Monday, 31 August 2015

West Lancashire - 30th August 2015

 I couldn't leave it be. I had to return to Ainsdale to see the moulting Caspian Gull. I took Danni with me and, due to it not being right in front of where I parked this time, we had a lovely walk north along the tide line. We came across a large group of roosting gulls and slowly approached them. It took us about 10 minutes of scanning the gulls, before the long billed, white headed immature gull stood out like a sore thumb. The gulls were all wonderfully approachable, which was fantastic, until we noticed that the Caspian was quite badly limping and on closer inspection, it was tangled in what can only be described as kite string. It must've been quite tight on its leg as the right leg was almost limp. Luckily it appears to be able to fly quite happily, so hopefully it can evade danger long enough for the string to come free. A real shame that such a lovely bird (and the rarest bird on the beach...probably) happened to have got tangled in litter.

 The moult seems to be progressing quite nicely with p1-7 fully grown, p8 2/3 grown and p9 about 20% grown and p10 presumably in pin. The outer two secondaries are now fully grown and the third and fourth not far behind. Only two old secondaries seem to remain unmoulted.

 Along with all the roosting gulls, there were probably about 120 Sandwich Terns on the beach, which allowed for great views as they flew too and from the roosting flock, and therefore great photographic opportunities.

Several moulting Sanderling along the beach also made for lovely viewing of such a charismatic wader. I may have to pay homage to them this winter along the Lancashire coast in their winter finery.

 What was nice to see was how the Caspian Gull flew and landed near the burger van on the beach and the owner had noticed it was struggling with the string and after presumably being told about the gull by the visiting birders, was worried and alerted the local beach warden (?) and they were looking in to the possibility of getting the RSPCA in to help it out. Of course, this is just one gull out of probably hundreds along the Lancashire coast that are tangled or injured by rubbish. That is the nature of the beast when you choose to forage on tips and other wonderfully scenic places. Just because this one is rarer, doesn't mean we should target it for help. The real message here is that littering really is an issue. If one 'star' bird out of thousands on that beach can suffer from littering or poor recycling/disposing of waste, you can only imagine how many birds are suffering we don't even notice.
After our nice walk along the beach, we went up to Marshside and had a look through the screen at Sandgrounder's. Checking through the Dunlin flock, I was hopeful of a Little Stint, but it was my Danni who happened to find the juvenile (which was presumably the same as reported the day before) really quite close to the hide. I left my SLR in the car, so had to settle for Digiscoping and with such an active little wader, the above is the best video grab I could muster! Always a pleasure to see though and a nice bird for 270 on the yearlist

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