Thames Juvenile Yellow-Legged Gull, ringing recovery HD232

 

 

I came across this small mucky looking Yellow-Legged Gull the other day on the Thames foreshore at North Greenwich. The ring itself being yellow made me think of recent photos of rung Caspian Gulls and how this bird may have come from that part of the world rather than other young YLG ring recoveries I’ve heard of being from southern France along the Mediterranean .

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It was rung as an unfledged Pullis at Neuenburger See in Switzerland on the 11th of May.  Its so interesting to get these further afield recoveries, especially so close in date and far in distance.  Its quite an atypical looking, Small bird,resembling Lesser black backed in a few features but looking nice having moulted 85% of it scapulars and window in inner primaries etc.

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Numbers of Yellow Legs seem to have dropped a little at Greenwich in the last two visits, and I’m still to see a Caspian gull this season. The remaining birds however are looking beautiful as they approach first winter plumage.

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The below bird was only seen in flight, taken at first for a juvenile YLG, closer inspection of the image showed it to be a 2CY bird.  The iris is starting to become pale, P9 and P10 are growing, all wing coverts and tertials replaced as well as tail and adult grey feathers coming through in a few scaps.

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Below is a Juvenile YLG in a similar flight position for comparison, taken in Marseille in Early August.

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Spotted Flycatchers, Walthamstow

 

 

 

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We struggle for good autumn migrants on the patch. Wanstead seems to pull in all the Redstarts and Pied Flys.  So when David, Paul and Lol found a Spotted Flycatcher in the sheltered area along the central path, I made sure I paid it a visit the following day. Surprisingly it was still there and joined by two others. Rarely sitting out in the open the birds stayed within cover for most of the time I watched them.

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David had seen a Wheatear on the Lockwood and a few common warblers, as well as five or so Swift feeding over Banbury.  A group of mostly juvenile Gulls on the causeway between number four and five reservoirs held a nice Yellow-Legged and Great Black-backed, both juveniles. The Yellow Leg stayed out of camera range and is the third juvenile I’ve seen this year.

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Juvenile Great-Black back

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Goldcrests seem to have bred on in or near the pub carpark this bird and several juveniles were in a tit flock nearby the other day.

Falsterbo, Sweden

I returned on Monday evening from four nights at Falsterbo Bird Observatory, southern Sweden.  Known to many as a unique destination for raptor migration with hundreds sometimes thousands of raptors moving through each day around this time of year.

 

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Honey Buzzard

Early mornings were soundtracked by constant Tree Pipits and Thunbergi Yellow Wagtails wth high flying flocks of Common Crossbills and occasional Tree Sparrows too.  Sparrow Hawks were all over the place during the hours of daylight.

The day before we arrived was the first ‘Big Day’ of the season, many birds would have crossed the sea already and things were fairly quiet during our stay, however almost day long sky watching sessions were the most rewarding I’ve ever had, with hundreds of Common and Honey Buzzards, many Red kite, Ospreys, Marsh Harriers and the Local White Tailed Eagles putting in a handful of appearances over the peninsular. A Flock of 32 White Storks were also a perk, White Stork is a relatively good bird for Falsterbo.

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Common Buzzard

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Juvenile Honey Buzzards (above), pose occasional ID problems, resembling Common Buzzard  from a distance. But Jizz and here the three barred tail pattern, the lack of a pale breast band few other measurements rule out Common.

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We were fairly unlucky with the weather and lack of big numbers. However a Juvenile Pallid Harrier, picked up at Hunting height on the Heath was ample reward for the few periods of empty sky.

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These birds are coming through the peninsular almost everyday in late August and early September. This individual was mobbed by a Hobby and gained height rapidly allowing these distant record shots.

Passerines were never thick on the ground. A couple of Pied Flys, few Redstarts, many Spotted Flycatchers (or Grå Flugsnappare in Swedish, a bird that many houses have historically incorporated nesting opportunities within the architecture, as they eat Mosquitoes, Love that) Willows and a Wood Warbler,  and this first year Red-Backed Shrike.

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Nutcrackers put in a few appearances , with three birds first seen from the mound. The same, possibly, three were seen again over the heath and then another two so possibly five birds were around in total.

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Other highlights were a couple of Juvenile Caspian Gulls amongst the few Argentatus Herrings on the point, two Caspian Terns low and calling aswell as wood and Curlew Sandpipers, summer plumaged Grey Plover, Spotted Redshaks…etc.  Basically great views of great birds, a general good vibe, great people and I will certainly return.

Thanks To Laurence P and Paul C for good birding and great company

Youth and Movement

 

With it being the middle of August, I have started walking around the Lockwood before work. So far the only notable migrants being many Willow , and a couple of  Garden Warblers, a few Yellow Wags this morning and a trickle of Swifts.  Although AW had a Spotted Flycatcher in the Water works and Twitter tells me that PW has just found a Pied there too.

Yesterday whilst scanning the Bomb crater field for a returning Whinchat, One of three Juvenile Kestrels landed on the fence two meters in front me.

 

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After blasting it with the camera I spent five or so minutes sat down, watching it through bins. It felt good, quite a memorable bit of birding I guess.

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A deranged dog eventually flushed it.  

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Willow Warbler

Thames Juvenile Yellow-Legged Gulls

 

 

An evening walk with Amy along the thames, from the O2 eastwards, with Juv YLGs on my mind and mudlarking on hers, was fruitful for both.

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The right-hand bird is a brute, classic (probably male), it was joined by the nice contrasty bird on the left, which, although smaller, shares the features i look for in a Yellow-Leg, although I didnt see the open wing or tail pattern. The tertials have a slight notching to them, which is acceptable and well within range for Michahellis and this patterning is limited to the tips.

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Evening light looked great but ruined this photo in a way… Such a great tail pattern. I also noted a pair of Oystercatchers and a single common sandpiper along the water’s edge.

Juvenile Yellow-Legged Gulls, Eastbourne

 

It was booked weeks before, and much looked forward to. A trip to Visit Friend Laurence P on the south coast in an attempt to find some of the first arriving juvenile Yellow-Legged Gulls on the year.

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Our first site drew a blank, but a small boating lake within Princes Park, Eastbourne was host to this beast.  Presumably a Male, the bird gave incredibly close views and we got through two loaves of mighty white pretty quickly.

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The bird was quite worn on the tertials, most scaps and the tail, which seemed to be slightly stuck together, perhaps a substance picked up on route from the Med, as a ringed bird in the same place a few years back from Perpignan would suggest.

The following day we returned to the same spot to find a different bird. Smaller, slightly less worn and just as generous with its proximity.

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