A field full of gulls

Spring is certainly in the air as a walk from Rishton, through Tottleworth, Cut Lane and back demonstrated. Dunnocks were particularly vociferous but they were accompanied by 'wheezing' Greenfinches, Chaffinch, Wren, Song Thrush and Robin.

There are a couple of pairs of Great Crested Grebes on the Reservoir and Oystercatchers and Curlews can be heard as they start to lay claim to some breeding territory.

Mealy Redpolls have been present, albeit rather briefly, in the garden; two different un-ringed birds yesterday and today. A large flock of Goldfinches contained several with rings on. The surprising thing about this is that we've hardly had any re-trap Goldfinches in the last three winters so perhaps a ringing session soon may alter that statistic. My neighbour picked up a dead bird with a ring on it. It was very badly decomposed but the beak looked like a Great Tit and looking up the data, it was one of last year's juvenile females. Still, the Bullfinches and Chaffinches have been visiting in their droves.

The fields on the other side of the canal have been spread recently, attracting a large flock of Black-headed Gulls. I searched the wheeling flock time and again but the only non-BH's were a Lesser Black-back, a couple of Herring Gulls and two Common Gulls.
Part of the Black-headed Gull flock viewed from an upstairs window
 This Mistle Thrush has been seen regularly as well, singing occasionally from the tallest tree in the clough. Still no sign of any Skylarks yet, though the sound of them singing at Slimbridge last weekend was delightful. February was the time they started singing on the dunes around Ainsdale when I was younger - a sound to gladden the heart!

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