Sunday, 3 September 2017

Back home and into this season's Casps...

I spent a couple of hours on the Thames late this afternoon, having fully maxed out my summer holiday before back to another year of beasting and drudgery tomorrow. I only got back from a quick trip to the Azores late last night, so after whacking in five loaves with the weekly shop this afternoon, I dutifully sloped off to feed my larids.

Nice and grey, cool and a bit murky. Just the job for a bit of gulling at Thames Barrier Park. And it was straight into the Caspian Gull action, even before Dante and Jamie P arrived, with this lovely 1st-winter coming straight in. I was pretty pumped by this bird, as it was my earliest ever 'bird of the season' in London and has arrived 17 days before our first last year. And to boot, it is a thug of a bird with no disputing its identity. With its advanced moult, pale underwing and seemingly clean genes there'd be an assumption it comes from east of Germany...



1st-winter Caspian Gull Thames Barrier Park, London 3rd September 2017
And that wasn't the end of the Caspian Gulls, with Jamie picking up a 2nd-winter bird too. A relatively small and dark bird, that isn't the best structurally. But what is most interesting is that this is the same bird that turned up last winter that we called 'Mucky' - see photos here. This is the first example of a returning individual without a ring on this stretch of the Thames. No major surprise, given that there are regularly returning birds with rings all over Britain but interesting all the same.
2nd-winter Caspian Gull Thames Barrier Park, London 3rd September 2017
There was also another '0.5' bird. Well outside the realms of a pure Caspian Gull, but probably some genes in there somewhere.

Note to anyone coming to Thames Barrier Park or Lyle this winter - they have shut the car park at Thames Barrier Park, put parking meters on every single street so good luck to all! Genuinely, I have changed my routine and I now get there on the DLR instead of driving as I have been unable to find anywhere that is free parking in the immediate vicinity (and rest assured, I have tried!).
1st-winter Caspian Gull Thames Barrier Park, London 3rd September 2017

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