Gulls are very high on the agenda in January, and because of this, we decided to 'hit' one of the biggest roosts in the region, at Chasewater. However, we headed out early, so that we would be able to check a few of the local sites earlier. As luck would have it, both Martyn Y and Kay D had the same idea (Be sure to check out both of their blogs after reading this), and were checking through the Gulls there when the came up trumps with a superb Glauc!
Our journey from Kidderminster to Cannock was quite tedious, but we made it there! We decided to drop into the West Mids Gull capital of Stubbers Green for a quick check and go. And we were in luck, as just as we had pulled up, the assembled birders had already clocked a YELLOW LEGGED GULL. A nice well marked 2w bird, and, as usual with Stubbers, we were getting fairly good views!
I cant claim to have extensive knowledge regarding this age, so it was nice to be able to study one. It was nice to have the bird adjacent to all GBBG, LBBG and Herring Gull for comparison and this bird fits in nicely between Herring and Lesser.
As winter is 'THE' time for White-wingers (and with news emerging of both Glauc and Iceland) we decided to shoot off there before the Gulls switched over to Chasewater to roost. We pulled up at Kingswood soon after, and after a scan of the small amount of Gulls viewable from where we were parked, we were told that both the 'white wingers' were perched up together on the roof viewable from the other side!
As you would expect, we quickly shot around there, joined the birders, grabbed a look through one of the scopes and bam! GLAUCOUS and ICELAND GULL sitting adjacent to each other on the factory roof! Can Gulling really be much better than that?
While setting up my scope however, the call went up that the Glauc was flying, and coming straight for us, ditching my scope, i put my camera to my bins, aimed at the twisting and turning Glauc as it flew directly over our heads! Getting around 10 pictures in the time. Once the bird dropped below the bank, i picked up the camera. All but three of the photos has only sky in them. One of the three a translucent wingtip, picture two a out of focus Glauc, and Pic 3. This one!
A 2nd winter GLAUCOUS GULL.
A digi-binned flight shot of a Glauc!
Moving my attention back to the Gulls atop the roof, i had a look at the adult ICELAND GULL, which was a very neat looking bird. Infact, it was my first adult type bird, as i dipped the bird when it was present last winter! Unlike the Yellow leg though, there is less to'study' on adult white wingers, so i just chose to enjoy the views of the bird. After a while, it also took flight back over to the tip for a pre roost feed.
Can you see it?
What about with this slightly cropped version?
Following this, it was onward to the Roost, which mopped up the rest of the 'scarce large gulls'. Luckilly, the Gulls had chosen to land fairly close to the south shore, giving awesome views! Not long after we had arrived, i picked out a stunning adult CASPIAN GULL, and after guiding people onto it, people seemed to agree about its identity. Following this, i picked out the GLAUCOUS as it swam about in the throngs. A wait ensured before the ICELAND was picked out, and eventually news filtered to the other end of the crowd, and i was able to spot it. I was quite struck by this particular bird, as it seemed to have a very 'attenuated' rear end. I know this is a common feature with iceland, but i found it particularly obvious in this bird. Its small size was also very evident, it was miniscule! However, it always remained fairly far away, so therefore, i could only take some pictures of the Glauc. However i'm not complaining! Look at that beast!
To finish off, i also picked out 2 further YELLOW LEGGED GULL's
Always an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon in January!