Saturday, October 29, 2011

Calm spell over. Cue 40mph South-westerlies and persistent drizzle. Nice. A quick trawl of the South End gorse this morning kicked up no migrants. It was pretty bleak. As the skies darkened we rushed to the narrows to take shelter in the Solfach hide, and luckily a group of gulls had gathered on the breaking waves to keep us entertained. While the majority were Herring Gulls and Black-headed Gulls, the odd glimpse of a Med Gull or two kept us searching for something better.

And from the back of the flock came fluttering this little beauty. The worlds smallest gull, a first-winter Little Gull. Not uncommon at this time of year, but fantastic to see so close in. It was performing well, with a medley of all of its characteristic moves. It yo-yo'd. It fluttered like a marsh tern. It pattered along the surface of the waves. It did it's species proud. (c) Richard Brown.

The gull flock was constantly in motion, recruiting new members as quickly as it was losing them. A handful of Kittiwakes were streaming by in the distance, in their usual focussed manner, but we were also treated to this juvenile which flew close in to the shore. (c) Richard Brown

And finally it was the turn of the Med Gull, the reason we'd watched the flock for so long (nothing at all to do with the heinous drizzle). Their scientific name literally translates as the Black-headed Fish Eagle, referring to it's adult summer plumage and presumably it's diet. It's commoner cousin to which we normally refer to as the Black-headed gull, has a rather unflattering translation, however, as the Laughing Stain-Head. (c) Richard Brown.

Little chance of any passerine action today, and with strong Southerly winds for the foreseeable future, our attention will be seawards yet again!

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