Saturday, 19 February 2011

Wednesday - Gull'ing at Teesside

The title says it all really. I did some Gull'ing at Teesside. I haven't been getting the result the lads of Pitsea have been getting. They have now seen the Slaty-backed Gull twice on that tip!

Anyway I had a fairly good day, I arrived at about 11 and started to scan through the Gulls. Nothing much on the tip surface apart from about 74,321 Herring Gulls OR so it seemed. So I started to scan the landfill site tip sides to look at the loafing Gulls. Pink legs, pink legs, pink legs, not pink legs...........(zoom in eyepiece), dull yellow hue legs..........................(gets out iPhone and puts on video).....................(gull moves).......................... looks through scope again just to make sure it has Yellow legs...............yes it does.........................(flys off). How I love Gull watching. Was it Yellow-legged Gull? Yes. A long awaited county first for me and a year tick.

I had nothing for a while and then scanning the tip side I picked up a nice monster of a Glaucous Gull, I love these birds! The bird stood about for a good 5 minutes before I took my eye off it and it went missing, I soon picked it up as it was about to land on the other side of the tip and out of view.

(Glaucous Gull - Andrew Kinghorn)

Then a car pulled up, man got out, started setting up his camera, it was John Bridgelens (Bridges). Not surprisingly we got talking and John said Iceland Gull would be a "life click". So with a snickers in mouth and hand I picked out the Iceland Gull on other side of the road flying about on the tip. I scoffed the last of my snickers bar down and we both crossed the road to the tip. Within minutes I picked the bird out and it was really close, John got straight on it and the bird landed on the tip surface. John managed some simply superb images of the bird before it took off again.

(Iceland Gull - © John Bridges)

Throughout the day John found it once more and I found it once more, some more superb images were taken. When John found it the second time it was quite humorous, here's what the conversation went like:
John: "So what exactly does this bird look like in flight?"
Andrew: "Very white, like a ghost."
(About 40 seconds later John points at a Gull circling above our heads, I look up)
Andrew: "That's it!"
(Gets behind camera quickly and rattles of some superb images).
Here are some images taken of the Gull as it flew above us:

(Iceland Gull - © John Bridges)

Then I found the bird again later on, this time it was perched up again fairly distantly on the tip and then it flew closer and John manages some great shots again this time of the bird on deck and more great images of the bird in flight.

After the bird flew closer:

(Iceland Gull - © John Bridges)

I picked out a Lesser black-backed Gull amongst the huge mass of Gulls. A first for this site for me this year. Later on another friend of mine arrived who I know and he picked out the Glaucous Gull sitting on the tip really close to us! John managed some more superb images of the bird:

(Glaucous Gull - © John Bridges)

Then just to top of the day I was scanning the side of the tip when I picked out a dark backed Gull sitting. I said to the lad I know "Take a look at this." I asked what the thought and he said he thought argentatus Herring Gull. I said something like "I don't think so", I zoomed in on its legs and they were a dull Yellow hue. The mantle color was just not dark enough for Lesser black-backed Gull. So I put it down as a second Yellow-legged Gull, I am confident of my identification but any comments welcome.

(Click image to enlarge - Yellow-legged Gull - Andrew Kinghorn)

Some videos, first two very brief, last video shows the bird taking off:

A great day with great company. I have also been twitching recently. Stay tuned for more on that.
Until next time, Foghorn out!

1 comment:

  1. Gull tipping - What a great way to spend the afternoon.
    The constant aroma of freshly dug garbage urging you to barf every 5 minutes.
    The wonderful scenery of piled litter and household waste.

    Who needs shots of gulls gliding effortlessly over the crest of a white wave on a blue sea when you can have photos of a gull poking it's beak into a carrier bag full of nappy liners.

    I wonder if a new aftershave called Gull Tip Essence would go down well?

    Most of the time views are rubbish (little joke there) and the smell is horrendous but I can see the fascination for wanabee Stig of the dumps.
    Be better if you couls get inside the wire fences though.