I forgot to mention in my last post that the dark juvenile Kumlien’s Gull which spent a week or so in Warwickshire and was then seen briefly in Worcestershire was rediscovered by Tim Jones at Rufforth near York. Part of a spectacular weeks work by young Mr. Jones which culminated in him finding a 1st W American Herring Gull. His account can be found here http://timsbirding.blogspot.co.uk/ .
Another bird seen in the Draycote Water roost and subsequently found elsewhere was the 3rd W Herring Gull with what appeared to be entirely white primaries. I say appeared because when the bird was videoed at Shawell in nearby Leicestershire four days after I saw it on 06/02 some grey sub-terminal marks were visible in the primaries. The video footage can be viewed here http://bagawildone.blogspot.co.uk/ . It was back at Draycote Water on 12/02.
Following on neatly a 3rd W Glaucous Gull x Herring Gull hybrid was in the Draycote Water roost on 18/02. This bird was pretty much identical to a large Glaucous Gull in size and structure with a very short primary projection. The upperparts were pale grey (a shade paler than L. a. argenteus), the folded primaries grey with white apical spots and the tail showed a weak grey band. A pale eye, the shade of the upper parts and aspects of the structure unfortunately put paid to any hope that I might have found a Glaucous-winged Gull but it was a pretty smart beast. An adult Mediterranean Gull was also present. The relative composition of the roost is changing continually now with large numbers (10 000 +) of Black-headed Gulls and Common Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls moving through in significant quantities also. It seems to me that many of these birds are perhaps migrating a little earlier every year. I used to get the peak counts of Mediterranean Gulls (up to 4 in a single roost) with the returning Black-headed Gulls moving NE in March and April. Last year I saw a couple of singles in March and none in April. I wonder if they passed through in February and I missed them as I would still have been concentrating on the larger species at that time. It is difficult, given the size of the roost, to do large and small species effectively at the same time. This is partly to do with the distribution of the birds on the water and I think something to do with the ’search image’ too.
I saw two Common Stonechat during surveys of the Upton Estate on 18/02 and for the second time in as many months flushed a Eurasian Woodcock from the centre of a fodder radish field. This strikes me as odd as I have never previously flushed the species from any kind of crop in thirteen years of ecological survey work.