Tuesday, 1 August 2017

More gulls, I'm afraid

Unless I go to the wetland centre, the mid-summer period totally lacks in decent birding opportunities in West London. Apart from the gulls, of course.

The first juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls have started to appear. Each session on 'my' stretch of the Thames between Craven Cottage, Fulham, and Chiswick Pier produces up to five michahellis, usually always involving a different selection of birds. I've had at least three different juveniles over the past couple of weeks, although most of the birds seen have been 2cy and 3cy, with the one or two older birds thrown in for good measure.

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, Fulham, 23 July 2017

2cy Herring (left) and 2cy Yellow-legged Gulls, Fulham, 23 July 2017

You don't really expect to see Caspian Gulls in July but I've been fortunate enough to be blessed with two scraggy first-summers on the river near me over the past two weeks. The first was a bird I've not seen before, German-ringed 'X307' - this bird having been noted regularly in East London since it was first seen by Jamie Partridge at Thames Barrier Park on 25 September 2016 (here are a couple of nice photos of it taken by Rich in March). It's from a mixed (predominately Caspian) colony on the Polish border but to me this bird doesn't obviously stand out as a bird of mixed heritage, I thought it looked fine as a first-winter and still think the same looking at it now.

2cy Caspian Gull 'X307', Fulham, 21 July 2017

The second bird, first seen just two days after X307's appearance, was a more familiar face - 'G0UT', a Thames-ringed Casp that first visited this stretch of the Thames back in late March, a few days after it was ringed at Pitsea. Here are a few pics of it from back then. I'd say this one is a bit less impressive than X307, showing a few more hints that Herring Gull might be mixed in somewhere down the line. A few images from recent visits below, it seems pretty regular at the moment so here's hoping it hangs around here for a while.

 23 July

31 July

And a few bits of 'interest':

4cy Herring x Lesser Black-backed Gull, 29 July

Juvenile Great Black-backed Gull, 29 July. This species must breed somewhere along this stretch of the Thames - I see at least one pair of adults throughout the year and two youngsters present last week were very fresh. There are usually a few immatures hanging around as well.

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