18th Feb. I was in North Shields with Tom at 8:00am this morning. The target was the Iceland Gull. I wasn’t expecting to find it quite so quickly and once down by the river both our faces said it all when we found the white winged gull almost immediately. It was a striking bird and to me it had ‘Iceland’ written all over it. I appreciate I have had the benefit of previous discussion and photos to go on. :-) Please see report from Aughton Birder too.
I’m no expert on gulls and only found my first ever Iceland Gull in Feb 2009 at Cresswell Pond. Incidentally that bird had also been reported as a Glaucous Gull too. I remember checking it out in my Collins and making a definite I D of Iceland Gull when some guys came into the hide and tried to convince me it was a Glaucous Gull. They had seen it reported as such. At least one of them knew far more about gulls than I did (or do), but he had not checked the bird out and accepted the report. It wasn’t until he saw the long primary projection that he accepted that it was an Iceland Gull. As has been mentioned frequently recently, we need to check things out closely and not take things for granted especially other peoples reports.
Today’s Iceland Gull was initially seen in flight, then at at distance between the ferry landing and the swish housing block along the quay. We did manage a closer view later of the bird on the water and in flight. It eventually flew across to the south bank. It did appear to me to have a long primary projection.
So with the gull found so quickly and efficiently we decided to walk along to Tynemouth. There were few waders about apart from Oystercatchers and the odd Redshank and Curlew. We did take an interest in the gulls, but so nothing else out of the ordinary, apart from some odd looking Herring Gulls. Our walk took us half way along the pier but there was little on the sea and visibility was poor. I did pick up my first Fulmars of the year, already back on the nesting sites, and there were numbers of Eider Duck on the river. A Song Thrush was in full song as we passed the Priory. We made of home soon afterwards. I’d really enjoyed the morning.
I decided to get off the Metro at Palmersville to take a look in the Rising Sun Country Park as I knew a Mediterranean Gull had been reported the day before. No luck there, but the place was quite atmospheric with whistling Wigeon and calling Pochard. I found that there was a Goosander on the pond. Coal Tits, Long Tailed Tits and Treecreper entertained me as I looked for the Mediterranean Gull. A Kestrel was also seen.
I’m pleased I was out of bed early this morning! I was home before lunch time.
Sadly I found later that a Mute Swan at the Rising Sun had to be destroyed last week having been shot by at least three different weapons. No doubt the culprits have gone home very proud of their actions. Not much you can say about people of that nature, so I won’t waste my time doing so.