Sunday, 4 January 2015

Every cloud has a silver lining

First-winter Caspian Gull in Alexandra Park today - the first site record.
It's strange how an unfortunate series of events can turn into something positive. We are without email, internet and landline access at home after a massive British Telecom error, which they say will take several days to fix. I had important files to send to the team at Birdwatch, so unexpectedly had to go into the office today. I would have driven, except that thieves had stolen the number plates off my car! Still, I had to go, and decided to walk rather than get a bus. Taking the slightly more scenic route through my Alexandra Park patch for the first visit of the year, I was pleased to discover a Water Rail at the Conservation Pond, but then struck gold by finding a first-winter Caspian Gull on the reservoir - the first site record. I immediately phoned local birders, and was joined quickly by Henry Wyn-Jones and his mum Sarah. Henry kindly lent me his camera to take this distant record shot after the bird flew to the nearby filter beds - we pursued it and got closer views and more images, though the latter were unfortunately only front-on. The bird then flew back to the reservoir and seemingly didn't linger, but perhaps it will reappear tomorrow. To cap off a great afternoon, while I continued on to the office, Henry went to see the Water Rail - and found three!

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