Saturday, 10 March 2012

Wheldrake Gull Roost: More Ice!

Happy with yesterdays haul of Iceland Gulls (pictures coming soon I promise!) I decided to nip down to visit the Wheldrake Gull roost this afternoon to see what was around, went via Escrick where I had a Green Woodpecker (York area year tick).

I met up with Tim Jones at the metal bridge, he'd been doing some local year-listing and we decided to meet up for the last hour or so of light at Wheldrake. We headed down to Swantail Hide (via a brief stop off at Tower Hide). It was bright and sunny but fairly breezy at times. A scan about the meadows resulted in 14 Black-tailed Godwit (york area year tick), 60 + Curlew, a dozen plus of Ruff and Dunlin, the former getting into some interesting plumages, and an increased number of Oystercatcher and Redshank from my previous visit last weekend.

It didn't take long for the gulls to start coming in, and we were soon on an Adult Iceland Gull, picked up by resident gull expert Ollie Murrs and Chris Gomersall (well Chris really) as they were walking to Swantail to meet up with me and Tim. The bird dropped onto the water allowing a quick record shot on my phone (below). This bird didn't hang around too much though and we watched it fly off south.

Iceland Gull (Phone-scoped in fairly early)

The rest of the gulls started making there way in and we recorded 2 1st winter and 1 2nd winter Iceland Gulls (record shot of one of the later birds but light gone by this point). These birds were interesting, the second winter bird was interesting very dark and definitely not one of the two 2nd winter birds that Russ and I had yesterday, also interesting was that the two 1st winter birds today looked largely similar - i.e. the last 1st winter bird we saw yesterday was not on of the birds we saw this evening.

Iceland Gull (Phone-scoped in fading light at distance)

Adding more interest was that Jono was over at Poppleton also this evening where he had a 3rd winter bird (not sure there has been a 3rd winter Iceland Gull recorded there so far?), he also had 1 or 2 adult and 1 2nd winter Iceland Gulls - need to firm up the times with him to see potential overlaps etc but, based on the obvious so far:

Iceland Gulls 9th and 10th March York Area:

Juvenile/1st winter: 3
2nd winter: 3
3rd winter: 1
Adult 2

At least 9 birds but there could very easily be more. I will update this after I speak with Jono.

The walk back to the car resulted in great views of 2 Barn Owl, 2 Tawny Owl and a few Snipe.

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