Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Candles and Horsehay, 13th Feb 2013

A rare full day free to really hit the tip hard and... it snowed. I managed a couple of hours in the morning before the visibility got too bad, and then the cloudbase dropped and the tip was engulfed, so I was forced to sit it out at nearby Horsehay Pool. Long periods of relative calm were interspersed by busy arrivals of gulls off the tip, and by the end of the day the totals looked pretty good.
A complete surprise on the pool late afternoon was a 3cy Iceland Gull that disappeared after c15 seconds but then returned for a little longer, showing a glaring pale iris, browner primaries and dirtier head and body than last week's 2cy.

Despite the short time available at the tip, in 90 minutes I racked up 3 Caspian Gulls although views were distant and brief in the constantly moving melee. Fortunately two of them appeared on the pool later on, including a new bird (actually found by Jim yesterday), a cracking 5cy with a couple of dark primary coverts and a narrow black bar across the white tip to P10. The other two were 2cy birds that have been seen before: bird 4 that was found on 7th Feb, and bird 3 that was first found on 12th Jan and last seen on 5th Feb at Priorslee by KW. The latter appeared on the pool for a drink today.
The remainder of my time was spent getting to grips with some of the Yellow-legged Gulls that came and went during the day, a couple of which spent long periods dozing on the water or hassling the Black-heads for food. A minimum of 8 birds were seen: 2 adults, a 5cy, 2 4cy and 3+ 3cy.

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