Friday, 13 January 2012

Patch Tick - Caspian Gull

4th January - my first visit to the pit this year on a very gloomy afternoon with intermittent drizzle.  As usual there were 100s of Black-headed Gulls on the spit when I arrived and an increasing number of Common Gulls, estimated at 300 birds.  Very few LWHG, with 7 GBB Gulls, 5 adults a 2nd winter and 1st winter, about 20 LBBs and a handful of Herrings.  At 2:30pm, another scan of the gulls on the back of the spit found a rather smart, but diminutive looking 1st winter Caspian Gull - a long expected patch tick!  I took a few record shots, but at distance in the gloom they were very poor.

1st winter Caspian Gull 4th January
It was quite a diminutive bird, probably a female, you can see its size next to a juvenile argentatus Herring Gull in the top photo.  It showed a very white head, breast and belly, with a nice streaky shawl on the nape just reaching the sides of the breast.  It was always standing below the level of a ridge, so I couldn't see its legs and then swam right behind the flock of BH and Common Gulls, so that I could only see its head sporadically.  I then had to leave for the school pick-up.  Just as I was leaving, an adult Yellow-legged Gull arrived.

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