Sunday 26 July 2015

Good Times at Shawell

Gulls are starting to disperse having already bred and as a result more legs are appearing with colour rings. I read 28 colour rings yesterday including another Polish ringed Black-headed Gull. 

One of the colour-ringed gulls was a second calendar year Lesser Black-backed Gull, blue VX5M, ringed in Denmark. Nothing remarkable about the sighting at Shawell, but this morning I had an hour at the breeding site in Leicester and there was VX5M sitting on the roof in Leicester. This definitely links the two sites. The site in Leicester has food on offer at the re-cycle plant, which attracts roaming feeding birds as well as the breeding ones - maybe a Yellow-legged or Caspian Gull will be sitting on the roof sometime soon?

After last weekend's juvenile Caspian Gull/Yellow-legged Gull/hybrid I was hoping for some easier gulls. 

Anyway I spotted a gull on the main A5 Lagoon that immediately looked like a Caspian Gull, but a really small one - most likely a female. The small size was further exaggerated by the fact that its new primaries were still growing. I took some video of it and whilst watching it, I realised that it had a yellow colour ring. I can't read the code, but from what I can see, it may be either a Lithuanian or German ring. It could also be Polish, but I think it has numbers in the code and the Polish ones should have four letters. Of course this colour ring helps prove my identification, or at least that it originated from a good location.

Third-summer Caspian Gull (presumed to be a female), Shawell A5 Lagoons, 25/07/15

Third-summer Caspian Gull, Shawell A5 Lagoons

Although this gulls looks almost adult like, it still had black in the outer primary coverts. The primary pattern was almost adult like. P5 is not visible in the photo below and may well be moulted and not re-grown, or just hidden behind P6. The longest primary has a nice white tip.

Third-summer Caspian Gull, Shawell A5 Lagoons

One thing that is important when working with gulls is to realise that they are extremely variable. Size difference between the sexes can be massive. I saw a large adult male Yellow-legged Gull yesterday that completely dwarfed another adult stood close by.

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