BLAGDON LAKE BIRDS

January 2013 News


Site Updates; I am currently uploading some of my database information in the Bird Info section, particularly the dates of the accidental, very rare and rare species. Corncrake, Jack Snipe, Little Auk and Turtle Dove are the latest to be added as I work through the non-passerines.

I have also decided to record all sightings of a number of other species that could possibly be undergoing a serious decline in occurrence. I would be very grateful if those birders who visit the lake regularly would help me by sending dates of all records of Smew, Little Owl, Common Cuckoo and Marsh Tit since 2000 to help understand what is going on. I have tabulated my records to start us off. If the exercise proves to be worthwhile, other candidates we might look at are Yellow Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler and Eurasian Stonechat. Any takers?

In case you missed it, and would like to listen to the Radio 4 Saving Species interview with Daniel Hargreaves about Nathusius' Pipistrelles at Blagdon Lake, I have added a link in the Latest News section of the Bat Info Page.

Updated 3 February, 2013


Rarity Highlights within the last year; Ferruginous Duck, Lesser Scaup and Squacco Heron.

Updated 2 January, 2013


Tuesday 1st January 2013 [Bright and sunny]

A very Happy & Healthy New Year!

I got mine off to a good start with a lovely walk in the sunshine first thing this morning. I saw or heard 54 spp. of bird at the lake, the highlights of which were the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis at Hellfire Corner and yes, you've guessed it, the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis at Burmah Road playing hide-and-seek around the flooded bushes. Welcome surprises were a fly through Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna and an adult Northern Pintail Anas acuta swimming around off the dam looking lost! The adult Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula with blue nasal saddle '34' that has been present for several weeks was diving on the the south side of Rugmoor Point.

Wednesday 2nd January [Mizzle]

There was the very welcome sight of a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos pottering along the dam wall picking off food items at the waters edge this morning. Quite a few gulls were sitting on the water but there was nothing unusual among them. The adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis and Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis were both at Hellfire Corner, as they were yesterday.

Thursday 3rd January

I'm not feeling too well today, so may not visit the lake. There has been a report on Rare Bird Alert that the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos is still present.

Friday 4th January [Mild and overcast]

I got off my backside today and checked the lake. The adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis was in the usual place about 100 metres out from Hellfire Corner. Pete Taylor found the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis at Burmah Road this afternoon. The Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the south end of the dam wall showing very well; I watched it immerse itself completely, several times, while it washed. At 1545 hrs there were huge numbers of gulls scattered all over the dam end, including more Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus than I've seen in the roost all winter. Perhaps the farmers are spraying their fields again? One certainly was at Top End, right beside the lake! Extraordinary, given the conditions.

Paul Williams spotted 3 Common Linnets Carduelis cannabina while we were chatting at Long Bay and he mentioned seeing the Common Sandpiper on the north end of the dam on 20th December. John told me he'd seen a flock of 20-30 Eurasian Siskins Carduelis spinus in the Alders at Hellfire Corner today and Pete, intriguingly, reported what he thought was a Greater Scaup Aythya marila at Butcombe Bay on New Years Day but there was no sign of it this afternoon. Has anyone else seen it?

Saturday 5th January [Mild, grey and still]

Both the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis and Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis were visible from the left hand hatch of the Top End hide late this afternoon off Hellfire Corner and Burmah Road respectively. The Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the dam and, again, there were masses of gulls at the dam end mid-afternoon. I put the clicker on the Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus at dusk and got a total of 1561, so I reckon there were over 1000 Common Gulls Larus canus as well, before they flew off to Chew to roost. There was nothing unusual among the throng that I could see.

Sunday 6th January [Mild and still]

I made a quick visit this morning and saw a Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea and Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the south end of the dam wall, while the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis and Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis were in their usual spots at Hellfire Corner and Burmah Road. If you aren't sure where these places are have a look at my map on the General Info page.

I started a walk around a long distance path called the Mendip Ring with some friends today. It does a wide circuit in the Mendip area and crosses the top of the road, so we picked it up there and walked over Beacon Batch and dropped down onto the moors at Rodney Stoke covering about 15 miles (only 102 to go). The only 'good' birds were a Peregrine Falco peregrinus at Black Rock and a couple of Northern Ravens Corvus corax over Rodney Stoke National Nature Reserve where I also spotted the fungus Scarlet Elfcup Sarcoscypha sp., which I last saw about 20 years ago in Harptree Combe.

