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

No Caspian Gulls this week, so far, but at least 13 different Yellow-legged Gulls. At least half a dozen were juvenile or first-winter types. The one in the photos below was quite a brute and offered me plenty of wing flap opportunities to photograph. This isn't easy digiscoping, but I did manage to get a few open wing images.

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull

Typical Underwing Pattern of 1CY Yellow-legged Gull and also Tail Pattern

Quite a Size Difference

Take a look at the gull in the image below and tell me what it is please. It stood out amongst a gathering of juvenile Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls. It had moulted many of its mantle and scapular feathers, which none of the other juveniles, apart from some of the young Yellow-legged Gulls, had. Also it had a fine bill and long spindly legs. Its advanced state of moult was similar to some of the Yellow-legged Gulls but its jizz (recognisable characters) does not seem to match. Structurally it looks a little like a Caspian Gull, but its plumage doesn't seem right? It appeared slightly more elongated than the other nearby young gulls. 

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

Friday, 22 August 2014

Caspian Gull Sightings at Shawell so far During 2014

 CDB's Caspian Gull Sightings at Shawell so far During 2014

  1. Second-winter, January 11th
  2. Adult, January 18th
  3. Second-winter, January 18th
  4. Fourth-winter, February 1st
  5. First-winter, March 5th
  6. Second-winter, March 5th (also March 15th, 26th and 29th)
  7. Fourth-winter, March 8th
  8. Second-winter, March 22nd
  9. Second-winter, March 29th
  10. First-winter/summer, April 5th
  11. Juvenile, August 2nd
  12. Juvenile, August 5th (colour-ringed XDFV)
  13. Juvenile, August 9th (also August 13th and 20th)
  14. Adult, August 9th (colour-ringed PADZ)
  15. Second-summer/winter, August 19th
  16. Adult, August 20th
  17. Adult, August 23rd

All presumed to be Caspian x Herring

  1. Adult, February 7th
  2. Adult, March 5th
  3. Adult, April 9th
  4. Adult, July 5th (metal ring on right leg)
  5. Second-summer/winter, August 20th and 23rd

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Caspian Gulls

I had a good time gull watching (not gulling) at Shawell yesterday evening. I read a total of 16 colour rings and saw three Caspian Gulls and quite a few Yellow-legged Gulls. 

The 1CY was slightly odd structurally, but its bill ratio and primary projection seem OK. In the photo below the primary projection looks short and measures short, but in other photos it measures OK and falls within the norm for 1CY. It is still too young to use the trait scoring system, but the traits that can be used are OK. It can make your head hurt trying to work out if a particular Caspian Gull is pure. Any opinions on this gull are welcomed, as I'm always keen to learn. You can either comment directly to the blog or email me. Comments on Blogger don't always seem to work, but I've found if you click on Preview after writing the comment it helps.

This 1CY is likely to be the same as the one seen on both the 9th and 13th August - see comments below.

Presumed 1CY Caspian Gull