|11. January 2018|
No Axe Casps for me in over two years, then two in four days! Another 1st-winter, it put in a 15-minute appearance on 25 Jan, and might well be the bird Steve had briefly a fortnight or so earlier
So there we are. A bit of a monster post, but I've enjoyed putting it together, and hopefully it will be of some value. I appreciate that a few readers will hardly ever look at gulls with a view to finding something scarce or rare, and one or two perhaps never at all. On the other hand there will be some (I hope) who might just be encouraged by a post like this to have a go for themselves. I really am not an expert, I am still learning all the time. Truly, in many ways I'm a novice when it comes to things larid, I just seem to have been jammy with Caspian Gulls for some reason. My point being that if I can find them, anyone can.
That said, Caspian Gulls are most definitely very scarce in the southwest. When I bother with birding and actually look at gulls I seem to average about one a year, and that's at a site with good access and good numbers of gulls. Not everywhere is as helpful as the Axe in those respects. Even so, logic would suggest that any decent gathering of big gulls must surely deserve a quick look. They are out there!
It's worth mentioning that although my Casp total is 11, due to multiple appearances by three of them I've actually recorded Caspian Gull on 24 dates, and found them for myself on the vast majority.
And don't forget, these are just the ones I've seen. I know Steve can add a few more that I missed.
Finally, I hope that something else comes across from this collection of photos. Yes, Caspian Gulls can be quite variable, but they do appear to have a 'look'. It's hard to define, but the more you study images of them, the more they tend to jump out at you
Anyway, I'll close with an annotated pic of bird number 7. This originally appeared in a previous incarnation of NQS, and highlights a few useful ID tips. Also, because I was lazy and phasing at the time, it constituted the whole of my submission to the Devon Birds Records Committee.
|As I said earlier, probably my favourite Axe Casp. A stunner. It really couldn't be anything else.|