Saturday 7 November 2015

Another Update From Shawell

Apologies for the lack of posts recently,  I have been busy working and trying to catch up with all the paperwork generated by my trip to Portugal.

The highlight at Shawell last month was a female Pintail, which I saw on the October 8th. This is only the second record for my recording area. 

Due to the re-siting of the landfilling area at the Cotesbach LF site, I have struggled to get good views of the gulls. At Shawell A5 Lagoons I have experienced mixed fortunes due to the complete absence of gulls at times. A German colour-ringed Caspian Gull refused to give up the code on its ring despite me seeing it three times. The green German colour rings are not easy to read when the gull is distant.

Most of the Caspian Gulls I've seen recently have most likely been hybrids. The one below was a strange looking beast - Herring Gull body and legs with a Caspian Gull head.

Presumed Caspian Gull x Herring Gull

The next one, an adult, was not quite right. Its primary pattern seemed OK, but not perfect and its jizz was not quite right. 

Presumed Caspian Gull Hybrid

The next one was a giant, which looked OK at times but at other times it looked odd. Of course it may be within normal variation, but I wasn't fully convinced.

First-winter Caspian Gull or Hybrid

Today was a day for ducks, but I braved the rain and set out for Shawell A5 Lagoons. The rain had stopped when I arrived, but only until I had set up my scope. As soon as I started to search through the gulls the rain got worse. As I struggled to set up my umbrella something scared the gulls and most of them flew off. About ten brave Great Black-backed Gulls soon settled back down on the bank between the lagoons and with them was a gull that was not much smaller than its larger cousins. Increasing the magnification on my scope I realised it was a young Caspian Gull. Better still it had a red colour ring, but the ring was almost completely hidden in the grass. The rain had got even heavier so I hunkered down under my umbrella and waited for the gull to move. Eventually it ran towards the shoreline and luckily it paused long enough for me to read 10P6. This is from a Polish ringing scheme and hopefully I will get a reply from them early next week.

First-winter Caspian Gull Red 10P6
First-winter Caspian Gull Red 10P6


  1. Glad you are back posting Carl - I was worried!
    On the subject of SW Leics wildfowl I'm not sure you have counted Brent Goose in (I had one a the A5 lagoons prob 5 years ago?) it's in the LROS annual report.
    cheers Neil

  2. Thanks for the heads up on the Brent Goose - I had missed that one. Also thanks for your concern, but I was just suffering a bit of computer burn out and to be fair I didn't have that much to say.