Thursday, January 17, 2008

Local birding: Caspian and Glaucous Gulls - Fishmoor Res, Lancs - 17th Jan 2008.

Above: 1stw Caspian Gull. Although taken at distance, these images show the jizz, white headed appearance with obvious 'shawl' effect of streaks on nape, predominantly white underparts, pale borders to greater coverts with rather dark outers, 'thumbnail' tertials, good primary projection and long, dark, parallel bill. There was also a small area of dark smudging around the eye. Difficult to judge extent of grey feathering to upperparts, but certainly present. Long legged appearance in lower image.

Above: 1stw Caspian Gull. On the open left wing, a faint pale window to inner primaries, dark secondaries separated from main body of greater covert feathers by pale tips to the latter. Extensive pale underwing of right wing.

Above: 1stw Caspian Gull. Three images showing the broad, black tail band extending right across and of equal width, and basally white uppertail with some dark spotting. A dark line of barring on the uppertail can be seen just in from the tail band.
Above: 1stw Caspian Gull. Long-legged appearance.
This fabulous Caspian Gull was located halfway across the factory roosting roof to the south of the reservoir in difficult conditions with a constant, strong south-westerly in my face. In this wind my eyes were watering so much I had to hope that the camcorder/scope was clearly focused on the bird for much of the time I had it under observation. Any dog walker within earshot would have been able to clearly hear me swearing loudly at the wind to calm down as I battled the elements to secure supportive images before it could walk out of view on the roof or fly at any second. Mild panic would be an understatement but the Camcorder once again proved its worth!
As it happens, the wind actually played to my advantage, unsettling the Caspian Gull and allowing crucial features such as the pale underwing and tail pattern to be videod.
It was a large bird, noticeably larger than nearby argenteus Herring Gulls and was considered to be a big male Caspian.
Twice the Gulls flew up and scattered widely before eventually relanding. Following the second occasion the Gulls flew, I barely had time to 'blog' a 1stw Glaucous Gull as I desperately tried to refind the Caspian, but did not succeed in relocating it before darkness fell.
Above & Below: 1stw Glaucous Gull - Fishmoor Res, Lancs - 17th Jan 2008.

Finding and fully documenting my own East Lancashire Caspian Gull was my primary objective for winter 2007/2008. A magic and long awaited moment!