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Sunday, 30 December 2012

A very dark LBBG at Candles

There were 2 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull on Trench Pool

  Yesterday Latham and I went to look for the 1st winter Caspian Gull at Candles Landfill Tip that has been present for the last two days and was found by Dawn Balmer and Pete Wilson. There have now been up to 4 different Caspian Gulls at this site in the last month. The other 3 have all been found by Tom Lowe. We arrived in the rain to find a small group of gulls in the field opposite the main entrance to the tip. From the car Latham picked out an adult Yellow-legged Gull and then shortly afterwards, I came across an adult Lesser black-backed Gull with upperparts as dark as an adult Great black-backed Gull. (see images below) Baltic Gull went through our minds, but it's more than likely just a probable intermedius Lesser black-backed Gull. I got a few pics just before it was spooked and flew off towards the tip.
  Tom arrived, just as we were getting stuck into our chips that we got just down road. The rain had stopped and we all climbed the bank to look over at the tip where the gulls were feeding. Tom immediately spotted a 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull. However, after 20 minutes of scanning, rain stopped play and we all returned home, pausing off at Prisorlee to have a look at the male Scaup.

Any comments welcome

Note the same shade of black on the probable adult intermedius Lesser black-backed Gull (if not slightly darker) as the adult GBB Gull (top pic) While the open winged shot with the adult Lesser black-backed Gull, shows how dark the upperparts are and how small the mirrors appear in comparison.(bottom pic)   

While on the deck, the gull appeared slightly smaller, longed winged and the only mirrors visible were on P9-10.

However, in flight, tiny mirrors were visible on P8-7 and 6 with a slightly larger mirror on p5 The inner primaries are paler than the outer primaries and (but as dark as the latter feature) the coverts, secondaries and mantle.

  In August 94, I found a very small, long winged, only one mirror on P10, black backed Lesser black-backed Gull, in the roost at Ellesmere, north Shropshire. I didn't know what it was at the time, but looking at books that evening that I had at the time, a probable Baltic Gull was all I could find. It was so easy to pick out from the Lesser black-backed Gulls the following night and quite a few birders saw it. One that got away! There were also 3 juvenile Mediterranean Gull and up to 4 Yellow-legged Gull in the roost that night.

2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull on the tip

 As Horsehay is only a few minutes up road from my parents house, I returned to the tiny pool in the late afternoon. Only a handful of large gulls briefly came in including, 3 Great black-backed Gull and this 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull

 Late this morning I had a look at Prisorlee Lake to find 100's of gulls on water and in the time that I was there, 100's moving through. I thought I ain't moving until I see a Caspian Gull! All I could muster were 3 Yellow-legged Gull. It was good to see Rob Stokes, who I haven't seen for a long bloody time, Pete Jorden and Jim Almond all there.
  As Trench Pool is almost in the garden, I went to have a look at the roost and again Yellow-legged Gulls were the highlight

A very long ways off was this 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull

On the water there were 3 adult Yellow-legged Gull including these two and Great black-backed Gull were moving through all the time with as many as 25+ birds with a high count of 19 birds on the water at the same time! No sign of the male Scaup, but the 4 Gadwall still present

2 different 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull were at the pre-roost at Trench Pool with over 700 Black-headed Gull

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