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WEATHER: overcast with some light drizzle, temp around 14C

From over the fence in our garden I scanned the sheep meadow, the pair of Red-legged Partridges was there as usual and I heard a Green Woodpecker, but apart from a few Jackdaws, Wood Pigeons and a couple of Crows I saw nothing else.

I get quite excited thinking about a visit to Sutton Bingham Reservoir it is so different from my usual patch and there is always the chance that something has dropped in overnight, especially after the last few days of excitement with both Great and Cattle Egrets dropping in as well as the unforgettable Eurasian Coot.

the most common wader at SBR and usually the only one present - Common Sandpiper

I left home at 7am and parked up near the entrance to the sailing club some 10  minutes later. Scanning from the causeway nothing jumped out at me and the area seemed quite devoid of gulls, perhaps it was a little early for them to arrive. I saw lots of Mallards, Moorhens, a Grey Heron, Great Cormorant and a few pairs of Great Crested Grebes.

looking northward along the western shoreline of the reservoir

My next stop was at the southern end of the reservoir, I had to climb the gate because it is not unlocked until 8:30am. As I walked to the water’s edge along the grass footpath two adult Great Black-backed Gulls flew up from the muddy shoreline, they had been eating a dead trout. A Crow quickly dropped down from the trees and took their place on the fish.

one of the many Great Crested Grebes on the reservoir - but very few have sucessfully bred this year

Scoping the distant exposed mud I quickly counted 4 Common Sandpipers and 1 Green Sandpiper, there was also 4 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Herons and 3 Mandarin Ducks. I walked a little way along the western bank to view more of the shoreline in the hope of finding more waders. I saw a Peregrine Falcon on a pylon, a Great Spotted Woodepcker on an oak tree and a Chiffchaff in the willows.

a sucessful breeding Mandarin Duck, I am told that this is a second brood

Along the shoreline I found 2 more Common Sandpipers and a female Mandarin Duck with 3 newly fledged chicks, three is a small number for a duck and I assume that several have already perished.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Common Sandpiper still sporting its summer plumage

Driving back to the causeway at the northern end of the reservoir I stopped for a second scan of the gulls, there was a lot more birds now to look at. I found the two adult Great Black-backed Gulls and two juvenile birds as well as large numbers of Herring Gulls and Black-headed Gulls.

Great Black-backed Gull with the dead trout

here comes trouble!! Bugger off!!

aren't you going to share that?

did you hear me?

Ok come on over

I left around 8:30 and found myself back home before 9am just before it started to rain.