Thursday, 4 January 2018

Crayford Casps 2nd January 2018 - and Casps here a decade ago

I spent the period between Christmas and New Year in much warmer, brighter climes so it was a real back to London feel when I headed out with Dante for the morning on Tuesday 2nd January. While I'd been away, London's gulls had been rather average with the exception of one site - the area around Crayford's recycling centre. A few Caspian Gulls had been recorded here, especially on the wasteground at Jolly Farmers (named after a now defunct pub). A grim place in a number of ways, but the gulls have previously and evidently still do love it...

We spent about three hours here, recording in total at a push two 1st-winter Caspian Gulls - one a fairly non-descript, smallish bird that was fine in every respect while a second bird probably had a bit of Herring in it if I'm entirely honest with myself - wide open greater-coverts particularly grim.
1st-winter Caspian Gull Crayford, London 2nd January 2018

1st-winter Caspian Gull (or hybrid) Crayford, London 2nd January 2018
There was also a large 1st-winter Yellow-legged Gull as well as a handful of gull rings, all from the North Thames Gull Group (ringed at either Rainham or Pitsea).

The area was probably where I first got involved in earnest with Caspian Gulls, and during the winter of 2006/2007 I spent loads of hours here with Andy L really getting to grips with them. Particularly at Littlebrook Lake, a small pool that had been created during the construction of a housing estate. Interesting to look at some of these photos now (see below), and despite the poor quality by the then trusty Samsung NV3 digiscoping days, it is easy to see these birds were pure eastern beasts! Were we missing the 'German muck' birds back in those days, or have they just become more prevalent with the westward expansion of the species? Who knows. Probably both. Anyway, enjoy these poor images: -
1st-winter Caspian Gull Littlebrook Lake, Dartford December 2006

1st-winter Caspian Gull Littlebrook Lake, Dartford December 2006

2nd-winter Caspian Gull Dartford Marshes December 2006

2nd-winter Caspian Gull Littlebrook Lake, Dartford December 2006

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