Had a very nice trip down to the southwest. Lest Norwich Friday morning. My first stop was at Bray GP (Berks) for the Ring-necked Duck that took up residence there. The bird was showing staright away in the pit by the M4 with some Tufted Ducks. Great looking bird! And a WP tick for me...
The bird was lovely but I did not enjoy watching it - this pit is fenced off and surrounded by trees, so I had views of the duck mainly through branches. But there was lots of passerines there - many Redwings and few Fieldfare, and bird numbers of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll. But I had no time to linger there - I had another ringed bird waiting for me.
My next stop was at Blashford Lakes (Hampshire), where I met up with Dave, my host from CHOG. We didn't have to wait long for the Ring-billed Gull to arrive to the roost. We had OK scope views but photography was very difficult - combination of distance (maybe 300 m?) and dim light. Anyway, even in these terrible record shots it is sort of identifiable - heavy bill, pale mantle tones, faint white tertials crescent:
Ring-billed Gull - adult
And in this image it is possible to see the limited white mirror on P10:
Another fine gull there was this 2nd-winter Caspian Gull:
Also 3 Med Gulls joined the roost. This site was really good - Slavonian and two Black-necked Grebes, Goosanders and Goldeneyes, pretty good. And the gull roost is impressive.
In the evening I gave a talk to CHOG in Bornmouth, so quite many friends from Hampshire Bird Club joined as well. I really enjoyed the talk and I hope the audience enjoyed it too.
This morning I met up with Dave, Dave and Chris. The weather was pretty foul so we opted for seawatching off Milford-on-Sea, or rather watching the sea because there were few birds. We did have a Black-throated Diver and two Red-breasted Mergansers but very little else. A few Med Gulls were playing around on the promenade:
After a couple of quiet hours of watching an empty sea we decided to brave the weather and bird around Keyhaven Marshes. In recent days the marshes held Long-billed Dowitcher and Long-tailed Duck but the weather was so bad that we didn't see much. Even the locals complained about the weather ('near-impossible conditions' they called it).
And then it was the long way back home.
Many thanks to CHOG and especially to Dave for inviting me and for the warm hospitality.