Monday, 26 February 2018

Caspian Gull Again

Excellent numbers of large gulls on the Estuary again today. I must have gone along the river about five times during the day, as everything was just perfect. Lots of gulls, often nice flat light to scan through them, and the tide times couldn't have been better with mud on show virtually all day...

Looking north from Coronation Corner


Sadly though, despite all my efforts I couldn't manage anything better than the lingering first-winter Caspian Gull, which I can't really complain about I suppose!  It spent most of the day (midday to 17:30 at least) down by the Tram Sheds. It's funny how whenever it is on the Estuary it is almost always at this end of the river...

Caspian Gull on the left

Although it's moulted a bit since I last saw it, still shows the pale areas on its tertials and greater coverts, the two knackered upper most tertials and all that flank mottling.

Nice comparison shot with a first-winter Great Black-backed Gull


It was nice to bump into County Recorder Kev during one of my visits, who dropped in on the off-chance on his way back from Radipole.  This was his first Axe Casp and I felt somewhat ashamed to show it to him, as this remains my least favourite of all the Axe Casps. It's such a small bodied, small-billed and 'dirty' looking individual, I like my first-winters big and bright!

This morning the Marsh Harrier was again hunting over Colyford Marsh. This is the longest staying Marsh Harrier in Axe history, and is a very welcome addition to the Axe wintering bird population...

A first-winter bird


Although the following pic isn't great, it does show the gorgeous colour of this bird's underparts. Can you get any more chocolate-brown than this...

I almost want to eat it!


Lastly, part-time patch birder Mike, who lives in Derby but often comes down here to visit his parents, texted me this afternoon with news of a locally staggering flock of 20 Pintail in off the sea late this afternoon. The start of some cold weather movement?

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