Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Italian Job

It has been a few years since I last visited Italy; before this blog began. And, yes, it's a pretty unoriginal title but essentially sums up what Saturday evening and Sunday were all about - fly to Bari, visit for 24 hours and hopefully locate Europe's only regular Grey-headed Gull (present on and off since October 2012). It was a trip that I fancied, not only to see the gull but also one to get out of a bit of a birding rut here in southeast England.

Before this trip, the only Grey-headed Gulls I'd seen were on a trip to Mauritania back in December 2006. Given that these days you'd be chancing getting your head chopped off there, WP birders who hadn't seen the species obviously saw Italy as a less life threatening option. And so when Josh J spoke to me about it a few weeks ago, I didn't really need convincing about indulging in some Italian gulling; this being up Mick S's street too.

A bit of history on the gull too - it first turned up in October 2012, and has been on and off in the coastal towns of Molfetta and Bari since then; predominantly in winter amongst large numbers of Black-headed Gulls. Anyway, on Saturday 17th January, the Grey-headed Gull had been seen in its usual location a couple of kilometres to the south of Bisceglie; at this spot it comes in to wash and roost, before heading off again. Fortuitously late the day before I arrived, it had been tracked down to spending a good deal of its time in the harbour at Bisceglie. And so that's where Sunday 18th January dawned...
adult Grey-headed Gull Bisceglie, Italy 18th January 2015
Within literally a minute or two of arriving, not before I'd had my weekend Caspian Gull fix, the Grey-headed Gull was found - showing well and reactive to bread and popcorn throughout the day! God knows how many photos I ended up taking, but to but things into perspective 'one shot' Mick S took over 650 photos. Roosting on the water, preening on the beach, flying about off the pier - it performed admirably, even waiting around for us to go to the nearby supermarket for bread and popcorn top ups.

adult Grey-headed Gull Bisceglie, Italy 18th January 2015
With a nice adult Black-headed Gull that was ringed in northwest Poland near Szczecin in November 2014, and another couple of Caspian Gulls in Molfetta harbour, there were plenty of worse ways to spend the weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment