Saturday, 5 January 2013

Salop gulling, 2012

The early part of the year saw Priorslee Lake in Telford provide the bulk of the gulling interest, with a couple of Casps and wingers, but the best was a hybrid Ring-billed x Lesser Black-backed Gull in early Feb.
As usual the summer was larid-free due to a combination of lack of time and lack of many gulls, but an early 1cy Caspian in October was a nice surprise. But it wasn't until 19th November that things really got started, when I discovered that Telford's "other" tip, Candles landfill site, was back in full swing, and 3,000 LBBs in the field opposite had already found it. A few days later, on 23rd, I twitched a GND/BNG combo at Chelmarsh and decided to stay for the roost, which eventually amounted to c800 LBBs and a striking hooded thing only seen at extreme range, but which looked pretty good for an Azorean... A couple of days later the roost was much larger, but there was no sign of the hooded bird.
The 30th Nov saw me back at Candles landfill, and amongst the 3,500 large gulls (roughly 10% HGs), I had an ad Caspian and 11 michs, as well as a couple of apparent hybrid HGxLBs. A week later, the numbers were 3,500 LBBs, 500 HGs, 7 michs and a 2cy Caspian at the tip, and the Chelmarsh roost the next day held 4,200 LBBs, 250 HGs, 9 michs and a different 2cy Caspian! This seems to be where a good proportion of the Telford gulls roost (along with Belvide).
As December progressed, the number of LBBs at the tip seemed to dwindle, whilst the number of HGs increased, and on the shortest day I estimated 2,000 LBBs and 1,000 HGs as well as 4 michs, but the Caspians stole the show, with November's adult and a new, huge 1cy! A few days later, another 1cy Caspian was found but I was unable to get out and see it, but that made it 5 Caspians at the tip in Dec! Is this the result of the autumn's influx in the east, with birds now trickling into the Midlands?

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