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January 2012 Diary
All the latest sightings, news and photos from Chasewater and surrounding areas.
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On the Swag there were 21 Wigeon, a Gadwall, 24 Tufted Ducks, 7 Goosander and a Grey Wagtail (GE, GR). 14 Goldeneye and 120 Lapwings were on and around the main lake. The gull roost held the 5cy Iceland Gull, the large adult Caspian Gull, 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls, 27 Common Gulls, 88 Great Black-backs and 9000 Black-headed Gulls. Herring and Lesser Black-backs were not counted but probably totalled no more than 500 (GE, JA, JJH).
Jeffrey's Swag
Adult Yellow-legged Gull
Adult Caspian Gull
 21 Wigeon, 25 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 9 Goosanders and a Grey Wagtail were present and on Norton Bog Lagoon (Slurry Pool) there were 6 Goosanders, 10 Tufted Ducks, a Great Crested Grebe and a Grey Heron (GE). A Kingfisher was at Fly Pool and 10 Red Deer on the North Shore Heath (GR). The gull roost held the 5cy Iceland Gull, the small 3cy Glaucous Gull, previously seen on December 27th, and 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls along with 31 Common Gulls and the uncounted main roost (GE, IW, JA, SR).
Crane Brook
The Swag
The Swag's water level has risen 36cm since the start of December with all three streams now flowing well.
A wet and windy morning! 3 Pochard were on the Lagoon, 2 Ravens and 2 pairs of Mistle Thrushes on the North Shore (GR). The gull roost held both 'white-winged gulls' again and an adult Yellow-legged Gull (GE, EGP).
Iceland Gull


These images show what a difficult bird this is to identify with its bulky body, short primary projection and tertial step suggesting Glaucous but its small head, bill and overall size indicating an Iceland. However, it sits much higher in the water and the bill appears thicker and blunter when compared with the 5cy Iceland Gull. The pale tip to the bill and eye, that only looks pale in the bottom left image, suggests the age to be 3cy. Altogether a very confusing gull but I feel the 'truncated rear end' points more to a small female Glaucous Gull rather than Iceland but then again it could be an Icelandic Herring x Glaucous hybrid or a particularly unusual Iceland Gull. It probably needs to be seen close to and in good light at Stubber's Green, where it may have been seen on 1st, to be sure of wing and tail detail (GE).
Another very windy afternoon making it difficult to study the gull roost carefully. The 5cy Iceland Gull was present and the only other counts made were 3 (2 adults, 3cy) Yellow-legged Gulls, 27 Common Gulls and 450 Lesser Black-backs (GE, MS). A 3cy Iceland Gull was reported from Blithfield which I suspect is the bird shown in the images above.
An instantly eye-watering west-north-westerly gale made roost watching impossible until I retreated back into the bushes where 15 Fieldfares and 10 Redwings were also taking cover. An adult Yellow-legged Gull and a leucistic adult Lesser Black-back were found and 40 Common Gulls counted before the whole roost was spooked by perhaps the wind or raptor or whatever. Most of the Black-headed Gulls resettled but large numbers of large gulls flew north, leaving only 70, including the 5cy Iceland Gull, to roost (GE).
The large adult Caspian Gull was seen at Stubber's Green (JLu).
 During the early morning, 2 Mealy Redpolls were seen amongst the willow growth on the South Shore in the same place as on the evening of December 17th, implying they may be regularly roosting there. Also seen were 41 Canada Geese, 6 Wigeon, 43 Teal, 6 Goosanders, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrels, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 5 Meadow Pipits, a Willow Tit, Siskin, 6 Lesser Redpolls, 13 Bullfinches and 5 Yellowhammers (CM). 207 Lapwings were present and the gull roost held the 5cy Iceland Gull and leucistic Lesser Black-back but the whole roost was spooked again and many birds flew north, presumably to Blithfield (GE).
