Sunday, 16 August 2015

Caspian Gull - Ainsdale, Lancs - 16th August 2015

 After a slightly quieter night moth trapping, I thought I'd utilise the stunning morning's sun and head over to Ainsdale to try and look for the 2cy Caspian Gull that has been present on and off for a couple of weeks. Arriving on site, it was evident why it has only been present on and off! The place was massive! The sand at low tide is amazingly extensive and the gulls were spread over a vast difference. It was going to be like finding a needle in a hay stack, but luckily the pin managed to find itself on the top of the hay stack! I walked onto the beach and the first flock of 10 gulls I came across held a large pale headed bird. It stood up and revealed a pale chest and belly, streaked neck shawl, 'spotted' mantle, the black on the tertials was very black and the back end was elongated. It was the Casp!
 When it got up and looked alert, it had a really long neck, looked very snouty and had a tapered back and 'filled nappy'-like vent and looked remarkably elegant as it strutted around with model-like long legs.
 Look how smart that looks!
 Showing how snouty, long-necked, slope-backed, pale-headed and leggy it was.
 In flight, it was obviously in a lot of wing-moult: most of the secondaries missing, with the inner 6 still being old, the outermost secondary was growing and the rest were missing.  Primary moult was mostly done with all replaced except p9 and 10 (with p8 still growing). Primary coverts were the same with the outer two being old.

Even with the moult being THIS extensive, it still looked better than any other gull on the beach! Only my second Caspian and a Lancashire tick. It was a fantastic morning and then news came in from the Scillies, but I have been trying to not let that ruin my day! Looking at these photos, it does seem to be working (a little bit...)

1 comment:

Chrisk65 said...

Excellent photos! On 22/23 August it dropped p10 so temporarily short-winged.