Sunday, March 09, 2008

London Wetlands Centre 9/3/08

I went with Phil ( and his wife to the Wetlands Centre today, hoping for the Garganey, Water Rail, Water Pipit and Bittern.

Phil and I were having a little competition today to see who would see the most birds! I have really got him into this listing thing. We made our way to the Peacock Tower, going in the hides as we went. We spent a considerable amount of time in the first hide, where we mainly got the common species on the list. There were a few Great Black-backed Gulls (all 1st winters) around with the Herrings, Common and Black-headed Gulls. Both Little and Great-crested Grebes were seen. There were 2 Canada Geese and Phil saw a Shelduck. As I scanned the reeds to no avail for Bittern, I noticed an odd looking birds swimming along the reeds, it was a Water Rail (year bird)! Unfortunately it slipped away into the vegetation before Phil could get onto it. 2 Pintail (male and female) flew in. Several Stock Doves were feeding on one of the islands too.

Above: Probable Caspian Gull, please leave your thoughts about this bird in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

Note black bill spot, long wing projection, black eye, pushed in face and parallel sided bill.

Phil soon beckoned me to have a look at the Gulls with him, I pointed out a 'Caspian' looking 3rd winter Herring Gull to him. I didn't have much time to look at it and tried to snap away some some scoped photos. See above. This would be a potential year bird and my first self found Caspian (admittedly I have claimed one or two in the past, which I genuinley did think were Caspians but highly doubt now).
We went to the feeding station next where there were loads of Siskins flying around. I got some pleasing shots of them, they let us get so close. There were a few Reed Buntings around here too.
We went back to the cafe for some snacks before going onwards to the next hide and the Peacock Tower.
Ring-necked Parakeets were very obvious today, with many around the feeders. I managed to get a few photos of them. A Water Vole was seen on the vole feeder (with carrots/cheese on it) allowing a good photo opportunity (photos soon after i've sorted the problem that my RAW files always come out green after editing/converting.)
The next hide gave us great views of 2 Redshank! The first for the centre this year, I believe. This pair may breed here later on this year. We moved on to the Peacock tower...
We spent the rest of the time at the Peacock Tower, I had a look at all sides a few times, there were 2 Snipe (year bird). I spotted 30 Wigeon grazing and another pair of Pintail. I saw several Pochard on the lake at the South end (I think) of the reserve. I saw 3 Stonechat on the tops of reeds in front of what I think is the Headley hide.
Phil and I both finished with 43 species (despite missing Bittern, Water Pipit and the drake Garganey, which has left), though a few of the species on our lists were different (ie I got Jackdaw and Water Rail and he got Shelduck and something else) and he dropped me off home after good day's birding.


Colin S said...

That just doesn't look like a caspian gull to me, there's a whole suite of characters that are wrong, and I dont have the time or inclination to go through them but this is just a Herring Gull. I think it is therefore only right of you to remove the caption of Caspain Gull from your website.
Thank you.
Colin S

Anthony M said...

Hi David.
Just to echo what Colin has said, you were right to put this down as a possible but as he has mentioned there are not enough features to confirm this bird, due to the low quality image. A better view would perhaps have clinched it, but I'm afraid all you can do is leave this bird as a possible.
Anthony M

David Campbell said...

Fair enough. As a birder who has only just started looking at Gulls in depth I keep jumping to conclusions. I suppose I'll have to take it off my lists and website, it will save space anyway ;).