Tuesday 30 December 2014

Last Visit to Shawell for 2014

I couldn't resist one more visit to Shawell before the year's end, so yesterday morning I donned my thermal underwear etc, and trotted off.

This was the first day the tip was up and running after the Christmas break and obviously most of the gulls had got the memo, as plenty had turned up for the feast.

I spotted a first year gull swimming in the shallows and I spotted it had a red colour-ring. It took ages for my Jedi mind tricks to will it to climb out of the water, but eventually it obeyed me. My first impression of the gull was that it might be a Caspian Gull or a hybrid. 

It wasn't a classic but the more I looked the more I thought it could be a Caspian Gull. It was impossible to read the colour ring as it was wet and the sun was reflected by the water. The only figure I could read was a 1. Something spooked the gulls and I lost it amongst the hordes.

Luckily I soon found it again amongst  a group of gulls resting on the shore slightly closer to my position. It didn't land on the shore, but stood in the shallow water at the edge.

Caspian Gull (16P4), Shawell December 29th 2014

Caspian Gull (16P4), Shawell December 29th 2014

Eventually it climbed out on to the bank and I was able to read the number, which was 16P4. I have confirmed this by playing around with the photos on my PC. It is from a Polish scheme, which I have reported the sighting to and hopefully I'll have more details very soon.

Caspian Gull (16P4), Shawell December 29th 2014

Most of the features are fine for Caspian Gull, the primary projection is a little short, although well within the range and some of the new scapular feathers have quite dark markings on them. It is difficult to judge primary projection in photos as just like bill length it can alter depending on angles and how the gull is standing.

There was also an adult, probably a female, Caspian Gull present, so I will have to update my premature Shawell review for 2014 posting.

Caspian Gull (16P4), Shawell December 29th 2014

Adult Caspian Gull, Shawell, 29th December 2014
Amongst today's Herring Gulls I spotted an adult with a Norwegian ring. JX222 had been ringed in 2012 near Vardo during GULLFEST 2012. British birders, Martin Garner and Tristan Reid were present at the time. JX222 has travelled at least 2576 kilometres to visit Shawell, which is pretty impressive. 

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