Saturday 20th March.
As the late great Phil Lynott, of Thin Lizzy, used to say, guess who just got back today:
In addition to that, also at Uttoxeter Quarry first thing were 2 Sand Martins passing through, 1 Green Sandpiper, 4 Oystercatcher, 26 Wigeon. Following that, it was back home, pick up Andy and Mad Malc, and over to Albert Village Lake to see if we could see the possible Mew Gull (of the race Brachyrhynchus, a scrabble winner if ever I saw one) that has been around.
The rain, which was falling all the way there, thankfully stopped when we arrived. There were plenty of gulls around at this time, but that was nothing compared with the hundreds upon hundreds of gulls that took off from the nearby tip and onto the lake. Like a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock film!
A short while later the bird was located around the island in the lake, then led us on a merry dance as it moved from one side of the island to the other. Despite some enthusiatic claims of the bird, it was eventually refound and gave good views.
Now what I'm not going to do is give a full explanation on such lines as "I think it's a Mew Gull (or not one) because of this, this, this and this" because I can't, unlike one or two people who were at the lake. However, this bird is noticeably different to the other Common Gulls around it.
Whatever it is, it's an interesting bird to go and see, plus Albert Village lake is a great place to study gulls in general. When it comes to birding, you never stop learning and the best way of educating yourself is to go out and see these things.
And with that, plus the fact that it was starting to rain quite heavily, we made a dash for the car and headed into the Trent Valley. Incredibly, by the time we reached the parking spot for Branston Gravel Pits the rain stopped again. We were really lucky with the rain today. I also had another spot of luck, by finding two Avocets!
And just to prove there were two, and I didn't mistake one for a Black-headed Gull, here's a poorer picture:
Also around were a Little Egret, Green Sandpiper, 3 Redshank, 21 Shelduck, 38 Teal. The rain started as we got back to the car, and with that it ended a successful day's birding.