Monday, 14 March 2016

Caspo the Friendly Gullst

My request from my fellow patchers as to where to go today was, refreshingly, met with polite suggestions, chief among them was Jamie’s idea to check the Lockwood for new migrants. (obviously now he has repented and renounced Gulling I took this idea at face value, not suspecting for a moment that he could have more sinister motives)


It was cold, bitingly so, in a stiff Nor’eastely. However the Sun was burning through, so with an optimistic air I sallied forth up the East bank of the Lockwood. I’m not sure where the optimism died but it was long before I got hallway up.


The reservoir was pretty devoid of anything resembling a migrant, the only thing that looked to be worth looking at were (surprise, surprise) Gulls. About 100 LWHG’s on the West bank called out to be scrutinised, why they all decided to take flight and disperse remains a mystery as, contrary to last Friday, when the banks were thronged with walkers, truants and dudes today I had the place to myself.


Around the top of the High Maynard a single ‘wiisp’ call failed to resolve itself into any sightings and despite hoping that it was a Rock Pipit and would turn up at the North end later it was not to be.


Expecting it to be on the water’s edge I had dropped down to the concrete edge and wandered North, I got nearly to the North-east corner when I spotted the head and shoulders of a Gull facing away from me on the grassy bank. It felt good, it felt Caspian good. Mindful that Lol ‘needed’ (how he hates that wordJ) it for the patch I stopped and called him.


“Turn your head ever so slightly and look out of your window” I said “ I’m pretty sure I’ve got a Caspian Gull standing on the bank, I won’t approach any closer until you’ve seen it”

“O.K”. he said “I’ll just get showered, dressed and have breakfast then I’ll have a look”

“!!!!!”  “It’s right outside of your house, have a look!”

“Alright, I’ll call you back”

I looked back and the bird had gone…nothing was in the air so I guessed it had just dropped off the bank…Lol called back.

“I can’t see it”

“No neither can I, I’ll try walking up further and call you back”

I walked up and saw it on the North side of the concrete edge, long story (yes, I know it’s already been a long story) short I recalled Lol and he said he was on his way.


It was quite confiding and was sat down most of the time and when it did stand appeared to only have one leg, though after rattling off stacks of shots I realised it actually had two. Something was definitely wrong with its left leg though as it consistently held it out of view and was always the first Gull to sit down and last to get up.


For some unknown reason all the Gulls relocated to the West bank, Lol eventually appeared, we strolled down there and re-found it. Being a new bird for him he was nervous of accepting my word on its identification. (The cheek of it! Though I had earlier tried to point out an adult Yellow-legged Gull to him that on second looks was actually a summer-plumaged Common Gull so possibly understandable) After a few congratulatory tweets from other Gull-aholics he seemed to be happier and I would imagine there is now an inky tick in the previously empty box next to Caspian Gull on his list, if he keeps one. Feel free to find me an AvocetJ


I thought I would check the West Warwick but apart from getting the run-around from a washed out grey and white small Grebe I had Little to show for my efforts (pun not intended but I’ll leave it in).



After news that the Essex FB Firecrest had been seen again today I thought I would give it a try. You have to look across the Lea, to the Essex side, from the Middlesex FB, but I’m not proud. I wish I had have been, as once I did get to see the bird I was left with an uneasy feeling that it could be a hybrid Rather like the one Here: I’m not saying there is not a Firecest there but the, admittedly poor, views I had means I won’t be counting what I saw of it.


As for migrants, I know what you did there Jamie. Stop making me look at Gulls.


@birdingprof

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