Monday 7th January [Mild. Mainly overcast.]

Our first Goosanders Mergus merganser of the year (indeed, of the winter) have arrived in Butcombe Bay, where I saw an adult and 2 adult . The Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the north end of the dam while I spent ages going backwards and forwards checking through the large gull flock. They were coming and going all the time and I'd hoped to nail my first Med. of the year, but still no luck. The adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis was about 100 metres off Hellfire Corner; you'd have to suspect that it has found a rich food source there judging by the amount of time it spends in just this one small spot. The Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was feeding close in to the bank at Burmah Road (immediately west of the Alders at Hellfire Corner).

Tuesday 8th January [Grey with rain late afternoon]

There was no sign of the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam wall at lunchtime, though it may have been feeding down on the spillway or river somewhere. The adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis was in the usual spot 100 metres off Hellfire Corner and the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was in the same place, feeding close in to the emergent vegetation. The Canada Geese Branta canadensis were back at the lake today and the neck-collared individual, orange 'DL', was among them at Green Lawn. I inadvertently flushed 4 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago too.

I've been analysing some of the recent bat monitoring data this afternoon and have found a recording of a Nathusius' Pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii made shortly after dark on 23rd December. We've also recorded Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus on the same evening. I've seen small bat species flying around at the bottom of Park Lane already this year, so I guess they have been emerging on the milder evenings.

Wednesday 9th January [Overcast then sunshine]

Again, there was no sign of the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, but the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was along the Burmah Road stretch and adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis off Hellfire Corner. A (presumed) Lesser Redpoll Carduelis cabaret flew overhead at Hellfire Corner and I added Goldcrest Regulus regulus and Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus to the site list for the year. There were no fewer than 209 Canada Geese Branta canadensis (including the orange 'DL' neck-collared bird) and 35 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus flew through to the west.

For a period late this afternoon, there were over 2500 gulls sitting on the mirror-flat surface of the lake in front of the Lodge. Most were Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus, but there were over 250 each of Herring Larus argentatus and Lesser Black-backed Larus fuscus Gulls. Rather annoyingly, and as with all the checks since the last WeBS count, there was nothing unusual among them.

Thursday 10th January [Foggy]

Visibility was very poor at the lake today, sometimes down to less than 100 metres. I saw the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis off Hellfire Corner but not the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis, though I met a couple who had seen it earlier. I came across a small flock of 8 Lesser Redpolls Carduelis cabaret in the Top End hide copse and saw and heard Eurasian Siskins Carduelis spinus at Lodge Copse and Hellfire Corner. The Canada Goose Branta canadensis with orange neck collar 'DL' was still at the lake and may have been joined by a few more birds than I counted yesterday. I didn't personally see them, but a pair of adult Goosanders Mergus merganser flew to Top End from Butcombe before the mist descended as well.

On the way back it was nice to watch a couple of ♂♂ Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula displaying to a couple of ♀♀. The gull roost was quite large again this afternoon and there were lots of Herring Gulls Larus argentatus in the throng, most of which seem to have moulted into summer plumage already.

Friday 11th January [A lovely sunny day]

I had a group of birders from Minehead U3A to show around at Blagdon today. Unfortunately, BW were doing some fisheries work using boats, resulting in ducks flying everywhere! Nevertheless, the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis was noted at Hellfire Corner but no-one, to my knowledge, saw the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis today. The Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was picking its way along the south end of the dam when I checked the gulls late in the afternoon and a couple of visiting birders told me they'd seen it earlier feeding in the grass on the dam by the by-wash. An adult Goosander Mergus merganser was asleep at the end of Butcombe Bay mid-morning. Our group enjoyed a steady day totting up species for the 'day list' and ended up with between 40 and 50 which was quite respectable, given that we were largely birding from the cars.

Tomorrow, I have a visit from Bristol Ornithological Club to host.

Saturday 12th January [Cold with a strong easterly blow]

It was altogether too wild for the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos to be on the dam this morning and we didn't see it. However, the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis and adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis were both still at Hellfire Corner. The grebe is best looked for down the gap between the Alder trees or immediately west of them from the lay-by and the Lesser Scaup is still frequenting the area 100 metres off the Alder trees and best viewed from Bell's Bush looking left. There was a pair of adult Goosanders Mergus merganser right at the end of Butcombe Bay until they flew east along the north shore towards Top End at lunchtime. Despite the adverse weather conditions the BOC group managed to rack up 50 species in 3 hours.

