Caspian Gull ~ 2nd. W ~ Dungeness, Kent - 02.11.14

Sunday, 2 November 2014

With spells of heavy rain and a brisk southerly wind it was always going to be a afternoon at the puddles ..

It seems like ages since we had a Caspian, CB has been pulling them out daily at Shawell, MC had a adult in the week and today MB had a 1st & 3rd. W on the reserve ..
Conditions had increased gull no's with easily 1000+ birds spread out in multiple roosts visible from the boats, the wait was on, all afternoon and it was not looking like it was going to happen then all to briefly in came a 2nd. W bird, two fly-by's it kept  trying to land but it never did ..

1/250 ~ F5 ~ iso 800 = crap light

Caspian Gull ~ 2nd. W

Caspian Gull ~ 3rd. W ~ Dungeness, Kent - 12.10.14

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

After being set-up at the puddles near the fishing boats at Dungeness for well over an hour the only bird of note to come in was a 1st.w. YLG ..
The gulls would come in to feed then some would return to the roost 200m's away at the wooden tower, the feeding frenzy kicks off and we'd drag the gulls back to the puddles only for them to go back to the roost ..
DW seemed to have something interesting in the roost so we went over, parking infront then a quick scan revealed this beast ...

Caspian Gull ~ 3rd. W

 1/60 ~ F4 ~ iso 640

Not once did this bird venture over to the puddles for a feed ..

Flight shots at 1/80 are set to fail !!

I would like another go at this bird in better light, so hopefully it will do the right thing and show up again at the weekend ...

Audouin's Gull ~ 2nd. W ~ ** MEGA ** ~ Dungeness, Kent - 12.10.14

Monday, 13 October 2014

Straight off the plane from Poland and headed down to Dungeness for the afternoon ..
Easterly winds and raining, so we set-up at the puddles. The usual snacks went out for the gulls but all we had in was a 1st. W. YLG ...
It was now raining quite hard, it was early evening and noticed DW on the concrete road, He was heavily into a bird amongst the flock, after five minutes he's still going at it with his camera, and was now joined by Andy A ..
Pulling up bumper to bumper a quick scan and a smart 3rd. W. Caspian stood out, a quick exchange of words took place ...

DW ... 3rd. Winter
Me ... Yep 3rd. Winter
DW ... What do you make of that odd bird to the left of the casp ?

My reply was what spun it in the wrong direction !! ... Doh !!

Me ... That's got Laughing in it !!
DW ... Must have ...
AA .. Laughing X Ring-billed ..

And so we F*@k up the id !!

It wasn't until I got the images on the PC, then it all finally clicked ...

Dodgy record shots .. omg

Audouin's Gull ~ 2nd. W


For some better images ...

Caspian Gull ~ 1st. W ~ 01P4 ~ Dungeness, Kent - 04.10.14

Monday, 6 October 2014

The forecast was spot-on, Dull, overcast and rain mid to late afternoon ...
As we arrived it was dull, and in the distance dark clouds. Richard convinced me to start on the beach, reluctantly with the rain clouds coming we did ..
Within ten minutes of setting up, I found this Polish ringed bird ..

1st. Winter ~ 01P4

Rung by Jacek Betleja at the Kozielno colony, Paczkow, Poland - 15.05.2014

The rain started and got progressively worse, exactly as forecast, we held out for awhile before packing it in ..
Not before reaping the rewards of a confiding bird ..

This is so far the 5th individual~  all 1st. Winters that i've found this season '14/'15, With Richard Bonser finding the the 6th and first 2nd. W 
see here Richard's 2nd. W bird   

Yellow-Legged Gull ~ 2nd. W ~ Dungeness, Kent - 28.09.14

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

South-east around to East-south east winds of 8mph.
Some reasonable light at times just not when the birds were performing ..

A total of 3 Yellow-legged gulls late in on Sunday evening ...
1 x ... Adult winter 
2 x ... 2nd. winter

2nd. W ~ bird 

Compare it to this LBBG below ..

Caspian Gull ~ 1st. W ~ XDFE ~ Dungeness, Kent - 20.09.14

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

North-easterlies and low tide are not a great combination, the birds are always flying away from you into the wind, which makes photography rather difficult, then as soon as the sand is exposed at low tide that is where the gulls head for, but we do manage to hold on to some on the beach ...
It was just Me & Chiddy to start with, and getting the gulls down & settled, was harder than normal, eventually they did, and started increasing in number ..

" I've got a green-ringed Caspian "

This got Chiddy running back up the beach ...
We got a couple of fly-by's out of  the bird and gained the ring No: with images in reasonable light ...

Soon we were join by Plodder who confirmed the ring No: XDFE ... And with that the bird flew to the furthest point down the beach and settled down !!
DW came over to see it, a brief glimpse and the bird vanished for over an hour ..

MC & DW left for home, it wasn't long before we had the bird back again ...


Initially I had concerns over wing length which seems short & broad in some images, and the same go's for the venetians which are not very distinctive, but after some research, I was stressing over nothing ...


The light faded towards the latter part with the bird, We were joined by four birders one of them was Henry Wyn-Jones who all had views, before it disappeared again ...
With the skies darkening, Me & Chiddy left them to it, unfortunately they didn't get the bird back in ...

The bird was ringed near Lausitz in East Germany near the Polish border ..

Here is the bird with a similar for comparison from Sweden ..

Caspian Gull ~ 1st. W ~ Dungeness, Kent - 13.09.14

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

At first I thought we had found a new Caspian, a strikingly contrasting bird with fine uppertail bars, unfortumately it didn't stay around, and wasn't refound for the rest of the afternoon ..
A short session about 20 minutes before it vanished ..

Photography was hampered by North East winds, which when we're by the boats blows into your face and means the birds are always flying away from you ... Hard work !!
The birds end up with unsightly shadows across them because of the light coming from the west ..

But we still had a Caspian for the record ..

Compare the left-hand image from 25.08.14 ...

Look at the median covert ?

Is it the same bird ?

I think so ... 

Caspian Gull ~ 1st. W ~ Smygehuk, Sweden - 07.09.14

Thursday, 11 September 2014

We made our way from first light checking harbours etc moving westerly towards the airport for our early evening flight ...
From Simrishamn we drove straight to Ystad and continued on route 9 checking and finding only the usual gulls, after a couple of hours it seemed that maybe, we had done a wrong un !!
There were hardly any fishing harbours on the south coast until we got to Smygehuk, this was a tiny little port with c.40 large gulls and mixed in was 3 Caspian's, the sun was behind us making this a great morning site for photography ...

3 Caspian's & good light = Game On !!

This bird turned out to be the star of the trip, it loved the game and kept coming back round showing off ..

Quite a few replaced 2nd. gen feathers and the ventral bulge is very pronounced in flight ...

A big lump of a bird, probably a male ..
That really liked to play our game ..

In total we had c.27 Caspian's all birds but there were so many more we missed at the two prime sites of Simrishamn & Skillinge ...

Here's a less advanced cy bird that just didn't really want to join in, and the 3rd bird flatly refused to !!

A great short trip at will be repeated very soon on week days !!!