Sunday, 31 January 2016

Med Gull - lifts the January blues

We're almost at the end of January and this is my first blog post of 2016 - what does that tell you? The patch is hard work - well it is for me!

In the five visits I've mustered during the month I've had very little reward, and my current Patch List total stands at a derisory 62. I still can't find a Sparrowhawk, Kingfisher or Little Egret and let's not mention the word Stonechat, despite knowing the location of a wintering bird on the Western side of the Flats near the Cat and Dog pond, the little bugger keeps on bloody hiding from me...oh well things can only improve, and yesterday It did slightly in the shape of an adult Mediterranean Gull.

As we continue this dull, warm and wet Winter, any hope of a cold weather movement of birds and something a little bit out of the ordinary showing up are dashed, numbers of wildfowl in the park are low, winter thrushes are scarce and birds in general are keeping a wide birth of the area, so it's no surprise to find myself sifting through the only birds which appear in good numbers during the winter - Gulls. The large majority are Common Gulls, followed by lesser numbers of Black-headed Gulls and then there are a few larger Larids (Herring, LBB and GBB gull) and recently if you'e lucky a single Caspian Gull

Mediterranean Gulls remain an annual but scarce visitor to Wanstead Flats, the visit of 'Valentino' each Autumn from his usual Ilford haunt is always a bonus and when I first picked out this current Med Gull this was who I thought it was, but I couldn't see a ring on its leg - which wasn't helped by the length of the grass, and even when the bird took flight there was no obvious sign of a ring - but the flight views were poor and the light even poorer, so I couldn't be 100% sure. If the birds sticks around maybe someone will confirm in the coming days?

Adult, Winter, Wanstead
Spot the Med Gull?
Adult, Winter, Wanstead
Adult Mediteranean Gull
Despite its ever increasing numbers, it's still a pleasure to pick one out in a local flock of Gulls

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