Saturday, 7 November 2015

Gulls on the Adur (Caspian and CR #98-101)

Saturday 7th.  A strong SW wind limited my options, particularly with a morning high tide.  I tried a seawatch from Widewater and from 08:00-09:00 saw 29 Gannets, 28 Kittiwakes (most quite distant), 2 Great Crested Grebes, a Brent Goose and a Mediterranean Gull all flying West (although what was presumably the same Brent had earlier flown East). I spent most of the afternoon watching gulls on the Adur.  During the course of the afternoon I saw 7 colour-ringed birds - 4 Herring and 3 Great Black-backed.  Two of each were new taking my total of colour ringed gulls read on the Adur opposite Shoreham Airport to 101!  They 59 were Herring (none from further than Gloucester), 25 Great Black-backed (most Norway and Normandie), 6 Lesser Black-backed (Denmark, Gurnsey and UK), 5 Mediterranean (Germany, Holland and Belgium), 3 Black-headed (Denmark and Holland), 2 Common (Norway and Germany) and a Caspian (Germany).  A Kingfisher also flew past.

As if 7 colour-ringed birds wasn't enough to make it one of my best gull visits to the Adur an unringed first-winter Caspian Gull was also present.  Not the rarity it recently was it is still a bird I do not feel familiar with or have seen very often.  Unlike the bird seen on 24 October which looked wrong structurally (and had an all dark upper-wing) everything about this one seemed to fit.
first-winter Caspian Gull on the Adur.  .
In my very limited experience this bird showed all the features I associate with 
a first-winter Caspian Gull.  Unmarked white head, small dark eye, long parallel dark bill ..

bulging breast, sagging rear belly, stilt-like legs and long wings ...
four coloured pattern of white head, greyish mantle, brown coverts and black tertials (with thin white edges) and flight feathers.  It also had a predominantly white underwing. Nice!!
Guernsey Great Black-backed Gull 6AA9.  I had also seen it on 24 October.

Le Havre Great Black-backed Gull 40T.  Having photographed it I then realised  97R was standing near-by.  Unfortunately both flew before I could take further images.  It was the first time I had seen either on the Adur
North Thames Herring Gull A8DT.  My first sighting on the Adur but I had seen it on Brighton seafront in June 2014.  Also seen on the Adur were North Thames birds AU9T, KT4T and X6NT.  It was my first sighting of the latter while I've been seeing the other two very intermittently since March 2013 and March 2011 respectively.

quite a striking Lesser Black-backed Gull on the Adur, but this age often appear to be to me
long winged too ...

Friday 6th.  Two Goldcrests in Stanmer Park.

Thursday 5th.  a low tide visit to the Adur where there were 75 Great Black-backed and 400 Herring Gulls.  The last included three North Thames birds: N2HT, T7HT and one the flew before I could read all of its ring (FxxT).  I had not read any of the rings before and the two I did read took my Adur total to 97.
North Thames Herring Gull T7HT on the Adur

Wednesday 4th.  A walk around the Adur with Megan at low tide.  Despite having no telescope I managed to get a photo of a Norwegian colour-ringed Great Black-back which was just about readable when I got home - JT271.  My 96th different Colour ring on the Adur by Shoreham Airport.  We also saw 2 Goldcrests and 2 Reed Buntings.
Goldcrest outside St. Nicholas Church
it responded well to 'pisching'

Norwegian Great Black-backed Gull

Sunday 1st.  A walk behind Shoreham Harbour produced a Rock Pipit.  Later 2 Sandwich Terns flew east past Splash Point Worthing as we were walking towards the Dome Cinema to see Spectre.

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