Thursday, 30 August 2012

Seagull - Bad Company

 Seagull, you fly across the horizon
Into the misty morning sun.
Nobody asks you where you are going,
Nobody knows where you're from.
A peek out of the window at 05:00 and the town was once again shrouded in threatening black clouds looking every bit like a continuation of yesterday's wet weather. Hanging on for the turn of the high spring tide proved beneficial as I missed the only shower of the day and also caught up with this fine looking
LITTLE GREBE at Westham Bridge.
Whether keeping a low profile during the breeding season or just simply absent, this is the first I have seen for a number of weeks.
The bus to Ferry Bridge and already there was a strip of sand exposed at the southern edge holding a few small Waders, but they would have to wait until I had investigated what this HERRING GULL hand caught.
Its distinctive plumage showed that it is an individual that has taken up residence close to the bridge in recent month and had caught a PIPEFISH. A species that frequents the shallows and not difficult to catch I would suspect, but for a Gull devouring it would be quite another challenge. Narrow, long and bony makes it a bit of a bill full, but they are also strong, pound for pound, have a leathery skin so frequently found stranded and abandoned - bon appetite. 
Not all of the Waders further on were small as c2 Curlew, a Whimbrel and an Oystercatcher were among 100 or so each of Dunlin and Ringed Plover, as were c7 Sanderling, c2 Turnstone and what was likely 'the' Knot of recent days. All else of note was a Little Egret in the margins until the mobile phone crackled into life, "a rare bird at Portland Bill"!
Paralympic Sailing starts over the weekend so already 'security' has been beefed up. HMS Bulwark deploying Merlin Helicopter with regularity, Dorset Police following suit, few more officers on the ground and as shown here the Met Water Division patrolling local sea area.
Continuing with Olympic business, I had chance today to serve a long outstanding apology to this gentleman. I have known Dave Derby since the early 70's but always thought his surname was Allan. In the Royal Navy, all with such name are affectionately referred to as 'Derby' Allan and I have always called him this. It wasn't until he was a Torch Bearer at the Bill that I realised his proper name so had chance to redress the matter this morning. All the best to you and Mrs Derby again David.
I think secretly that Secret is becoming a secret 'twitcher' and likes to know what is going on in the 'birding' world, so passed this mornings message on to him en route to the Bill. We met up in Southwell village and as we arrived were met by John and Morwellan Down and told that the 'rare bird' was still in sight and not too far away - can you see it yet??
Those already in attendance gave us a clue, so we headed for the group consisting of from left Keith Pritchard, Peter Coe, Martin Cade (Warden PBO), Ken Parker, Neil Arnold, JW (Williamson), Neil's partner Chris plus AN Other and there it was.
A splendid adult SABINE'S GULL
which I circled at a distance to bring you every angle possible.
A bird of Northern climes, it would be more suited to areas within the Arctic Circle right now than here in Dorset - but who's complaining?
On the approach of a local dog walker with her 3 dogs, I kindly requested she gave the bird a 'wide berth' which she duly did. Whether it was the presence of the animals or not, the Gull soon took to the wing, gained good altitude and disappeared to the west.
The Sabine's gull is named after the British general and scientist Sir Edward Sabine, who discovered the species in 1818 on the west coast of Greenland.
Having photographed all but 3 of the world's 54 Gull species, these images taken in the Pribilof Islands last year were the best achieved thus far of Sabine's.
Today's bird provided a much sort after closer view and shot than previously.

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