Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Icing on the Cake! (28th March)

Everything was still very hectic in the last week of term, even the weekend was progressing into all-nighters with only the odd chance for a quick sleep before continuing with work/birding/travel and cleaning.  None the less, I did use up most of Friday with a walk down to Swanpool followed by a seawatch from Pennance Point.  Swanpool produced this rather unusual gull.  I can't put my finger on it but I was given some helpful ideas on BF and on the gull research forum.  However, they seem equally confused and uncertain about the ID so any further opinions would be very welcome.  The best bet yet is an unusually thin-billed Great Black-backed.

Great Black-backed Gull?

Offshore, the water was a lot rougher than usual so picking out the regular grebes was going to be a bit more tricky.  However, given the fact I'd been seeing the same individuals for a good couple of months now I didn't see it as a priority so instead headed further in the direction of the point with the aim of getting my first shear or Common Tern for the year.  In reality, the seawatch was a little less eventful and I had to be content with distant views of Sandwich Tern and a mixed passage of gulls.  After an hour or so of looking solidly through the eyepiece of my scope I decided to rest my eyes shortly, looked up and WOW!!!  In that split second a juv ICELAND GULL flew right past my face!!!  A mega patch bird and something I've been looking forward too nailing for a long time following the string of patch Glaucs.  I watched it as it glided into the bay, head for Swanpool and eventually came to land on the lagoon.  No sooner had it done so I legged it as fast as possible back to the pool but it was already in flight again by the time I reached the Hooked Cafe.  Thankfully, it lingered a little longer offshore, working up and down Falmouth Bay moving as far as Castle Beach before making a close pass again by the cafe.  Thankfully Dan manged to get down just in time to see it but JSL was a little too late.

juv Iceland Gull

I tried hard to relocate it but it seemed the bird had moved on.  As a final resort, I headed for the docks to see if it had roosted there, on the way connecting with the usual Slavonian Grebe and my first Wheatear of the year!  When I finally arrived at the docks, it was clear the swell out to sea was putting the gulls off from roosting offshore which gave me a good opportunity for an unsuccessful check of them before darkness and rain started falling fast.


Falmouth Docks

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