Had a brief walk down to the Wheldrake gull roost in the beautiful afternoon sun today. First off I picked up a Kingfisher heading along the river which was a great start!
I got to Swantail Hide to observe the gull roost and there was already quite a few gulls loafing/roosting about the area. A quick scan first revealed an cracking adult Iceland Gull followed about 20m away by an even more cracking adult Glaucous Gull (a York area year tick!). Unfortunately I'd forgotten my new (better) blackberry so had to try and get some pics with my old one. I'll admit to putting some absolutely awful pics on my blog over the last couple of years and I'm sure these will rate highly against them!
Iceland Gull (Phone-scoped)
Glaucous Gull (Phone-scoped)
After enjoying really nice views of the above white-winged gulls I had a quick scan around the reserve. There seemed plenty of good birds around today including lots of Golden Plover and Lapwing with a good dose of Curlew, Ruff, Dunlin and my first local Oystercatchers of the year. Waterfowl were typically abundant with Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Pintail, Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler all noted. A Heron stalked the undergrowth and several Cormorants watched the proceedings from their favourite perches over the water while several Water Rail could be heard screaming away in the reedbeds and several flocks of Reed Bunting and Fieldfare flew in to roost.
As if the above wasn't enough 2 Short-eared Owls showed fantastically well right next to the hide, giving great views. Again, unfortunately due to the wrong phone I was unable to get a decent shot, and by now the light was fading. So the effort below was best I could do.
Short-eared Owl (Phone-scoped)
Unfortunately the main gull roost didn't get underway tonight until fairly late 1812ish, by which time it was pretty much dark and the only thing I could pick out was 1 additional adult Iceland Gull amongst the commoner species. Nevermind, you can't complain with adult Iceland and Glaucous Gulls, Kingfisher and Short-eared Owls in a couple of hours on your doorstep!
It was nice to meet Duncan and see Dave again too.