The Cambridgeshire village of Cottenham lies partly on an ancient (early Cretaceous) lower greensand ridge just 8 metres above sea level and until the draining of the Fens in the 17th century it was essentially the only dry land between the city of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely almost 20 km northeast of the village. Regardless, the nearest stretch of seaside is about 60 km away (as the crow flies) and so you don’t necessarily expect to see seabirds in this village…unless, of course, you head northeast out of the village on Long Drove until you reach the gravel pits.
There you enter a world of wonder visible from the passing places along the drove: Gulls of many kinds, including recently an Iceland Gull, but more commonly Lesser Black-backed, Greater Black-backed, Herring, Black-headed Gull,
Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Teal, Coot, Mallard, Wigeon. It’s like having a waterfowl bird reserve in our back garden. Of course, strolling around such a site would be dangerous and as it’s private property, I did not venture beyond their boundaries, snapping from the safe side of the gate.