5cy Iceland Gull Leucistic Lesser Black-backed Gull Herring Gull
Very few gulls were present in the Stubber's Green area (GE, EGP) but at Kingswood a 2cy Caspian Gull and a possible 2cy Kumlien's Gull were seen (STu).
2 Mealy Redpolls were amongst the large, mixed finch flock in the Norton Bog alders (IW). The gull roost included the 5cy Iceland Gull, an adult Mediterranean Gull and an adult Yellow-legged Gull (CM, IW, GE, JT, VT et al).
A 3cy Iceland Gull was reported from below the Unilever building at Kingswood during the late morning (BG).
The Friends of Norton Bog work-party attracted around 20 people and a large area of Broom was cleared from the developing heath on the hill. The Swag's water-level has risen 30cm in just a week and the good feeding had attracted 103 Canada Geese, 33 Wigeon and 4 Gadwall. Amongst the many birds at the Feeding Station were 1-2 Willow Tits and a Mealy Redpoll which showed pure white greater covert bars and white central upper breast bordered each side by thin dark streaks on a buff background (GE). 11 Goldeneye were on the main lake and 290 Lapwings on the shore. The gull roost was put to the air twice by two great 'clangers' dropped at the railway but once settled the following totals were counted: 540 Lesser Black-backs, 400 Herring Gulls, 86 Great Black-backs and an adult Mediterranean Gull but the Iceland Gull appears to have roosted at Blithfield (GE, JA).
Jeffrey's Swag
453 Lapwings were on the lake bed but at 16:10 there was another mass panic amongst the gull roost and many birds appeared to fly north, although by 16:45 birds were still arriving/returning? and had built back up to 5000+ Black-headed Gulls, 27 Common Gulls, 50 Great Black-backs and 600 other large gulls, including an adult Yellow-legged Gull. Prior to the disturbance the pale 2cy bird shown to the right was present. Gulls of this type are usually quite controversial; being variously described as aberrant Herring Gulls, extreme northern argentatus or Herring x Glaucous Gull hybrids to name just three examples. In flight it showed a broad, even pale-brown tail bar, similar toned secondary bar and outer primaries and paler inner primaries. The upper-tail/rump appeared rather evenly pale (GE).
At Stubber's Green there were 38 Tufted Ducks, 16 Pochard, 12 Shoveler, 1 Goosander, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 70 Canada Geese, 61 Lapwings, 11 Moorhens, 7 Common Gulls and another interesting adult large white-headed gull! Head heavily streaked, which extended onto nape, neck sides and upper breast. Mantle darker grey than Y-l Gull, but with blotchy appearance, as if made up of two slightly different tones of grey giving it an untidy and immature look. Visible primaries in closed wings were black with small white mirrors. Tertials same tone of grey as upperparts, with typical white edges, but with much darker centres like grey of LB-b Gull and contrasting with rest of upperparts i.e. tricoloured tertials that also gave impression of immature bird, but it had an adult bill, which was yellow with a red spot. Legs yellow with a stronger and more orange tone than the bill. Eyes pale yellow with possible red or orange orbital ring. A large bird, bigger than adjacent LB-b Gulls, comparable with mid-sized Herring Gulls. It did open its wings, but it was obscured by other gulls at the time and it seemed to have a darker secondary bar, similar in colour to the tertial centres.
I was first drawn to it by the tone of grey and its yellow legs, thinking it might be an omissus Herring Gull, which I am not familiar with, but the other details did not seem to fit. Otherwise, it would have to have been a large, pale LB-b Gull, hooded Y-l Gull or a hybrid!! (KC).
The gull roost was far more settled tonight although the large Lapwing flock was twice put to the air by a Kestrel. The adult Caspian Gull was amongst the bathing birds congregating in the central bay and, almost certainly, the 2cy Caspian and a new 3cy bird were amongst this bathing throng but weren't seen later in the settled roost and may have moved on. An adult and 2cy Yellow-legged Gull and over 500 Herring Gulls were also present (GE).
