Its been a pretty poor September so far for me. Highlights at Walthamstow were 4 Wood Sandpipers (v rare here!) that flew over David Bradshaw, myself and n0 5 on the 6th. A trip down to Beachy over the second weekend of the month was pretty quiet except small numbers of things like Redstart and Whinchat etc, altough I did find a 1cy Caspian Gull above birling gap, which is only the second record for the headland.
Since then i’ve had a few yellow-legged gulls on the river and things like Spotted Flycatchers and yellow wagtails at Walthamstow, not much to get you really going but what do you expect with this glorious weather!
Who gives a shit anyway? Because on Friday at midnight I get the train to penzance and then the Scillonian for another 2 weeks with the gang, bashing about the scillies looking for who knows what? Not much by the look of the weather with the Azores high firmly in place… I’m an optimist though so hopefully the following blog post will be memorable.
If you spend alot of time looking at Caspian gulls ,you start recognising them as you might do people. There are structure and plumage traits and patterns that register and become familiar despite their variability, you can devlop a sense of ‘taste’ with preferences, and opinions can be formed on whether you like a certain ‘type’ of Casp. Individuals can remind you of other individuals etc. Its one thing to recognise an regular bird frequenting a site over a period of time but a bizarre thing happened today: I’ve been looking back over Caspian gulls we had on the thames during the winter of 2016/17. Rich B had a 1st winter Caspian gull on the beach at Rotherhithe on the 19th of January 2017, and whilst looking at photos of this bird (taken 19 months previous to today) I somehow remembered a series of photographs taken by Mars Musse from the previous November showing 6/7 differnet Caspian Gulls on the Dutch coast. I recalled one fairly un memorable bird in particular that looked like this bird of rich’s (keep in your mind that i hadnt looked at the dutch images in over a year). I looked it up and its the same bloody bird!
Below is the original photo Mars Musse took in November ’16 on the Dutch Coast
…and here is Rich’s shot of it in Rotherhithe, London ,Jan ’17…
A couple of months wear and some paling to the bill tip are the only differences I can see. The differing angles reveal more of the scapulars in the second pic.
Its bizarre to think that it’s possible to do this and strange that i hadn’t looked at either image for so long yet something registered! Who needs rings eh?