Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Lockdown Diary: Tuesday 11.8.20

The day started quietly. There was a nice cool mist still hanging in the air, which sometimes bodes well for local birding. But Deeping Lakes produced just a Ringed Plover, a Green Sandpiper and one or two Common Sandpipers. At 9am, though, when I was back at work (at home, of course), news came through our local WhatsApp group that an Osprey had just flown over Deeping Lakes!

My fortunes changed in the afternoon, though. After work, in the early evening, I headed back to Deeping Lakes to see if I could relocate a dark-bellied Brent Goose that had been seen there at lunchtime. As it happens, the Brent was grazing happily on its own (apart from some sheep and lambs), just east of the reserve, and very close to the road. These largely coastal birds (and strictly non-breeders in the UK) are pretty rare this far inland, and I guess it had become disoriented by the morning’s mist.

Dark-bellied Brent Goose, near Deeping Lakes LWT, Lincolnshire, 11.8.20 

Meantime, my friend Ray was, at the precise time I was photographing the goose, watching a Bittern ‘sky-pointing’ in reeds on the reserve itself! I went to see if I could see it too, but alas, it had flown into the reeds. But I hung on to scan the pit for waders and what-not. After a while, I saw a juvenile Greenshank, briefly. And a bit later, when it had come back into view I picked up a tiny wader with my binoculars. A scope view confirmed it was a juvenile Little Stint. This is another ‘elite’ bird around here and my second year tick of the afternoon (taking my Peterborough area year list to 171 birds).

Little Stint (believe me!) near a Greenshank, Deeping Lakes LWT, Lincolnshire, 11.8.20 

Lockdown Diary: Monday 10.8.20


It was a fruit-picking day for Eddie again, so I was up with the lark and out birding early. Along the continuation of the road which follows the River Welland between Crowland and Spalding (south Lincs), I encountered a few flocks of Yellow Wagtails, and one very obliging Wheatear. I think from the ‘spotty’ scruffiness of its head it is a juvenile, just acquiring its first-winter plumage.

Juvenile Wheatear, near Spalding, Lincs, 10.8.20 

Deeping Lakes had a Green Sandpiper and 2 Common Sandpipers.

Meanwhile, back home, I saw another yellow bellied Willow Warbler in our garden, this morning, just before work.

Lockdown Diary: Saturday 8.8.20

I had a stroll down the ‘central drove’ of the Nene Washes RSPB reserve, a little little east of Peterborough, this afternoon. All the breeding waders (Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Snipe and Redshank) have already departed, as have passerines such as Sky Lark and Meadow Pipit. So, it was a bit of a quiet walk.

Highlights included a juvenile Hobby catching dragonflies, several Yellow Wagtails hanging out with the various cattle herds, a couple of Greenshanks and a Green Sandpiper. I also saw quite a few Marsh Harriers and one of the best things I saw was an adult male Marsh Harrier carrying some food (mammal or young bird) in its left foot. As it flew over, two squeaking juveniles came up to meet it, and when they were reasonably close, the male dropped his gift and it fell about 10 feet to be caught by the lucky juvenile underneath him, who rolled 180° to snatch it in its talons.

Lockdown Diary: Saturday 8.8.20

Today, I bit the bullet and went up to the Peak District to finally see the Lammergeier aka Bearded Vulture which has been hanging around the area. One of the best things about living in Peterborough is how close many places are; and it only took a couple of hours to get to Woodhead Reservoir on the main road between Sheffield and Manchester. I was watching the giant vulture on its roosting rock at 7am.


Spot the Lammergeier! Crags by Woodhead Reservoir, Derbyshire, 8.8.20

It is an incredibly impressive bird, as you will know if you have seen the photos or read the reports (or indeed, if you have seen it for yourself). Everything seems slow motion about it. Over the next few hours, although the views were quite distant, I watched it flying about, feeding on carrion it had brought back to the ‘feeding crags’, preening, pooping, flying and feeding some more.


Lammergeier on feeding ledge, by Woodhead Reservoir, Derbyshire, 8.8.20

Lammergeier mobbed by Kestrels, over crags by Woodhead reservoir, Derbyshire, 8.8.20

Lammergeier and attendant Buzzard, over crags by Woodhead reservoir, Derbyshire, 8.8.20

Also, it was frequently mobbed by several Kestrels and even by a couple of Buzzards, which compared to the vulture looked speedy and tiny, seeming to be about the same length bill to tail as the depth (front t back) of a Lammergeier’s wing!

