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Friday, 22 March 2019

A Galling Gull

A quick snoop around the patch early this morning showed a flock of 15 Sand Martin feeding over Colyford Marsh, but not a lot else...

I had two more trips out today, late morning and late afternoon, with gulls being the main focus. Among the 120+ Common Gulls on the Estuary were five Med Gulls (one first-summer, two second-summer and two adult summers). There weren't big numbers of large gulls on show today, but they did include this first-summer Caspian Gull*...



First views showed exactly what can be seen in the above pic. A strikingly white headed and breasted first-year gull, with extensive (almost complete) grey saddle, solidly faded dark brown tertials, plain (although very faded) greater coverts, and narrow pink legs with comparatively long tibia.  Overall it was a sizeable bird too, larger than the surrounding Herring Gulls.

My views of it were shocking mind, as you can tell from the below pics...





Frustrating I had to go before I'd even picked this bird up, so after ten minutes of watching it I really had to go!  But when I finally and begrudgingly did drive away, I suddenly realised how I may be able to get a closer view...





Oh yes much closer and clearer, but not the most helpful of angles. And now I really really really had to go!!

I desperately hope I or someone sees this bird again, because currently I'm just not quite happy with it.  I reckon if I'd been able to give it the time it deserved then I would have come away happy, but the bill size and shape, and dull grey mottling on flanks and belly are unsettling me... 

Is it a big male Casp, or do these features suggest some Herring influence?  Any comments as ever gratefully received.


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