Thursday, 27 July 2017

Bicester Wetland Reserve: Mediterrannean Gull + Oxford Swift Tower: voting underway!

Last Sunday evening I made a trip down the M40 to spend a couple of hours watching Green Sandpipers and seeing what else was about at the Bicester Wetland Reserve.  It was nice to have the place to myself and I spent quite a bit of time watching and sketching a couple of the sandpipers from the first raised hide.  I decided to save my flask of tea for the new hide the overlooks Cattle Bridge Pool.  I settled into the new hide, poured a cuppa and started looking at the birds on the pool - then suddenly realised one of the small group of Black-headed Gulls was distinctly different - a juvenile Mediterranean Gull.  It was busy feeding with the other gulls, constantly on the move, occasionally stopping to preen and take a short flight.  They are still pretty scarce birds in our area, although their UK breeding population is increasing quite rapidly and breeding has now been recorded in Northamptonshire.  Turned out this was the first record for the reserve and a nice addition to the steadily growing list.
Juvenile Mediterranean Gull
with adult Black-headed Gull
Juvenile Mediterranean Gull
Oxford Swift City - please have a look at the three original designs shortlisted and place your vote:

This male linnet looked tiny perched on one of the benches at Grimsbury Reservoir last Saturday!
Finally, this is a nature blog and should cover much more than birds.  I couldn't help stop and admire the fine display of  "Chicken of the woods" beside the path through Grimsbury Woodland reserve at the weekend, an amazing bright orange and yellow.
Chicken of the woods - Laetiporus sulphureus

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