Still on the Thames Gulls…

With Low tides and daylight hours working in our favour. Myself Dante and Rich agreed to meet up and stay local. I was first on the scene at Lyle park on Saturday morning and had a new very large first winter Casp with a pale based bill on the foreshore. I think this puts the number of Casps up into the teens since sept. The very distant shots are beyond shit so staying off the blog. Later one of the guys picked up my favourite first winter ‘Lyle’ who put in an appearance (below) and came reasonably close in the fog.

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The following bird is a different individual, it was seen on both days and in better light on the Sunday. Its a shorter legged, squarer headed and slightly bulkier . I’m happy its a Caspian Gull but has some slightly a-typical nuances all within variation .

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The below first winter Yellow Leg is a bird I’ve not noticed here before, and caught my eye several times with its brightly contrasting replaced tertials and wing  coverts.

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This Familiar 1cy Caspian was lurking about from time to time putting the count up to 4 Casps seen this weekend. It behaved well for Sean Huggins and Dominic Mitchell who came along today.

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These 2 first winter, apparent northern Argentatus Herrings were quite striking.

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In other news, we had a Black tailed Godwit come off the mud at woolwich ferry on saturday, 2/3 Redshank and a Dunlin today at Thames barrier park, aswell as good numbers of Teal and Shelduck on the river.

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Although were getting many good looking first winter Casps I am ready to see some birds of different ages and abit of tweeting about today reveals that other people arn’t seeing many elsewhere in the south east.

A new Caspian at the O2

 

 

I began feeling a little better so spent an hour by the River. Luck would have it there was a new first winter Caspian Gull at the O2.

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A slightly murky and quite small bird, although aggressive albatross posture and long call were adopted a couple of times. Plain greater coverts with the pale tips giving a strong wing bar in this individual, and a hint of one across the median coverts too. This bird is the 5th first winter I’ve seen in the area since September and contributes to 7 different individuals seen between the O2 and Thames Barrier Park this season. (Click on images to enlarge)

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Endless, Shameless Thames Gulls

 

Again, my entire weekend revolved around the Thames tide times. The past few blog posts have featured Thames gulling in a big way and despite the onset of flu today is no exception I’m afraid. Today I met up with Rich Bonser and Dante Shepherd and shared this insanely gorgeous Caspian Gull (Same bird I’d Seen at Lyle Park 2 weekends back). It Showed brilliantly in slightly challenging light at both Lyle and later at Thames Barrier Park. Please excuse the excess of pics…actually, no remorse

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The previous day was less exciting in terms of Casps, being a Saturday, numbers of Large gulls are lower due to the Tip at Rainham tempting them away. However This adult Mediterranean Gull blew my mind

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Below, some intricate wing moult on one of the 1cy Yellow Legs present today.

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Dungeness and E Sussex

Laurence P and I visited Dungeness this weekend hoping to hit it at the peak of Caspian Gull arrival… I think we slightly missed it with many birds in early November and handful reported from the fishing boats 2 weeks ago.  A friend reporting none form his visit last weekend…

We did manage distant views of a first winter at the patch and a second winter on the reserve from the firth hide at dusk. The fishing boats held only this attractive 2nd winter Yellow Legged.

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Above – First winter Caspian Gull flying west from the patch The rest of Dunge offered A graceful Great White Egret, close up Goosanders and the drake Ring necked Duck showed nicely in the pit towards the entrance to the reserve in the dying light of the day.

The plan for the following day was slightly less built up around gulls. A few sites around Beachy head and Eastbourne revealed a few nice birds including Dartford warbler, Slavonian Grebe and water pipit. Coupled with great scenery, good company and non stop Alan Partridge impressions made for a good weekend.

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A Weekend for Caspian Gulls.

 

 

After a stark and beautiful 1st winter Caspian Gull yesterday, I headed down to the same site in an attempt to get better photos. I didn’t see the bird however a text from Dante Shepherd who had found a 1st winter Caspian at the O2 got me going. Unfortunately  I missed his bird but pics confirmed it was a different individual.

After 20 minutes or so this stunning 1st winter turned up in the middle of a bread frenzy.

 

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The bird flew off east and we decided to head to the Thames Barrier park again. Just after our arrival we encountered the bird below. To me it Looks very similar to the previous bird at the O2.

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Abit more bread throwing and this Rung (Yellow X090) 1st winter Caspian arrived on the scene, showed well in the dying light of an overcast late November afternoon.

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Rung as a chick through the same ringing project as the bird I had back in September by Ronald Klein in Redern East Germany.

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It has darker fainlty barred auxiliaries, and more heavily notched greater coverts than the first bird, although a good percentage of pure birds will show this. We had a couple of Caspians in flight which could well have been the birds present. But at least three today and a different bird yesterday shows they’re are about in good numbers!

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This faithful 1st winter Yellow Legged gull was one of only a few present during the day and is often present at Thames barrier park.