Sunday, 8 March 2020

Caspian Gull on the Adur (07 March)

Saturday 07 March. Megan and I took Cookie to Cissbury. I heard Great Spotted and two Green Woodpeckers and Mistle Thrush but only saw four Buzzards and 4 Meadow Pipits. A Sparrowhawk flew across the A27 in North Lancing as we retured. With news of the Garganey being seen again at Pulborough I decided to go and left as soon as we arrived home. My third visit and another three hours looking, on top of seven already spent, had me wonder why I was bothering. I do like Garganey but I'd seen them in Myanmar in January and they normally feature on a Spring seawatch or two. At Pulborough I had my worst ever view of Goosander - a pair asleep and only (partially) visible from the Visitors Centre. At least not seeing the Garganey didn't add further to my 'worst ever views have been at Pulborough' list. Two adult White-fronted Geese were at a decent distance as were 24 Black-tailed Godwits seen first on the North then the South Brooks. I left Pulborough to give myself enough time for a look at the Adur before dusk and amongst 2500 mainly smaller gulls picked out a colour-ringed Black-headed, two adult Mediterranean and a first-winter Caspian Gull. Only the third I've been completely happy with on the Adur and the first since 2015. Unfortunately the light was poor and I didn't have time to get closer but despite that it was still a good looking bird. It had me thinking that if I'd seen the Garganey at Pulborough when I'd arrived I probably wouldn't have spent three hours there and may well have left the Adur before the Caspian Gull arrived. What seemed like a dark cloud at the time had a very silver lining.
Stonechat at Pulborough

colour-ringed Black-headed Gull on the Adur, I just about saw enough to determine it was EH6M, a Dutch bird I'd seen on 18 February. It was ringed as a nestling at Grend on 01 July 2016 and seen there in 2018 and 2019
gulls on the Adur
first-winter Caspian Gull on the River Adur 
showing virtually all the expected/hoped for features

as close as it came to a full wing stretch

Friday 06 March. I took Cookie to Shoreham Fort, Widewater and the Adur. Two Purple Sandpipers and a Rock Pipit were at the fort with a Peregrine on a lighting gantry by the lock-gates but again nothing on the sea. At Widewater a Sparrowhawk zipped low along the gardens bordering it, no surprise the Kingfisher wasn't there, and about 55 Ringed Plover flew along the beach. What was presumably the wintering Whimbrel flew N up the Adur but few gulls were in evidence. In the afternoon Megan and I took Cookie to Brooklands which was also very quiet with Great Spotted Woodpecker and a brief view of a Cetti's Warbler best.
Rock Pipit at Shoreham Fort
Moorhen at Brooklands, one of five having a territorial argument along the stream

Thursday 05 March. In dreadful weather Megan and I took Cookie around the Adur saltings but couldn't even find the Greenshank in the channel by the houseboats.

Wednesday 04 March. I took Cookie to Shoreham Fort, Widewater and the Adur. There was very little at the fort (a single Turnstone) and a half an hour's seawatch again produced absolutely nothing. A Kingfisher and six Mediterranean Gulls on Widewater were nice with another adult Mediterranean Gull, 3 Grey Plover and 4 Dunlin on the Adur.

Rampion on a dull morning
Mediterranean Gulls on Stanley Allen's island at Widewater
five adults and a second-winter
I didn't manage all six with their heads up at once
Kingfisher at Widewater

apparent adult Mediterranean Gull on the Adur
although the small dark tip to the outer primary suggests it might be an advanced second-winter (see Klaus Malling Olsen's GULLS OF THE WORLD A Photographic Guide p72)
a very smart bird whatever age

Tuesday 03 March. I took Cookie down to the Adur at low tide. We walked the circuit down the east side, across the Norfolk Bridge and back by the airfield. A Sky Lark was singing and 4 Reed Buntings on the saltings. Few waders were in evidence but a decent flock of smaller gulls by Ricardo included colour-ringed Common and Black-headed and four Mediterranean Gulls.
Polish Black-headed Gull TUXR on the Adur. Ringed as an adult at a colony about 60km NW of Lodz in Poland on 23 June 2016 and seen at least five times on the Adur since 8 December 2019 (four by me and once by Chris Corrigan) 
Common Gull A95M on the Adur, most likely a German bird (details awaited)
adult Mediterranean Gull on the Adur
first-summer Mediterranean Gull on the Adur

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