Other highlights included a few Crossbills flying by (which I picked up instantly on call, after obsessing with them, recently!) and a few Ravens.

I will be back, particularly if the mighty vulture grows a decent tail!

Lockdown Diary: Friday 7.8.20

I got a new MV bulb in the post, so was able to put out two Skinner moth traps (one with the 125MV bulb, which is extremely bright and one with a 40W actinic bulb, which is a fluorescent tube). Highlights included a Least Carpet, which is a scarce moth and the first I have had in our garden.

Also, I had at least 5 Tree-lichen Beauties mainly around the actinic trap. Other goodies, moth fans, of the 45+ species included what I think is my first Pyrausta purpuralis (a sorth of mint moth), a few Straw Underwings, and a pretty ‘micro’ called Carcina quercana (sometimes called Long-horned Flat-body!).

Tree-lichen Beauty, our garden, Peterborough, Cambs, 7.8.20 

Carcina quercana, our garden, Peterborough, Cambs, 7.8.20 

Lockdown Diary: Thursday 6.8.20

Of course, I had to visit Deeping Lakes after the early morning fruit farm trip. But it was business as usual, there, with 5 Common Sandpipers once again. More exciting that the sandpipers was a visit by a Red Kite. It swooped down, talons spread, to one of the islands on the east pit (where most of the birds are), and was inches away from grabbing one of the few remaining Lesser Black-backed Gull chicks (there are half a dozen or so, plumping up nicely). I think Red Kite had a big say in wiping out the 40 odd LBbG broods hatched there this year, and it was not the first time I have seen one make a grab!

In the evening, I thought it was going to be a decent night for mothing, so, at dusk I set up both Skinner traps (one with a 40W actinic bulb, one with my new 125W MV bulb). As I was putting the traps together etc, I heard a rustling and a smallish Hedgehog came marching across the law a few yards away. What great beasties these are to have in the garden!!

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Lockdown Diary: Wednesday 5.8.20

Another early start for the blueberry picker… I decided a trip to Deeping Lakes was in order, after depositing son Eddie at his fruit farm. On the east pit there were at least four Common Sandpipers and a juvenile Little Ringed Plover, plus I could hear a Redshank calling (but never saw it). The Common Sandpipers were typically mobile, hopping from island to island with their distinctive down-swept wings, and seemingly popping up all over the place. In the photos below you can see an adult Common Sandpiper (the smaller bird) with a juvenile (the notably larger one).

Adult (right) and juvenile (left) Common Sandpipers, Deeping Lakes LWT, Lincs, 5.8.20


Adult (left) and juvenile (right) Common Sandpipers, Deeping Lakes LWT, Lincs, 5.8.20

Ageing them is not to do with size, though, but rather mainly down to the pattern of the wings and back. If you look closely at the larger juvenile, you will see the wing coverts are barred or (even chequered) with fine, buff fringes, and the longer wing feathers have pale ‘notches’. The adult, meanwhile has plainer (worn-looking) wings and some scattered black spots on the coverts and the mantle (back).

Lockdown Diary: Monday 3.8.20

I am once more topping up the ‘drinking pond’ in our garden so I just popped out (at 9.30am) to check on progress. Fine, thanks for asking. I heard a high-pitched squeak coming from the hedge near the main pond, and a little bit of scanning with my ‘noculars revealed a beautiful little juvenile Wren, complete with bright yellow gape line (always a giveaway of a new youngster). No photo yet, but I may go out with a camera, later.

In the evening, I found myself, once more at Deeping Lakes. Nothing much to report about there, apart from a bit of ‘movement’ of Mistle Thrushes. First 2 came rattling over heading SW. These were closely followed by a tight flock of 8, then another 2 and 15 minutes later another 2 (total 16 Mistle Thrushes). This is hardly an earth-shattering flock but did seem unusual. You don’t see too many Mistle Thrush flocks do you?However, look out for the Autumn issue of Bird Watching magazine, as Dominic Couzens has an article specifically about flocking in Mistle Thrushes!

Also at Deeping Lakes was a Shelduck (probably a juvenile, but hard to tell as it was always asleep). Most Shelducks go to the Waddenzee to moult in August, so perhaps this one has been left behind. i am told there were more than 6,000 along the Humber the other day, though, so I guess the rest have not all got there yet…

Lockdown Diary: Tuesday 4.8.20

My son Ed has started picking blueberries as a summer job for a few weeks. So, I had to take him down to the farm for 6.20 this morning. That meant there was a bit of time before work to do some birding, so I headed to one of my favourite places at the moment, Southey Wood. In summary, I heard Crossbills calling a few times and the largest number I saw were a flock of 4 flying about (possibly looking for a puddle or ditch to drink in); I also saw Spotted Flycatcher, a few Siskins, plenty of Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers and a couple of Muntjac Deer.

