I went down to Langdon Hole (just above the Port of Dover) with Rich and Jamie on Saturday morning. A light scattering of migrants included singles of Pied Flycatcher, Common Redstart and Whinchat, up to four Black Redstarts, six Spotted Flycatchers and a few Northern Wheatears, plus a scattering of common warblers. A 1cy Yellow-legged Gull also circled over and it was nice to see and hear Ravens. Hardly ground-breaking stuff, but no doubt the first of many visits to this promising area.
In the afternoon I called in at Fulham to see if there were any gulls around. The gamble paid off with around 350 large gulls present, including adult and 1cy Yellow-legged Gulls and a dark juvenile Caspian Gull. In flight the bird showed a nice tail band but had a very heavily marked rump and uppertail. Perhaps the legacy of Herring genes somewhere down the line, but the bird was structurally very good and otherwise looked fine. You can also see a couple of nice anchor markings on the moulted scapulars. Photo opportunities are never good on bright afternoons in Fulham and the unbroken blue skies of Saturday meant that I had to settle for record shots almost directly into the sun; these never make judging plumage tones easy and the below images make the bird look somewhat darker than it actually was. Nevertheless, it is quite a well-marked individual with quite a bit of muckiness on the flanks and underwing etc.
I had another look in the Fulham/Chiswick area on Sunday, although gull numbers were slightly lower. Nevertheless Herring Gull Y:G41, a yellow-ringed bird from York, was again in Chiswick (having first appeared here last winter) and a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls were by The Dove pub in Hammersmith.
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The musings of a wildlife enthusiast, usually armed with his camera.