Saturday 14 March 2015

Iceland and Mediterranean Gulls

Today was a funny one as far as the gulls at Shawell are concerned. I called at the landfill site first thing, but it was deserted. No gulls and no rubbish trucks. It would appear that they are capping the area that has been used recently. This usually results in a lack of gulls as they drift off elsewhere in search of a meal.

At the lagoons by the A5 there was actually a reasonable collection of gulls, although not as many as normal. I scanned through the gulls on the far shore and quickly came upon a sleeping 'white-winged gull' It was clearly a juvenile Iceland Gull, but one that was shy, as it didn't want to lift its head up. I eventually got a photo showing its head to confirm it was an Iceland Gull. 

Juvenile Iceland Gull, Shawell A5 Lagoons

Juvenile Iceland Gull, Shawell A5 Lagoons

It wasn't long before the gulls got disturbed by some invisible foe and most of them flew away northwards. Many of the smaller gulls quickly returned and amongst them was an adult Mediterranean Gull. Later on I spotted a different Mediterranean Gull. This one was a sub-adult with only a very small dark patch on just one primary feather - the rest of the primaries were white like an adult.

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Shawell A5 Lagoons

Weekdays are often better for seeing large numbers of gulls at Shawell and during my brief Wednesday lunchtime session I spotted a smart looking first-winter Caspian Gull. I managed to get a bit of video of it feeding amongst the rubbish. It was quite a pale one, which is quite common at this time of year. The mantle was very silvery grey.

First-winter Caspian Gull, Cotesbach Landfill Site

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