A reminder to visiting birders: a permit is required and DON'T drive in and walk away from your car, even if the gates are apparently open - they may be closed at any time during the day by the fisheries staff and you'll be locked in.

Sunday 13th January [Cold and sunny]

Terry Doman, Lucy and Phil Delve, and I carried out the WeBS count in the sunshine, for a change! It was full of surprises with 2 adult Bewick's Swans Cygnus columbianus bewickii, a Eurasian Woodcock Scolopax rusticola which flew around us, a huge (female-type) Peregrine Falco peregrinus that kept having a go at Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo, and a couple of Common Shelducks Tadorna tadorna were the pick of the bunch. The adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis and Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis were still at Hellfire Corner too.

Generally speaking, the wildfowl numbers were down since last weekend, with many of the Aythya ducks probably having left when the waterworks guys were buzzing around the lake with motorboats on Friday. The count details are on the WeBS Counts page and include gull roost numbers.

It's a sobering thought, but I have records of 73 species seen at the lake already this year, and that is likely to be at least half of all those we're likely to get in total! It's a patch workers life...

Monday 14th January [Wet morning, sunny afternoon.]

I can't be certain, but I think the 2 adult Bewick's Swans Cygnus columbianus bewickii that arrived yesterday during the WeBS count were 'Jonitor' and 'Willows', who I saw for the first time in December 2011. They were nowhere to be seen today though.

I only spent a couple of hours by the lake at lunchtime after the rain had stopped. The adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis was, as usual, at Hellfire Corner and wonder upon wonder, I found an adult winter-plumaged Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus in the throng of gulls that dropped in around 1400 hrs at the dam end. I didn't have a great deal of time to spend looking for the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis and Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos but they're probably both still around.

Tuesday 15th January [Sunny, still, and cold]

The adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis was at Bell's Bush, the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis at Burmah Road and the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos back on the dam. However, there was a curious distribution of ducks at Top End that I suspected was due to disturbance but I couldn't see any reason until, as I walked back, I spotted an Otter Lutra lutra leisurely swimming across Holt Bay and around Rainbow Point heading towards Top End. Magic!

Wednesday 16th January [Sunny and cold]

I was out trekking again today, 11 miles of the Wysis Way from Monmouth into the heart of the Forest of Dean. The only birdy thing of note was a rather sad Common Buzzard Buteo buteo on a Pheasant shooting estate that was grounded with what looked like a broken wing at the wrist. It was still too active for us to consider trying to catch but I don't suppose it has a rosy outlook.

So, although I rushed back, it was too dark by the time I got home to Blagdon to make a visit to the lake worthwhile. However, Rare Bird Alert are reporting that the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis was still at Bell's Bush and the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam. There has been no news about the grebe and I haven't been emailed any news either.

Thursday 17th January [Cold and overcast]

I had a look around late this afternoon and managed to spot the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis very close in at Wood Bay Burmah Road (sorry) and later off Hellfire Corner, but there was no sign of the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis there, or, of the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam (though there were waves breaking onto the wall).

I also went to see the Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus at Apex Pond, Burnham-on-Sea which showed nicely, but which I thought looked far from chipper. Perhaps, it's been eating too much bread? It was neither as aggressive or as big as I was expecting of a Glauc. and got beaten up by an immature Herring Gull Larus argentatus several times!

Friday 18th January [Snow]

I'll start by confirming that the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis was at Burmah Road again this afternoon and that, as yesterday, I saw neither the grebe or the sandpiper. However, it was an interesting visit with Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis (circa 5-10), Stock Dove Columba oenas (c. 10+) and Skylark Alauda arvensis (15-20) all new to the site list for the year. Other cold weather movements involved several small groups of Fieldfares Turdus pilaris heading south over the lake towards the Mendips and several flocks of Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus wheeling around, with some feeding and resting by the lake (the largest flock was c. 140). The other bird that was much more visible than usual was Common Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus, of which I suppose I saw about 10.

Saturday 19th January [Overcast with snow lying on the ground]

Someone has saved me a 5 mile walk by reporting the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis at Burmah Road late this morning on Rare Bird Alert, thankfully. I am quite busy catching up with a few things that need doing so, having fed the garden birds, I'm quite glad to be snug indoors today.

