This site may be past its prime, because the best pool has dried out and a lot of areas are being choked by willows and scrub. However, I was pleased to see four Greenshanks and quite a few young warblers including a Lesser Whitethroat.
The skies were clear first thing and despite a cold wind the sun was very bright. The lay of the land at Shawell makes gulling difficult when it is sunny, so that's why I tore myself away from the gulls for a few hours. The cloud started to build up about 10 o'clock, so I set off to Cotesbach landfill site. It was bitterly cold there and a pair of gloves wouldn't have gone a miss whilst I endured some squally showers.
Initially the gulls were quite close and I soon picked up an adult Caspian Gull. Unfortunately one of the dumper truck drivers felt the need to drive through the flock, which pushed them further away from my viewing point.
|Adult Caspian Gull|
I thought, whilst watching it, that the adult Caspian Gull was most likely to be the one that I saw last Wednesday, but on close inspection it clearly isn't. Measuring the bill ratios of the two (using photographs) it is obvious that there is a significant difference. The one seen on Wednesday has a bill ratio of about 2.5 and today's gull has a ratio of about 2.8. Its eyes are also slightly darker and it appears less elegant than the one seen last Wednesday.
Now elegant isn't a word I'd use to describe this next gull. I first saw this one last Wednesday, but it was too distant to photograph. I had it down then as a hybrid. It shows some similarities to Caspian Gull as far as its plumage is concerned, but structurally it is very odd. Its plumage isn't that far out for a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull either. Whatever its parentage, it is one ugly gull.
|One Ugly Gull|