Sunday, 31 July 2016

First for the reservoirs, second for London

You might have thought that Great Blacked Backed Gull was a regular breeder in London but it turns out it very definitely isn't. In fact the pair which have now fledged two young on the island on No 5 are not just the first ever to nest at the reservoirs but possibly only the second to be successful in the capital. Andrew Self's The Birds of London only has one definite breeding success before on the Isle of Dogs in 2010 and Pete L, who as the Editor of the LBR should know, says there have been none since. We have all seen the pair sitting on the island from time to time over the last few weeks but, as they kept disappearing, no one was certain what was going on. But Pete finally saw an adult feeding two young yesterday and found them again today on the easterly island and the water today. (Apologies for the confusion and my cock-up in posting the wrong pic.)
There was good news as well on the tern front as my pessimism about the chances of any surviving the nearby gull colony on East Warwick were proved overdone. We found one fledged young on the raft which joined its parents for a quick fish on West Warwick. It was still around when Pete phoned to say he had another young bird with adult on the bottom of High Maynard. So with the four birds still on the raft on Lockwood, it looks as if it might have been a reasonably successful breeding season. Whether they will survive a GBBG colony is something we will find out. 
High Maynard also held a roosting Red-Crested Pochard which I presumed was a female but it woke up long enough for Pete to see it was an eclipse male with a red bill. Otherwise just a few Common Sandpipers scattered around the reservoirs and the usual two Peregrines. Long sits/sleeps at likely warbler spots produced absolutely nowt. 

DB @porthkillier
*Oddly enough there was a dead adult GBBG on the side of No 4 by the anglers' hut and what looked to me to be another half-submerged dead bird at the bottom of the nesting island. I did see one adult fly off so the young birds are not orphans yet. 


  1. Hi, always love the blog but is that really a juv GBB Gull?, the tertial pattern, lack of mantle chevrons, solid looking dark tailband and overall brownish tones don't fit GBB for me.
    Cheers Jus

    1. Thanks Justin for pointing this out - and so gently! You are absolutely right as the group's resident gull experts (of which I am not one by either knowledge or inclination) have also let me know. It's entirely my fault thanks to a mixture of incompetence and inattention. I'll post the right pic once I get it. David

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