Sunday, 19 December 2010

Gull portraiture in the Snow - Preston Docks - 18th-19th December 2010

Now being back in Preston for Christmas, I have tried to get down to Preston Marina as much as possible to get some pictures of the Iceland Gull that arrived about 3 days after I last went back to Bangor. At the start of the autumn, I exclaimed to Bill Aspin that the two main targets for the winter were Lapland Bunting and Iceland Gull. I have never before been able to connect with Lapland Bunting until my trip up the Great Orme in September, and Iceland Gull has been a bogey bird of mine for years! I arrived at the docks armed with bread and camera. The Iceland Gull wasn't playing ball, so I decided I wouldn't leave with nothing, so began taking portrait shots of the resident 'common' gull species.
Preston Docks - 19th December 2010
The commonest species by far was Black-headed Gull, and the vast number of these birds allowed them to be a little more obliging. The cold weather may have helped this as they needed the food. I was pleased with a lot of the photos I got, including a few that included snow flakes. I love taking photos of birds in the snow as the sunlight reflects off the blanket of snow and lights the birds from underneath giving them a unique light that can only be caught in the way (as well as from surf in bright sun)
adult winter Black-headed Gulls

Herring Gull were by no means as common as Black-headed as there were only about 20 birds and of those, only 4 came to bread. The adult bird below had a metal ring that read - GA40230. I will post details when I receive them.

above - GA40230 - Adult Herring Gull
I would estimate that there were 6 Common Gulls present over the weekend and this 1st winter bird has to be one of the prettiest immature gulls I have ever seen. I adore 1st winter Common Gulls as they have so much character.
The Iceland Gull gave up its location when I was beginning to give up hope until someone feeding a massive number of gulls attracted the gorgeous bird to the water below. The light was fading, so I wasn't able to get some stunning photos like you can observe on the Fylde Bird Club website. I am however pleased with the few decent photos that I did get. Although an immature bird, I was impressed with how stunning a bird it is, and am pleased I have finally seen one. It was also the bird that has taken me to 223 on my yearlist, meaning that 2010 is now my record year.


Derek Gallagher said...

Hadn't realised the Iceland Gull was still on the docks I'll have to pop back down again, some naice photo's anyway. I'm still trying to catch up with the Lapland Bunting, there's been sightings at Hesketh Out Marsh but whenever I'm up there I can't manage to find it.

Zac Hinchcliffe said...

Lapland Buntings are hideous birds to connect with when they want to be! The crawl around on the ground like mice, somewhat like grasshopper warblers. The gull is still hanging about and coming to bread which is superb. cheers

Colin Bushell said...

Nice job with the Iceland Gull Zac. If you want a bash at a Lap' at HOM I'd think 'flocks' rather than 'fields' and locate any skylark flocks rather than staking out a certain area.