Thursday, 29 May 2014

A Mixed Morning

Once the early morning shower had passed (although there were a few more afterwards!) I took my nets up to a site near Beer where I monitor the breeding Swallows.  Last week I had come up here to eye up the potential for catching adult Swallows, but instead came away in awe of what must be one of the busiest bird feeding stations I've ever seen - with an impressive variety of species too!

I only had one 60 foot net up (this is all it needs) and it kept me very busy! My personal highlights were three Siskin; an adult male that was already ringed (D776068), a second year male and a juvenile.  We all know how stunning male Siskins are...


But even the juveniles are super little birds...


I had been here for about an hour and a half (although had to close the net for twenty minutes whilst another rain shower came through) when I started hearing rumblings about one of my most wanted gulls well within twitching distance...

Soon enough it was confirmed - there was a Ross's Gull on Bowling Green Marsh!  There's very few species I'd drop everything for if they were turn up off patch, but this is one of them.  I love gulls, I dipped Ross's Gull in my younger years, and it's simply a species I've always wanted to see - the opportunity was too great to let go.  I sent a few texts out and within ten minutes had a car full getting ready for a trip west.

We left Seaton at 10:30 with news the gull was still these despite the tide having fallen, but on arrival we were informed twenty minutes ago it had flown off towards the Estuary. Bugger.  We headed for the platform by the River Clyst, but one last glance over the marsh revealed it sleeping beside a Black-headed Gull.  We spread the news that it was back and enjoyed some great views over the next half hour or so...


Not the everyday view of Bowling Green Marsh....


Although it was great to watch it resting and feeding, it looked even better in flight!  The tail really is striking - a black-tipped diamond.  Size for me was a really noticeable feature too, as although it was smaller than the nearby Black-headed Gull it never looked minute as Little Gulls do. There's a great photo on Devon Birds which shows the size difference well, click HERE.

Oddly when I was watching the Ross's feeding in a muddy scrape it reminded me most in shape, structure and behaviour of a Common Gull! 

You can see from these photos though why it caused some headaches and debate yesterday...

An obvious Ross's Gull

Hmmmmm..... a far from obvious Ross's Gull!

Lastly I'd like to thank Bun, Ian and Karen for the twitching company, and Matt and Mark for all the useful info and updates throughout the morning.

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