some excellent views were had along with comparison shots alongside Black headed Gulls. The markings indicate a second calendar year bird and it's call was quite distinct being much sharper and harsher the Black headed.
I never managed to get that action shot I wanted as it danced dived and danced over the water although comic stunt shots were achieved. Eventually with some unheard call all the birds headed off east at around 18.00. I returned this morning and the bird was back again at the same place but after ten or so minutes on the water it started ranging quite widely round the Carr. Later on whilst checking the Godwit and Curlew up the range track it again flew in front of me to be followed at a lower height and more direct pace by a Kingfisher! No118 Splendid!