The Lincolnshire Wolds & Cleethorpes 25/01/14

An enjoyable trip around the scenic areas of South Thoresby, Swaby & Ruckland produced 15 Common Buzzards, Woodcock, Grey Wagtail, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 30 Redwing, 6 Fieldfare, 10 Redpoll and a Siskin.
Dropped in at Cleethorpes Country Park afterwards with the juvenile Black-throated Diver still there and a Kingfisher also present. 

 Black-throated Diver (juvenile)

Cleethorpes 19/01/14

Poor weather today with rain and gloom until early afternoon. When conditions finally improved I managed to get some birding done. With only a few hours of light left I opted to stay local and explored most of Cleethorpes Country Park. The juvenile Black-throated Diver & Goosander were still present. A showy and vocal Kingfisher was also on the lake & 2 Water Rails squealed from the reeds.

N Lincs 12/01/14

A visit to North Lincs today with the wintering 3 Long-tailed Ducks still present + a singing male Cetti's Warbler, ad male Marsh Harrier, Black-tailed Godwit, Water Rail, 2 Kingfishers, Willow Tit & skeins of Pink-footed Geese totalling 200+ birds all noted.
An afternoon visit to the fields of Elsham produced 2 Yellow-legged Gulls (ad + 1w)

 Adult Common Gull with distinct white eye-crescents

Covenham Reservoir 05/01/14

An afternoon visit to the reservoir produced: 2 Long-tailed Ducks (the 2 still present since I initially saw them on 29/12), 2 Goosander, 68 Wigeon (a noteworthy count for here), adult Peregrine and 2 Common Buzzard. I braved the strengthening winds and stayed until last light to watch the throngs of gulls arrive. Covenham is very much a "small gull" reservoir with very few big gulls visiting the site. Common Gulls are indeed the most common gull seen here with also good numbers of black-headed. I didn't manage to pick out a Med Gull which can often be found lurking in amongst the masses but I did find a rather striking dark-hooded and dark-breasted Common Gull right out in the middle of the water close to dusk, hence the poor record shot below.

Common Gull - but which race?

I've seen plenty of Common Gulls with varying amounts of dark feathering on the head and neck over the years but the full extent of dark tones on the head and matched on the breast area was something I'd not seen before.
Just a dark Canus? Or a dark heinei? -  in winter heinei generally show streaking on the head and on the neck (forming a necklace), not normally as extensively dark as the above bird.
Much to still learn about larids.

2 Common Buzzards on the way home over the A16 when it was virtually dark rounded off the sightings for the day.

Local Birding 04/01/14

A day of birding close to home today. The weather was awful - constant rain until mid-afternoon and poor light with it. The wintering 1w Iceland Gull was seen briefly on the offal skip at Kirwin Bros on the North Wall of Grimsby Docks, with an adult Med Gull providing the supporting cast. Next stop was Cleethorpes Country Park to see the juvenile Black-throated Diver which was found the previous day - an impressive record considering the amount of disturbance this area receives. I expected the diver to spend most of its time in the middle of the lake but was pleasantly surprised to see it favouring a channel to fish in close to land. All the plumage features were duly noted and Pacific Diver was ruled out. Also seen in the area were a confiding redhead Goosander and Kingfisher.

Black-throated Diver (juvenile)

Kingfisher on watch