Saturday, 21 January 2012

Iceland and Glaucous

A canny bird, but not as canny as the ones mentioned below, although I'm sure she is 'armless!

I'll leave the proper photos to others. The sighting will do me.

21st Jan. I’d approached North Shields fish quay having heard that an Iceland Gull had been seen in the area earlier in the week, so I was hoping rather than expecting. As I was watching small flotillas of Eider Duck I got my eye on what was clearly an Iceland Gull. I saw a couple of photographers around by the sheds and decided that they were in a better position so quickly walked around to that area. I had great views of the bird on the water, but even better when it began to fly up and down past us in the gut of the quay. One of the photographers mentioned that there was a Glaucous Gull (2nd winter) on the roof above us. Moving along to find a better viewing point I had a fine view of this bird as it sat next to Herring Gulls and thus giving a very good contrasting sighting. Even better was to come when a first year Iceland Gull joined the adult bird and flew in the gut of the fish quay. Quite away to begin the day and giving me two year ticks and I have to admit a lifer in Glaucous Gull. Yes I know, how I can live where I do and not have seen a Glaucous Gull before. I’ve been saving it up. My thanks to the two photographers who offered advice as to the plumage patterns of the different species and putting me onto the first year Iceland Gull. I’m no expert on gulls so welcomed their advice and information. Not so sure I would have that first year easily without their help but the other two birds were very obvious. No one seemed interested in the numbers of Turnstone feeding near the boats. I was pleased to see some of the boatmen showing real interest in the white winged gulls.

After the excitement with the gulls I doubted that anything was going to beat that, and nothing did. I did walk up Tanners Bank to Northumberland Park where the highlight was my first stunning Grey Wagtail of the year. The Great Spotted Woodpecker put in an appearance as did numbers of Stock Doves and woodland species.

The tide was high so I didn’t walk right along to Tynemouth, but instead returned to the fish Quay. The first year Iceland Gull and Glaucous Gull weren't found again, but the adult Iceland Gull continued to fly to and fro along the quay and again gave excellent sightings. I’m sure there will be good photos popping up soon on a number of blogs, although not mine.:-) Shortly before I dragged myself away, Great Black Backed Gulls were having a tussle over discarded fish and it didn’t seem any of them were going to back down easily. Common and Black Headed Gulls were also seen. The flotillas of Eider Duck were still about. Great stuff

1 comment:

  1. It's great seeing such gulls as the 'Iceland' and 'Glaucous,' so close up!

    The Iceland Gull was actually quite distinctive from the other gulls, after you got used to it being there.