Sunday 15 December 2013

It's Not Over Until the Fat lady Sings

It was an odd day at Shawell today. There didn't appear to be much activity at the landfill site, so the gulls had dispersed far and wide. I could see many of them flying to a distant field near to the M1. During the morning good numbers gathered on the bank between the two A5 lagoons and amongst them were over 300 Great Black-backed Gulls. Only one colour-ringed gull was seen today, an adult Herring Gull with an orange ring and the code 1416.

The afternoon was a bit slow, but I know that good birds can appear at anytime and today was no exception. Gulls often hang around at the landfill site all day only coming to the pools for a wash and brush up before going off to roost. Amongst the last group arriving for a clean up was a second-winter Glaucous Gull. However, it was almost blink and you'd miss it - a quick wash and then off.

It was an interesting bird in the fact that some of the coverts had pale grey vermiculations, which created a slightly uneven pattern across the folded wing. I considered the possibility of it being a hybrid, but dismissed this after looking at a selection of photos at home. Otherwise it had typical off-white primaries, a faded pink bill with a black tip and pink legs. The primary projection was short and although it was probably a female it dwarfed all the other large gulls close by. Luckily it was in no rush to fly away and circled the lagoon before flying away into Warwickshire.

Below is an image of a second-winter Glaucous Gull that I photographed in Lincolnshire. This one is very similar to today's version. The photographs I took today confirm the ID but are not good enough for publishing on my blog unfortunately.

Second-winter Glaucous Gull, Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

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