The early birder certainly does catch the worm Glaucous Gull. The second-winter beast that has been feeding/loafing during the day at the Beddington Landfill Cafe has decided to take up overnight lodgings on Mercer's Lake at Holmethorpe. It was reported coming into roost yesterday afternoon so I knew that an early arrival should secure the bird - it was, after all, a species that I had not seen before at Holmethorpe.

I arrived in darkness, but still set up the scope and scanned the blackness - there were gulls already flying overhead and much calling from the water - and even in what could at best be described as pre-light, the gulls were shining out as they bobbed about on the lake surface. One bird shone out far more than the others - the Glaucous Gull (pictured above). I'm sure you can all tell which bird it is...

The gull roost was quite spectacular, with 2,500 Herring and 1,500 Black-headed making up 99% of the larids on show. The birds were leaving very quickly, with the star turn deciding to take flight at 07.40hrs - no doubt Beddington-bound. Later on in the day up to 1,000 mixed gulls were loafing about on Watercolours and after much scoping was pleased to find a classic first-winter Yellow-legged. Try as I might, no Caspian was forthcoming.

Another great avian spectacle came courtesy of at least 1,500 raucous apple-green Ring-necked Parakeets, as they left their roost at Spynes Mere. The gull and parakeet biomass made up most of what was on show - poor numbers of wildfowl, finches and thrushes were seen. A flock of 66 Lapwing came in mid-morning, possibly indicative of the cold weather further north and east?


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