Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Colour-Ringed Mediterranean Gull at Shawell

A quick visit to Shawell at Lunchtime proved worthwhile, as amongst the Black-headed Gulls was an adult Mediterranean Gull. It was wearing a nice red colour-ring with the code PEJL, as long as I read it correctly. The colour-rings on small gulls are difficult to read at Shawell, but I do manage to read a few. I also saw a Lithuanian ringed Black-headed Gull. Hopefully I'll receive emails with their life-histories attached soon.

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Shawell A5 lagoons, 25/02/15

Saturday, 21 February 2015

A Good Days Gulling

It has been a little disappointing at Shawell over the last couple of weeks, as the gulls have been in short supply at the usual viewing points. Also after seeing at least one Caspian Gull on every visit since Sept 2014 it was a shock to go two weeks without seeing one.

Fortunately things improved today.

It was obvious that large numbers of Herring Gulls have moved on and have been replaced with Lesser Black-backed Gulls. The LBBGs are on the move north so there should be a few more colour-rings to read. I had a good day reading colour-rings and managed to read 26 in total. I did, however, fail to read the green colour-ring of a German Caspian Gull, as it stood in the water and only briefly showed the cr. It appears to be a very faded second-winter as its bill is too mature looking for a first-winter.

Faded Second-winter Caspian Gull

It is interesting that young Caspian Gulls often appear in late winter when large numbers of LBBGs are passing through. 

A really stunning first-winter Caspian Gull was knocking about today. I saw it at the pools in the quarry, at the tip working area and at the lagoons.

I'm always amazed at how these gulls can look different from one minute to the next. Short-winged or long winged, small headed or larger headed, shortish billed or long-billed etc. The first-winter at the lagoons looked like a different gull to the one I saw at the landfill site, but plumage details reveal it was the same gull. It was a little distant, but it looked best at the landfill area.

First-winter Caspian Gull

The video grab below, although blurred, best shows the contrast between the white head and underparts against the grey saddle and brown coverts. The neck shawl also contrasted well with the white head. It was one of the smartest Casps I seen at Shawell.

First-winter Caspian Gull
First-winter Caspian Gull

As well as the Casps I saw four Yellow-legged Gulls: three adults and a first-winter.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

White-Winger, but no Cigar

Last Saturday was quite a slow day at Shawell, as the gulls preferred distant fields rather than the attractions of the landfill or the cool waters of the A5 Lagoons.

During the morning small numbers came to the lagoons and amongst them was a 'white-winged' gull, but not an Iceland or Glaucous Gull. It was too elegant for a Glaucous and not quite right for an Iceland. The primaries had greyish markings not unlike a Kumlien's Gull, but again I didn't feel it was quite right for one of those either.

Its wings were really long, which might suit Iceland, but too me it was a bit too Herring Gull like. At the time I thought it was most likely to be an aberrant Herring Gull.

The video below gives the best impression of what I saw. Note how its tertials seem to stand up and how thin its wing tip looks.

As always I welcome any opinions.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Caspian Gull

A brief stop of at Shawell A5 Lagoons today and another new Caspian Gull. A slightly tough job to age it as it appeared to be most like a third-summer. Perhaps not surprising as many of the gulls are closer to summer plumage than winter now.

Interesting how the same gull can look different depending on what they are up to - look at the difference in the appearance of the head. 

Caspian Gull, Shawell A5 Lagoons, 04/02/15

Caspian Gull, Shawell A5 lagoons, 04/02/15

Facebook Like Page

In an attempt to keep up with the times I've decided to join Facebook and create a Facebook like page for my blog. 

I will keep it up to date with my latest posts and any general news that relates to my blog.  

If you have 5-minutes and you are a Facebook user, feel free to like my page. 

Like My Bag a Wild One Facebook Page here.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Water Vole

I've been going through my external hard drive looking for some gull photos and amongst the stored images I found this little gem. It's a Water Vole, but a quick Google search revealed there are very few images of them at such a young age. I've never shared this image before so here it is. 

Young Water Vole, Ashby Canal, Leicestershire

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Despite the Cold Weather Shawell Was Once Again Entertaining

My target yesterday was to read four new colour rings to bring my total to 500 colour-ringed gulls in the Shawell area. The weather was terrible at the Cotesbach landfill site, but I stood firm as a blizzard raged. I was rewarded when I spotted the fourth new colour-ringed gull of the day - a third-winter Herring Gull with a yellow colour-ring. Wiping the snow off my eyepiece I peered through the murk and read the code 1P6B. This gull was ringed by the East Anglia Gull Group. I had hoped to photograph the 500th, but the heavy snowfall made me not want to risk damaging my camera.

Eventually the weather improved and I was able to start looking amongst the Herring Gulls for Caspian Gulls and a suitable candidate soon appeared distantly on the tip. As I checked out its legs I noticed a yellow colour-ring and the code was readable and very familiar to me - it was PADZ. I first saw this gull in August 2014 and then again in October of that year. It was last seen at Albion landfill site, Leicestershire back in November. 

Below are details of the sightings of Caspian Gull PADZ so far: