Monday, 10 February 2014

Kumlien's Revisited

It had to be revisited. I know that however good the picture I take, there is always a better one out there waiting to be taken. BUT .... to wake up and find that everyone has better pictures than you! The excuses start, poor light, bird too far away, luck of being in the right place at the right time, I only wanted a record shot, you failed.

So it was back to Littlehampton for another go at the Kumlien's Gull. The first hour or so was spent at the East Beach sitting in the car under torrential rain. When it eventually stopped the gulls started to appear but there were not as many as yesterday and there was no sign of the Kumlien's. We did get a flyby from the Glaucous Gull but it was out of range of the cameras. A pity as it really looks elegant in flight.

The only consolation, a Guillemot, paddling past close inshore. A great view as I had never really seen its swimming action before.


Then we got a shout from Owen Mitchell on the west side of the river to say that they had found it on the beach there. What to do? Its a couple of miles drive through the town centre to get across the twenty metres of water that separated us from the bird. We went, and of course by the time we got there it had flown. No one had managed to track it but it was probably sitting back over on the other side of the river where we had just come from.

This time we waited and after about an hour it suddenly reappeared.

Juvenile Kumlien's Gull

No excuses this time, the light was good, the bird was posing well. There is still the fear that you haven't managed to capture the image but this time everything was OK.

When you first arrive, identifying the Kumlien's amongst a thousand other gulls looks impossible. What you are looking for is the juvenile without the black tail and once seen it's fairly easy to find again. The difficulty is when its not there and you are trying to search a large flock that is continually relocating.

Juvenile Kumlien's Gull on the left - no black tail

Coming in to land

Carrying a Whelk

Posing for a last picture

It had been a good mornings birding and we decided to relocate to Beeding Brooks to see if we could locate our first Owls of the year. We had a couple more hours waiting about in the cold but eventually had views of two Barn Owls and one Short-eared Owl. It was almost dark when they appeared and impossible conditions for a decent shot so just treat the following as a taste of what could have been. I think this calls for another revisited blog.

Short-eared Owl

Barn Owl

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