At Stubber's Green the regular large adult Caspian Gull was joined by a smart 2cy bird (GE, JB).
2cy Caspian Gull GE Adult Caspian Gull GE
A Chiffchaff was calling persistently on the South Shore as it flitted through the bushes to roost. Many gulls were gathering on the shore in the middle of the lake bed, making it difficult to examine carefully and only gulls of note appeared to be 2 (2cy, 3cy) Yellow-legged Gulls (GE, RF).
A rather brief look at the gull roost produced little of note and 8000 Black-headed Gulls were estimated (GE).
A Song Thrush was singing on the South Shore and 4 Shelducks were near the Sailing Shore along with 5 Goosanders and at least 2 Goldeneye. The gull roost was very settled but the only gull of note was a 2cy Yellow-legged Gull (GE, SHi).
The gull roost held the usual adult Caspian Gull, 2 (adult, 2cy) Yellow-legged Gulls and an adult Mediterranean Gull (GE).
South Shore
Sailing Shore
Jeffrey's Swag
Norton Bog Lagoon
The WeBS Count produced 23 Mute Swans, 69 Canada Geese, 1 Shelduck, 46 Wigeon, 2 Gadwall, 124 Teal,  224 Mallard, 2 Pochard, 46 Tufted Ducks, 12 Goldeneye, 36 Goosanders, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Grey Heron, 5 Moorhens, 190 Coot and 1 Snipe. The usual good numbers of Lapwings presumably gathered to roost but weren't present during the morning (NS, GE).
The usual adult Caspian Gull was in the gathering roost but many large gulls flew north from around 15:40 and the Black-headed Gulls were also unsettled, initially probably due to the digger on Target Point. However, by 16:40 a roost of up to 1000 large gulls had gathered, mainly close to the Sailing shore, including a 2cy Glaucous Gull (GE, SHi).

The Sailing Club is making some adjustments to the lake-bed just south of Target Point to allow an easier passage to the north end of the lake when it is nearly full. Hopefully, work will also be done around the Island which should make it a more secure refuge and potential breeding area.

A Bittern was first seen at 13:15 in the Norton Bog Lagoon reed-bed (SM) and was still present at 16:50 but almost completely concealed in the reeds and not providing much of a photo opportunity, as shown by these images. The only other Bittern records for Chasewater were in 1976, '84, '89, '97 and 2007. At least two Water Rails were also present (IW,GE).

At the Lagoon there was no sign of the Bittern but 2 Water Rails showed well (PW). The 5cy Iceland Gull was seen in the roost for the first time since 7th January (PJ, JA).
On the Swag there were 24 Goosanders, 32 Wigeon and 2 Gadwall. Around 600 large gulls, mainly Herring Gulls, were on the main lake during the early afternoon and numbers rose to around 350 Lesser Black-backs and over 700 Herring Gulls for the roost which also held the adult Caspian Gull, 5cy Iceland Gull and 2 (adult, 2cy) Yellow-legged Gulls (GE, PJ, JA).
Teal GE
The adult Caspian Gull and 5cy Iceland Gull were also seen at Stubber's Green (per JA).
The 5cy Iceland Gull was at Stubber's Green and photograhed just prior to flying to presumably roost at Chasewater ( H King).

The 5cy Iceland Gull roosted with possibly another bird present along with 2 (adult, 2cy) Yellow-legged Gulls and the adult Caspian Gull (IW).
The 5cy Iceland Gull and adult Caspian Gull were videoed at Stubber's Green (PP).
34 Goosanders, 3 Herons and a Cormorant were at the Swag (GE). The gull roost held 2 Iceland Gulls, 2cy Glaucous Gull and the adult Caspian Gull (IW, JA, GE). A Peregrine and a Woodcock were seen along the West Shore (IW).
At Kingswood there were 740 Lapwings (IW).
At Stubber's Green an Iceland Gull, 2cy Glaucous Gull and adult Caspian Gull were present (JA, RSo et al).
