Scanning through a large flock of gulls on Seaton Marshes this morning, in very bright sunshine, gave me the fright of my life.
There is one species of gull that is IT, that is the pinnacle of all gulls, and is a bird any keen British birder would sell their house, family and car to have on their British list. It is the near mythical Pallas's Gull (or as I much prefer calling it, Great Black-headed Gull). The last UK record was in 1859, but another is always possible as birds pop up now and then in other parts of the Western Palearctic (mostly in the far south east corner).
I cannot describe how I felt when I clapped eyes on this...
|I honestly think my heart momentarily stopped!|
Bloody **** ******* ******* Herring Gull. When it stood up it revealed a large oil patch on its belly, which is presumably what the apparent dark eye spot was all about, but for a few seconds it really had me going. Anyway, it's a good job it wasn't a Pallas's Gull, because within thirty seconds of spotting it, another of those poxy Red Kites came along and flushed the lot...
|Flew in from west, but then turned and went back the way it came|
They're not poxy at all, I love 'em, and love the fact that they are becoming a regular spring bird down here. This was my fourth of the week, with one west over Sidmouth on Monday morning, and two high west over my house early Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday was a good day for raptors from the garden, as at 09:55 a few calling gulls alerted me to an extremely low flying Osprey heading NW, only just above roof top height. Wow. Whilst mentioning alarming gulls, the two Kites that flew over later that day were my first patch Kites that didn't cause any gulls to call (this is how I usually find them). I don't think it is because the gulls are getting used to them, as they still alarm call for low flying Buzzards, but probably just because the Kites were so high up.
I'm sure I had more to blog about, but am so tired my brain has turned to mush. Bed time I think - let's see if this promised rain delivers any new birds in the morning...
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