Saturday, 6 September 2014

First WeBS Count

I have agreed to count Shawell A5 Lagoons for the WeBS (wetland bird survey), so although the official day is tomorrow, I did my first count today. Fewer gulls visit the site on a  Sunday when the tip is shut, which is why I elected to do Saturday.

There is only a small area of water compared to many sites, so no massive duck numbers, but I was very pleased when Chris Wiltshier spotted a Black-tailed Godwit. We also had single Dunlin, Common Sandpiper and Snipe. Five little Grebes were also present.

The online survey form thinks that eight Yellow-legged Gulls is a big number - not sure what it would think about the numbers present in mid-summer?

A few more Great Black-backed and Common Gulls were present today and a couple of the big boys posed for the camera.

Great Black-backed Gulls

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

It's Amazing the Difference a Few Days Make

Last month I was tripping over Caspian Gulls, but whatever attracted them to Shawell is not working at the moment. Watching a site regularly is fascinating as you can actually witness the passage of gulls through the site. Herring Gull numbers had built up today compared to last month and there appears to be more LBB Gulls. However, most of the Yellow-legged Gulls had disappeared today. I saw at least ten different first calendar-year YLG's on Saturday, but just one this evening. 19 different YLG's of various ages were present on Saturday, but just three were there tonight amongst around 2000 LBBG's.

1CY Yellow-legged Gull

The 1CY Yellow-legged Gulls I saw on Saturday varied in their state of advancement towards first-winter plumage. Some were still very juvenile like, but most were similar to the one in the photos above and below.


I saw a few colour-ringed LBBG's tonight including Dutch ringed NP, which I have now seen on nine different occasions since 2012. NP seems to hang around Leicestershire until late in the year and then spends the cold months in Spain - can't fault him. I also saw single colour-ringed gulls from Germany and Norway.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Shawell Again

I spent the early part of the evening at Shawell again this Wednesday. Once again it was quite productive with a respectable total of nine colour rings being read including three from Norway.

J148E Second-calender Year Lesser Black-backed Gull (intermedius

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Juvenile Caspian Gull Re-visited

I have been going through my images of a juvenile Caspian Gull that I saw on three separate dates this month. I have changed my mind a couple of times as to whether it was the same bird, due to apparent differences in the photos on separate days. However,  after Tom Lowe suggested it was the same bird, I had another look at the images and now I am happy to say I agree with him.

August 9th (overcast)

The image above was taken on August 9th and when compared with the other photos on different days you can clearly see how different light effects the appearance of the gull.

Below is the same individual on August 13th and then the 20th:

August 13th (raining)

August 20th (sunny)
August 20th (sunny)

Constructive comments are always welcomed.

Thanks for taking a look and Best Wishes,

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Not Even Loved by its Mother

Today I started with a trip to Brascote Pits. 

This site may be past its prime, because the best pool has dried out and a lot of areas are being choked by willows and scrub. However, I was pleased to see four Greenshanks and quite a few young warblers including a Lesser Whitethroat.

The skies were clear first thing and despite a cold wind the sun was very bright. The lay of the land at Shawell makes gulling difficult when it is sunny, so that's why I tore myself away from the gulls for a few hours. The cloud started to build up about 10 o'clock, so I set off to Cotesbach landfill site. It was bitterly cold there and a pair of gloves wouldn't have gone a miss whilst I endured some squally showers.

Initially the gulls were quite close and I soon picked up an adult Caspian Gull. Unfortunately one of the dumper truck drivers felt the need to drive through the flock, which pushed them further away from my viewing point.

Adult Caspian Gull