Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Easiest Twitch Ever

I am a bit slow off the blocks these days when collecting new British Ticks. I had seen a sickly Blue Rock Thrush at Hemel Hempstead many years ago and I missed a good one on the Scilly Isles by a day, so when one turned up in Stow on the Wold I was not really that tempted - that much! I was a bit fed up last Sunday due to the weather, so I decided to have a ride down to the Cotswold's in search of a bird that was confusing the yellowy coloured Cotswold stone for a rock face in the Med.

It took just over an hour to get there. I walked into the Maugersbury Close and soon spotted my target perched on a roof top. No wait for hours to see this bird. After a couple of minutes it flew off and didn't reappear. I was back home almost before anyone knew I gone.

The light was terrible, so I videoed it.

Enjoy...




Saturday, 18 February 2017

Today's News From Shawell

I was looking forward to today's session as Steve Nichols had seen two adult Glaucous Gulls yesterday on the tip. He had managed to distantly view the landfill area from the small lane on the north side.

The weather was against me at first with fog making viewing difficult. As it began to clear I spotted a juvenile Glaucous Gull distantly, but soon lost it as the gulls took to flight. I re-spotted it several times before it came close enough for a record shot. It appears to be another new one, as last week's Glauc was really dark whereas this one was a typical biscuit brown.

Juvenile Glaucous Gull

At the same time as the juvenile Glaucous came close so did the regular juvenile Iceland Gull.

Juvenile Iceland Gull


After taking record shots of the two gulls above I began to scan through the gulls on a raised plateau situated about another 100 metres behind the main flock. Amongst them was an adult Glaucous Gull. It may have been last week's colour-ringed one, but its legs were hidden in a rut. It was too distant to photograph well, so I didn't bother trying

Four Caspian Gulls were around too. Three first-winters and a second-winter.

First-Winter Caspian Gull
First-Winter Caspian Gull

Friday, 17 February 2017

The Vikings Have Arrived

Over the last week I have seen not one but two Glaucous x Herring Gull hybrids - aka Viking Gulls. Both in the Shawell area.

Both were structurally very similar to Glaucous Gulls - large size, shortish primary projection and large bi-coloured bills. The first one, a first-winter, was a large gull with pale buff upperparts and greyish brown primaries. It had a full greyey brown tail band, which is not that common, but certainly not unprecedented for this hybrid type. The other was a second-winter. When I spotted it it was facing head on and I thought it was a Glaucous, but as it turned sideways on I could see its primaries were not right - too dark.






Wednesday, 15 February 2017

White-Wingers at Shawell During My Watch - 2012 to Present Day.

White-wingers (Iceland and Glaucous Gulls) are the highlight of the winter months for any gull watcher prepared to suffer the cold. Below is an account of all the denizens of the frozen Arctic wastes that have graced Shawell since 2012. I have been lucky enough to have seen all of them apart from a juvenile Glaucous Gull seen by Neil Hagley on January 4th 2012. No Glaucous Gulls had been recorded at Shawell prior to 2012, as far as I know. In comparison six Iceland Gulls had been recorded at the site between 2009 and 2012. 

The finder is the first name or initials. I have used my initials (CDB) and everyone else is named.


Glaucous Gull

Glaucous Gulls are a scarce but regular winter visitor to the Shawell area of Leicestershire.  2013 was the best year so far with seven different ones: six in the first winter period and one in the second. 20 in total.

2012


  • Juvenile, Cotesbach Landfill site on December 28th (CDB). At the time it was raining very heavily and it was very windy, so I didn’t risk damaging my camera.


2013



  • Fourth-winter at both Cotesbach Landfill site and the A5 Lagoons on February 16th (CDB, Andy Forryan and  Garsham Roberts). 




















  • Juvenile at the A5 Lagoons on February 22nd (CDB). 




















  • Second-winter at both Cotesbach Landfill site and the A5 Lagoons on March 9th (Steve Lister, CDB). 




















  • Juvenile at the A5 Lagoons on March 16th (CDB). It spent all afternoon on the lagoons.




















  • Juvenile at Shawell A5 Lagoons on March 27th (CDB).  I consider it to be a different individual to the one on March 16th due to its small size and plumage differences.




















