Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Southend Pier, Mediterranean Gulls - cooking up a treat

My eldest son who is now approaching the grand old age of 9 is oddly a big fan of Jamie & Jimmy's (that's Jamie Oliver & Jimmy Doherty) Friday Night Feast - I think he just likes staying up a bit later on a Friday evening. This Channel 4 cookery programme which knocks up some top grub with the odd celebrity to hand, is filmed and located at the end of Southend Pier - and this is how our ended up at the end of the worlds longest pier photographing Mediterranean Gulls.

I was fully aware of the Med Gulls on Southend Pier having spent more than a few cold winter hours sea-watching from the Pier in my youth, with usually not a lot to show for it other than the odd Guillemot or Kittiwake along with frozen fingers and toes, but it's been a number of years since I'd made the trip. With my son keen to see where his favourite Friday night programme is filmed, It felt like the perfect Sunday afternoon family outing, made even better by a decent weather forecast - dry, winter sunshine and a still wind, along the promise of chips and a Rossi's Ice cream for everyone afterwards.

I saw up to fifteen birds at the end of the pier all of various ages, one of which was a colour-ringed adult bird (E494) which I believe is seen regularly in the area and was ringed as a chick near Antwerp, Belgium in 2010. Apart form the Med Gulls another bonus was finding a Slavonian Grebe feeding close to the pier as we walked the long mile to the end, not a common sight along this stretch of the Thames, and if I hadn't seen the Wanstead bird so well only weeks before I might have got a little more excited about this find.

1st Winter, Southend Pier, Med Gull
1st-winter
Adult, Southend Pier, Med Gull
Adult - moulting into Summer Plumage
Adult, Southend Pier, Med Gull
Adult Winter
Adult Winter, Southend Pier, Med Gull
Adult Winter
Of all the flight photographs I took (and there was many) this was by far the best of the lot, a striking 1st-winter Mediterranean Gull showing its full range of fresh chocolate brown coloured feathers, these birds are the perfect age and subjects for anyone interested in the topography of a Gull.

1st-winter, Southend Pier, Med Gull, Flight
1st-winter

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