Thursday, 19 March 2015

Another Med Gull at Shawell

My dinner time stop off at Shawell on Wednesday was good again this week. Amongst about a thousand Black-headed Gulls was another new adult Mediterranean Gull. 

My sightings of Mediterranean Gulls at Shawell So far in 2015:

·         Adult, near full summer plumage, February 17th (un-ringed)
·      Adult, near full summer-plumage, February 25th (Polish colour-ring)
·      Adult, near full summer-plumage, March 14th (un-ringed)
·      Second-winter, March 14th
·      Adult, full summer-plumage, March 18th (Polish colour-ring, different to one on February 25th)

Mediterranean Gull at Shawell A5 Lagoons, 18/03/15

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Iceland and Mediterranean Gulls

Today was a funny one as far as the gulls at Shawell are concerned. I called at the landfill site first thing, but it was deserted. No gulls and no rubbish trucks. It would appear that they are capping the area that has been used recently. This usually results in a lack of gulls as they drift off elsewhere in search of a meal.

At the lagoons by the A5 there was actually a reasonable collection of gulls, although not as many as normal. I scanned through the gulls on the far shore and quickly came upon a sleeping 'white-winged gull' It was clearly a juvenile Iceland Gull, but one that was shy, as it didn't want to lift its head up. I eventually got a photo showing its head to confirm it was an Iceland Gull. 

Juvenile Iceland Gull, Shawell A5 Lagoons

Juvenile Iceland Gull, Shawell A5 Lagoons

It wasn't long before the gulls got disturbed by some invisible foe and most of them flew away northwards. Many of the smaller gulls quickly returned and amongst them was an adult Mediterranean Gull. Later on I spotted a different Mediterranean Gull. This one was a sub-adult with only a very small dark patch on just one primary feather - the rest of the primaries were white like an adult.

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Shawell A5 Lagoons

Weekdays are often better for seeing large numbers of gulls at Shawell and during my brief Wednesday lunchtime session I spotted a smart looking first-winter Caspian Gull. I managed to get a bit of video of it feeding amongst the rubbish. It was quite a pale one, which is quite common at this time of year. The mantle was very silvery grey.

First-winter Caspian Gull, Cotesbach Landfill Site

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Retrospective Colour-Ring Reading

I noticed a group of gulls having a cheeky wash and brush-up in the swimming pool below our hotel room. A staff member decided to chase them off and they started to circle around in front of my balcony. My camera was to hand, so I blasted off a few images. Checking through the images later on, I was surprised to see that one of them was colour-ringed and the code was readable. It turned out that it had been ringed on the Isle of Pladda, Isle of Arran, Ayrshire, Scotland as a chick last summer.

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Agadir, Morocco - 5W1:C

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Pictures From the Desert

Our trip to Morocco coincided with the right conditions for flowers to bloom. Snow lying on the ground in the desert the week before our arrival, was obviously the catalyst for this. I checked the altitude with my GPS and was surprised that even though we were on flat ground, we were actually higher than Britain's highest mountain. According to our Moroccan guide, seeing so many wild flowers in this part of the world is a rare event.

The Desert in Bloom

A Type of Broomrape

The Suns Coming Up

The Snowy Peaks of The High Atlas Mountains

It's Cold in the Desert in the Early Morning