Saturday 20 June 2015

Caspian Gull at Cotesbach LF Site in June

There are still lots of gulls around Shawell at present. Today I counted 1440 Lesser Black-backed (rounded to the nearest 10), 50 Herring, four Yellow-legged and one Caspian.

Though most legs were bare of bling, I did spot a few colour-ringed gulls including a German ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull. It was a second-year and I had seen it at Shawell previously during August 2014. I have also seen Dutch and Norwegian ringed LBBGs recently. 

There must be more local breeding gulls to be found judging by the large number of adult gulls feeding on the tip today. If anyone does spot any gulls in Leicestershire hanging around industrial sites please let me know, as I have an offer on the table to colour-ring the young gulls.

I have almost given up trying to survey the gulls breeding on the roof at Sunningdale Business Park, Leicester as the management say they are just too busy to spare me half an hour to view the warehouse roof from the higher office block - bah humbug! I can't ask anyone of a higher position in the company as the refusal came from a 'Partner' Landlord. 

The landfill site and sand quarry at Shawell are strictly private and the gulls are not viewable from any public area. It has taken me three years to gain access and it still isn't easy to get good views. The gulls have many choices of places to go and it is not possible to chase them. I have had training from Lafarge Tarmac in order to enter the quarry, which was very kind of them. Hopefully in the future I will be given permission to get closer to the working part of the tip.

The gull in the photo below first appeared when the rain had soaked my eyepiece, but I saw enough to think it might have been a Caspian. It re-appeared on the tip in slightly drier conditions and it stayed in view long enough to see that it was a Caspian Gull. Its slender proportions were obvious when compared to three bulky third year Yellow-legged Gulls that were close by. 

The photo was made from a video, so it has lost a bit of detail, but you can get the idea. In the photo its bill has lost the black mark near the tip and its shape is not quite right to how it looked in the field. You can see that it is long and slender though.

Second-summer Caspian Gull

It was aggressive towards the other gulls and three times it did the 'albatross pose'.

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