  • Adult at Cotesbach Landfill site on March 28th (CDB). 



















  • Second-winter or pale juvenile at the A5 Lagoons on December 14th (CDB, Steve Nichols). 


















2014



  • Second-winter at Cotesbach landfill site and the A5 Lagoons on January 18th (CDB). 



















2015



  • Second-winter at the A5 Lagoons and Cotesbach Landfill site on January 20th to 24th (CDB, Steve Nichols, Dave Scott and Andy Forryan). 




















  • Third-winter at Cotesbach Landfill site on January 25th (CDB). I



















2016



  • Juvenile at Cotesbach Landfill site on January 9th (CDB). 




















  • Juvenile on January 16th & 21st and February 18th (CDB, Steve Nichols). I






















  • Second-winter, January 21st at the A5 Lagoons (CDB, Steve Nichols). It had an injured leg.






















  • Fourth-winter at both Cotesbach landfill site and the A5 Lagoons on February 18th (CDB). 




















2017


  • Juvenile at the A5 Lagoons on January 11th (CDB). 



















  • Juvenile at the sand quarry on January 21st (CDB). 






















  • Juvenile at the sand quarry on January 27th & 28th and February 4th (CDB, Steve Nichols, Mike Alibone).




















  • Juvenile (dark individual) at the sand quarry on February 11th (CDB, Tim Kociuch, Steve Nichols).

  • Adult at the sand quarry on February 11th (CDB, Tim Kociuch). This one had a colour-ring (orange G1NT) that was fitted by the North Thames Gull Group in March 2015. It has also been seen in Northamptonshire and Cheshire. It or another was again seen on February 17th at the landfill (Steve Nichols) and on February 18th in the sand quarry (CDB). On both the 17th & 18th its colour-ring was not visible, but on the 18th CDB saw the same or a similar mark on the adults neck that is visible in the photo from the 11th.



  • Adult with some vestiges of winter plumage at the landfill on February 17th (Steve Nichols).

  • Juvenile at the sand quarry on February 18th (CDB).


















Iceland Gull

They appear at the same time as the other large white-winger although they can turn up later than the Glaucous Gull. Sightings have been made as late as April. 2012 is the best year so far with five individuals. I have seen 16 so far at Shawell since 2012.






2012


  • Third-winter at the A5 Lagoons between January 9th and 28th (CDB, Neil Hagley et al). 




















  • Second-winter at the A5 Lagoons on February 29th (CDB). This one was probably a male and it had a distinctive bill pattern. Not photographed due to camera failure.



  • Second-winter at the A5 Lagoons on March 3rd (CDB, Steve Lister, Garsham Roberts).




















  • Adult at the A5 Lagoons on March 1oth and 17th. (Neil Hagley, CDB and Steve Lister). Seen by Neil on the 10th and re-found by CDB on the 17th. Not photographed.
  • Second-winter at the A5 Lagoons on March 23rd (Dave Gray, CDB).



























2013

  • a biscuit coloured Juvenile at the landfill site on February 9th (CDB). Not photographed.

  • a pale juvenile at the A5 Lagoons on March 9th, 27th and 28th plus April 6th (CDB, Steve Lister).




























2014
  • second-winter at both the landfill site and the A5 Lagoons on January 18th (CDB, Steve Nichols, Dave Gray).


























  • Adult at the A5 lagoons on march 15th (CDB).







  • Third-winter at the A5 Lagoons on December 17th and 20th (CDB, Steve Nichols)


























2015
  • Juvenile at the A5 Lagoons briefly on March 14th (CDB).



























2016

  • Juvenile at the A5 Lagoons on February 12th (CDB). 
























  •  Faded juvenile at the A5 Lagoons regularly from March 16th (CDB, Steve Nichols). Sadly it broke its wing and had to be taken into care and put to sleep as the injury was too severe. 















  • third-winter at both the landfill site and the A5 Lagoons on April 9th (CDB).
















2017
  • juvenile at the sand quarry on January 21st and February 7th & 11th (CDB, Steve Nichols, Tim Kociuch).
















  • Adult at the sand quarry on February 4th (CDB).



To be continued...