Friday, 22 June 2012

Gulls Starting to Build

22nd June - an early afternoon visit on a windy day.  An Oystercatcher was present again feeding around the spit edge before flying to roost in the centre.  LRPs are still evident - at least 3 around the edges and possibly more.

The loafing gulls are obviously building in number - I counted 220 birds, but more were flying in and there was some toing and froing, so an estimate of at least 250 birds.  Many of these are immature Herring Gulls, with the odd adult, LBB Gulls are represented by many more adults, presumably local breeders and immatures.  When I arrived, most of the gulls were standing in 2 groups on the southern side of the spit, so were relatively easy to scan.  I suppose that something had just spooked them.  They soon flew back to their normal position on the eastern side and promptly sat down to roost when they are more difficult to scrutinise amongst the vegetation.  On the initial scan I picked out 3 2s Yellow-legged Gulls - 1 of these kept apart from the rest of the gulls and chose a position in front of the island.  This is where the bird was that I took a snap of the other day and I think it's the same one, as it has very faded greater coverts but has replaced one of the central feathers - this can be seen in that photo and those below:

Looks like a bit of a brutish male in this shot
I walked round to the south east corner to get a better look at the back of the spit and picked out an adult Yellow-legged Gull - the first returning adult of the summer.  It flew from the water's edge to the gull throng and sat down to roost for some time, but at 14:45 it stood up and suddenly took off on its own for no apparent reason and I watched it circle up westwards in the wind before flying off south over the Thames and on over Cockmarsh, Berks.

There were lots of Swifts flying over the lake.  At least 50 on view at any one time, so undoubtedly more.  A Hobby also arrived with them and started feeding.

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