Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Lunchtime Lump

Lunchtime fell rather late today. It was gone 2pm by the time I drove along the Axe Estuary. The tide was still pretty high and the gulls few, with barely any mud showing for them to stand on, so I was all set to go and look at sewage farm Chiffchaffs. However, a good bunch of newly arrived birds having a wash in the river off Coronation Corner made me get out of the motor and run the bins over them properly.

Lo and behold...

Glaucous Gull!

What a stunner! I love Glaucous Gulls, but see them all too rarely. My last Axe bird was 2013 I think, so I was really chuffed with this beast. They are so scarce down here that I was sure this would be the same individual which Clive found on Saturday morning, and the photos confirmed it. I wonder where it's been for the last four days? Hopefully there's a chance it might stick around...

White wings. Kind of...

 

Phil and Ian M were able to pop round to see it, proving once again the efficacy of a local birding WhatsApp Group. When they left I sat down to my sarnies finally. But when the Glauc hauled itself up on the far shore, dwarfing everything, I was forced to get the camera out again... 

 

Eno-o-o-o-o-rmous!

Glaucous Gull, and Glaucous Gull snack.

Age-wise this is a juvenile bird, with the classic biscuity plumage and dipped-in-ink bill. Beastly perfection...

Kev turned up, and reminded me that Glaucous Gull had wintered locally in the 1990s - before my time - which got us speculating about the possibility of this one doing likewise. I hope so.

8 comments:

  1. I had no idea they were so big. Almost worth considering as a turkey substitute.

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    1. Yep, usually they are whoppers. A big male will feed a family of four for several days. Glaucous curry is an efficient way to use up the dark brown bits that nobody likes...

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  2. I used to see them fairly frequently in Devon and Cornwall when I was growing up in South Devon in the 80s. I had to wait until I went to uni in Newcastle before I caught up with Iceland Gull. Now it seems to be the latter that is the default white-winger on the south coast, but I think both have good and bad years. Great to see your photos of this monster.

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    1. Ditto in my 1980s London days. Iceland Gull was a real prize, while Glaucous Gull was a good bet most winters.

      I've seen 6 Glaucs on the Axe I think, but maybe three times the number of Iceland Gulls. I wonder why the apparent shift...?

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  3. Good turn over of Iceland Gulls here in Uig the last few weeks, it's definitely looking to be a good winter for those, but only one Glauc here so far. Well, one that I've found, doubtless I miss most of the stuff that comes and goes in the bay as I don't spend too much time down there. Course, if we had YLG and Caspo's I'd be down there all the time... ;)

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    1. White-wingers are generally a feature of late winter locally, though there's already been an Iceland Gull in Weymouth, plus this Glauc. It's good to hear there are good numbers of Iceland Gulls arriving though. Bodes well... ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  4. You really have moved north haven't you?

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    1. Ha ha! It is nice to when our local birding has a little flavour of the North. Generally it comes without the chill factor! ๐Ÿ˜„

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