A slight increase in numbers of Yellow-Legged Gulls on the Thames this week, I had 10+ birds today with 7 of them juveniles. Low tide is around mid morning currently the light is abit gross.
I wanted to include the below more distant shot in this post. Once your eye is in, these birds are easily picked up even at distance with the clean white in the upper tail and even the expression, bill and head shape are all recognisable in this pic, other juveniles (Herring and LBB) all still appear to have a short p10 and some look like their learning to fly! Also noted today were a couple of juvenile YLGs today with 2 or 3 replaced scapulars already.
This nice juvenile Mediterranean Gull tentatively tried to get involved in the bread fight.
En-route to visit Laurence P last weekend I called in at Old Lodge, a Sussex Wildlife trust reserve in the Ashdown Forest as I’d heard it had been a good year for Common Redstarts. I saw about 6/7 juvs, but no adults, lovely little birds.
Its something I look forward to from about the end of May – mid summer influx of Yellow-Legged Gulls from the continent and especially the juvenile birds. Despite a gnarly summer cold myself and Dante un-earthed 4 Juvs and 2 second summer birds at Thames Barrier Park earlier on this evening. With the record for the earliest bird on our part of the Thames being the 1st of July (set by RB) these were almost a week late, better late than never.
Two individuals were particularly interested in the bread however the two others made brief appearances only. The below Adult Mediterranean Gull was an added bonus.
I guess you can expect more ylgs over the next month or so but ill try and keep them to a minimum.
Incredibly, Richard Bonser found his 3rd Bonaparte’s Gull at Crossness a couple of weekends ago. With all thats been going on with work I havent had time to post.
The following weekend Dante and I had it on the outflow at Creekmouth on the essex side of the river.
Well done rich.
Last month I got an email letting me know that that the ‘Ocularis’ White Wagtail I found in Abu Dhabi last November was accepted by the Emirates Bird Records Committee 5-0. Its the first record of this sub-species for the UAE, Middle East and Greater Western Palaearctic which I’m very happy about it! Another record since (an adult in Cyrpus) will surely be accepted and will represent the first real western pal record. The write up was printed in this months Dutch Birding too!
Above – Saadyaat Beach Golf Course. Below – 2cy ‘Ocularis’ White Wagtails, Both taken in Hong kong, first pic taken by Matthew Kwan and the second my myself earlier this year.
Read the whole write up that Bird guides featured here
Another work trip to Basel, same job same dates as last year although a little less time off for birds however I still managed to see the things I was hoping for.
Much the same as last year, however at the end of last years trip I figured out where a good spot to watch the Alpine Swifts from was so spent the odd morning up there. There were perhaps 30+ birds and a few were seen flying into nest holes and cracks on the University building.
All my other birding was done at Le Petit Camargue Alsacienne, which is 20 mins on a bus into France from the apartment. Things were pretty much as they were last year and many birds including Marsh Warblers and Red-Backed Shrikes in exactly the same place.
Wrynecks were vocal and occasionally seen well, I also had my second ever views of Black Woodpecker, this time in flight which was pretty incredible, Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers were seen too.
This male Honey Buzzard was perched in a poplar and gave very close views when it flushed as I turned a corner, I had perhaps three sightings of HBs during the trip after being told I wasn’t likely to see them away from the higher ground by a local.
As last year, Golden Oriel sightings were in the 10+ kinda numbers but all being brief and distant, my first of the trip however was a pair chasing off a hobby which then laid into a Black Kite. (following image)
Just a quick summary really of what was a nice Work trip, great to hear Black Redstarts everywhere and see Black Kites so well. It was also good to have something to compare last year to. One thing that was very much noted was an increase in Hawfinches with family parties and singing birds noted on each excursion.
I also saw a Pine Marten galloping towards me and then cross the road whilst i walked home after being down the boozer, which amazingly was in the middle of town!
Having only seen birds in first winter plumage previously I tagged along with RB to see the Rosy Starling at Dunge. I guess its part of what looks set to be an influx/invasion with hundreds being seen on the continent and quite a few over here already.
I couldn’t believe the brightness of the mantle, it seemed to emit light! perhaps with it being earlier in the year/less worn etc.
Eyes to the telephone wires/supermarket roofs/anywhere really…