Perhaps, this pre-work birding will become a thing for the next few weeks…

Lockdown Diary: Sunday 2.8.20

I spent a bit of time at Deeping Lakes LWT (near Deeping St James, south Lincolnshire) this morning. Highlights were a couple of Common Sandpipers and an adult Greenshank. There were a couple of juvenile Marsh Harriers flying about and an adult female was also chased off by an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull. I think these juveniles are from the pair which have nested nearby and the female was probably their mother.

Later I went down to Bedford Purlieus (west of Peterborough, in an odd extension of Cambs) where I hoped to see White-letter Hairstreak butterflies. No such luck. There were plenty of Silver-washed Fritillaries and Gatekeepers and the odd Holly Blue going about, but no hairstreaks that I could find.


Gatekeeper, Bedford Purlieus, Cambs 2.8.20

I also photographed a nice looking yellow and black insect that I believed was a Nomada ‘cuckoo-bee’. When I checked the photo, later, though, I found it had just two proper wings, and so couldn’t be a bee after all (they have four) and must be a true fly (ie in the order Diptera). It turns out it was member of a family of flies called Conopidae, aka bee-grabbers aka wasp-grabbers aka thick-headed flies. I think my one is Conops quadrifasciatus (the larvae are internal parasites of bumblebees!).



A bee-grabber fly, probably Conops quadrifasciatus, Bedford Purlieus, Cambs 2.8.20


Migrant Hawker, Bedford Purlieus, Cambs 2.8.20

Birdwise, I heard a begging juvenile Sparrowhawk (late July into August is the peak time to hear the youngsters demanding to be fed, which is often the best way of knowing where the hawks have nested). Also, I found a few Marsh Tits here and there in the woods and some Siskins were flying about.

As I was leaving, I saw a young Fallow Deer feeding by the side of the track-like road, so I snapped a few shots, leaning out of the window of the car.

Fallow Deer, Bedford Purlieus, Cambs, 2.8.20

Lockdown Diary: Saturday 1.8.20

I had a bit of a late start this morning, and once more went to check on the Crossbills at Southey Wood. After a bit of work, I encountered about 10 of them (I only saw adult females clearly), though they are being a bit elusive and quiet; even more so than before… Nearby, a small flock of Siskins is building. At least one of the males was in full song, including the wheezy, extended note which sounds a bit like a motor drive on an ‘old skool’ SLR camera…

The finches noisily disappeared when a Buzzard came flying low over the tree-tops. I also recorded about 10 species of butterfly in the woods, there, including Silver-washed Fritillaries now looking a bit past their prime , and a nice Common Blue (also a tad worn, though).

Female Silver-washed Fritillary, Southey Wood, Cambs, 1.8.20

Common Blue butterfly, Southey Wood, Cambs, 1.8.20

At the Baston and Langtoft pit complex there were five Green Sandpipers on the New South Pit (NSP) and a Greenshank on the ‘wader pit’. Also there was a ‘leucistic’ Lapwing, where the upperparts were buffy brown (almost the colour of the nearby Greylag Geese), which is always unusual.

Lockdown Diary: Friday 31.7.20

Last night, I had a quick look at our ‘big’ pond under torchlight. There were literally dozens of ghostly white Small China-mark moths flying over the surface, presumably looking for females. It was enough to inspire me to get the old moth trap out (or rather one of the moth traps out). Even as I was setting it up, I saw at least one Old Lady flying around the garden! Not a witch, but a sort of large, broad-winged moth which floats about the garden like a very large blackish butterfly and can even be quite un-nerving at night!

As soon as I turned the actinic light on a Vapourer moth appeared. These are day-flyers (but will come to light) which are always males, as the females are flightless and the males seem to spend all day on the wing sniffing them out!

This morning, I processed the moths. Easily the highlight of the 25 or so species was a tree-lichen Beauty, which is a rare immigrant and a new moth for our garden (NFG as we mothers say).

Tree-lichen Beauty, our Peterborough garden, 31.7.20

Arguably, even more exciting than that little moth splashed with green was a huge longhorn beetle on the side of the trap, the like of which I have never seen before. It turns out (after some research) that it is Saperda carcharias aka the Large Poplar Borer, which is a Nationally Notable A species (ie pretty darn scarce and localised).

