I spent the weekend around the relatively unspectacular Italian town of Bisceglie, where my quarry was the wintering Grey-headed Gull first found nearby in November 2012. The trip proved an overall success, with the two days differing quite considerably in both weather and views of the bird. I've only managed to have a look through Saturday's images so far, some of which are displayed below.
Saturday was glorious - 18 celsius and unbroken winter sunshine resulted in a rather red face! Having flown out the previous evening with Gordon Beck, Ernie Davis and Gary Fennemore, we spent the day at the small freshwater outflow a couple of km to the south of the town where several birders had connected in recent weeks. The bird's appearances here had been somewhat unpredictable - one French birder had waited three days while others had scored within an hour of daybreak on their first morning. As it turned out we struck a happy medium - five hours in and the bird noisily announced itself shortly after mid-day, arriving at the mouth of the outflow from the north-west and proceeding to preen and bathe at a range of around 40 metres.
Grey-headed Gull on the water with its Black-headed brethren
Naturally I introduced a bit of bread and the bird immediately played ball, giving several vocal fly-pasts allowing for a few flight shots to be taken. The bird then spent an hour or so roosting on the far side of the channel before flying off north-west again at around 13:30. Save for a couple of shots of it on the water, all my photos from Saturday are of the bird in flight.
Other birds included one or two Black-necked Grebes offshore, a handful of Sardinian Warblers and Zitting Cisticolas, a pair of Black Redstarts, a noisy flock of ten Monk Parakeets and a Hoopoe.
The real excitement of the day was a speculative check of the town harbour itself late in the afternoon, where we found the Grey-headed roosting on a pontoon among the Black-heads. Immediate suspicions were that this must be where the bird spends at least a significant majority of its time - something that proved to be the case the following morning...