Patch watching can be great sometimes. The increased floodwater present across the country leads to some very interesting conditions for patch watching.
In my case, the high levels of water means a huge increase in the number of gulls on patch, and over the period of a week or so, a large flooded field became temporary home to around 1500 Gulls. Primarily Black-Headed, but the remainder being either Lesser-Black-backed (300c) and Herrings (Up to 100 at a time). Being within the river valley, there was a constant turn over of birds, so so spending hours scanning the flocks reaped new counts throughout the day.
It was while in one of these scans that an interesting pale backed gull dropped in among the assembled birds.
Immediately, alarm bells ringing, small head, tiny dark eye, long, parallel bill. Somewhat barrel chested. This is starting to look like a CASPIAN GULL! As its waddled about on its long legs, it stood out fairly dramatically from the surrounding birds. In doing so, it revealed some brown edging to its coverts and tertials, indicating the bird to be a 3rd winter. Some small white mirrors were starting to form on the primarys, but these were far from complete.
Only after a few minutes viewing however, the inevitable first dog-walkers of the day started to appear, and a large proportion of the Gull flock took flight. Luckily, i stayed on the interesting gull, and as it flew off in a southerly direction, revealed a broken tail band, with white middle tail feathers.
What a bird to have on the patch!