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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Local birding

I had a treat today in the form of a day off so I thought I'd spend it checking out some sites close to my Surrey home. I started off with Banstead Downs Golf Course where two Firecrests were still in-situ but evaded my efforts at photographing them; in the six winters that I've been watching them there, I have never managed a good shot! I've been wanting to dig out a Caspian Gull at Beddington for some time now but haven't been trying in recent weeks because my scope is off being fixed, I decided to give it a go today anyway (with my old Mighty Midget which I use as a spare) and was very pleased to pick out a first-winter Caspo. It was the first bird my scope landed on when I started looking at the active landfill cell and was a real performer, consistently favouring the part of the tip nearest me and with the fewest other gulls. It seemed quite a playful/inquisitive individual, picking at rocks and debris a lot as well as interacting much with other birds and did several flight circuits of the tip. I finished the day with some time at Canons Farm, less time than I had originally planned (these short winter days are a real pain) but enjoyed catching up with Geoff Barter and seeing a decent flock of around forty Skylarks.