Saturday, 21 November 2020

A tale of three gulls

Up and out early this morning, to have a good look through the gulls before the tide came too far in.  Joined by Brian Southern, we watched the river and lagoon from the relative shelter of the tamarisk at the end of the ridge.  I picked up an interesting bird that, on the views we had, showed all the features of a Caspian Gull (probably a 2nd calendar year bird) but was frustratingly nearly always head on.  As we moved across the outflow stream to improve our position, the gulls were pushed off by the tide, which by now had covered the footbridge.  In trying to relocate it (we failed), we had a brief view of yesterday's ringed Caspian Gull, X290, on the mud bank nearest to us but within seconds of clapping our eyes on it, that flock went too!

A return visit beckoned after lunch, to see what would return as the tide dropped back out.  As I arrived at above the lagoon outfall, there were plenty of large gulls on the shingle islands formed above the footbridge.  I started scanning through them and almost immediately picked up a first-calendar year bird that looked really good for American Herring Gull (fairly white head contrasting with smoky brown underparts, two tone pink & black bill, and 2nd generation scapulars with large brown centres).  I decided to rattle off a few photos before taking more features in, but in switching from 'scope to camera, it disappeared!  Lisa joined me soon after but we could not relocate it.  Frustrating, to say the least...