Friday, 10 January 2014

Glaucous Gull

Wednesday and Thursday were disappointing birding days. Plenty of sunshine had been forecast but both days were overcast. Worse than that, I could not find any birds. Not entirely true, Tide Mills had Redshank, Cuckmere Haven had hundreds of  Canada Geese but there was no sign of the Spoonbill or Kingfishers I was looking for. Old Lodge had a few Chaffinch but again no sign of the Crossbills, Parrot Crossbills, Siskin, or Bramblings that had been reported there. Two days birding and I had just one poor shot of a Kestrel to show for it and no year ticks.

Probably the biggest disappointment was twice missing the Glaucous Gull at Shoreham Harbour by just a few minutes.

Friday was to be a day indoors catching up on a few jobs but by 10.30 when an alert came through for the Glaucous back at Shoreham Harbour I was ready to go. A quick trip along the coast and I had missed it again. I was told that it had flown out to sea, it could be hours before it came back. I would have gone home to get on with the jobs before I was missed but fortunately I stayed to talk to a couple of other birders and was still there when it flew back in a few minutes later.

Flying in

Clearly different to anything else on the beach

Playing with its food

Probably a Second Winter bird

For comparison below is a shot of a third winter bird taken at Dungeness last year. Bill turning yellow, more colour in the wings and a more brutish look about it.

Third Winter Glaucous at Dungeness last year

Home for lunch and then flushed with my success I headed up to Warnham NR to see if the Mealy Redpoll would put in an appearance. No luck with that although there were a number of other small birds about including this colourful Lesser Redpoll on the seed feeders.

Lesser Redpoll

The rain was starting up again and the light was fading rapidly. I strayed for a while practising hand holding the camera at half a second exposure just in case the Mealy turned up, before eventually heading home in the growing gloom. A poor week but at least I had the Glaucous.

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