A mornings birding with Brendan that turned into a days birding and a good days birding at that.
A return visit to Priory Country Park in Beds was our first stop. We were soon viewing the Ferruginous Duck that had apparently flown off last saturday. In the same area of the lake was a Black-necked Grebe. So a good start.
Next up was Broom Gravel Pits also in Beds. As soon as we arrived at the edge of the West Pit we saw three small ducks fly in and land on the far end of the pit. On closer inspection they were our target birds 3 redhead Smew.
The final site for our mornings birding was Therfield Heath in Herts. We made our way from the rugby club car park to the Icknield Way Trail. We soon connected with one of the 2 Great-grey Shrikes. We continued along the trail and soon encountered 10+ Grey Partridge and 2 Red-legged Partridge in the fields either side of the track. We then continued our walk and noted the following; Stock Dove (4), Corn Bunting (c30), Red Kite.
Time was up for our mornings birding as I had to be back home to take the boss to work. However, on our walk back to the car park and where the trail joins the heath itself we saw a large flock of mixed finches. They included; Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Linnet and a single Brambling. A nice finish to the morning.
I dropped Brendan off then took my wife to work. Then on returning home Chris Jnr wanted a lift into Watford and youngest son Will wanted a lift to a skate-park in Croxley Green. So I did my bit of taxi-ing and was starting to think of yet another hilarious title for my latest blog posting when my phone rang and it was Brendan who is definitely not going out birding as much this year. He demanded I take him to Amwell to see the Caspian Gull he had seen only last week. We arrived at the viewpoint and soon connected with the 1st winter Caspian Gull. It offered good scope views but fairly distant. It did get up and have a bit of a fly around and then landed closer to the viewpoint. Once again it could be seen well through a scope but unfortunately not close enough for anything like a decent pic. We also managed Yellow-legged Gull and 2 Bittern.
All in all a much better succes rate than has been the case recently.
Pics/record shots below; Ferruginous Duck at Priory Country Park, Great-grey Shrike at Furfield Heath Icknield Way Trail, Brambling Icknield Way Trail, Caspian Gull from the viewpoint at Amwell (top quality pic this one).