Stuart Matthews sent me an email later saying he'd walked the length of the lake from 9'ish until 1'ish and saw 6 Song Thrushes Turdus philomelos, 12 Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis, 3 Skylarks Alauda arvensis, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus in Long Bay, 3 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago and it was his companion that spotted the Lesser Scaup. Thanks.

I saw a Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla on the garden feeders for the third consecutive day. It has a very pale rufous crown and made me do a double-take just in case it was something a bit more exotic.

Sunday 20th January [Overcast with snow lying on the ground]

Paul Williams went down before me today and saw the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis in the usual place, and the missing Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis opposite Top End hide at Indian Country. He also reported 2 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago at Holt Bay and 2 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis with the Canada Geese Branta canadensis.

I did go down late this afternoon to fill the bird feeders and have a quick nose around. I saw the Lesser Scaup well up Burmah Road towards Wood Bay Point but didn't see the Barnies or Black-necked Grebe. I did, however, see the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos back on the dam and an adult winter Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus sitting with the very depleted gull flock (<300 birds in total at about 1630 hrs).

Monday 21st January [Overcast with snow lying on the ground]

I took a stroll along the south side road and was immediately pleased to see 2 adult winter Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus sitting on the water at the dam end. The first one I looked at was different to the one I saw yesterday because it was beginning to develop a hood. The second bird was probably the one I saw yesterday, still in its winter garb. As I started along Burmah Road, I spotted the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis feeding around some flooded bushes and the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis was close in to the flooded trees at Hellfire Corner. A (presumed) Lesser Redpoll Carduelis cabaret flew over as I went through Bell's Bush barrier but there didn't appear to be any vis. mig. today. There were at least 66 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope at the lake, which may be an increase, or, they have just become more visible. There were also 29 Gadwall Anas strepera, also an increase on the WeBS count. Finally, on the way home I stopped for a second time to check the dam wall and this time I saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos near the valve tower.

There were fewer Canada Geese Branta canadensis today than of late, but the neck-collared bird orange 'DL' is still here. There was no sign of the Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis reported by Paul Williams yesterday. One of the most significant things I've noticed since the snow fell has been the number of Song Thrushes Turdus philomelos that I'm seeing at the lake. They are finding plenty of snails (mainly Banded Snails Cepaea sp. and Garden Snails Helix aspersa) judging by the number of broken shells scattered all along the south side road.

Tuesday 22nd January [A stiff easterly breeze with sleet in the air]

There isn't anything new to report I'm sorry to say, the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis was showing well at Hellfire Corner as was the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis. I didn't bother to spend time searching for the Common Sandpiper with the waves crashing up the dam wall - even the Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope were in the relative shelter of Butcombe Bay!

Wednesday 23rd January [Sleet & snow showers for much of the day]

I ventured down to the lake in the gloom late this afternoon. I saw the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis off Burmah Road towards Wood Bay Point but there was no sign of the grebe in my brief visit. I chanced, however, upon 6 Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis at various places along the south shore.

Thursday 24th January [Snow is lying & its cold, but we had sunshine!]

It was a lovely afternoon and the sun shone, but I didn't see the Common Sandpiper. The adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis was at Burmah Road in a difficult place to view but the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was showing nicely, for a change, at Wood Bay. There was also a pair of adult Goosanders Mergus merganser right at the end of Butcome Bay swimming in and out of the flooded trees and I watched a Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea feeding along the dam wall.

I decided to look at the Bristol Water website this evening and noticed that there will be public exhibitions held about the planned Cheddar Two Reservoir on the following dates:

You can find more information about the proposal here.

Friday 25th January [Snow, and a bitterly cold wind]

The adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis was at Burmah Road again but there was no sign of the Black-necked Grebe before the snow started falling and I went home. I also saw an adult winter Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus, 2 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis and a Peregrine Falco peregrinus that flew over Green Lawn.

Saturday 26th January [Warmer and fine until dusk]

Marcus Smith had a good look around and saw the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis but not the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis (it was reported on Rare Bird Alert, though I don't know who by). He also reported the 2 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis, the Canada Goose Branta canadensis with neck collar orange 'DL' and a couple of Peregrines Falco peregrinus among the more regular residents. Thanks for the update Marcus.

