Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Two more showy Casps

I'm not proud to say it at this time of year, but it was another day where I resorted to looking at gulls. Saturday was filled with an unproductive scout around Rotherhithe in between spouts of work while I headed to Dunge again to join Mick S and Richard S on Sunday.

There were lots more gulls present compared to last weekend, and with a biting easterly wind I was relatively content there'd be at least something to look at. I wasn't proved wrong, as within a few minutes of the infamous fish bucket being put out, I picked up a hefty 2nd-winter Caspian Gull. Result, and a nice bird to boot and despite hanging about for an hour or so, it enjoyed resting and generally didn't get involved in the melee too much.

2nd-winter Caspian Gull Dungeness, Kent 11th October 2015; note the lack of a distinct mirror on P10 - atypical for Caspian Gulls of this age. Other than the lack of this feature, this individual appears a classic individual in all other plumage and structural traits.
With the above bird still on show, Mick S picked up a different Caspian Gull, this time a 1st-winter; one of those dusky looking individuals, and slight in structure too. In the glowing afternoon light, and showing down to just a few metres, it looked the part.

1st-winter Caspian Gull Dungeness, Kent 11th October 2015
There was also a 1st-winter Yellow-legged Gull present, seemingly the same bird as last weekend on comparison of photos. Nice to have a look at the spread tail in comparison to the first-winter Caspian Gull above.
1st-winter Yellow-legged Gull Dungeness, Kent 11th October 2015
1st-winter Caspian Gull Dungeness, Kent 11th October 2015
In addition to this, Herring Gulls from Essex and Suffolk as well as Great Black-backed Gulls from Guernsey and Normandy rounded off the few hours nicely.
Great Black-backed Gull (99L) Dungeness, Kent 11th October 2015 ringed in Normandy, France - a new ringing scheme for me; just awaiting specific details...
I really was hoping that some passerines would have diverted me from October gulling, but it wasn't to be. So I'll write the same as I did last weekend and hope that some far flung bright sprite draws me away... let's see.

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