09/01/23 Local Caspian Gulls

With no work to go to at the moment I’m making the most of the Gulls, which seem to be abit hit and miss. I drew blanks at Shakey beach for almost 2 weeks only to see 5 Caspian Gulls in one day on the 31st December, the same can be said for Deal which seems abit better at the moment. Perhaps a little influx of gulls is upon us.

Below are a few 1st winter from Shakey on a very windy day, hence the sea spray all over the lens!

Below: 2 caspian and 1 YLG (bottom bird), the left hand Casp is a Czech yellow ringed individual 03C:U

A couple of Casps from Deal in the past few days. Gerald S has seen a half a dozen or so recently.

Above a large 1st Winter and below a delicatly plumaged 2nd Winter. Lovely stuff

On the subject of Gulls I had a decent looking candidate for heinei or Russian Common Gull fly through the harbour earlier today. Unfortunately it didn’t come close enough for better photos detailing trailing edge to the uderwing but seems to a nice clean head and bright pink bill base and neck shawl aswell and the darker primaries secondaries and reduced inner primary window not shown by most ‘heinei lookalikes ive seen in the UK. perhaps ill see it again.

If you’re interested in Russian Common Gulls check out last month’s Birdwatch Magazine, I wrote an article on how to identify them:

https://www.birdguides.com/store/back-issues/birdwatch/december-2022

02/01/23 Dover Hume’s Warbler

Just before Christmas Rob R found a Hume’s leaf warbler at Pencester Gardens along the river Dour in the middle of Dover. Ive only just today been to see it and its an excellent example of the species. My sixth in the UK and third within a few miles of home, its about time I found one!

Vocal and showing nicely low down aswell as feeding at the tops of bare sycamores. Also present were 2 Blackcaps and 2 Chiffies, obviously a decent little spot for wintering insectivorous birds.

A walk along the cliff tops and into the valley was pleasant but mostly quiet. A 1st Winter Caspian Gull circled along the cliffs from st Margarets and I believe there are at least 12 Firecrest in the valley at the moment, I’ve also flushed a Woodcock out of the hollow wood twice in recent visits.