Friday, 21 April 2017

Beddington Farm - Movement of Med Gulls!

The Day started off at stupid o clock with a visit to Oaks Park to carry out my BTO early BBS survey. An early start is recommended after the dawn chorus has erupted. I had visited the site previously to set my transect routes and noted the habitats in each section.

My first transect covers the park itself and a small area of farmland on the other side of Croydon Lane. I recorded many common species with Swallow and Skylark making a short list of highlights. The second transect covers half the golf course including the public footpath through a narrow piece of woodland. Willow Warbler was the best find in this section.

The survey took a couple of hours to complete allowing me to sit in some early rush hour traffic as I made the short journey to Beddington Farm. The weather did not really inspire the potential of having a good day there but anything was possible as we enter the peak period of migration.

The first positive note of the day was the sight of low cloud which was slowly covering the Farm. I perched up on my corner which was slightly chilly but it would give me the best possible viewing. Tomas and Markus (MK Ecology) were on site. Swifty joined me and did not need additional oxygen to sustain him at heights he rarely reaches these days. Christian started lower down and walked part of the site finding Wheatear and Yellow Wagtails near the double pylons. I had a male Wheatear guarding my position.

The temperature was slowly rising but there did not appear to be much movement in the skies and plans were being hatched to have an early day. A Red Kite and a couple Buzzard in quick succession put that thought on hold and I am now glad I stayed!
Christian started the ball rolling with a couple of Med Gulls circling over the tip. These were well received as they were my first for the year. Shortly afterwards I saw a tight flock of gull flying high entering the site from the E. The flock of thirteen Med Gulls was clearly migrating and identification was confirmed with the assistance of my camera. These birds departed NW with a further three migrating N shortly afterwards.
I even saw a glimmer of excitement on Swifty’s face for a couple of seconds. This was a great site to feast my eyes on and all the birds were adults and were not hanging around for anything!
The next addition to the days gull list was a washed out Glaucous Gull that flew past Markus who was conducting a count on the South lake and straight into eye level view from the corner. The bird landed on the main island for a short rest before flying off with a group of mixed gulls. Swallow and Sand Martin made up the numbers of migrants for the day.
Note to self check camera setting when changing from sky to land. This was the best I could do with a horrendously over exposed shot of the Glaucous Gull!

Not a bad days birding considering the conditions did not appear to be right on site!

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