Saturday, 30 June 2018

The last day of June mission

I had a pleasant day today around the usual sites in southeast London and saw a couple of nice birds - an adult Kittiwake and the continuing Bonaparte's Gull. But I was on a mission, as today was the 30th June. In both 2017 and 2015, I'd found London's first juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls of the year on 1st July and so I was craving a June record. And with the hot weather, I thought there could be a good chance today...

But ultimately, this was a mission that I'd failed - for this year at least. Another June in London goes by without a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull! A pretty insignificant mission to all but three people, but a mission one of us will succeed in sooner or later.

Anyway, it was a good day nonetheless. Having picked up Karen after her overnight flight back from the US, I headed out to the O2 at Greenwich for a couple of hours while she got a couple of hours of sleep. The low tide gathering of gulls had three ringed Great Black-backed Gulls, with two ringed as chicks in Norway in 2017 and another a Pitsea ringed bird. Also there seems to be good numbers of juvenile Black-headed Gulls already getting into London, so perhaps a decent year has been had. But the real surprise for me here was while scanning the river, I noticed a smallish gull flying west at relative height - the dark grey mantle and black-tipped wings told me it was an adult Kittiwake! Beautiful blue skies and an urban backdrop made the experience all very bizarre, and within a couple of minutes it was all over as the Kittiwake headed off west, spiralling and gaining height over Canary Wharf: -
adult Kittiwake Greenwich, London 30th June 2018
After a spot of lunch, I headed out again and coincided a visit at Crossness with high tide. Barry W was about, so the Bonaparte's Gull was quickly located again as it fed actively around the outfall in the early evening sunshine: -
1st-summer Bonaparte's Gull Crossness, London 30th June 2018
It was good to see this bird again after not being able to get down during the week, and with there now being in excess of 500 Black-headed Gulls at the outfall, there is a degree of concentration needed to stay on it for long once you've located it! Not a lot else around though, with bread hurled out in Thamesmead, Woolwich and Greenwich not producing much at all. 

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