Saturday, 7 January 2017

More From Shawell

Since January 1st I have visited Shawell a few times, as I'm sure you've already guessed. No white-winger yet, but there's loads of time.

The gull numbers are building up well. c6000 Black-headed Gulls and well over 3000 Herring Gulls have painted the site pale grey. Amongst these I've pulled out four Caspian Gulls, two second-winters and two adults. A first-winter gull could well be a Caspian, but it may not be from pure stock, so I haven't made my mind up about it yet.

Amongst the Herring Gulls are some obvious eastern birds. The Finnish ringed one is still around and several adults have nice yellow legs, long wings and a Caspian Gull like primary pattern. I see this type every January and speculate that they come from the Baltic area. Colour ringed Herring Gulls ringed in northern Norway confirm that northern argentatus HGs are visiting us in Leicestershire.

Below is a video I took yesterday afternoon during a brief stop off at the lagoons. I was surprised to see iced up areas. The first gull is a stocky second-winter Caspian Gull, then a first-winter argentatus. This should be from northern lands, as it is still in juvenile plumage. They breed later, so the young gulls are behind in their development compared to those born further south.

The second video shows a first-winter Caspian Gull regurgitating its lunch. its a good job it did. Thank goodness we are trying to cut down the amount of plastic bags we use. I took this video just before the end of 2016.

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