Gulls are a winter thing aren't they? Wrong, the summer can also be a good time. The 'white-wingers' are much easier to identify than the summer collection, but it's the ID challenges that make it fun. Lots of fresh juvenile gulls are arriving at Shawell at the moment and amongst them are some young Caspian Gulls. Juvenile gulls are challenging to most birders, but with a little practice many can be identified. there are around half a dozen juvenile Caspian Gulls visiting the area at present - maybe more.
The beauty below was there on Wednesday evening, but it never quite posed perfectly. You can just see that it has replaced some scapulars with grey second-generation feathers. The plain brown coverts are also obvious, which is a feature of juvenile and first-winter birds.
A colour-ringed German bird was also present. X18J was OK as far as the plumage goes for a Caspian Gull, but structurally it wasn't quite on the money. They can alter of course as they age, so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt for now.
The sandpit on Gibbet Lane is flooded at present, which is frustrating as far as colour-ring reading is concerned. As a result I have been visiting the A5 Lagoons and luckily so have the gulls. A few evening visits have netted 30 colour-ring readings.
|Lesser Black-backed Gull YAUT.|
Amongst the colour-ringed birds was this one that breeds in The Netherlands. It is a failed breeder, so has started its wanderings already. It was a good sighting for the scheme co-ordinators, as it is wearing a data logger on its back (not visible in the photo, but I did see it). This sighting helps to support the results from the logger.
I have also squeezed in a few early morning visits to Brascote Pits. Staying with gulls there was a nice collection there on Thursday morning, which included six Yellow-legged Gulls and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull.
There are also good numbers of Small Red-eyed Damselflies there and for the first time I saw one that wasn't out of floating plants.