While I was at the mothing, I also noted all the birds I could see and hear in the garden. The Lesser Whitethroat was again present (and calling a lot, sounding very similar to a Blackcap to my ear). Other highlights included a heard-only Green Woodpecker and a low flying Sparrowhawk.

After work, I went to enjoy the early evening sunshine in the garden. There were three Common Darters on one of our piles of ‘sticks’. But more excitingly, there was a warbler near the drinking pond. It was a Phylloscopus warbler, like yesterday. But this one was bright yellow underneath and (in my opinion) unambiguously a juvenile Willow Warbler (Willows look neat and yellow, while juvenile Chiffchaffs tend to look duller and scruffier).

Large Poplar Borer, our Peterborough garden, 31.7.20

While I was at the mothing, I also noted all the birds I could see and hear in the garden. The Lesser Whitethroat was again present (and calling a lot, sounding very similar to a Blackcap to my ear). Other highlights included a heard-only Green Woodpecker and a low flying Sparrowhawk.

After work, I went to enjoy the early evening sunshine in the garden. There were three Common Darters on one of our piles of ‘sticks’. But more excitingly, there was a warbler near the drinking pond. It was a Phylloscopus warbler, like yesterday. But this one was bright yellow underneath and (in my opinion) unambiguously a juvenile Willow Warbler (Willows look neat and yellow, while juvenile Chiffchaffs tend to look duller and scruffier).

Willow Warbler, our Peterborough garden, 31.7.20

Lockdown Diary: Thursday 30.7.20

Yesterday, my wife Jo came in from the garden to tell me about a squeaky little ‘whitish’ bird in our one and only birch tree. Needless to say, when I went to look, said bird had scarpered. However, today, at ‘Elevenses’ time, I was in the garden and heard a slight note from a bird in the birch. I looked up and was surprised to see a Phylloscopus warbler, there. I grabbed the camera and took some awful shots instead of examining its wings or behaviour etc. I think it is probably a Chiffchaff, but I would need better views (and photos) to rule out Willow Warbler 100%. The photos make it look a tad scruffy (which is pro-Chiffchaff), but I didn’t get that impression in the brief real-life view. I hope it is there again later… Either way, it is pleasing that our humble city garden can attract warblers at all. We are sort of aiming for the garden being a bit like a woodland glade, and if the birds believe that is what it is then we must be doing something half-right.

Probable Chiffchaff, our garden, Peterborough, Cambs 30.7.20

I popped out again a bit later to add some water to the ‘drinking pond’. When it was ' more or less full, I went to check it, and a bold little adult Robin had come down to start its bath. I nipped in to get my camera. This is the best of what I could capture.

Robin bathing in our garden ‘drinking pond’, Peterborough, Cambs 30.7.20 

In the evening, I enjoyed sitting in the sunny garden. A flock of 30-odd Swifts were screaming overhead! And even better, I had my second warbler of the day in the garden, a Lesser Whitethroat, a species I can only remember seeing perhaps once or twice in the past, here.

Lockdown Diary: Wednesday 29.7.20

Today’s insect seen perching on our pond vegetation was a handsome wasp. Clearly a social wasp, it was nearly black all over, with limited yellow markings. I don’t remember seeing one of these beasties before, but it turns out it was a Median Wasp, a relatively recent coloniser through southern England since the early 1980s. Workers can be blackish like this one, but all show yellow chevron ticks (resembling the Nike logo, apparently) at the front of the thorax (which you can just see in this photo.

Worker Median Wasp, our Peterborough garden pond, 29.7.20 

You guessed it, in the evening I was once more checking the south Lincolnshire pits (ie in the Deepings area). The most interesting birds were 4 Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits resting on the Baston and Langtoft ‘wader pit’. We seem to be having another pulse of these lovely waders through the Peterborough area (after one a few weeks ago, followed by a lull).

Later, I popped into Southey Wood to see if the Crossbills were still in place. I found a few juveniles and at least one adult female, all in the usual Western Hemlock trees. But, if the rest are still around (which I suspect they will be) they were not playing ball, and remaining hidden, quietly feeding. Interestingly, there appears to be a new pulse of Siskins into the same trees as the Crossbills. At one stage I was watching a streaked juvenile Siskin feeding alongside a similarly streaked juvenile Crossbill. The size difference was absurd!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Lockdown Diary: Tuesday 28.7.20

I haven’t done very much ‘moth trapping’ in recent years. This is partly owing to the facet that when we had a Honey Bee ‘hive’ in one of our compost bins the traps were catching far too many bees! Unfortunately, although we try to catch moths then release them, some insects get into the trap and die as a consequence; and I was increasingly uncomfortable with the amount of ‘dead by-catch’!

