Saturday, 1 February 2014

First of the month on the tip

A new month, but the same old habits. Despite the deluges of the week, it was nice and bright today on the tip. To be honest, too bright - for accurately assessing colours but also it's days like today that the gulls are a bit jittery, being disturbed at the slightest bit of abnormality (foxes, dustcarts slamming their doors etc). Though there was a bit of a brisk wind, there still hasn't been any serious cold weather this year and it's starting to tell - with just the one first-winter Caspian Gull noted, along with three adult Med Gulls and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull. I managed to get 18 rings too, all of which were British (though I did see a Norwegian GBB Gull but it flew off before I could get its ring coding!).

1st-winter Caspian Gull 1st Feb 2014
This interesting third-winter bird (below) did show itself though, and was picked out several times during the morning due to its distinctiveness (both roosting up and in the melee). Though structurally quite squat, with its Herring Gull-like legs and shortish, though parallel-sided bill it did also have a darker grey mantle, a speckled iris, red orbital ring and obvious white mirrors in P9 and P10. I'd speculate that this could be a Herring/Caspian Gull hybrid.

third-winter gull sp. 1st Feb 2014
With gull numbers dropping by early afternoon, and the rather more serious issue of a puncture, we had to leave the tip pretty swiftly. Back down by the cars, amongst Canada Geese, was a White-fronted Goose - a bird that has been lingering in the area for a while. On the way back home, I stopped in briefly at Bob Dunn Way, Dartford where there were a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls but little else.

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