Saturday, 29 July 2017

More Yellow-legged Gulls and More Waders

Had a really enjoyable hour and a bit in the Tower Hide with Phil and Clive this morning, oh and Harry of course who as usual slept through all the chit chat and excitement. There were lots of birds about on the rising tide, including a couple of local scarcities which was nice.  

So that most of you don't switch of now I'll start with the wading birds and end with the gulls. Even if I do say so myself though, you would be a fool not to look at today's Yellow-legged Gull helpings as they are a bit good.  But for now the non-gulls; 

3 Teal
2 Ringed Plover
12 Dunlin
2 Whimbrel
20 Black-tailed Godwit
5 Common Sandpiper
1 Turnstone

Turnstone with Dunlin and two Redshank

Two adult Ringed Plover


At least one of the two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls on show was an additional bird to yesterday's four - the more distant of today's two had more pale notching on its tertial tips than the average Yellow-legged and any of yesterday's. Still within variation though and all other features ticked the right boxes...

Bird one. Classic pale ground colour to underparts, large size and hefty bill, square head shape, long pale legs, dark centered scapular and coverts and mostly black tertials just with some pale notching on tips of the upper two.


Bird one. A lovely thick set bird and looked quite long necked at times.

Bird one in flight. Pale head contrasting with darker breast streaks, pale inner primary window also visible but no tail detail on this shot sadly.


And then there was bird two, which may or may not have been one of last night's four. It was unquestionably though an absolute stunner and was almost always the closest gull to the Tower Hide...

Bird two. An even paler bird and another chunk.

Bird two. Tertials much better on this bird, all black with narrow white edging. Note the brown cast to the mantle and scapular feathers, another trait of juvenile Yellow-legged.

Bird two. This shot shows really well the classic Yellow-legged Gull (irrelevant of age) head and bill shape. This bird had a really striking dark eye mask, almost hiding the eye.

Bird two. A swimming shot - looking suitably long winged and long billed.

Bird two. Can just about see the tail here, which is really white with a neat black tail band. This bird has a little bit of extra black on at least one of the tail feathers just above the tail band.

Bird two. As with most juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls at this time of year, this bird is already starting to moult in to first-winter plumage. There are several second generation feathers coming through here, but the most obvious two are smack bang in the middle. They are more rounded feathers, not pointed, worn and brown like the juvenile ones, but white, grey and black. You can see why they are called 'anchor-shaped'.

Bird two. To complete the photos a flight shot, which was mostly ruined by the Herring Gull in the foreground! Still the pale ground colour and typical juv YLG wing pattern can be seen well.


Ok no more gull pics...well not today anyway!  

Oh I almost forgot, I've heard at least four Willow Warblers today, hooet-ing from various different places on patch. Numbers of these will rapidly build up now as autumn rolls on...

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