Anyhow, one moth I used to catch quite a bit was the Small China-mark. I just popped out and saw what I think is a male flitting around the surface of our pond. They are unusual moths, partly because the caterpillar is aquatic, living in ponds wrapped in a tube of leaves like a caddis-fly larva, often of Duckweed, which is also one main food plant. Well, we have plenty of Duckweed in our pond, so the Small China-marks should be happy! Incidentally, those water lily pads are in fact Frogbit eaves and only a couple of inches across…

Small China-mark, our pond, Peterborough, Cambs, 28.7.20

In the evening (which was pretty cold and windy from the NW), I popped up to Deeping Lakes, having heard that there had been one or two interesting passage waders there earlier, including a Black-tailed Godwit and a couple of Dunlin. These birds had moved on, but there were a couple of Common Sandpipers, and better than them, a Turnstone. I think this is only the second Turnstone I have seen in the PBC this year, after an overwintering bird which was enjoying some flooded fields. I believe it was a female, as it was quite dark headed, and not particularly bright orange on the back, although the odd looking greater coverts may mean it wasn’t a full adult after all (I claim no expertise whatsoever on the moult or otherwise of waders!).

Anyhow, it looked tired yet nervous, like a bird freshly in, and wasn’t doing much. Then I heard some soft Turnstone flight calls and when I looked I couldn’t see it. I moved screens, and saw it wondering around the Rock Island where the Lapwing had been pecked by gulls a few nights ago. A Coot chased it off and it went back nearer to the first screen, where it started to bathe. Then it moved closer still, but was chased a little by Lapwings, before settling down. I took a few photos.

Turnstone, with Lapwings and Lesser Black-backed Gull, Deeping Lakes LWT, Lincs, 28.7.20 

Eventually to cold got too much for me, and I drove to the Baston and Langtoft pit complex. I checked the New South Pit, where there was a juvenile Greenshank, a Green Sandpiper and a Common Sandpiper. Then I heard a familiar yet unfamiliar call from above: surely a Turnstone! I looked up and a Turnstone came flying over calling (heading west). I presumed this was a different bird from the Deeping Lakes bird, which seemed settled when I left andthis pit is more than 4 miles NW of Deeping Lakes.

After a while, I drove down the road heading further north to the Wader Pit. There were 6 adult Dunlins, here, 3 Common Sandpipers and a Turnstone! This time, it was on the mud, so I was able to check its plumage with my scope. It looked very similar to the Deeping Lakes bird, even though this pit is 5 miles away as the Turnstone flies! It felt like I had been followed from pit to pit by the Turnstone.

At 8.40pm, something spooked the Dunlins and the Turnstone, which flew as the lead bird, as if the king of smaller waders. And although at least four of the Dunlin retuned to the mud, I could hear the call of Turnstone once more in the north. Perhaps it returned having found no suitable habitat close by to the norht. But I had already gone home by the time it did, if it did…

Monday, July 27, 2020

Lockdown Diary: Monday 27.7.20

Gloomy and rainy outside, today. I popped into the garden to see what was going on, though. Meadow Brown butterfly flopping around was the best I could get. But there was a cool little ‘crane fly’ on the vegetation in the pond. I tried to photograph it and this was the best I could do.

Cranefly, our garden, Peterborough, Cambs, 27.7.20
I suspect it may be called Dictenidia bimaculata, but I wonder if the number of spots on the window still falls into the range of variability of that species (which, as the name suggests usually has two spots per wing).

Lockdown Diary: Sunday 26.7.20

Yes, I was back at Southey Wood for the Crossbills, first thing. Indeed, for once, Crossbill-fanciers outnumbered dog-walkers and families out for a walk, this morning, with quite a crowd enjoying the views. One or two juvenile birds showed best for prolonged scope views. These included a couple with pale tips to the upper wing-coverts, making it look like they have double wing-bars; I think this combined with a trick of the light was what got me ‘excited ‘ the other evening. It is all educational. Talking of which, I could watch and learn from these beauties all day. For instance, I didn’t realise quite how long and flexible their tongues are!

