Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Gulls and Geese

Taking advantage of some free time over Christmas I headed up to Heysham where there has been a first winter Glaucous Gull in recent days. It was high tide when I arrived and I walked down the sea-wall in front of the power station from the Red Nab rocks stopping to photograph some close Kittiwakes and a not so close juvenile Little Gull.  Another birder arrived and he continued towards the wooden jetty where he found the Glaucous Gull loafing with some other large gulls.  The glaucous briefly flew close while my camera was still in its bag before heading back out to the end of the wooden jetty.  Along with eight species of gull there was also a couple of Guillemots on the sea, at least two shag, two Red-breasted Merganser and a few Pink-footed geese which flew over. While chatting with the other birder he told me that eight White-fronted geese had been reported from Rishton Reservoir, so I decided to head home while there was enough light to call in at Rishton.

I arrived at Rishton with about 30 minutes of daylight remaining.  The white-fronts were all in clear view on the far side of the reservoir with the Canada goose. flock. There were six eurasion white-fronts (two adults and four juveniles) and two Greenland race birds which are likely to be the two present before Christmas, (and which I failed to see one Saturday morning).  It was very educational to see both races together; the Greenland race clearly darker than the eurasians with the bill differences clearly apparent, even with the dull and fading light. Of note, the adult eurasions frequently showed aggression to the Greenlands if they came too close, but not to any of the Canadas.

Some photos of the gulls and guillemot below.  The Little Gull was rather distant but I've included it because is nicely shows the upperwing comparison with the juvenile Kittiwake; the Little Gull showing a dark secondary wing bar and the Kittwake showing umarked white secondaries.

Glaucous Gull in flight

Glaucous Gull on Wooden Jetty


1st winter Kittiwkae

Adult Kittiwake

1st winter Little Gull

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