Thursday, 17 March 2016

Last weekend - Iceland and Caspian Gulls on the tip

It's been a bit of a slog this week, and I meant to write this a couple of nights ago - just a brief summary of a decent morning last Saturday on the tip, and then a brief hour or so in Greenwich on Sunday.
juvenile Iceland Gull Pitsea, Essex 13th March 2016
Saturday started off really murky, but once the fog had burnt off it became a pretty pleasant early spring day. Top of the pile bird wise was the first Iceland Gull, a juvenile, of the winter on the tip; it came in late morning (at 11.15am) as I picked it up flying, but no sooner had I picked it up - and managed one photo - the ringers' cannon went bang and that was that!

1st-winter Caspian Gull Pitsea, Essex 13th March 2016
A couple of Caspian Gulls were welcome too, a first-winter that hung about for most of the morning as well as a really slick looking near-adult that was present in the melee by the tip face rather more briefly.

1st-winter Caspian Gull Pitsea, Essex 13th March 2016
Ring wise, things were a little quiet with 16 NTGG birds as well as a Dutch ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull too; interestingly one of the NTGG ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls was a Dutch breeder too, so perhaps a push of birds heading back to their breeding grounds.
adult female Lesser Black-backed Gull (FANW) Pitsea, Essex 13th March 2016; ringed as an adult female at Texel, The Netherlands on 29th May 2012 and seen every year since with over 40 ring reads (though this is the first non-Dutch one)
It was also the first time this spring that it felt like Mediterranean Gull numbers had really increased, with at least half a dozen - all adults bar a first-winter.
adult Mediterranean Gull Pitsea, Essex 13th March 2016
Back in Rotherhithe, a walk about Russia Dock Woodland on Saturday afternoon produced a vocal flock of 10 Siskins plus a Kingfisher and Mistle Thrush. Sunday was again a nice bright day, but with other stuff I needed to do, birding was confined to an hour blitz of the Greenwich gulls by the O2. Pretty quiet, though always nice to get a Norwegian beast: -
1st-winter Great Black-backed Gull (JZ700) Greenwich, London 14th March 2016 ringed at Værholmen, Arendal, Aust-Agder, Norway as a chick on 30th June 2015

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