What was probably my last meaningful birding of the year was at Carlton Marshes today.
The Spratts Water area near Tower Hide has hosted Siberian Chiffchaff over the last couple of days so I wandered in that direction and joined Peter Ransome along the path. c150 Goldfinches en-route was the largest flock I've seen in years. Despite initially unpromising news 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs popped up together at the back of a reedy clearing in the willows. They showed a few more times over the next hour but remained elusive for long periods, often staying very low. Both looked like classic tristis with one bird showing a stronger supercilium. A Water Rail squealed a couple of times and 2 Common Buzzards flew over. I shunned the cafe on the way back as there was too much of a queue and instead concentrated on a flock of gulls by the level crossing on Burnt House Lane. Here amongst the flock of Herring Gulls and Greater Black-backed Gulls I found a 1w Caspian Gull which was a nice bonus.