Sunday, 15 November 2015

Some Better Caspian Photos (though not by me!)

Just a quick post, and I'm afraid it's about Caspian Gulls again!  

Just wanted to share these two pictures taken yesterday by Ian Mclean of the second-winter bird.  After seeing both the Casps from Coronation Corner, he then went round to the Tower Hide so he could get closer views of the older bird.  Wow, it looks even more stunning up close, well done Ian and thank you very much for these pics...

Second-winter Caspian Gull (c) Ian Mclean

Second-winter Caspian Gull (c) Ian Mclean

I just love its small dark eye nestled in that clean white head. And notice how the mantle colour is subtly different to the surrounding Herring Gulls, not as dark as a Yellow-legged would be, in fact I wouldn't really call it darker more like a different shade of grey.  This is not a very long-billed individual, but note that it still shows the classic straight, narrow and parallel sided bill.

Don't think there's been any sign of this beast today, but the first-winter was still around this morning at least.  Roger Harris managed a lovely series of photographs of it sat on the water, which can be seen here: http://threecountieswildlife.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/caspian-on-axe.html

10 comments:

  1. Steve, I am convinced that is the same bird that ML had in Torbay! Great shot of Ian's there, and enough detail to nail the similarities. Aside from the plumage, check out the bill pattern - absolutely identical. Fascinating.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Gav. Yes the bill is an exact match. I did think when I first saw Ian's pics that it shows this bird to have more brown feathering on the scaps and coverts compared to Mikes bird, but this could just be down to the differences in how the birds are sat? Does certainly make sense that they'd be the same bird. Wish I saw the tail better - three of us were pretty sure showed a complete tail band.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Steve, have to say I agree. I've compared photos side by side and there's absolutely nothing I can see that rules out them being the same, and a lot e.g. bill pattern, retained 2 gen scaps, covs and tertials, and even a couple of bars/spots on the under TC's that look a perfect match. I admit my impression at the time was that the Axe bird had a full tail band but, given the distance and the wind shake and the brief views, I wouldn't swear by it.

    Speaking of wind btw, scope was damaged - now on its way to Austria for surgery - at least I saved yours, Steve, thinking maybe you might owe me a pint!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Tim - I don't know what to say! Bet you regret coming over now, I'm so sorry about that. I owe you a few pints I think. Really hope your scope isn't gone for long, and that it is an easy and cheap fix.

    I have to say, the sheer fact it was a not very impressive billed 2w Casp was enough to make me presume it was Mikes bird as soon as I found it. I shouldn't have gone so much on the brief tail view. Absolutely fascinating that it is Mikes bird though, I think that makes this bird the first confirmed Torbay to Axe bird movement. Just need all those large Shearwaters to do the same...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No regrets Steve, shit happens, fully expect it back and fixed soon enough. Good to see you and at least one of the gulls, and to meet Gav. Really not that far from Topsham so must get over more reguarly.

      Delete
    2. Yes you must. Heaps of gulls out there today, but they're are all on the marshes because the tide is staying up. Am going to give them another look through in a bit but they're flipping distant.

      Pete is going to come up here sometime soon, I'll let you know when, maybe we could all have a meet up and go for a gull tour of East Devon? (He didn't get the Casp or any YLG on Sunday)

      Delete
    3. You can include me in on that. Pete will need to be careful though, start looking at gulls and it's a slippery slope...

      Delete
    4. Great, look forward to it. Be good to have someone down at the Plym who regularly studies what gulls are left there...

      Delete
  5. Brilliant and well done on Ian for making the effort to get close like that - it is as you all say the same bird and good to know where these birds in Torbay get too. Very rarely do gulls hang around - too many dogs on the beaches! Mind you Steve even they won't scare a Great Shearwater your way!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Mike. To be honest I think where these gulls wind up is total luck. Yesterday with the improved weather I was watching small groups of large gulls flying west past the sea front. If rain had come in at the right time, then these would I'm sure have come in to the Estuary. I know in general the more time out birding the best chance you have of finding something, but I think that is especially valid with gulls as they always appear to be coming and going.

    All the best, Steve

    ReplyDelete