Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Some Movement and Some Juveniles

3rd July - an overcast and humid morning, but largely avoiding the showers.  I was hoping that yesterday's large number of reported Common Sandpipers (8 or 9) might still be present, however, on arrival mid morning it was obvious that they were not.  There were lots of waders around the spit edge though, including an ever growing number of LRPs - I counted 11 birds at one point, 10 adults and the first juvenile of the season.  Amongst these, 2 Common Sands were on the near spit and a newly arrived Green Sandpiper and first of the autumn was on the back of the far spit.

As ever, my attention turned to the loafing LWHG flock and almost the first bird I looked at was a fresh juvenile sitting down with its head in its back away from the other birds.  This was the first juvenile large gull I had seen this year and it looked good for Yellow-legged.  Eventually, it woke up, stood up, walked around and flew, confirming that it was indeed the first juvenile YLG of the season - it eventually flew eastwards, I assume towards Hedgerley landfill.  Luckily Dave P was on site and took some good record shots, which are shown below - my efforts in the light conditions would have been hopeless.  Features noted included a white upper tail, with a black tail band and a pale grey wedge up the back in flight; darker inner greater coverts; dark centred tertials with pale tips and edges, but not reaching the coverts; dark spotting on the edges of the undertail coverts only; large black bill; contrasting dark eye patch with paler head; long, thin legs.

There was possibly another juvenile YLG on site, but I was never sure whether I had actually seen 2 or the same bird in different locations.  The regular adult and 3 of the 2nd summer birds were also present.  It was also nice to see a fresh juvenile LBBG - another first for the season.

At about 11:05am, I happened to look up just as a Curlew was flying overhead, which was lucky as it didn't call once.  Also seen by Dave P, it flew in from the east and continued westwards.  Shortly afterwards, the Green Sand started calling, flew to the southern bay and looked a bit perturbed, which was explained when a second bird appeared alongside apparently having just arrived - Dave P's shots are shown below - Thanks Dave!

The 2 regular Oystercatchers had also arrived silently during this period.  The 40+ Black-headed Gulls that prefer to hang out on the tip of the near spit contained a juvenile - my first this year, but has been reported for a few days now.

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