Saturday, 17 March 2012

Kumlien's Gull at Rainham

I had a few spare hours this morning before Karen and I headed down to see my niece in Surrey. So spurred on by reports and text messages yesterday, I made my first visit to Rainham since that gull last February. Pulling up at the stone barges, there was a lot of large gull action and I started off with a bit of ring reading as birds on the pier were just asking for their rings to be read. I then switched attention to the birds on the water, and amongst them was Dom's Kumlien's Gull from yesterday that had presumably just come off the tip: -

If I'm honest, one of the reasons that I wanted to see this bird was to confirm my suspicions about its previous residence. Upon seeing Dom's shots last night, I texted him to say it could well be the Dover bird - a thought that David B also had when I saw him this morning. However, despite trying to conclusively say that it is the same bird, I am struggling to say more than it superficially resembles the Dover bird. The Rainham bird still retains some blotching on its uppertail coverts, while the Dover birds uppertail coverts were completely white. In other respects - including its body and underwing - I also think the Dover bird was more advanced when I saw it two weeks ago.

Also, there was a second-winter Iceland Gull present - presumably the bird that has lingered in the area (and that I saw at Crayford earlier this year). Amongst the ringed gulls that I found was this first-winter that I suspect will have been ringed in a Suffolk breeding colony last summer: -
Compared to Crossness - where if I'm lucky I'd see either John A or Ian M - Rainham was an absolute birder fest. Loads of eyes inevitably meant more birds, and it was good to catch up with Sean H, Keith H, David B and Jonathan W amongst others.

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