Saturday, 30 November 2013

Uncropped Casp

It's been a long time coming, and with my first November Friday night sleep in my own bed (instead of the car or Lisbon airport), I was feeling fighting fresh this morning. It was relatively mild, and as I headed onto the tip for my first winter larid session, a lot of the gulls were just chilling out. Typical behaviour for mild weather, as they don't have to feed so no intense or desperate feeding frenzies today.

After half an hour or so, a nice adult Caspian Gull was picked out from the masses, and with good views I reached for the camera... just as a dust cart decided to drive through all the gulls. Needless to say, it wasn't to be seen again. And it took another three or so hours for another Caspian Gull to appear; just as I was heading back to my car, one of the last birds on the edge of the flock (as is so often the case): -

1st-winter Caspian Gull 30th November 2013
This first-winter was absolutely stunning, and at times came too close to be able to fit into my camera view finder. Certainly the closest ever experience I've had of the species in Britain, and an absolute highlight of the year. Honestly, it really was brilliant (I can hear you gull haters groan).

Also on the tip were a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls (adult and 1st-winter), at least three Med Gulls and a number of ringed birds - a Belgian Herring Gull, that I'd seen in March, was back while there was a Norwegian Great Black-backed Gull that had been ringed as a chick in Lindesnes, on the Norwegian coast, last summer.
adult Yellow-legged Gull 30th November 2013
On the way home, I checked in at Crossness. Another four ringed birds - all NTGG ringed - including two that had remarkably been ringed this morning nearby! There were also two Yellow-legged Gulls (adult and 1st-winter) on the foreshore along with 500 or so Dunlin, a couple of hundred Teal and twenty or so Wigeon.

Genuinely a good feeling sitting in my flat writing this mid-evening, instead of gallivanting about the place. Then again, it's a long old winter so certainly no regrets in terms of making the most of this autumn.