Sunday, 19 January 2014

First dump visit of 2014

After a few weeks of absence, it was back to the tip action and yesterday's haul as usual didn't disappoint. It's not everyone's ideal way to spend a Saturday, but the five or so hours I spend up there is usually the highlight of my week. And to kick 2014 off, a northern beast made a visit: -

2cy presumed Viking Gull (Glauc x Herring) 18 Jan 2014; complete with eyelids, hoary tertials and coverts.
As did an old friend - this leucistic, almost albinistic, 1st-winter Great Black-backed Gull from Norway. I also saw this bird a few days before Christmas, and part of a brood of three with another sibling getting the runt genes, while the third escaping with normal genes. 
1st-winter Great Black-backed Gull 18 Jan 2014
It wouldn't be a tip session without a Caspian Gull, and today three birds were noted - a pale-eyed adult (seen previously), a second-winter and a first-winter. The adult was possibly the closest bird of the whole day, just chilling out on a mound right beside me, while the other two were a bit more distant (and the second-winter exhibiting very restricted P10 mirrors so possibly a bird seen previously too). 
1st-winter Caspian Gull 18 Jan 2014

adult Caspian Gull 18 Jan 2014. A pale-eyed individual, which isn't actually a problem as up to 10% of adults are truly clean-eyed (and up to 62% of adults in Ukrainian colonies are apparently 'pale-eyed'. Otherwise, it exhibits a classic wing pattern with a large white tip to P10 and a pale tongue to the underside, black subterminal band to P9 and a complete black band to P5.
Added to this were two Yellow-legged Gulls (an adult and 3rd-winter) and two adult Mediterranean Gulls. I'd been lucky to be with the NTGG when they ringed the 3rd-winter bird (as a second-winter) 15 months ago; amazing how much maturity of bare parts and moult happens in such a short space of time.

3rd-winter Yellow-legged Gull 'YJ6T' 18 Jan 2014 (top) and the same bird when ringed by the North Thames Gull Group at the same site in October 2012 - what a difference 15 months makes both moult and bare part wise.
Today, the local birding stakes were limited to a Ring-necked Parakeet 'singing' in Russia Dock Woodland and a couple of Egyptian Geese at Burgess Park (where there was no sign of the regular Med Gull).

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