Saturday, 16 December 2017

Gulls in the Cuckmere (16 December 2018)

Saturday 16 December. I decided to try my luck with the Cuckmere gull flock again. A high tide and a northerly wind seemed reasonable conditions and so it proved. About 1500 mainly Great Black-backed Gulls were in a fairly tight group opposite Harry's Bush. I arrived at about 10:00 having seen the Newhaven Great Northern Diver on my way over. I scanned the flock from halfway down the hill. They were very distant but I soon picked out a brute of a first-winter Glaucous Gull. I took a few digiscoped record shots and not realising how bad they were walked down to the lower footpath. Halfway there all the gulls flew (in several directions). I didn't manage to pick out the Glauc in flight and although most gulls returned it did not. In two hours of scanning the flock I saw a first-winter and two adult Caspian Gulls and an adult Yellow-legged Gulls but even though many gulls were standing, and the NW wind had them mostly side on, the more interesting adult gulls spent most of the time sitting asleep and unidentifiable, the occasional head stretch not coinciding with my photographic efforts. Later a Goldcrest was the only notable bird seen while walking Cookie at Mill Hill.

awful image of first-winter Glaucous Gull in the Cuckmere
another useless record shot - I wish now I'd reviewed them before moving closer

Glaucous centre top, interesting adult gull not noted at the time centre bottom
First winter Caspian Gull in the Cuckmere
looking less contrasting plumage wise than it was

these colours were a more accurate representation

some or all of the following were one or other of the Caspian Gulls seen

gulls in the Cuckmere

Friday 15 December. A low tide visit to the Adur produced the 'Widewater' Goosander and Le Havre Great Black-backed Gull 40T.

Goosander on the Adur

Great Black-backed Gull 40T, ringed as a chick at Le Havre in 2015, seen on the Adur twice that November and at Boulogne in April 2016

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