The three less-than-common gull species that you can reasonably expect to come across with some regularity on the Thames in London are Caspian, Yellow-legged and, at the right times of year, Mediterranean. All three are easier to find the further east you go, as my fledgling East London gulling career already seems to be testifying. I must admit I feel a bit of a poacher, having started visiting Thames Barrier Park regularly – a site put on the map by the efforts of Rich et al – and in many ways I miss 'my' stretch of the river around Chiswick and Fulham.
But there's no doubt that TBP 'feels' better. There are always several Yellow-legged Gulls milling around and I've already had three Mediterranean Gulls here in four visits, this being a species I never even saw in the 18 months I watched the river at Fulham (although I must have been unlucky, for they were regularly seen at the adjacent WWT). So far just the one Casp, the 3cy bird that featured on this blog last week – which was again present on 23rd, easily recognisable by the damaged primaries in the left wing, even if bill colour appears to be on the change and moult is progressing quickly.
My two visits to TBP (on Friday and Monday) didn't set the world alight, but the usual handful of Yellow-legged Gulls on both dates kept me ticking over, while an adult Ringed Plover on Friday was a surprise. Apparently this is a species that Rich, Jamie and Dante have never seen here during their many visits. Other bits included a pair of Oystercatchers and a Little Egret fishing in rock pools by the Barrier itself.
The gulls were a bit moody on Monday. On a hot, sunny and breezy evening, they didn't seem particularly fussed about my bread and were unusually skittish. One of the few that consistently showed well was a moulting adult Mediterranean Gull which, although a bit scruffy in moult, nonetheless still managed to look dashing.