Saturday 19 July 2014

Birds are on the Move Again

The seasons seem to fly by these days - it only seems five minutes since we welcomed the return of the summer migrants and now they've done their business (hopefully) and are once more preparing to fly south. Gangs of Swifts are charging up and down my street screaming as they go, which is a fantastic sight on a warm and sunny evening. There is a small colony near my house that nest in one of the old buildings and each year they return to nest there. Sadly the number returning has being falling in recent years. Hopefully the fact that we have had a reasonable summer will have helped them raise a few new members of the gang. In a short time they will disappear again as if by magic.

Juvenile gulls are starting to appear at Shawell A5 Lagoons. Young Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls are the commonest. At least one juvenile Yellow-legged Gull has moved north already. Yellow-legged Gulls are usually commonest at the end of July in Leicestershire, so it is not surprising a few juveniles have moved north with the older gulls.

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull
Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
They are not the best images of the juvenile, as they are just screen grabs from a short video, but the features all show up: whitish head with dark mask around the eyes, chunky all black bill, dark tertials with thin pale edges, the top greater coverts stand out as they are darker and not so heavily patterned as the lower ones and finally it's much bulkier than the juvenile Lesser black-backed Gulls that were also present.

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