I did not visit the lake today, I was trekking across the Somerset Levels where I saw a pair of Eurasian Stonechats Saxicola torquata just south of Bleadney which was good news after the recent snows. I haven't seen one locally for ages.

Sunday 27th January [Mainly fine, with a blustery wind & occasional sleet]

I had a look around at lunchtime and early afternoon today. I wish I'd gone down earlier, with all the Black-legged Kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla up the Severn Estuary there had to be a good chance of one at the lake this morning. I saw the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis off Burmah Road / Hellfire Corner but despite looking quite hard in the choppy water, I didn't see the Black-necked Grebe. The Canada Geese Branta canadensis (including orange 'DL') were in Holt Bay with 12 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis.

I have noticed that the pair of Mute Swans Cygnus olor that overwinter at the lake (they are the only pair this winter), and nest at Top End, are seemingly fond of the heads of Bulrush Typha latifolia. I've seen them breaking the flower stems in order to get to the seeds during late winter before but not had the opportunity to photograph them doing it until today, when I watched one trying to pull down the dozen or so heads remaining at Top End. They appear to have eaten all the heads at Flower Corner in the only other patch of T. latifolia in their territory. There is no mention of T. latifolia heads being eaten in Birds of the Western Palearctic but I'll do a bit more research through my library of wildfowl literature to see if it's mentioned anywhere else.

Mute Swan Cygnus olor trying to reach heads of Bulrush Typha latifolia © Nigel Milbourne, 2013

Monday 28th January [Showers turning to persistent rain]

The Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was feeding in the corner at the west end of Burmah Road by Holt Copse at lunchtime and the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis was viewable from the layby at Burmah Road. There wasn't too much else to report other than there were 13 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis with the Canada's Branta canadensis (including orange 'DL'). I sat in the Top End hide for a while and noted that both birds were visible from there (albeit a scope is required). The snow has flattened all the sedges in front of the hide so viewing of Top End is possible from there again, but the water is very coloured.

Tuesday 29th January [Wet all day]

The Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was playing hide-and-seek again today and having not found it on the way down to Top End, and having seen the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis at Hellfire Corner, I did eventually come across it at Wood Bay again showing very nicely. Curiously, there were only 12 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis with the Canada's Branta canadensis on Holt Farm fields. There were large numbers of gulls in for the roost this evening and because the wind was in the south again, viewing was difficult because they kept shuffling along the line. I changed viewing position four times to try and get a better view, but couldn't find anything unusual. There were lots of gulls on the fields alongside Ashey Lane this afternoon but many of these only drop into Blagdon briefly to wash before flying off to Chew to roost.

Wednesday 30th January [A fine sunny day]

I made a quick visit to the lake this morning for half an hour and saw the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis at Hellfire Corner but not the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis. Did anyone else see it?

Then, I went down to the Somerset Levels for the next 9 mile stretch of the Mendip Ring walk from Westhay to Sharpham Ponds with some friends. The Brue was full to the brim from Glastonbury to Westhay and we wondered whether it was about to break it's banks. We visited the Avalon Centre for a bite, drink and wander around the craft shop before spending the afternoon on a gentle stroll to Sharpham along the old railway line. We saw 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba at Noah's Lake and a Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus at Ham Wall together with 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta in a bush alongside a Grey Heron Ardea cinerea for comparison. A couple of birders told us the Starling Sturnus vulgaris roost was likely to be at Shapwick NNR, so having finished the walk we drove back around and went to watch them arrive. Unfortunately, they flew straight in near to the Decoy Hide rather going through their aerial acrobatics first, maybe because there was a Common Buzzard Buteo buteo and 2 more Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus in attendance. It was, nevertheless, a lovely finish to an excellent day. Oh, and we also saw a Peacock Inachis io sunning itself on the Decoy Hide path, my first butterfly of the year.

Thursday 31st January [A wild day with heavy showers]

There's an interesting conundrum for the inexperienced and unwary with the arrival of a Greater Scaup Aythya marila (possibly a 1st-winter, but viewing difficult) feeding in Wood Bay only a few tens of metres away from the adult LESSER SCAUP Aythya affinis which is ranging from Hellfire Corner along Burmah Road. A real mystery is the continuing appearance of Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis, the count of which has gone up by another one to 14 today. All are assumed to be introduced, feral birds. I spent 45 minutes in the lee of the Fishing Lodge 'grilling' the large gull roost again this evening, but there was nada, rien, that is... nowt to report!