Friday, 23 August 2013

Candles, 22nd-23rd August 2013

A quick visit to the local landfill in the heat on 8th August produced a pleasing total of 8 michs including a remarkable 4 juvs. One bird had a distinctly different jizz, but the views (and pics) weren't great... I made the decision to renew my efforts and get down a bit more freqently.

Work and holidays followed, and it was suddenly a fortnight since that visit. But on 22nd the heat-haze was more bearable, and numbers were up: c1,500 LBBs (and c10 Herrings, mostly juvs), and a conservative count of 9 michs (2 ads, 2 3cy, 2 2cy, 3+ juvs). Around midday, a bird flew through my field of view that made the subconscious kick in, and I panned after it - whitish head, long neck, long languid wings with distinct pale inner primary window, and a stunning tail. A belting juv Caspian Gull! In Shropshire in August! Never have I wished I'd had an SLR more!

After a few circuits it was off over the trees, still not having landed, and I went after it. No sign in the field or on the lake, so I returned to the tip and there it was on the slope. I reached for my camera and it walked behind a container! It soon reappeared though, strutting around on lurid pink legs, before taking flight and vanishing again. I ended the session with the 5th species of juvenile large gull - a surprise GBB!
The following day I got back out for a few hours under a pleasantly grey sky, and on arrival there was the Casp on the slope again. It immediately flew, and apart from another brief appearance later, I didn't see it. Michs were showing well though under the flat light, and with prolonged views and reasonable photographs, it started to become obvious that I was seeing more individuals than I first realised. The final total was probably 13 (3 ads, 4cy, 2 3cy, 2 2cy, 5 juvs!). Some of the juvs in particular were very similar on first impressions, but could be proved different by examination of their replaced scaps. And that beaky one was there again, and seen equally briefly...

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