Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Gulls galore

I didn't get out birding once over the weekend, aside from a 5 minute scan of the settling beds so seeing a rare gap in the work diary I rattled through my inbox and managed to get to Witcham Gravel last night to take in the gull roost.  There was a grand cacophony of wild swan music drifting from both sides of the Washes and a very manageable congregation of gulls was forming, the large gulls could be seen well with a twist of zoom but the small gulls remained a passed over challenge.  Head moult in the Herring Gulls was evident and adult Yellow-legged Gulls no longer as striking with their smartness, indeed with some challenging light I didn't confidently identify more than 5 adults.  Very early in the year I had counted 22 when the blue grey mantles, clean square heads and 45 degree back ends had stood out against the streaky headed, pale grey backed argenteus Herring Gulls.  I was particularly looking out for the young Glacous Gull that has been seen here with some frequency and perhaps more regularly at Cottenham Long Drove.  On my third or fourth trawl through the pack I picked up a very nice 2nd Calendar year Caspian Gull which looked very similar to this bird, but not quite as progressed in moult, that I filmed at Cottenham a couple of years ago.

The Glacous Gull may have sneaked in as the gloaming descended but neither I or David Hopkins, who watches this roost with conviction and had joined me on the bank, picked it up.  As the swans started to fly in off the fields to roost a couple of small grey geese were with them and dropped in quite close, the light had gone and nothing but size and shape could be discerned.

To keep the gull theme going Helen Calver, who lives next door to David, sent me some photos today that she took of an Iceland Gull near Witcham back in October 2013.