Saturday, 28 March 2015

Finishing off another winter at the tip

Not being able to get out much last weekend due to other commitments, it was a joy to be enjoying the sweet smell of landfill sites again this morning. Perhaps the last visit of the winter, what with being away next weekend and then most gulls moving off, it was really nice to have a couple of first-winter Caspian Gulls to round things off: -
1st-winter Caspian Gull Essex 28th March 2015 - ringed here at the tip last weekend as J3NT
1st-winter Caspian Gull Essex 28th March 2015
One of these birds, as you see above, was ringed by the NTGG last weekend - gutted I wasn't there to see it in the hand; they also ringed an adult Glaucous Gull that is now in Northamptonshire so suitably gripped once again. Anyway, back to today, where as well as the Casps there were a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls (an adult and first-winter) as well as a handful of Mediterranean Gulls (three adults and two first-winters). As has often been the case this winter, the hybrid second-winter Iceland Gull imposter (presumably a Herring x Glaucous Gull hybrid) was present again along with a regular leucistic bird.

2nd-winter hybrid gull Essex 28th March 2015; present for the last couple of months on and off; though mimicking an Iceland Gull it does seem to feel as though one parent is a Herring Gull (with the other parent presumably a Glaucous Gull as Iceland Gulls apparently don't interbreed)
leucistic Herring Gull Essex 28th March 2015; a regular bird this winter (with an East Anglia Gull Group ringed 2nd-winter Herring Gull)
Things got more and more blowy as the day went on, with it being difficult to angle the Land Rover to view birds anything other than side on. The tip face was in a bit of an awkward position, but I was able to manoeuvre us to a flat area where we could see the melee as well as an adjacent flat area. A few ringed birds, all local though, as well as one of the freakiest billed gulls I've ever seen: -
1st-winter Herring Gull Essex 28th March 2015
So as mentioned at the start of this post, this could be it for tip visits for me this winter. I'll be away next weekend and then hopefully spring migration will kick in as the gulls disperse. Being honest, it has been an expensive (half a dozen punctures) and frustrating (a couple of headache inducing hybrids lingering on) winter although with a couple of Glaucous Gulls, an Iceland Gull and around 40 Caspian Gulls recorded it was certainly worth it. Having the privilege of viewing gulls close up on a weekly basis is something I don't take for granted either, and with landfill sites as we know them on their way out with a preference for incinerators and recycling these days, every winter from now on up at the tip will be treated as if it's the last one... roll on winter 2015/16!

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