Saturday 6 January 2018

The First White-Winger at Shawell of 2018

Last weekend's mission to find some gulls failed due to flooding and some very sticky mud. I lost a welly and nearly myself and my scope. So with new wellies and a can do spirit I returned hoping for better results. The flood water had receded and although the mud was still there I managed to avoid the worst of it and take up my usual hard won spot at Cotesbach landfill site.

Many thousands of gulls were there. I couldn't really estimate just how many, as massive flocks would just appear and then disappear behind the humps in the sand quarry. I would say that there was at least 7000 Herring Gulls, plus the other regular gull species. It was quite a sight when they all took to the air.

Anyway it was white-wingers that I was after, but Caspian Gulls entertained me early on. Seven today around Shawell - three first-winters, two second-winters and a couple of adults. The one below was a real eye-catcher.

First-winter Caspian Gull
Around mid-morning an Iceland Gull came onto the tip to feed. It was quite a showy bird and I saw it at several locations around Shawell. Best looked for at the A5 Lagoons. I initially assumed this was the second-winter that has been roosting at Draycote Water, but now I think it is most likely a first-winter. Its bill matches first-winter better than second-winter. The dark tip bleeds into the base whereas second-winter bills are clearly demarcated between the black tip and the whitish base. Also it eyes are still dark. So most likely a faded first-winter.

Iceland Gull, January 6th 2018
As I've said before, the landfill site is a dangerous place and is out of bounds. My access is not guaranteed and I have to renew my permission on a weekly basis.

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