There was a bit of a thaw in the air yesterday (28th Jan) with bright sunshine, after a mostly cold & gloomy couple of weeks. I decided these were ideal conditions to go and have a look at the star bird of the moment, a completely unseasonal wintering Swallow which was discovered last week by Dan Barrett on the W'stow Filter beds (where he works)...an incredible record which I'm sure gave him a bit of a shock when he first set eyes on it! God only knows why such a migrant would choose to stay the winter, although there are clearly plenty of small insects still about, and as Dan explained, there are also plenty of warm spots for it to roost on site.
The hirundine was not immediately apparent but, along with a couple of other birders present, we enjoyed reasonable views of the female Black Redstart which has also been on the site for a few days now, and is more than likely the same bird seen recently across the road on no.5 reservoir.
At the same time I decided to take a look through the 'scope at the assorted gulls present on and around the beds. I quickly noticed what I thought were a couple of white wing tips, but the bird was hidden behind one of the barriers. However, it soon popped up into view...a corking bruiser of a 1st winter Glaucous Gull! I got the other two onto it and put the news out on the twittersphere before enjoying good - if a little distant - views of it, and the Swallow. For a fleeting moment I even got both birds in the same 'scope view...not something you see every day...summer meets winter!
I should add that the presumed same individual has been seen already a couple of times in the past week at the Olympic Park and in Leyton. It flew off South a little later but was later refound by Gullmeister Jamie P at the Leyton tip, and later still turned up again at the filter beds, so hopefully will reappear for those that didn't catch it. (STOP PRESS: The Glaucous Gull has been seen on the FBs again today, 29th).
Was pleasing to find a decent bird again - first time I've done that in quite some time - and a patch first to boot! Hope this augers well for the coming year...
Two distant record shots of the 1st winter GLAUCOUS GULL at the Coppermill filter beds.
...and just for the hell of it, an ice-skating WATER RAIL from no.1 res last week.
*Here are my shots from Leyton Tip, (brief access was permitted as the tip was inactive, and usually views are not as close as this) - Jamie P