With the second half of July now upon us and birds again on the move, it's well and truly time for part timers such as myself to get back out in the field. Going birding twice in the space of four days isn't something I've done for a long time, and to be honest I nearly didn't bother this morning – it was another sweltering day with long spells of unbroken sunshine across London.
I took a sweaty tube ride down to North Greenwich, where my first stop was the 'beach' on the north side of the O2 Arena. It's a funny site; it always feels like it should be really good, and with a good few hundred large gulls always loafing here, it really should be. Yet it seems to consistently under-perform when compared to the likes of Thames Barrier Park, despite usually holding more birds overall. Furthermore, the birds are often a bit skittish and don't readily come to bread, as they do pretty much everywhere else along the river in London. Today was no different really; it just 'felt' unproductive and my final tally of three Yellow-legged Gulls (one juvenile and a couple of 2cy birds) was disappointing if unsurprising. However, a smart juvenile Mediterranean Gull did appear for a while, although never really showed as well as I'd have liked it to.
With little doing, I decided to cross the river and head to TBP, where I was joined by Dante. Several Yellow-legged Gulls were in evidence, with at least a dozen, including 10 juveniles, logged by the time the tide covered up the spit. Dante also broke his own distance record for throwing a slice of bread, which he was very pleased about. It must have gone travelled about 40 metres. Very impressive. Even more impressive, though, was a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, which showed brilliantly.
On such a sunny day, it was an inevitability that the harsh light severely hindered photography, but the bird performed so well that it was impossible not to point the lens at it. Interestingly, it bore a white ring ('3891') and is presumably from Belgium or The Netherlands (tbc).