Juvenile Crossbill, showing transverse ‘wing-bars’, Southey Wood, Cambs, 25.7.20
Later, when the ‘bills had become elusive (even more so than usual, that is), I visited Deeping Lakes, again. As expected the poor Lapwing which was the victim of gull abuse, was now another corpse on one of the islands (there are also corpses of Mute Swan, multiple Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Coot and Mallard lying about on various islands).
There was a small hint of passage, wader wise, with a juvenile and two adult Dunlins (perhaps of different subspecies, judging by their different sizes and the extent of the black bellies) and 3 Redshanks which came in from the east. Also, there were 2 Common Sandpipers. A Red Kite came to check out if there were any new gull chicks to grab and eat, and a couple of Marsh Harriers drifted by at greater height.
Later, I remembered that the Broad-leaved Helleborines (a type of orchid) would be in better bloom this weekend. So, I headed off there to see them. I found at least a dozen spikes in the Beech wood, and very pretty they were, too. But, I am more of an animal man than a plant lover, and they were tough to photograph effectively with my gear, so I soon bade them farewell and went home.

Broad-leaved Helleborines, Bedford Purlieus, Cambs, 26.7.20

Lockdown Diary: Saturday 25.7.20

The lure of the Southey Wood Crossbills got me on site not long after 6am, where I met a couple of similar bill-seekers. part of the motivation was to check through the flock for larger billed individuals, as a photo which appeared on line from this site resembled a Parrot Crossbill to an extent (which are much heavier billed than ‘Common’ Crossbills).
There were still about 20 Crossbills about of all colours and ages, and we found some places where the views were great. There were no big-billed birds, but some appeared larger billed if viewed at certain angles from bellow, so perhaps that was what was going on with the online photo…

Probable adult male Crossbill, Southey Wood, Cambs, 25.7.20

‘Crossbill in Golden Oriole Clothing’, probable first-summer male Crossbill, Southey Wood, Cambs, 25.7.20

Later, I popped up to the Deepings area, including the Baston and Langtoft pits. One recent gravel extraction pit pit, which is currently dubbed the New South Pit, had a Greenshank (the first juvenile I have seen this year), 5 Green Sandpipers and 2 Common Sandpipers. This will definitely be a pit worth watching. Meantime, the recent hotspot for decent birds, the Wader Pit, had 3 Little Ringed Plovers, but, as with the whole year is crying out for a pump to lower the levels a bit. Ho hum.

Lockdown Diary: Friday 24.7.20

The Speckled Wood butterfly in our garden is still doing his best to see off all comers of any species, which in the afternoon included a Red Admiral which popped in for a look around. Perhaps it was attracted by one of our buddleias which is starting to get into nice bloom.
In the evening, I was once again at Deeping Lakes. Just outside the reserve, there was a gathering of many hundreds of gulls in a grassy field, presumably eating newly hatched flying ants. They were mostly Black-headed Gulls, plus Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and several adult Common Gulls (which are less common around here in summer).
At Deeping Lakes LWT reserve, itself there were three Common Sandpipers, 3 Dunlins (including 2 juveniles) and full sized juveniles of both Great Crested Grebe and Egyptian Goose, neither of which can have come from this sites (where the youngsters of both species were predated ages ago).
I witnessed something deeply unpleasant, but which I guess is ‘natural’. A couple of full-sized juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls (probably siblings, and certainly not from Deeping Lakes, where the colony has been wiped out by predation), were attacking an adult Lapwing, which seemed unable to fly away, and its legs seemed not to be able to hold it properly either. Anyhow, the attack was ruthless and the poor Lapwing was being plucked and even eaten a bit (from a wound on its back) while still alive. Then the gulls got bored and left it moribund. A Moorhen and a Coot came to look at the poor Lapwing, and adults of Herring Gull and lesser Black-back also gave it a cursory glance, before getting back to preening and loafing.

Juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls attacking an adult Lapwing, Deeping Lakes LWT, Lincs, 24.7.20
The poor Lapwing was destined to join the growing menagerie of dead birds lying around the east pit, which seem never to even be pecked at by the gulls (which scrap over bits of dirty plastic at rubbish tips, but ignore this source of protein!

Lockdown Diary: Thursday 23.7.20

Because of yesterday’s crossbill with two transverse wing-bars, I was back at Southey Wood at 6am today. Eventually, I found the big flock (still 30+ birds) and got great views, but sadly no wing-barred individuals. Perhaps I will get another go this evening, after work…

Crossbills, Southey Wood, Cambs, 23.7.20