Saturday 9 August 2014

Colour-ringed Caspian Gull (PADZ)

We have a saying around ere that 'you wait ages for a Midland Red bus and then two arrive'.

Well colour-ringed Caspian Gulls are no different.

A large group of gulls arrived at Shawell A5 Lagoons this afternoon and amongst them was an adult Caspian Gull. It took a while to reach that conclusion, as it wasn't showing enough of its primary pattern at first and its eyes were slightly paler than normal. Eventually I managed to record a wing flap, which showed everything was in order in the primaries and I decided that its eyes are within the acceptable range.

I continued to watch it preening and splashing about and then it flapped its wings so hard it shot up in the air and revealed it had a yellow colour-ring. I switched to Jedi mode and using some powerful mind tricks I was able to persuade it to swim to the shore and climb out onto the beach. Once it stood still I was able to read the letters, which were PADZ.

Adult Caspian Gull (PADZ)

This gull already has history in the UK, as it was seen in February 2013 at Candles Landfill site, Telford and during December 2013 and February 2014 it was seen by Steve Lister at Albion landfill site, Leicestershire. It was ringed as a chick in a Caspian Gull colony just west of Krakow, Poland in May 2009. This colony is outside the accepted hybrid zone for Caspian and Herring Gulls.

I can't stop tripping over juvenile Caspian Gulls at the minute. Before the big influx of gulls arrived I found another juvenile on the water and reasonably close to my spot in the hedge. The light was far too bright (always moaning about the light), but I did my best to get a few record shots through my scope. This one was a really impressive individual with a classic profile. It was already moulting some of its scapulars, which tells me it is not one of the other two I saw earlier this week and it was a larger, probably a male.

Juvenile Caspian Gull
 By the way I think its Arriva Buses now.

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