Sunday, 5 June 2011

Exceptionally early juvenile BLACK-HEADED GULL


Another gorgeous day, with temperatures in the high 70's, blue skies and long spells of sunshine. The only change was an increasing Northeasterly wind, freshening up as the afternoon went on......

With a few Black Terns appearing with the change in wind, it was not too surprising when I heard that Roy Hargreaves had discovered a LITTLE TERN at Wilstone early afternoon. What was surprising though, particularly after this spring's local Sandwich Terns, just how long it lingered......


Frustratingly, it took me the best part of two hours to respond to Dave Bilcock's message. However, at 1445 hours, I was able to join the Brothers Young, Lawrence and DB at the top of the Wilstone steps - and yes, the LITTLE TERN was still performing.......

The bird, a typical adult, was flying back and forth in front of the Drayton Bank - seemingly fishing (although I never saw it dive). It was highly mobile and moving as far east as the jetty on occasions. It could be easily picked out by its small size and odd flight pattern, with a well-defined white forehead, distinctive black bill with a yellow tip and prominent dark narrow primary wedge on the outer wings.

The freshening wind seemed to deter it from moving on and although I departed the site at 1600 hours, the bird was still there when DB revisited at 2020 hours - a long stay indeed.

Another very intriguing sighting was of a juvenile Black-headed Gull feeding in front of the Drayton Bank hide - exceptionally early - and from which colony? There were also two further Black-headed Gulls present - a first-summer and an adult.

Otherwise, 16 Mute Swans were an increase, 16 Great Crested Grebes, the summering drake EURASIAN WIGEON (still in good plumage), 56 Greylag Geese, 2 Little Egrets,, 46 Common Terns and a small scattering of Common Swifts, Sand Martins and House Martins.

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