Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Er...Another One

This is getting silly. Somewhere in a parallel universe there is a vast assembly hall where scarce and rare birds meet to divvy up the quality. By means of a duly-elected committee they follow a strict protocol to decide which birders get to find what species. At yesterday's meeting...

So, Gavin Haig then. What do we think?
Well, he's actually birding a bit these days, and the rules dictate we therefore have to give him something.
Okay. Does anyone know what he wants?
Yes, It's common knowledge that he wants a Pallas's Warbler.
What? He's got to be joking! It's January, and he never looks at trees and bushes. But we all know where he does look though, don't we? Almost every day!
Exactly. Give him a gull. Pick one at random.
Eeny, meeny, miny, Gull!
Really? That was random? Ah well... It is done.

And so it was, while dodging an horrendous shower at lunchtime, that my eyes were strangely drawn to a familiar search image bobbing upon the water at Coronation Corner...

Well, hello there! A pretty classic look. Camera lens well spattered with rain, hence the slight mistiness.
Lovely pale underwing
Jammy flight shot...
...and a couple of the open wing.
A lot of nice silvery-grey scaps there, and few strong markings. Very different to the 7th Jan bird.

I'd be exaggerating if I said the bird never stopped preening, but only just. You are looking at the neatest, cleanest Caspian Gull in Britain. With its head perpetually buried somewhere deep in shiny plumage, it was incredibly hard to get a nice portrait shot. These two will have to do...

Actually, mid-preen. Bit of a 'saggy nappy' look to it.
Definitely got a rough deal when the legs were being given out. Mates call him Stumpy.

Even with his little legs, Stumpy was quite a chunk, and I think larger than every Herring Gull he came alongside.

It is frankly ridiculous that I've found four different Caspian Gulls this winter. I'm not complaining - on the contrary - but this seeming abundance might lead to the impression that they are not particularly rare in this neck of the woods. I think they still are rare, but reckon we're maybe seeing a better year than usual, that's all. Time will tell, of course...

One final thing. At certain angles, and in some photos, that upper mandible can look rather hooked. It didn't seem as obvious as the bird on West Bexington Beach on Sunday afternoon, but it had me wondering.


  1. Pallas's Warbler Gav!
    At this rate you'll be finding a full adult plumaged Pallas's Gull?

    1. Ric, a Pallas's Warbler I could deal with. Am not so sure my constitution would stand up to the gull. I don't know how birders can find a vagrant Pallas's Gull and not immediately keel over. Too much!