Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Gulls; An Easy Way To Waste A Day!

I've not been around for most of today, but when I got back on patch at 15:00, after a quick look over the sea for any one of the 18 Balearic Shearwaters that flew past Portland today, a look along the Estuary showed masses of big gulls. And I mean masses, way more than I've seen for months.  

Two Lesser Black-backs were notable, but I was almost a tad jubilant when I spied our first juvenile Yellow-legged Gull of the year. The heat haze was crazy, and it was distant, but I had to take some photos...

A nice bulky one

It was a cracker to be honest, and I think the first juv YLG I've ID'd before ageing (usually I just look for a pale juv large Gull!). The head/bill profile stopped me in my tracks when its body was mostly obscured - nice white spot at base of bill hinted YLG too along with the eye mask, and a brief glimpse of its mantle helped which looked browner than a juv Herring's (I find this feature quite striking). Then it revealed itself, lovely pale front and yes, a crisp fresh juvenile.  I know you can't really tell its age from the above photo, but I think you can just in this one...

You can actually make out the jet black tertials

A lot of the gulls were out of view/impossible to view due to the haze. So there could well have been another few in amongst them.  I did have a distant prob older YLG too, but it was at the back of the flock and just occasionally showed its head/bill and an apparent darker mantle than the surrounding Herring Gulls

I had another look over the sea after this, still no Balearics!  I did though have five Med Gulls fly west, along with 18 Black-headed Gulls.  No sign however of the flock of 65+ Common Scoter that were settled offshore late yesterday evening.

This wasn't the only birding I've done today. I was up early and had a look over Black Hole Marsh before breakfast. Wader numbers pretty similar to recent days, and yesterday's juv Little Ringed Plover remained and was showing well...



Lovely bird - still need it LRP for the house list though so I hope it gets a bit more vocal!

I did have a moth trap on at Mum and Dads last night. I won't post details in this post (again!), but that does mean I have details of three traps full of moths for an imminent blog post. Bet you can't wait....

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