Ring-billed Gull ~ Ad. W ~ Lake Merritt, California - 19.02.15

Thursday 26 February 2015

This species is far easier to find inland, any lake usually holds plenty, where the families come to feed the ducks, so do the Ringo's for easy pickings ..
There was a few at Santa Barbara beach, but Stafford Lake and a couple of the smaller lakes in Golden Gate Park had 100's yet they were always over shadowed by American Herring's or Thayer's etc ....
Lake Merritt had a great selection of birds from Canvasbacks, Lesser Scaups, White Pelicans to Belted Kingfishers but most meant shooting at an angle downwards and that's not for me, I just wandered around taking it all in as nearly ever species was new, whilst looking for some inspiration which came from this really vocal adult ringer !!
I spent quite a while trying to get a fully symmetrical head-on call and near enough got it ..

  The neck is just off center, but still pleased with this striking pose ..

The sky reflecting in the lake makes up the background .. 

The background is trees reflecting in the lake ..

The Ring-billed ended up being my least photographed of all the gull species in California as the other 7 species took over ...

Pallas's Gull ~ 1st. W ~ Taranto, Italy - 08.02.15

Wednesday 11 February 2015

With flights booked for another try for the Grey-headed, I kept a daily check on the Italian EBN website for sightings and found that the day before my first visit,  Cristiano Liuzzi on 17th Jan' had found a Pallas's gull in Taranto, 75 miles from the Grey-head !!!!

As the days past by, No further sightings came on the website, so having already had email contact with Andrea Corso, I asked for updates, so I was put in contact with Cristiano who said "It had been seen daily, and last seen on 27th, no further sightings as nobody and looked" 

So it had stuck around for 10 days, we were flying out for the 8th which was 12 days with no news, chances are it was still there !!
It was worth a gamble ...

The morning of the 8th went well with the Grey-headed, but as the weather deteriorated at 13:00 the decision to try for the Pallas's was even easier to make ...
It was a 90 minute drive to the last known location over looking the mussel farms in the bay, after half an hour of searching it wasn't going well.
Some gulls were feeding on fish waste near bins, which didn't have the prize amongst them but started off the direction which we continued with ..

A fisheries yard at the end of Via Delle Fornaci, standing on a metal platform 

40.488079, 17.231751

     Scanning all the floats holding the nets yielded nothing, with a few black-headed gulls about, I spun out some bread, these were joined by a few Yellow-legs and then there it was in flight heading straight for the frenzy ..

I couldn't believe my eyes ...
Not sure where it had come from but was thrilled that it did !!

Although the light wasn't good and with only half a loaf left, the luck ran out quickly and so did the bread, with this the gull flew off  SSW and lost to view ...

Pallas's Gull ~ 1st. W

Taranto as a backdrop

One of the 100's of floats for the mussel nets

It was a crazy 30 minutes with excitement and panic in equal measures as the gull performed well for us ..
If it stays around a bit longer there may be a return visit for this bird, as 30 minutes in mainly poor light just isn't enough ..

Thanks to Andrea & Cristiano for the info ..

Another great weekend trip

Grey-Headed Gull ~ Bisceglie, Italy - 08.02.15

Monday 9 February 2015

It was always going to happen that once Richard had seen our images that the three of us had taken of the Grey-headed gull, it wouldn't be long before he'd have to go himself ..

So with some cheaper flights from Ryanair, I went again, be rude not too.

The same as the last visit, late flight in on Saturday, pizza, beer and bed. It was all about Sunday and hopefully the gull would perform ..

At Bisceglie Harbour there was no sign of the gull, scanned through all the black-headed but couldn't see it ..
So out went the magic popcorn and it just appeared as if from nowhere !!

With marginally better light than last time I set about gaining better flight shots ..

Grey- Headed Gull


It didn't readily play the game and perform, unlike last time, it was reluctant to come in and feed, and quickly returned back into the harbour to rest on the pontoons ...

With the weather turning for the worst as forecast, it then became an easy decision to drive the 75 miles to Taranto !!! 

Kumlien's Gull ~ 2nd. W ~ Littlehampton, West Sussex - 01.02.15

Tuesday 3 February 2015

It was good to hear that the Kumlien's Gull had returned to winter in Littlehampton, West Sussex this was the first chance of being able to see this bird as a 3rd. Cycle 2nd. Winter ...

As a static bird the changes in its plumage is less apparent, as most of the 3rd generation feathers are not on show ...

Kumlien's Gull ~ 2nd. W


The 2nd generation feathers, primaries, secondaries, coverts are showing little signs of wear.

Its when the bird shows off its upperparts with a nice dorsal view that the 3rd gen feathers really show up ...

The mantle feathers are moulting through to grey 3rd gen, and the moult to 2nd. W should be complete by the end of March ..

The next set of images shows how it retained its 1st gen feathers until they were worn and bleached ...

I'm hoping that it keeps returning !!