Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Waiting.... what I'm doing at the moment. My beloved 106 is currently at the 'car doctors' - just a service, I hope!!!

I am in desperate need of a break from typing up bird records, so thought I'd knock off a quick post...

Yesterday I had chance for a quick whirl of the patch early/mid afternoon. The biggest concentration of birds was on Bridge Marsh, where several hundred Lapwing contained two Golden Plovers - a species we only usually get in the valley during spells of cold weather.

Lower Bruckland Ponds showed 12 Tufted Duck and a drake Pochard still, and the Greylag Goose was opposite Stedcombe Vale again.

Yesterday's weather was ideal weather for Gulls for us, and the Estuary duly showed good numbers of them, though amongst the 'small ones' all I could find were two adult Meds.

Each birder has different birding techniques. Mine, especially on our small Estuary, is to scan over large Gull flocks with my binos before even unzipping my scope case. There's a few reasons why I like to do this, but I find if there is anything 'different looking' in the flock, this usually reveals it (unless its sleeping or partially/wholly obscured).

Anyway, nothing but a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls had caught my eye so far during this Estuary sweep, but then I got to the tram sheds and clocked this bird...

Hows that for a first-winter Caspian lookalikey!?

Excuse the horrendously bad photo - but the light was abysmal, and the strong wind was causing no end of telescope/camera shake.

Anyway, this is my take on this bird (don't worry folks, this is as 'heavy' as it gets on this blog - and if you really get bored I've bolded the important bits!)...

Bare parts looked spot on for Caspian, very narrow and long parallel sided bill with very slight gonys angle. When it was walking about it showed nice long tibia, longer than all the Herring Gulls around. The bird showed a nice pale head with slight shading and light streaking only around the eye. The above photo shows well the grey flecked collar around the back of the neck. The mantle showed plenty of grey - more so than the average 1w Herring Gull.

It all fell to bits though on the wing feathers and overall structure. The bird showed well notched GC's, in fact none of the coverts looked 'plain' in anyway. And the bird (structure wise) just 'looked' like a Herring Gull, lacking the long wings, high breast and long neck of Caspian.

So does this mean this bird is JUST a Herring Gull, or does it have a bit of cachinnans (or something else!?) in its DNA?? Who knows!! I actually found this Gull very interesting, and even invited Gav to have a gander at it - though when he turned up he looked suitable unimpressed - probably 'cuz he was too busy worrying whether he'll get Jack Snipe on his year list this winter ;-)

Isn't birding fun, now where's those ten pages of hand written bird records....

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