My ambition on checking the gulls on the Adur (at low tide, mainly for colour rings) has been to find a Caspian Gull, preferably a colour-ringed individual. I've previously had a couple that I felt were but didn't feel I had got quite enough on to rule out a hybrid. Today's bird appears to me to be a classic. According to the CR-birding web-site it appears to have been ringed in the Lausitz area of East Germany, inland near Polish border. This is a mixed colony where Caspian Gull dominate although hybrids are possible so maybe a trait score is needed. I'll post more when I find it out.
Today's low tide was mid afternoon and going after the tide had dropped seems a good time to avoid bait-diggers. A reasonable number of gulls were spread along the Adur by the airport and I went down the west bank to have the sun behind me. I soon saw a North Thames Herring Gull although it took a while to read the ring (FZ2T). Then I noticed a very white headed gull which started ringing alarm bells. That it had a green ring on added to my excitement but although I could read 3 letters it was standing in a dip and I felt it had a 4th. I changed position to try and get a side view but it twisted to remain head on. Eventually I got excellent views (and read the 4th letter on the ring). I phoned Paul James, the only local I had a number for and continued watching and photographing the bird. Fortunately Paul and Briget arrived before the bird flew off.
|an interesting very white headed gull (although this image is a bit over-exposed) with a green colour ring, my pulse quickened ...|
|the white head, grey mantle with darker feather centres, brown covers and black wings give the expected four-coloured effect. Note also white thumbnail tips to dark tertials, long wings, small forward placed eye and at this angle longish parallel sided bill (perhaps the one feature that I might have liked to be more obvious)|
|forward positioned small eye and snouty appearance showing well in this image|
|small head, sagging belly and 'Annaconda having swallowed Capybara' neck|
|a classic pose showing plumage features and sagging belly|
|a small bird compared to the nearby Herring Gull so presumably a male|
|the streaked neck shawl just about visible in this image|
|flying off over Old Shoreham Road, presumably to roost, at 17:46, long wings and drooping bill evident|
|final shot showing pale underwing|
|I eventually found out it had come from Brandenburg, about 100 km SSE of Berlin and had travelled 1004km west|
Walking back after it flew off I saw another North Thames Herring Gull (XT6T) while earlier I had seen a Kingfisher, a Wigeon and a Curlew on the same stretch of river. In the morning Megan and I had a walk around Cissbury. Lovely and clear (Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower clearly visible) but few birds and migrants represented by 2 Swallows, a superb Tree Pipit, 3 Blackcaps and 8 Chiffchaffs.
|Curlew on the Adur|
|North Thames Herring Gull FZ2T. Not one I've seen before.|
|North Thames Herring Gull FZ2T, easier to read when side on|
|North Thames Herring Gull XT6T|
|Kingfisher on the Adur|
|Wigeon on the Adur|