Saturday, 13 January 2018

Glaucous Gull

A brute of a Glaucous Gull was at Shawell today, which kicked off my tally for this species for 2018. It's one a piece for Glaucous and Iceland so far.

Early on the tip was smothered in gulls, but there was no fresh food being delivered today, as it was shut to waste lorries, so the gulls soon began to disperse.

Many gulls were loafing in the fields between the tip and Shawell village. Scanning through them revealed a few colour-ringed birds and an adult and first-winter Caspian Gull. My tally for Caspian Gulls for the day was six - two adults, and single fourth, third, second and first-winters.I was a bit disappointed that no white-wingers were with them, but hold on a minute what is that it the dip in the field. It was a juvenile Glaucous Gull. After the gulls were flushed by a couple of dog walkers I returned to the tip and the Glauc was there.

Enjoy the video but at HD quality remember.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

The First White-Winger at Shawell of 2018

Last weekend's mission to find some gulls failed due to flooding and some very sticky mud. I lost a welly and nearly myself and my scope. So with new wellies and a can do spirit I returned hoping for better results. The flood water had receded and although the mud was still there I managed to avoid the worst of it and take up my usual hard won spot at Cotesbach landfill site.

Many thousands of gulls were there. I couldn't really estimate just how many, as massive flocks would just appear and then disappear behind the humps in the sand quarry. I would say that there was at least 7000 Herring Gulls, plus the other regular gull species. It was quite a sight when they all took to the air.

Anyway it was white-wingers that I was after, but Caspian Gulls entertained me early on. Seven today around Shawell - three first-winters, two second-winters and a couple of adults. The one below was a real eye-catcher.

First-winter Caspian Gull
Around mid-morning an Iceland Gull came onto the tip to feed. It was quite a showy bird and I saw it at several locations around Shawell. Best looked for at the A5 Lagoons. I initially assumed this was the second-winter that has been roosting at Draycote Water, but now I think it is most likely a first-winter. Its bill matches first-winter better than second-winter. The dark tip bleeds into the base whereas second-winter bills are clearly demarcated between the black tip and the whitish base. Also it eyes are still dark. So most likely a faded first-winter.

Iceland Gull, January 6th 2018
As I've said before, the landfill site is a dangerous place and is out of bounds. My access is not guaranteed and I have to renew my permission on a weekly basis.

Sunday, 31 December 2017


Despite the Hawfinches at Burbage Common Extension being right on my doorstep, I had not really got any photos worth showing. That hasn't really changed, but I did manage to get a reasonable record shot this morning.

Hopefully one will stay until tomorrow and we can welcome everyone back for a 2018 year tick.


Friday, 29 December 2017

Another Glaucous Gull Makes it a Record Year

I was quite surprised to find a snowed in Cotesbach landfill site yesterday morning.

I had a bit of fun trying to get down the lane to where I watch the gulls on the landfill. I had to wade through deep flood water, breaking the ice as I went. Eventually I was in place and many thousands of gulls were feasting on our Christmas waste.

Viewing proved a little difficult due to the bright sunlight in my face, but the white wings of an adult Glaucous Gull were unmistakable. This is the ninth Glaucous Gull at Shawell this year, which is a new record for the site.

Adult Glaucous Gull

A Red Kite drifted past and luckily I had the right tense connected to my camera.

Red Kite

My 2017 Caspian Gull tally passed the 100 mark with new 2nd and 3rd winter birds.