Sunday, 11 September 2016

Good Times at Shawell

I'm sure it looks very simple, but getting good enough views of the gulls to read colour-rings can be quite a challenge. At the moment 'it's fill your boots time' because the gulls are loafing about in the sand quarry close enough to see their legs clearly. It still needs 70x magnification to read the colour rings but trust me they are close. The gulls are viewable from the footpath that runs along Gibbett Lane.

Can You See the Caspian Gull?

Sundays are generally quiet, as the tip is closed, but a sizeable flock was present today. This made up for missing out yesterday due to the torrential rain. I read 31 colour-rings this morning, which is very good.

The highlight was a Norwegian Lesser Black-backed Gull (J61E) that was ringed at Heimlaukøya, Lemmingsvær, Tranøy, Troms, Norway on June 26th 2010. Its first migration was quite an epic as it travelled all the way to Tanji Bird Reserve, Western Division, The Gambia - a distance of 6625 km from its birthplace. I believe this is the furthest south a LBBG seen in Leicestershire has migrated.

First Migration of Lesser Black-backed Gull J61E

The Polish ringed Caspian Gull (PKXS) that I first saw on August 24th was amongst the flock of gulls in the quarry. It looks quite odd at present as it has dropped its longest primaries.

Polish Ringed Caspian Gull PKXS

Careful scrutiny of the gulls revealed a few young Yellow-legged Gulls. It only seems five minutes since the juveniles arrived, but many of them have moulted most of their scapular feathers.

First-Calendar Year Yellow-legged Gull

At the lagoons a few gulls had gathered including a Dutch ringed juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull. The highlight, however, was a juvenile Hobby that put on quite a display as it flew low over the lagoon.

Dutch Ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull (1 || 4) and Juvenile great Black-backed Gull
First-Winter Mediterranean Gull

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