Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Melverley floods - wildfowl and gulls galore!

Floody marvellous day's birding with Kris Webb today cruising around the flooded fields centred on Melverley. Highlights included an amazing scene at out first stop with astonishing number of ducks, estimated counts at one spot alone included: 1,500 Pintail, 1,200 Wigeon, 70 Shoveler, 200 Teal, 3 Tufted Duck, 70 Goosander. I picked out a single Pink-footed Goose amongst the 250 or so Greylag Goose and 100 Canada Geese. Who know what else may be lurking as much of the habitat can't be viewed!

This sign is almost a tourist attraction, if you can get to it?


I'd walked in wellies to it, question is would Kris make it?


Yessssss!


The local AA vehicles were always on hand?



Driving around the Edgerley / Melverley area, every now and then a cloud of gulls would appear in the sky but getting close to them was pretty tricky with most of the connecting roads in the area impassable. We did find a couple of spots to check out the huge flocks, mostly Lesser Black-backed Gull (est 5,000), Black Headed Gulls (est 3,000) just a few Herring Gulls (est 30) and amazing 9 Yellow-legged Gulls (6 ad, 1each 2w/3w/4w).

Here's the nearest of the adult YLGs - through this gate but still not very near!









One of the biggest surprises which got my heart racing was a distant possible white winger. Tom Lowe had picked a possible Iceland out, a a few days earlier. This bird was luckily on the ground abut when scoped turned out to be a leucistic Lesser Black-back Gull. A bit disappointing we hadn't struck Iceland / Glauc but still a cracking bird!





We eventually found a place to view the Whooper Swans near Edgerley after grinding to a halt with impassable roads.  38 were seen with even more Pintail, Wigeon etc plus 9 Shelduck!

Returning to the favoured site late afternoon, one family of Whoopers were feeding close to the roadside, adjacent to a gate. We managed to park up and sit quietly..... the light was seriously dropping however.... Here's one of the adults





Plus two of the youngsters.....




Hand held shots usuing Kris's shoulder while he used the window of the car! Wild swans are nervous and looks like we've been rumbled? Adult plus 1 juv disappearing......


2......


3.....


A lucky moment indeed!

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