Monday 6 July 2015

If you like Yellow-legged Gulls (and Roseate Terns)...

It's been a busy week or so since the last post. I tried to muster up something last week but the heat here in London sapped any energy I had left after busy days at school (and with London's gulls). It does seem as though there is a bit of post breeding dispersal happening now...

And it started on the hottest day of the year, 1st July. After school, and with a mid evening low tide, I got myself to Greenwich. The inside bend of the meander by the O2 has a load of sediment exposed, and the gulls seem to love it at the moment. So much so, there was my earliest ever juvenile Yellow-legged Gull - a nice fresh bird - along with a second-summer. A handful of ringed birds too, including a Bristol ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull and a couple each from locally as well as Sussex.

juvenile Yellow-legged Gull Greenwich, London 1st July 2015 - nice fresh bird with wholly juvenile plumage. Note the tail band gradually reducing in width towards the outer rectrices.
And so to the weekend and a return to Greenwich on Saturday morning. Warm again, and the Yellow-legged Gulls were present again with at least two juveniles and a third-summer bird. One of the juveniles was a real brute, naively having a go at the local Great Black-backed Gulls. However Crossness was quiet and scanning through the Black-headed Gulls at the outfall didn't produce, unless a 1st-summer Common Gull counts (which it doesn't!).
juvenile Yellow-legged Gull Greenwich, London 4th July 2015 - quite a large, robust individual.
Finally on to yesterday (Sunday) and I actually enjoyed waking up to the grey skies and rain. A pleasant respite from the oppressive temperatures of the past few days. I headed down to Dungeness for the afternoon and met up with Mick S and Richard S. Always good to have a chat and sit about with the gulls - some nice bits about too. Not least a couple of really showy juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls; both a bit skittish and keeping away from the main flock a lot of the time.

juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls Dungeness, Kent 5th July 2015 (above four images) 
Added value came in the form of at least a couple of Med Gulls (a first-summer and at least one juvenile) plus some Scandinavian ringed brutish Great Black-backed Gulls and a couple of Thames ringed Herring Gulls.
1st-summer Great Black-backed Gull Dungeness, Kent 5th July 2015. Ringed as a chick at Knogen, Læsø, Nordjylland, Denmark on 2nd July 2014, seen on Terschelling, The Netherlands on 30th October 2014 and then Dungeness from 9th January 2015 onwards - I last saw it on 17th May!
2nd-summer Great Black-backed Gull Dungeness, Kent 5th July 2015. Ringed as chick Lille Vigeskjær, Lindesnes, Vest-Agder, Norway 4th July 2013; then seen at Minsmere 19th July 2014 and Dungeness from 27th July 2014 until last seen by myself on 8th November 2014.
1st-summer Great Black-backed Gull Dungeness, Kent 5th July 2015. Ringed as a chick at Risøy midtre, Mandal, Vest-Agder, Norway on 8th July 2014 and this is the first sighting since.
For most though, the headline bird of the day would have been this Roseate Tern that was lingering for a lot of the time I was present - though it did take me nearly three hours to walk the few hundred yards to see it. Having to withdraw myself from the melee was a real task.
adult Roseate Tern Dungeness, Kent 5th July 2015
So that's it for another weekend... just a couple more weeks and then the summer holiday party starts.

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