Thursday, 7 March 2013

How many Caspian Gulls?

Well the winters gulling is drawing to a close, I do have a final post to do on it once they are gone but March can be a very good month. On Twitter I have recently been asked how myself and others are being so sure we are seeing different Caspian Gulls on Teesmouth, I think that is a very good and positive question. For which we have an answer, however in this post this is just the definitive separate birds I have seen.

I usually go gull watching on a Saturday and when not busy with university I go on a Friday most of the time, as a result most of my sightings are of birds over two consecutive days. Other times there is gaps of a week or more over sightings, this can be risky (for obvious reasons) and as such this post outlines definitive different individuals. I could also provide a very conservative estimate of how many I have seen, but I will wait till the end of this post and how I feel as to if I shall do this.

Bird 1
This bird was a non photographed 2nd winter on the 21st of November last year. Quite a distinctive individual and very white headed.

Bird 2
Easily the most impressive Caspian Gull I have ever seen, an almost dead cert male with its overall bulk being reminiscent of GBBGull. If I had seen this bird again over subsequent weeks I would have known about it, as such it was never seen again by myself. I saw this bird on the 23rd of November last year.

(1st winter Caspian Gull - Andrew Kinghorn)

Bird 3
Seen the same day as bird 2, another nice 1st winter and this one I presumed to be a female. Seen at the same time when the bird 1 was sitting, removing absolutely any doubt it was another bird. 

Bird 4
A very nicely marked Caspian Gull, my first of 2013 on the 5th of January!

(2nd winter Caspian Gull - Andrew Kinghorn)

(2nd winter Caspian Gull - Andrew Kinghorn)

(2nd winter Caspian Gull - Andrew Kinghorn)

Bird 5
This bird was not photographed, it was the same day as bird 4 and was at the Cowpen Bewley site rather than Seaton Common. This one is a credit as to why note taking is so useful and important in birding, from my notes in my notebook; "noted as being not quite as obvious as the previous Caspian Gull, so definitely a different bird."

Bird 6
The 12th of January is a memorable gulling day for me down on Teesmouth, I named it the '4 Casp say'. The day started with a 2nd winter (same as bird 4) and then not 1 but 2 adults! This adult is bird 6.

 (Adult Caspian Gull - Andrew Kinghorn)

(Adult Caspian Gull - Andrew Kinghorn)

Bird 7
After finding the above bird Dave Foster scanned some 15ft to the right and found another adult, both birds sitting in the same flock on the tip face. Very cool!

 (Adult Caspian Gull - Andrew Kinghorn)

(Adult Caspian Gull - Andrew Kinghorn)

Bird 8
This one is a very distinctive 1st winter, another one of those birds that I'd know for definite if I saw it again. See pic HERE.


(juvenile Glaucous Gull here with 2nd winter Caspian Gull - Andrew Kinghorn)

I think the bird from last weekend gone (2nd winter - above with Glaucous Gull) may have been a new individual but its quite hard to say for sure. All I can say with confidence is I have seen at least 8 separate Caspian Gulls so far this winter.

Until next time, Foghorn out!

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