Wednesday, 12 January 2011

1st Iceland Gull of the year!

Yesterday I went to Albert Village Lake for my first visit of the year, and strangely there were hardly any gulls on the lake. So to cut a long story short I went and explored the nearby tip which you can look over via the local footpaths.
Noticing that most of the gulls were at the far end of the tip I retraced my steps and then walked back towards the nearby national forest land which overlooks the tip. I started to scan the gulls from this viewpoint but nothing stood out except for a gull showing characteristics of Glaucous x Herring type! 
 With the gulls moving around the tip all the time, I then noticed more gulls roosting on a nearby bank and a very creamy looking gull which was head on to me at the time. I thought straight away that this bird looked good to be an Iceland Gull, due to the size and plumage of the bird. I waited for the bird to move and slowly it showed itself and the diagnostic features I saw included pure white primaries, blotchy creamy-white breast, lemon-green coloured bill, pale eye and pinky legs. GET IN!!! 2 nd winter type Iceland Gull.
With these views as usual I got the news as quickly as possible. The only problem with this was that before I could take a record shot of the Iceland Gull, it was flushed and flew off towards the lake. Bugger!!
Going back to the lake, there was still no sign of the Iceland Gull but at least 4 adult Yellow-legged Gulls were noted on the lake over the next couple of hours.
Whilst at the lake I met up with Alan Amery who was also hoping to see the Iceland Gull, but after getting cold for the next two hours, we decided that it might be worth checking the gull roost at Foremark Res to see if the Iceland Gull came into the roost?
Meeting up with the locals Gullers ( Dipper, Martin and Glyn Sellors) it wasn't long before I found a couple of Caspian Gulls (2nd winter and adult) in the gathering roost and then at around 4.15pm, Dipper picked up the regular 3rd winter Glaucous Gull. Although it was quite distant on the sand bank opposite the car park, it was nice to see and two white wingers in a day is not a bad haul.
By dusk the Iceland Gull hadn't arrived, so I called it a day on the birding front.

At home I did a bit of research on the Iceland Gull and looking at the recent photos of the Iceland Gulls reported I think the bird I saw was probably the bird which has been seen at Stubbers Green in the West Midlands?!

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