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.

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