21 November 2015

Am I Gull able?

After tedious mild weather for weeks, it snowed this morning! Big flakes for a short while. Had to get out there, but where are the gloves and why didn't I empty my Wellies of spiders before I put them on? Finally, checking the Bush Wood football pitches through the rain indicated a substantial hard weather movement of birds had taken place, there were about 75% fewer gulls.

Jubilee didn't look much better, a male Pochard, a pair of Shovelers, a few gulls of course. Many birders get off on gulls, practice the art of feather tracts, discuss aging features and anchor marked tertials etc. I know I should do this, but I find gulls highly variable and just a little technical and scary. One 1st winter gull by the waters edge looked distinctly odd though, quite a small "large" gull but with a whitish flat head, dark-eye, long straight bill, long-legged - hmm....

The main thing is not to panic, so I extracted my camera from under the "waterproof", took of my sodden gloves and took a shot. The second didn't fire, flat battery! It was of course pissing down, so I looked out the spare battery (da dah! last time I ran out I missed shots of a perched patch Short-eared Owl FFS) reloaded, aimed and fired of a few before my fingers became completely numb. Here:

The focus and detail isn't great but I've put it out as a possible 1st winter Caspian Gull. So far I've had some support, but please comment, potential patch tick out there to be slagged off.

Oh! nearly forgot, the guy's caught up with a duck, just one female Goldeneye on Alex and later on SOM. My pictures are of course rubbish, but Nick's got some good ones. Some people just like the pretty stuff.   


  1. Looks good to me, and shows the 'anchor' markings on the mantle, a bit of a shawl on the neck... I'm no expert, mind!

  2. Is it a first for Wanstead ?
    Did Jono Get it ?

    Smart looking bird by the way !!

    1. Not a first for Wanstead, but I hope it is there tomorrow since I wasn't happy enough to tweet it out. Discussed with others but didn't go for it. Smarter than a Goldeneye, well maybe in some ways?

  3. Not a first for Wanstead as Jono himself got one way back a few years, but we don't know if that was accepted as he foolishly didn't have his camera with him. Great find by Gaucho-Larid-Badger Bob which moves him one above our absentee landlord Mr Lethbridge in the all important patch listings