Saturday 1 March 2014

Iceland, Caspian and Med Gulls on the tip

After a week of work, and the joys of a week on the road in Ireland well behind me, I was back into my usual Saturday routine today. So back on the tip three weeks on, things had changed a little as you'd expect. Lesser Black-backed Gulls were present in larger numbers, as were Common Gulls, and the odd mute wintering Med Gull had transformed into over a handful of vocal, hooded birds. There were also a load of rings including the dominant North Thames Gull Group red ringed birds, but also a couple from Milton Tip/King's Lynn and also two GBB Gulls from Norway.

Pride of place today though goes to a lovely, smokey juvenile Iceland Gull that came in late morning and was then present on and off until mid afternoon; at times it showed to just a few yards in the sunshine and was actually the first one on the tip for nearly a year and a half.

juvenile Iceland Gull 1st March 2014
There was also just one Caspian Gull, a first-winter, but what was lacking in quantity was recompensed by views of this hefty looking bird, presumably a male: -
1st-winter Caspian Gull 1st March 2014
Amongst the crowd, there was a familiar individual - the leucistic first-winter Norwegian-ringed Great Black-backed Gull. Ringed as a chick in Mandal, Vest-Agder on 20th June 2013, this was the first time I'd seen it since 18th January (having first seen it on 21st December 2013). It showed exceptionally well today, at times alongside the juvenile Iceland Gull: -

leucistic 1st-winter Great Black-backed Gull 1st March 2014 (with Iceland Gull, below)
Mediterranean Gulls too were putting on a performance, with at least six including this Belgian bird that I'd seen at Southend Pier on 2nd February (and back at the tip in December 2013). There was also a 1st-winter Yellow-legged Gull too.
adult Mediterranean Gull 1st March 2014
I'm already looking forward to next week, as give it a month and the majority of these gulls will have headed off back to their breeding areas, and that'll be that for another gull watching season.

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