Friday, 29 March 2013

Candles and Priorslee, 28th March 2013

After a week all but devoid of large gulls out east, a few Meds providing the only interest, returned to Shropshire to find several hundred Black-heads on Priorslee Lake along with... a 1w Med! Still no large though, so moved to Candles where c200 large gulls were standing in the snow across the road, and amongst them was last week's dinky 2cy Iceland Gull. Another c300 gulls were feeding on the tip, one of the long-staying 3cy michs included, and a scan through the loafers up on the top produced a big 2cy Glaucous Gull!
Lunchtime on the tip resulted in a reduction in gull numbers so tried my luck back at the lake, and on arrival the Glauc was splashing about just off the layby.
A scan through the swelling flock turned up a smart ad mich and a 4/5cy Caspian Gull, looking virtually adult except for a dark mark on the bill, some brown in the coverts and a tertial, and a single small black blob on a tail feather... so more likely a 4cy?
But arguably the highlight was an adult hybrid Ring-billed x Lesser Black-backed Gull. Almost certainly the same bird as was here in Feb 2012, but in clean-headed summer plumage now, the slightly smaller size, lighter-toned mantle and distinctive ringed bill were a perfect match. Good to see it again!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Priorslee and Candles, 18th March 2013

Once again an afternoon visit to the lake produced a few hundred large gulls, and this time the latest 2cy Iceland Gull was amongst them, looking remarkably small with a smooth whitish saddle across the upper mantle.
A dash over to the tip then followed, and whilst c1,000 gulls stood in the field (90% LBBs), a few hundred fed on the tip in the drizzle, including a big 4cy male Caspian Gull. Unfortunately it soon flew off north by itself, and I headed home, perplexed by the lack of supporting cast lately - no michs today for example.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Candles, 16th March 2013

A couple of hours under a bright but overcast Saturday sky only managed to find c300 large gulls across all the usual spots. But amongst the few feeding on the tip was the latest Telford Iceland Gull - a smooth, buffy 2cy found at Priorslee earlier in the week. Very nice, shame I forgot my camera. The 2cy mich from Leighton was there too.

Gallymoor, 12th March 2013

Another week in the east, this time in the sun, and a lunchtime visit to the field opposite Beechwood Cafe on the A614 produced a sleepy 2cy Glauc amongst a couple of hundred Herrings and GBBs. A few days later there was a sudden lack of large gulls going over Saxby Wolds in a morning.
On 14th I headed home via the Telford gull sites, but only mustered a 3cy mich at Priorslee and a 2cy on the river at Leighton.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Candles, 6th March 2013

After a day and a half waiting for the fog to clear around the Humber, I gave up and headed home via a few hours at the tip. The active tip-face creeps ever closer, and the views were superb, almost too close. There were also c1,500 large gulls loafing in the field all afternoon, but despite the numbers (maybe 2,000 in total split roughly evenly Herring/LBB, with mainly immatures of the former and adults of the latter), scarcities were hard to come by. I didn't see a white wing at all, and for a long time it was just a 2cy mich in the field to show for my efforts.
Later on I added a 3cy and adult mich on the tip, and eventually the day's highlight appeared: a 2cy Caspian Gull preening non-stop in the field. It was picked out by the gleaming white uppertail with just a neat horsehoe of black spots above the broad black tail-band, and the incredibly worn wings (that "old leather" look) and quite plain mantle identified it as another new bird, suggesting there's a real movement going on at the moment.