A belated post about the other birds I saw during my recent ‘non birding’ holiday to Romania. When I wasn’t looking at gulls, my early mornings were spent wandering around a body of freshwater that I just found on Google Maps. Conclusion: Romania is stacked full of birds! I had flocks of Whiskered Terns, Pygmy Cormorants, Purple Herons, Little Bitterns and Glossy Ibises, plus Golden Orioles, Turtle Doves, large numbers of dombrowski Yellow Wagtails, Bee–eaters and one or two Red–rumped Swallows.
The litter-strewn farmland surrounding our accommodation was also excellent for birding and became my local patch for the week. Isabelline Wheatears, Tawny Pipits, Red–backed and Lesser Grey Shrike, Black–headed Buntings, many Crested and a single Greater Short–toed Lark, more Golden Orioles in the woodland where I also had Middle–Spotted Woodpecker and the ‘croak’ and ‘whistle’ calls of Thrush Nightingales were often heard.
Much of the rest of my time was spent doing actual holiday stuff as well as looking at gulls, mentioned in the previous post. Our final day was spent at the legendary Vadu. The drive down was continually interrupted by me pulling over to look at birds: Black–eared Wheatear, Black–headed Wagtails and 18 Red–footed Falcons chasing insects kicked up in the wake of a farmer’s tractor were among the highlights, while the non-birding members of our party (i.e. everyone but me) were entertained by the frequent roadside Bee-eaters and Rollers.
The below Short Toed Eagle was a consalation prize along with a pair of Long-Legged Buzzards at a site which I was sure was the Pied Wheatear site, but I’d buggered up the map and sent us to the wrong place, next time…
Ive missed off a few things through lazyness but as ‘not a birding holidays’ go it was pretty good. Thanks to a group of my best friends for your patience xxx
A holiday with friends to the Black Sea coast in the last week of july, my main focus – spending time with beloved girlfriend and friends… But I hoped I’d find time to see some brand new Caspian gulls. I basically got away with a few mornings and an afternoon of standing around throwing bread and looking deranged and attracting attention from gangs of drunken Romanian teenagers.
Between Mamaia, Constanta and Vadu I saw plenty, there are many more photos than this but i thought i’d just give a range. Some individuals were incredible, some were abit up and down in terms of looks but but all show how variable they can be. The most constant features were expression, finer fringing to scapulars and coverts, finely patterned greater coverts (with a few execptions) nice dark thumbnail tertials and lightly barred or pure white axilleries, even on most of the darker birds, scroll down and enjoy.
Above, juvenile Yellow-Legged Gull, ringed at Constanta harbour. these birds were generally alot darker with more broad notching to the greater coverts and broader fringing to scapulars etc.
Below are some Adult Caspian Gulls from Vadu beach, most showed a yellowish tinge to the legs but some where dull grey/pink, and a variation in iris tone/darkness
I may go back in winter!!!
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