Settling back into the London gulling season

The past few months Ive been concentrating on birding out of London, in an attempt to get the most of the autumn season. Today however was a return to the normal kind of London birding that gets me through the winter. RB DS and I had a look at Creekmouth where we had a nice 1st winter Caspian Gull (below) that Dante had seen the week previous. one or two Yellow Legged gulls were also present. 

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I decided to check the Eagle Pond near Snaresbrook for a regular returning Caspian Gull that hadn’t been seen so far this year. The bird turned up in 2015 as a first winter, was seen again on the Eagle pond by Stuart fisher as a second winter and I saw it last year as a third winter. Now its a 4th calander year bird and a real nice bird. It has stuck around all winter each year so theres opportunity for people to see it. 

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After wards i Bumped into this big 1st winter Caspian at Leyton Tip, first I’ve seen here in a couple of years.

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Also present was an adult YLG and a good number of Argentatus type Herring Gulls, below is a 1cy (and an adult behind the post). The tip here is always good for these northerners and ive often wondered why,  as i do see remarkably more here than on the Thames.

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YES KENT YOU OLD S.O.B!

An excellent day in Kent with Rich and Dante. We made moves to catch up with the adult Summer plumaged White Billed Diver that had been sitting on the sea around the Margate Area the previous day or two.  Whilst looking (with no luck) from Botany Bay the Swift sp that had reportedly gone to roost the night before was suddenly in front of Dante and I. It was a challenge at times but I could see that this (juvenile) bird had pale median coverts fading gradually into the greater coverts without a sharp contrast with the secondaries from below and photos showed that the paler upper greater coverts contrasted with the darker secondaries from above. The face and head pattern was one of smooth transitions between tones too, with pale lores and suited Pallid Swift. photos made it easier to see other crucial features that support this ID shown in the photos below.

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t5 and t6 being the same length as apposed to the longer t6 in Common Swift.

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I’d read the article in BB over the summer and between us we remembered most of the features but not recently enough for full confidence, despite this I tweeted out that the features suited Pallid which got a mixed reaction with many nay sayers. I’m happy with it as an experience and was glad to have the chance to look at it as a ‘Swift sp’ rather than coming to a conclusion based on a certain preconception.

News broke quickly after of the Whereabouts of the Diver and we made it over there in no time. I should add it was a tick for me.

AN

INCREDILBE

BIRD

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This picture of course does it no justice but it was amazing. AMAZING.

We checked our Dover patch at Langdon Hole with no luck and headed to Dungeness for the Gulls and to look at a juvenile Lesser Yellow Legs that had turned up on the Midrips pools on the firing ranges just over the border in East Sussex.

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A beautiful place to look at a brilliant bird and just the three of us too.

Next a perfect end to the day and nothing makes us happier than chucking hovis at large gulls by the fishing boats, there were 2 Caspian Gulls present, a first and a second winter which we watched along side Richard Smith and Martin Casemore.

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A Great Day and a really great mix of birds. well done everyone

Richard’s Pipit Beachy Head

A day spent birding Beachy Head with Laurence P started off nicely with a fly over Richard’s pipit that I picked up on call above our heads moments after getting out the car, we both quickly got onto the bird which called another 3 or so times and flew beyond belle tout. It seemed to go down near the set aside fields towards the track that leads to Cornish farm. nb: this bird was accepted by the Sussex rarities committee. dec.18

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There’s a vast amount of habitat for a bird like this on Beachy head (above) and despite a good bit of time looking the bird wasn’t seen again. A satisfying record nonetheless and nice to share with a pal. 

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Birding was abit ‘audio only’ after that, with a Ring Ouzel alarming, fly over Bramblingssiskins and Redpoll and then a Yellow Browed Warbler up Birling lane that was heard to call several times whilst we watched one or two Firecrests in the pines there.

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A long day and a large percentage of the area covered on foot, other highlights were a ShortEared Owl flushed from the cliff near Cow Gap, a small raft of Common Scoter on the sea and a single Golden Plover over.