Monday 24 February 2014

Mediterranean Gull at Swanpool

Med Gulls seem to be departing the Cornish strongholds fairly quickly right now.  Those big numbers recorded during the winter have dwindled.  I saw just one bird, a second winter, at Swanpool, Falmouth on Saturday.

Gull fest continues

Last week the variety of gull species moved up one more bar in Cornwall.  A first year Laughing Gull was seen all-too briefly at Marazion beach.  As much as I would like to have seen it, I just couldn't get away last week.  When I heard about this bird, I was a bit disappointed in not finding one myself as it was pretty obvious one would turn up somewhere after those big gales.  Given how dark they are, they should not be too difficult to find!  For the time-being I'll post a shot of a similar individual I photographed in Cape May last year.

Sunday 16 February 2014

Kumlien's Gull in Mount's Bay

I photographed this adult bird at Newlyn Coombe river outlet on Thursday.

Feeding frenzy at Marazion today

Perhaps up to a thousand assorted gulls were feeding today along the beach at Marazion.  I saw two adult Glaucous Gulls and one Kumlien's Gull, though two of the latter were reported this morning.  At least five Kumlien's have been seen in the county with the other three in North Cornwall.  At least six Glaucous Gulls have been seen in Mount's Bay alone.  Med Gulls were surprisingly thin on the ground with just an adult and a second year bird seen today.  Presumably they have all moved back towards their breeding grounds.  A few Kittiwakes and Lesser Black backs were involved today but the lion's share of gulls were Black-headed and Herring.  February is of course a big month for migrating gulls but the massive gales have clearly pushed a lot more in to Mount's Bay.



Little Gulls at Wherrytown, Penzance

Last week two adult Little Gulls were showing really well at Wherrytown.  If there are any Little Gulls in Mounts Bay, they always end up feeding along the beach at Wherrytown.  And they are always close.

Thursday 13 February 2014

Adult Glaucous Gull at Marazion Beach

This adult Glaucous Gull has been showing well on the beach at Marazion for several days.  There was a feeding frenzy today of a few hundred gulls and this giant of a bird was among them.  Luckily all the gulls were very close feeding in the surf.  The biggest problem was separating the Glauc from the others.  I managed to get a few shots but this was my favourite.  Among the flock was a good selection of species including several Common Gulls, Kittiwakes, Med Gulls, LBBG's and the Kumlien's Gull. 

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Black Redstart at Penzance railway station

A male and at least five female Black Redstarts are spending the winter near the railway station at Penzance.  They like to favour the granite boulders in front of the sewerage works adjacent to the station.  The females will perch quite close but this male is less social.  I got about five seconds worth, fairly close before it flitted off again.

Sunday 9 February 2014

Adult Kumlien's Gull at Eastern Green, Penzance

An adult Kumlien's Gull has been present in Mount's Bay for several days.  I eventually caught up with it today feeding round the sewerage works near the railway station.  In addition there are several Glaucous Gulls, Iceland Gulls and Little Gulls in the county, no doubt appearing after the huge gales we've had in the last week or so.  Kumlien's Gull is a rare visitor from the arctic region of Canada.   It has variably been considered a full species, a subspecies of Thayer's Gull, a subspecies of Iceland Gull and a hybrid between the aforementioned species. It is currently considered a subspecies of Iceland Gull by the American Ornithologists' Union.
Approximate totals of high arctic gulls currently in the UK and Ireland are 90 Kumlien's, 75 Glaucous, 4 Ross's and in Galway, Ireland's first Slaty-backed Gull !

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Purple Sandpiper near Jubilee Pool, Penzance

There are approximately 50 Purple Sandpipers wintering around the rocks at the Jubilee Pool, Penzance.  I spent a couple hours photographing a few of them last Sunday.  They were incredibly confiding and were more interested in feeding.  I guess the brief lull in the recent horrible weather gave them good opportunity to get in to the rock pools.