Saturday, 28 February 2015
On my way back from a woodland bird meeting at Santon Downham today, and I caught some activity over the Settling beds out of the corner of my eye as I approached Queen Adelaide. I only had a few minutes to spare as I had to go to what turned out to be a laughable evening in the cathedral, but I thought I would pull in to see what was going on. The scene I was met with was a real surprise- over 1000 Black-Headed Gulls forming a noisy blanket across the back of the water, studded with a few Commons, and one Lesser Black-Back. It must have been a pre-roost gathering of birds that had been out on the fen, and were perhaps ridding themselves of the cloying mud before making their way across to the Washes. Either that , or the Settling Beds were just trying to remind me of their avian pleasures so I didn't get sucked into the world of woodland birding forever.
They may not have the grace and beauty of a hunting Barn Owl, but I still wished I had more time to take in this fairly unusual scene. It's been a long time since the Settling Beds were home to a reasonable gull colony, and these days it's rare to see such numbers using the site. How long they'll use the place is anyone's guess, but you never know, something good might turn up among the throng.