It's the first trip this far east for gulls that I've done in Europe, so the primary targets of the trip were to look at omissus-type Herring Gulls (those ones with yellow legs, and a bit less black in the primaries, often referred to as Marsh Gulls) as well as enjoy some more Caspian Gulls - as they're always a treat - plus whatever else came along. One thing's for sure, it has quickly got me up to speed (as much as you can do) on Lesser Black-backed races - understanding how perhaps you'd struggle identifying an out-of-range graellsii with the prospect of heuglini (and vice versa) and how can you be certain what you're looking at is a heuglini anyway? There you have it, a minefield.
The highlight for me though was finding a ringed Baltic Gull i.e. a nominate fuscus - and doing the detective work of reading the metal ring. Still awaiting the finer detail, but with a look like this and a ring inscribed 'Riksmuseum Stockholm' it's definitely in the zone: -
|adult Baltic Gull metal ringed in Sweden 8113504 - just waiting for the exact location...|
Caspian Gull at least ten birds noted; a third-winter and a second-winter, with all the rest first-winters. A couple of suspect individuals noted, including a Lithuanian ringed bird, that presumably had some Herring Gull influence. Just a couple of shots for starters on this post.
|first-winter Caspian Gulls, Getlini Eko|
|adult omissus-type Herring Gulls, Getlini Eko|
Great Black-backed Gull two birds seen, an adult and a first-winter.
Common Gull small numbers seen with perhaps fifteen to twenty birds present.
Black-headed Gull the commonest gull, and with a few rings about, very interesting to look through. Rings from Germany, Denmark, Latvia, two from Poland and most interesting of all from Northern Ireland!
Also, this leucistic gull, or potentially albinistic, was present too. The size of a Herring Gull, its slim and long bill does give a slight cachinnans feel. However, all white birds don't really give you much to go on especially when bare part colouration in these freak birds has no resemblance to what it would be like in normally pigmented birds.
|gull sp., Getlini Eko|
Well, we did also try to access the coast for something slightly different, but had little luck in tracking much down - just a Great Grey Shrike on wires over a typically boggy area at Mangalsalas. We could have seen what many would term 'real' birds, including Pygmy and Ural Owls, plus some decent woodpeckers, but we didn't bother. Oh yeah, and on the Sunday, three of these guys were enjoying the dump alongside the gulls...
|White Stork, Getlini Eko|