Friday, 16 March 2018

Got G0UT at Crayford last Sunday plus a new Caspian Gull & Purple Sand

Another week passes me by in a manic fashion, so it isn't until now I've had the inclination to write about a good day locally on Sunday morning. Dante met me, as usual, at Canada Water and we headed off east to Crayford to where the gulls hang out. When we arrived at the recycling centre, the sharp lad picked out a 2nd-winter gull that appeared briefly, and was red-ringed, that had a couple of things going for it as a Casp. After a few minutes, it reappeared and with the scope trained on it, we were able to clinch it as none other than the notorious G0UT. It later located to the nearby Jolly Farmers wasteground, where I picked it up at much closer range and papped it: -
presumed Caspian x Herring Gull (G0UT) Crayford, London 11th March 2018
G0UT was ringed as a 1st-winter Caspian Gull at Pitsea tip, Essex on 25th March 2017 - it has the unfortunate claim to fame of being the last Caspian Gull to have been ringed there (if it actually is one). Two days after ringing Josh J had found it in west London at Hammersmith on 27th March 2017 and here, and at the nearby London Wetlands Centre, it lingered until 2nd April 2017. By 13th April 2017, it was in The Netherlands at Katwijk (photo here) and was then back in west London by 23rd July 2017 where it lingered around Fulham intermittently until last seen on 1st January 2018 - looking like this on 31st July 2017. Then it was on the east Norfolk coast at Happisburgh on 6th March 2018 before deciding to head back to the delights of Crayford last Sunday, 11th March 2018. Good history so far, and a great case study of how a relatively crap looking 1st-winter Caspian Gull gets progressively worse as it ages... be interested to track this bird into adulthood fingers crossed.

Anyway, there was a more clear cut and aggressive 1st-winter Caspian Gull on the roofs by the recycling centre briefly mid-morning - a bird I'd not seen previously so assume one that was passing through London and back to the continent. March is a decent time of year for there to be an influx of new Caspian Gulls into London, having presumably wintered elsewhere in the UK, and filtering east/southeast as they filter back towards Germany and beyond.
1st-winter Caspian Gull Crayford, London 11th March 2018
The other site we visited on Sunday was Swanscombe Marshes - a big shout out to Barry W who gave us expert directions, with precision, which meant that I was able to see my first Purple Sandpiper in the London recording area and the lad to see his first one ever. And what's more, we managed to park in a place that meant we didn't get a parking ticket and the ever present pikeys at this site didn't nick any of my wheels! Not my fondest of sites, but with the target bird and 10 Turnstones, pretty good stuff for London. Plus a Yellow-legged Gull and Rock Pipit thrown in too for good measure.

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