Thursday, 29 August 2013

Candles, 29th August 2013

After a day at work, an opportunity arose to have another quick look at the gulls, daughter number two in tow. A cloud of birds erupted from the tip as we approached and all landed in the field. A couple of adult michs stood out as well as a very dark-backed LBB. It wasn't only blackish, it had brown tones too, which is a feature of fuscus, and as it preened it revealed an almost full set of primaries, only P1/2 were missing. Again, such late moult would be unusual for intermedius, but as it was not a particularly small bird or very elongated, it just can't be proved one way or the other.

As I watched the field, a very white-bellied juv gull flew off towards the tip, and it was enough to tempt me after it. Minutes after parking up, there it was on the tip itself - a spanking juv Caspian Gull! Its pallid tones and smaller size proved it to be a new bird, and when it flew, the underwing was almost pure white! Bonkers.

A little while later it appeared on the slope briefly and was noticeably whiter below than the previous bird, with a neater greater covert bar and warmer toned mantle.

A handful of michs were about as well, mainly juvs today, including a large dark bird with one or two new scaps and an already paler-based bill. A couple of the juvs were familiar faces, but I suspect there have been at least 8 or 9 individuals over the last week or two.

The final piece of interest came just before I had to leave, when some disturbance from workers caused all the loafing juvs to gather on the slope, making a superb comparison situation. At least 5 juv michs were amongst the throng, and a tiny juv LBB with a white throat and belly, very small grey head and very black and white mantle. It certainly felt rare...

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