Saturday, 31 January 2015

In search of gulls

A very enjoyable day out with a group of 15 birdwatchers, all keen to improve their identification skills on the very tricky group that is....gulls.  The windy conditions didn't help us much, but we got to grips with Herring, Lesser Black-backed, Great Black-backed, Common & Black-headed at the Gann, with a surprise sighting of an Otter for most of the group in the lagoon - only my second sighting here in nearly 30 years of visits!  Also a Peregrine over, but no Mediterranean Gull as we'd hoped.

On to Sandy Haven where we had some shelter from the wind, but 2 bait diggers weren't helping.  A flock of gulls gave us a chance to refine skills, but alas still no Med Gull.  Same story at Gelliswick, but a smart Great Northern Diver was ample compensation.  Milford Docks gave us a chance to really get to grips with different aged Herring Gulls, and also pick out a colour ringed adult bird (blue ring on left leg, with yellow MEZ letters).  An adult Scandinavian Herring Gull (argentatus) revealed itself with a classic pattern in the primaries in flight.

The final stop at Llys-y-fran was rewarding, despite the occasional hail shower.  At least 8 Mediterranean Gulls (5 adults, 3 2CY), as many as I can ever remember seeing here.  The roost must have been 5,000+, with gulls piling in as we made our way back to the cars.  We couldn't pick out the Ring-billed Gull today though.  Not often you see white horses here, or the water blowing over the dam!!