Iceland Gull K Sargent
Caspian Gull GE
The adult Iceland Gull was in the roost (PJ, JA).
An adult Caspian Gull was amongst at least 500 large gulls in the Kingswood area until 13:50 when they were disturbed by a remote controlled car enthusiast (MS).
The 5cy Iceland Gull and 2 (adult, 2cy) Mediterranean Gulls were found in the large roost which held an estimated 2000 large gulls (PJ, JA, IW, GE). A Peregrine was present along the west shore (PJ), a Jack Snipe on the north shore and 11 Red Deer on the north heath (GR).
A 2cy Caspian Gull was seen at Kingswood (IW).
The 5cy Iceland Gull was at Stubber's Green (JA, GE).
The 5cy Iceland Gull was present in the roost (PJ, IW).
Two Ravens flew south-east near the Rugby Club at 8:00. The Swag is now appearing strangely large and is only about 10cm away from overflowing through the new culvert. It held 21 Wigeon, 2 Gadwall, several Teal, 11 Goosanders, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Mute Swans and a Grey Heron. The main lake had 12 Goldeneye, 23 Mute Swans and 202 Lapwings were on the shore. The gull roost was forming well but nothing of note had arrived by 16:00 (GE).
At Stubber's Green there were at least two adult Caspian Gulls with neither of the two confirmed birds being the regular large individual. A 2cy Yellow-legged Gull was also present (MG). See Birding Frontiers for details.
A large gull roost held 2300 Herring Gulls, 270 Great Black-backs, 1200 Lesser Black-backs, 2 (adult, 4cy) Yellow-legged Gulls and an Iceland Gull arrived late but was probably the 5cy bird (PJ).
The sub-adult Iceland Gull and two (the regular large bird plus one of yesterday's) adult Caspian Gulls were seen at Stubber's Green (MG, KC).
The Swag held 47 Wigeon, 29 Teal, 4 Gadwall, 6 Goosanders and 2 Goldeneye. The large gull roost held 11200 Black-headed Gulls, the sub-adult Iceland Gull, 2cy Yellow-legged Gull and the usual adult Caspian Gull (GE).
The usual large Caspian Gull and sub-adult Iceland Gull were present at Stubber's Green (JAl) along with a possible 2cy American Herring Gull and a Green Sandpiper (MG).
A female Merlin was on the west shore (IW) and the large gull roost held the sub-adult Iceland Gull, an adult Mediterranean Gull and a Glaucous Gull that was probably a 3cy bird but plumage detail was hard to see in the poor light (PJ, JA, EGP, JKH, GE, IW et al).
Glaucous Gull GE
The sub-adult Iceland Gull and a Peregrine were at Stubber's Green (PJ, JA, EGP et al).
The gull roost held the sub-adult Iceland Gull, a 2cy Caspian Gull, 2 2cy Yellow-legged Gulls and an adult Mediterranean Gull (MG, PJ, IW, JB, GE).
At Stubber's Green an adult Caspian Gull and the sub-adult Iceland Gull were present. Interesting observations and comments regarding the Iceland Gull can be found here (MG).
Amongst the large gull roost was the sub-adult Iceland Gull, a 4cy Yellow-legged Gull, the pale winged Herring Gull or hybrid (seen earlier at Stubber's Green) and the likelihood of much more in a rather briefly covered roost (GE, PJ, GI, MW).
At Stubber's Green there were 3 (2 adult, a new 3cy) Caspian Gulls, sub-adult Iceland Gull and 2-3 interesting unidentified individuals along with a Peregrine and a Dunlin (MG, GE, EGP, GI et al).
Part of the Stubber's Green gathering.
3cy Caspian Gull
Iceland Gull
Iceland Gull and pale presumed 3cy Herring x Glaucous Gull hybrid?
A large very pale winged probable hybrid
Regular adult Caspian Gull
New adult Caspian-I think!
You're welcome to write your own captions for these!