Monday, 16 April 2012

A Belated Patch Yeartick

Yesterday afternoon I had a text from Bun who'd had text from another local birder Tim, telling him that there was an Iceland Gull in front of the Tower Hide. We've had a number of Iceland Gulls on patch this year but I've always somehow managed to be indisposed at the time and hadn't managed to see any of them! I saw this one. When I got to the Tower Hide I was pleasantly surprised to find just Tim and two other punters in there (which was an excellent start). The bird was fast asleep (which wasn't) but after a short wait it moved, then it almost immediately went to sleep again! I had to wait ages to get some photos and then with the strong low sun shining on its white plumage this proved very tricky. Many different camera setting were employed but I still didn't get it spot on. The bird was a beautiful second winter, almost pure white, though I could just make out a few grey mantle feathers and there were still traces of vermiculation around the vent area. The eye was pale and the bill had an obvious bluey-grey tinge to it. This is the first second winter Iceland Gull I've seen and very lovely it was too! I'm presuming it was a male as it was quite large, about equal to the surrounding Herring Gulls. I had to rush off to pick Martha up from the station and when I left the bird was having yet another snooze slap bang outside the front of the (totally empty!) Tower Hide. Everyone apart from me must have had their fill of Iceland Gulls for this year ;-)

For a while there I thought this would be the only view I'd be getting... it did the right thing in the end though.

The flock of Black-tailed Godwits flew in and I realised that I haven't taken a single photo of one this year, I must be starting to take then a bit for granted, which I certainly shouldn't be. In full summer plumage they are simply stunning!

Earlier in the day I had another rather unexpected patch yeartick. While having a quick look around at Seaton Marshes I spotted my first damselfly of the year, a Large Red Damselfly. This species is the first to emerge each year but normally this would be late April at the earliest. I see that this year they have been seen as early as the end of March - not surprising though considering the weather then.

I think the eyes eventually turn red but here they look a bit like a stripy toffee!
 Enlarge this photo for best effect ( go on know you want to!).

1 comment:

Rob said...

I've never seen an Iceland Gull - what an incredibly white bird.

A great composition for the Large Red Damselfly photo.