The changes in the weather which had brought in one lot of migrants (at Draycote, see previous post) had also encouraged a lot of other migrants to take the next step on their journeys south. So when I arrived at Brandon on Bank Holiday Monday, there was frankly little to see.
The view from Carlton Hide was desolate. Just mud, water, a few Teal, some Stock Doves in the trees and a line of bored photographers all praying for a Kingfisher. Teal Hide revealed some juvenile Moorhens, and River Hide was no better. Where were all the sandpipers (common and green) and the Greenshank which had been reported all last week?
Sadly now gone, so even the main East Marsh Hide was quiet - the resident waterfowl, plenty of Lapwing, a Kestrel hovering overhead, a line of Black-headed Gulls and... bingo, the flash of yellow leg that revealed the final gull as a Yellow-legged Gull. Not a rarity perhaps, but a scarcity, and enough to salvage a desperate days birding at Brandon.
Bird of the day: Yellow Legged Gull (Larus michahellis), only recently recognised as a species in its own right, rather than a sub species of the Herring Gull. They are the same size as Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and adults have darker grey backs and wings than Herring Gulls, but are paler than the lesser black-backs. The real giveaway (if you are able to catch a glimpse of them) is the bright yellow legs (a Herring Gull has pink).