Thursday, 26 December 2019

More Cuckmere colour-rings (26 December)

Thursday 26 December. I took Cookie to Shoreham Fort, Widewater and the Adur Saltings arriving at the latter about an hour before a big high tide. At the Fort we saw 11 Brent Geese flying E, 2 Purple Sandpipers on the wooden jetty and Cookie flushed 18 Greenfinches. Kingfisher and Stonechat were the best at Widewater where, given the rough sea, the lack of any mergansers was a disappointment. The rising tide at the Saltings put up 91 Snipe and revealed 34 Teal. Also seen were the Greenshank and about 60 Redshank (some slipped away while I was counting snipe) but the Curlew was not seen. I then left Cookie at home and drove to Seaford spending 13:00-16:00 with the gull flock opposite Harry's Bush. About 800 Great Black-backs were present in a rather straggly flock, I'd hoped for more given the high tide and strong southerly wind. Colour rings were seen on seven although two were only partially read. The flock included only about 10 Lesser Black-backs, fewer than 50 Herrings although they included one adult Scandinavian argentatus, and two adult Yellow-legged Gulls. One first-winter gull looked to have some Caspian genes but remained mostly hidden. Another first-winter was either a faded argentatus Herring or perhaps a Viking Gull (Herring x Glaucous hybrid) but was sleeping and didn't show its bill. Also seen were 14 Brent and 2 Barnacle Geese while a Buzzard flying low across the valley caused some of the gulls to raise their heads.
Greenshank on the Adur Saltings
 
Norwegian Great Black-backed Gull JA606. It was ringed as a chick at Ballastholmen, Mandal, Vest-Agder, Norway in late June 2008 and seen at Dungeness in October 2008 and Mandal between April-June 2012, May-August 2013, April-August 2014, in early May 2015, May-July 2016, April-August 2017, March-September 2018, March-August 2019
Norwegian Great Black-backed Gull JU159. Its first sighting since being ringed as a chick at Lyngholmen, Lyngdal, Vest-Agder, Norway on 1 July 2014. Also read was JK24 but poor images of it were accidentally deleted. JK24 was ringed ringed as a chick at Stolen, Mandal, Vest-Agder, Norway in late June 2006 and seen Dungeness in October 2006 and at Hirtshals Havn, Østmolen, Nordjylland, Denmark in October 2016
presumed Le Havre Great Black-backed Gull 83P. Also photographed but accidentally deleted was 80W while another from the same scheme ended in U, possibly 85U seen in Newhaven Harbour on 25 November 2018
Normandie Great Black-backed Gull starting S5, the final number remained unread despite it walking a few paces
the left hand bird appeared to have a completely faded colour-ring on its left leg
adult Yellow-legged Gulls
a closer image of the right hand bird
it might be the pose or the angle but the centre right bird's head had a Caspian feel to it, albeit a rather dirty one
the back looked rather heavily marked
I moved position to try and see it from a better angle but couldn't refind it
this bird was the size of a Great Black-backed Gull but never moved while I was watching it before disappearing unseen
faded argentatus or Viking Gull? Hard to make a judgement without seeing its bill 
Wednesday 25 December. HAPPY CHRISTMAS, not that I'm at all religious. I took Cookie to Shoreham Fort where 2 Purple Sandpipers were on wooden jetty. At the Adur Saltings we had to leave before the tide covered them all although did see 26 Teal, 98 Lapwing, 49 Snipe, Curlew, Greenshank and 51 Redshank. A later afternoon walk with Megan and Cookie in Hove Park was expectedly birdless.

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