Rich and I gave the Thames a go first thing and had pretty much Zilch so burnt rubber to Dunge and found this ringed first winter Caspian Gull.
It was ringed last June at Grabendorfer See , Germany near the Polish Border, the same day and same colony as two other Casps I have seen this winter at Thames Barrier Park.(x307) and (x090) . We were joined by Mick Southcott who confirmed it was a new bird.
The Same 2nd Winter Yellow Leg that Laurence ad I saw last Saturday was lurking about. (also pictured with the casp above)
This Adult Kittiwake also came in to check out Mick’s fish bucket.
A weekend Trip down to see friend Laurence P began with a full day at Dungeness. Things were fairly slow to begin with but we did see the 2 Juv Iceland Gulls and a couple of first winter Caspian gulls by the patch. The tide was out and there were very few gulls by the puddles and fishing boats so we took in a/the Long eared Owl and Ring necked duck (for the 2nd or 3rd time recently) on the reserve. This and a hearty veggie breakfast at the cafe killed some time before returning to look at the Gulls. The below 2nd winter Yellow-Legged Gull was nice, I like them this late in the season, beginning to brighten up in the bill and iris also.
I basically wasted pretty much all the bread trying to keep a group of gulls close with nothing of interest, however as the last fishing boat came in (followed by loads of gulls and thick fog!) This absolutely bonkers 1st winter Caspian flew infront of us.
Originally seen 5 days before by Paul Watts and ringed in Poland last may.
As the fog thickened this dark 1st winter Casp also flew about abit but never posed in the same fashion.
A nice adult Kittiwake flew by close in
This dark eyed ad Yellow Legged Gull was present too but flew off before any closer inspection.
The Next day was spent birding a few sites closer to Eastbourne. Prince’s park held a Black head ringed in Denmark that we’d seen there back in July whilst photographing some of the first Juv Yellow legs in the country and a NTGG 1st winter herring. Holywell held zero gulls, but this rock pipit posed with 90’s blurring Gerhard Richter painting as backdrop!
Then on to Cuckmere Haven. Which holds one or two large and often distant gull day roosts, great scope views and a nice way to see many birds from one spot, we had 4 Med gulls of all all 3 ages, 5 First winter and a one third winter Caspian gulls. Photos were pretty shocking from this distance here’s 4 of the 6. The third winter was the bird of the trip for me
I will admit its not my favourite Casp on the Thames this winter, and at time can look like a real oddball, but it did behave brilliantly and was showing off the albatross pose, doing a great sounding long call and flying around nicely in different light so I couldn’t resist another post.
Below with a 2nd winter Yellow Legged Gull
A rock pipit! – the first I’ve seen here, would really expect to see them towards the end of the month but must have been some movement, a meadow pipit was also present down river.
I bumped into Martin Hallam who had seen another 1st winter Caspian Gull with a ring on it just before I arrived. This bird later turned up in front of Rich and Dante who were enjoying a handful of casps at Thames Barrier park more info here .
Nice to meet you Martin, see you again.
Thames barrier park for 2 hours before Low tide and Dantes spangling 3rd Winter Casp was the first bird I put my bins on. It was Keen on the bread but not willing to get into good light I enjoyed watching it through bins as you dont see many 3rd winters.
Below, an awful flight shot but shows p4 mark and broad band on p5 well enough.
This apparent 1w Argentatus came to the bread briefly
Gull numbers were pretty low and there were just a few black heads at Lyle park. I was hoping to catch up with my beloved Lyle but sadly it was not to be. Over to the O2 and within a few mins I had a first winter Casp that i didn’t recognise. I watched it in flight mostly as when it pitched down it did so quite distantly.
It does seem to have a similar feel to the two rung birds Dante and I have seen on the thames, both rung in east Germany in mixed colonies and I wouldn’t be surprised if this bird was from a similar place, in fact it is rung but only with a metal ring which i couldn’t read. This just in! Apparently tis bird was actually seen back in December at Thames Barrier Park – funny how they come and go.
Below, good old ‘mucky’ one of the O2’s regular 1st Winter Caspian gulls was lurkin about too.
Below, both casps together.
I’d heard that Lyle had been seen at East India dock so tried my luck there but only had the weirdo Black head that we see occasionally.
And this subtle 2nd winter Herring which in flight I took to be a first winter Argie with that tail pattern, It wasn’t until it landed on the water I could see all scaps and coverts were replaced but scaps lacking many adult grey types. I love 2nd winter herrings.