Saturday, 7 February 2015

Another decent day of gulling on the tip

After last weekend's huge numbers of gulls, this weekend it seemed it was back to normal with a reduction in the number of birds. The tip had also shifted position, making access a little trickier, with added 'disturbance' from the NTGG ringing team. That said, if I review what we actually saw, it wasn't a bad day at all.

One of the two juvenile Glaucous Gulls was present again; not putting on the performance like it did last weekend, with just a couple of brief appearances.
juvenile Glaucous Gull Essex 7th February 2015
It's bizarre that, for the last few visits, we've ended up on five Caspian Gulls. And today this happened again, and four of them were birds that hadn't been seen previously. Three first-winter birds, including a small bird that has been present since November, as well as a new second-winter and a sub-adult; the latter avoided any shots, but was a distinctive bird with immature feathering on the coverts and a dark mark in its gonys.
1st-winter Caspian Gull (bird 1) Essex 7th February 2015

1st-winter Caspian Gull (bird 2) Essex 7th February 2015
1st-winter Caspian Gull (bird 2) Essex 7th February 2015

2nd-winter Caspian Gull Essex 7th February 2015

2nd-winter Caspian Gull (same as above) Essex 7th February 2015
Early spring sees the influx of Mediterranean Gulls starting to happen, and after a couple on the last few visits, we were up to at least a handful today - many showing nicely black, mottled heads including a Polish ringed bird.
adult Mediterranean Gull Essex 7th February 2015. 'PLH8', presumably ringed in Poland - just awaiting confirmation of exactly where.
A couple of Yellow-legged Gulls were presumably birds seen previously, a second-winter and adult. And to round things off, the leucistic Norwegian-ringed Great Black-backed Gull put in an appearance. Despite concerted effort, ring reading was quite low suggesting a decent turnover of birds - a couple of Mike Marsh's Suffolk-ringed Herring Gulls and an adult Herring Gull from Montrose (that I'd seen previously at the tip back in December 2013) plus average numbers of North Thames ringed birds. This is my last tip visit until the end of the month, but between now and then I'll be seeing a lot of gulls during my half-term break that starts next weekend...
female Herring Gull Essex 7th February 2015. Ringed by Ben Herschell in his garden in Montrose, Angus in July 2013 and was also present on the tip in November and December 2013.

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