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Monday, November 15, 2010

Fun with gulls

1st winter Black Headed gull
Common Gull, not yet in winter plumage
Adult Black Headed, bird on right youngest of 3 with orange bill and legs but otherwise in adult plumage.
Common gull in full summer plumage.

With winter almost upon us its time to start a bit of gull watching checking through the increasing flocks around our reservoirs ,tips and fields looking for that white winged job which seldom occur around our area.
Gulls are something you either love or hate and can be the hardest of all species when it comes to i.d. Its not just the type of gull thats the problem, its when you start sifting through the juvs and then the 1st , 2nd, 3rd and 4th year birds when it starts to get mind blowing.
Ideally you need to find a roost such as B.O.G.s Oxenhope where you can have around 6000 gulls together but it gives you time to scope through the congregation comparing and counting the species.
I,ve always enjoyed gull watching and served my time at household landfill sites which have now long gone , such as Elland Gravel pits,
Sugden tip, Denholme, Manywells tip, Denholme and Blackley tip Huddersfield.
It takes many years studying to get to the Dave Barker standard but it can be enjoyable and the more you watch the easier it gets.
Ringby Top is one of the best places for the Queensbury area to see fly overs in winter with regular sightings of Herring and Great Black Backed heading west, and water wise Ogden and Mixenden pick up small numbers of gulls. Strangely some reservoirs such as Fly Flatts rarely attract gulls for reasons unknown yet Oxenhope over the hill gets the largest roost around. Strange birds gulls, but give it a go, looked what happened to DJS scanning gulls at Mixenden and picked out a Little gull. Good Gulling
BS
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2 comments:

Nick Carter said...

Strange how white winged gulls seem much rarer locally than they used to be, although having said that they were always rare birds, I guess the decrease in tips must be a part of this. I remember long ago seeing gulls on Shroggs Tip which Dave will know well but is now long gone, seem to recall having both Glauc and Iceland there.

Brian Sumner said...

Thats right Nick, the rarer gulls always turned up on the old tips rather than near water, unless they were just easier to see scratting through the rubbish.
Bring back the smelly household waste tips. I had Glauc gull on Shroggs tip and also Sugden tip Denholme along with Hooded Crow at the same time, my one and only local record of the latter.