Saturday, 8 February 2014

Gulls, gulls, gulls...

Really should apologies for leaving you so long with that last post about Herring Gull races. It really was quite cruel. My offering this time is again sadly gulls but more interesting ones you’ll be pleased to hear!

Since well before Christmas, an adult Glaucous Gull has been wandering up and down Chesil beach and has completely ignored Radipole until now! I’d never seen a Glauc at Radipole and it’s been on my most wanted list for a few years so imagine how pleased I was a few days ago to look out of the window and see this beauty flopping around!

And obviously it’s on my Radipole patch list which I really should add up...
The storms which have been giving people plenty to whinge about (completely understandable in some cases) has been sending a few interesting gulls into Radipole. Little Gull tally for the year it getting somewhere near the staggering figure of three of four and Kittiwake is probably approaching half a dozen! This poor fella came in a few days ago and even came to bread though just once when I didn't have the camera to hand!

Will finish up with this ‘interesting’ bird. I’m very sorry but it’s gull races again! This Common Gull really stood out from the crowd. Took a few pictures and like most things, I forgot about it. This morning I noticed the pics on the SD card and had a closer look. I started wondering whether this bird could be of the race heinei which is from Russia I think. It’s a very dark, slightly larger bird and the tail pattern I thought was interesting. In fact I first clocked this bird in flight due to it’s speckled tail pattern. Usually Common Gulls have very white tails with the black band. Some do have spotting but this bird certainly had more than normal. Don’t know whether this race is ID’able in 1st winter plumage and don’t even know what I’d look for really but this bird looked quite different from the norm. Comments would be appreciated and apologies for the dodgy pics!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Argy bargy

I’ll get the nice bits over before moving onto my usual winter topic, gulls! Friday I spent the day trying to boost the girlfriends year list, as things at her work are starting to get somewhat competitive and I can’t just stand by and see her beat. First stop was Portland Harbour where most things were miles away but I persuaded her that she’d seen some Black-throated Divers, Slav Grebe and Black-necked Grebe. She’d already got the Black Guillemot and Great Northern Diver on a visit last week. Then we nipped off to Cheselbourne where the two juv Cranes showed nicely. Last stop was poole harbour where we dipped the Surf Scoter but had a good range of waders plus a nice male Hen Harrier.

A good constructive days birding!

At Radipole things still haven’t changed much, gulls are still pretty much all that’s about of interest...
This morning I noticed lots of these things moving through.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
In the past interesting gulls have often put in an appearance when these guys start appearing and no sooner had I though that this morning, this things appeared.

A rather brutish Yellow-legged Gull, a nice 3rd winter bird.

Almost certainly nothing but this one appeared somewhat darker backed than other I’ve seen. Light was awful and there’s going to be variation so nothing to worry about.
This afternoon I had a repeat visit from the suspected, probable, possible, plausible argentatus Herring Gull from last week. Showed better and managed a range of flight shots. Not particularly sure what to make of them but it’s pretty... and bloody big!

Can’t really add much more to what I said on my last blog post about this bird. But I know the pictures will be of interest to a few people so worth posting... interesting bird!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Off to a flying start!

I said on my last blog of 2013 I was going to have a go at this Patchwork Challenge thing which involves outlining a patch and seeing as many species within the patch as possible in a year. The new year arrived and I still seemed keen on the idea so off I went. Started the year with this nice patch tick!

It arrived over Christmas and thankfully stayed long enough for me to get it on my patch list. Not that this species is unlikely to turn up again sometime during the rest of this year... their getting like bleeding Little Egrets! Which, by the way is also on the patch list...

At the end of new years day I’d accumulated a few birds and spent a good bit of time pondering whether to included our infamous Hooded Merganser?! Jury’s still out! Seems like most locals have been in to tick it for the year so I guess nobody can say too much if I stuck it on my year list?? Including ‘Hoody’, I’m on something like 55 with tons of common stuff still to get. I’m pacing myself...

Locally over Christmas there appears to have been a few good birds about! Including this rather bland looking Guillemot...

Only joking!!!! Cracking bird and glad I caught it before it croaked or whatever it did. Certainly didn’t look at the peak of fitness when I saw it new years eve but then again, after the xmas hols I doubt any of the on looking birders were either.

There’s been a few white winged gulls knocking around locally for a few week or so. I’m desperate for one of the Glaucous Gulls to drop in. An adult came close today and was seen off Weymouth Harbour. This is closest I’ve got so far at Radipole...

A pale Herring Gull.

I’ve managed to get a few other good gulls on the patch list so far including this Little Gull yesterday (and saw it again today).

Cheers Brett Spencer for a lend of the pic!! Mine were dreadful for some reason... ;-)
Also got Kittiwake on the patch list which is a bit mental. Not an annual species at Radipole and only my second in 5 years! Shame it was smothered in oil though

I’ll just finish up with a few shots of this odd Herring Gull from this afternoon. A large looking 1st winter bird with features perhaps consistent with Scandinavian Herring Gull??

Pretty pale inner primaries. Interesting to compare the two wing tips visible in this shot.

And cropped. Firstly the bird in question

And this ‘normal’ Herring Gull.

The fifth primary from last is interesting. Don’t know much about these birds though did see one a few weeks ago which was an interesting experience. I’ll leave it for someone else to comment further on this bird!

And finally (again), this gorgeous Great horned Owl in Wyke Regis. Obviously come across on a ship with all these American Snowy Owls... or possibly not!!!