Saturday, 22 December 2012

Apocalypse Gulls

Gulls galore at Tanholt

No sign of the end of the world in Peterborough yesterday. There were, however, a lot of large gulls. I remember moaning quite extensively about the demise of Peterborough gulling as the tips appeared to be closing. Not the case, it seems! The new cell at Tanholt is attracting thousands of birds, and I estimated as many as 5,000 large (mostly Herring) in the area both yesterday and today.

Yesterday was great. Got things under way with a first-winter Caspian Gull among at least 1,000 large gulls in fields on the south side of Dogsthorpe Tip - a welcome return to birds loafing here, where they give really good views. Despite searching, couldn't find much else here.

For the first time in a good few years, large numbers of gulls are also using the fields either side of Willow Hall Lane - no doubt because the new landfill cell at Tanholt lies adjacent. Soon picked up a massive juvenile Glaucous Gull in one of the closest flocks - presumably one of the two seen here earlier in the week (the other was an adult). This is quite clearly a different juvenile to that I had at Dogsthorpe in November.

There were yet more gulls on the tip and pits at Tanholt itself. Scanning the birds around the new pit, a smart second-winter Iceland Gull soon appeared from among the Herrings on the banks at the far side. Shortly after, the birds spooked and I lost the Iceland in the melee although had a really smart adult Caspian Gull in flight and later in the field opposite, which was a nice way to end the session.

Had a couple of hours spare this afternoon, but couldn't locate any white-winged gulls. A second-winter Yellow-legged Gull was a surprise on the new pit at Tanholt but I didn't register anything else significant. Still thousands of gulls in the fields at Willow Hall Lane after 15:30 approached - I figured that they must be roosting on the Nene Washes rather than at CEGB Reservoir, so didn't bother going over there for dusk.

The past 24 hours have forced me to eat humble pie - this is Peterborough gulling at its best, made more ridiculous by the fact no one checks the flocks regularly. It seems really dynamic at the moment with lots of turnover and lots of northern gulls. What worries me is that a Slaty-backed or something similar will inevitably slip through the net here.

No comments:

Post a Comment