Thursday 28th November - Caspian Gull

As you will have noticed, I've not posted anything for several days. It's not been for want of trying but there hasn't been that much to report with basically slight variations of the same birds all week. The highlight on the wader front was a second RUFF which appeared on Monday though by Wednesday we were back down to a single bird again and this evening it too had gone. By way of compensation though the DUNLIN count has gone up to five birds. The Golden Plover seemed to be around less, though I don't know whether it's because they've been disturbed prior to my last-light visits or perhaps they've just found somewhere else for now. Duck numbers continue to be solid though the Pintail seem to have moved on. Even the gulling has been somewhat disappointing up until today with rather small numbers in the roost. I presume that this is because of the relatively settled weather which has meant that the gulls could linger for longer in the fields or tips during the day before going off to roost. There have been a few YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS each evening but little else of note.

Tonight finally I did find a noteworthy bird in the roost in the form of an adult CASPIAN GULL. It certainly wasn't a classic "Pontic" (western) bird and had a lot of black in the primaries but according to Ian Lewington it more or less falls within the acceptable range for the darker winged eastern European birds. As Ian points out, there's a lot of interbreeding in amongst eastern birds with crosses between Caspians, Yellow-legged, Herring and even Lesser Black-backed and these hybrids often then going on to breed themselves. So, not a classic bird and perhaps there's a bit of a hybrid in there somewhere but it's nice to have such an interesting bird in the roost.

Some video of the bird preening, revealing the primary underwing pattern

...and a grab

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