Saturday, 10 January 2009

Blackborough End Tip

I arrived a little later than intended (c9.30). I had already heard that the Smew were present at Saddle Bow, but having seen one yesterday the Iceland Gull was the priority. On arrival there were 2000+ gulls, with well over 500 'large' gulls gathered on the ice encrusted pool south of the tip. I viewed occasionally as I walked down to the 'viewing platform' (bank of mud!) but couldn't locate anything amongst them. Then with my first scan from this area (keeping as low as possible as not to flush the birds) an immature Iceland Gull was found. Through bins it seemed to show pink on the bill. I decided to get the camera out and take a few pics before looking further. It took a while to find 'it' again in the camera, but when I did it definitely had a black bill (perhaps slightly paler towards the bill, but not pink). Two bird theory? Not sure, but maybe two birds were present!
Further scanning of the flock produced brief views of a 2nd win Caspian Gull (looking identical to the bird photographed y'day!) Unfortunately the flock dispersed before I could get a pic (I did take some very poor field notes!)

Continued looking had me perplexed by a bird that didn't seem to fit. I pointed it out to others and got some pics. In the field we came to the conclusion that it was probably a hybrid Herring/Glaucous. However, after looking in 'Gulls' we thought that the plumage fitted Kumlien's Gull. Expert advice has been sought, but I'm not sure if my pics will be of high enough quality!
A few Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also present amongst the throng, adding to the year list!

From here I moved on to Kings Lynn, where a luecistic Collared Dove was probably the most interesting sighting!

Then on to Wolferton, where (after a short wait) a female Golden Pheasant came in to view in the rear view mirror. As I turned and tried to find a comfortable position a car came passed and I assumed it moved into the foliage. Just after this another female quickly scurried across from the other side. Always good to see (these females showed no sign of hybridisation!!)
A Barn Owl was seen at West Newton on the way home.

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