feeling like a dead duck

And so to the patch. 

Several days of easterlies.  It is May.  That means migration.  The patch is on the coast.

What should this equal?  Birds – and lots of them.  What do I get?  The same Gulls and Pigeons that I always get and four Swallows.  This will not do!  If this does not improve I shall complain.  And then write a letter.  I’m not entirely sure to who, but I shall write it nonetheless!

The only item of interest on the beach today was this.

spitting out pieces of his broken luck


third time lucky?

Well, dear reader, you come here with bated breath.  Your heart rate rising at the possibility that you are a regular visitor to what might possibly be a blog with magic properties (posts passim for newcomers) the likes of which only exist in fiction.  How exciting is this all!


Osprey then.  Big bird, all brown and white and stuff.  Likes fish.  Can be seen in this area on it’s way from Africa to Scotland.  Being seen ‘oop’ north  already.  And in Scotland too.  Has to pass through the south to do that.  Big, white, brown.  Likes to perch on tall things. 

Hey presto and abracadabra!

I give you – Osprey!

You’re not buying it are you?

Nope, nor me.

I knew I should have said Black Redstart…

Yarmouth.  It’s sure purdy ain’ it?

Anyway, enough of all this nonsense, I’ve got a patch to watch.

And I’m off to go and see Sand Martins…

yeah, they were all yellow

Of course Dear reader, when I said that it was folly to try and re-connect with a particular gull by the seaside, I forgot that during certain periods of the year they can exhibit a certain amount of site fidelity and it may not be that unlikely after all.  Look at that Slaty-backed Gull in Rainham, not going far is it?  Look at that Iceland Gull in Lowestoft, been there all winter and doesn’t seem to fancy a drift upwind for a mile or so to my patch, no.  Quite likes it where it is as it goes.  Look at that Med in Runton – been spending all winter on one concrete post for years now.  And that Med in Walcott.  Enough examples?  So it was without a large amount of surprise that I re-found the YLG again today, and pretty much in the same place as yesterday – sitting on the buildings inside the perimeter of the Power Station if you are so inclined to look for it.  And here it is again…

two gulls doing different to each other


So on the left we have the YLG and on the right the YLG’s ‘friend’, a Herring Gull.  These two seem to spend almost all of their time together and often side by side.  YLG can be intolerant of other Gulls but this one doesn’t seem bothered by it’s companion.  I’m not sure if it is too early for Gulls to start pairing up, but even if they do they could both be vagrants and on their way soon.  Should they stay, and they are a pair and they breed then all sorts of hybrid larid hell could be unleashed on the birders of Yarmouth.

Shortly after this photo was taken, they both moved to a roof and sat down.  For over half an hour they did very little indeed.  I have many blurry photos of  these birds doing nothing.  Great.

and it was called yellow

And here is the stunning photograph of the incredibly reasonably rare uncommon bird.  A small caveat on the quality of the image, or more properly the lack of quality therein.  There are two gulls in the picture, the gull in the background is a Herring Gull.  The foreground, the YLG. And it is asleep.  The photographic process has darkened the mantle somewhat, and no you cannot see the legs but thought against pissing about with the image. 

yellow legged gull doing sleeping

However,  before it started sleeping, I did see it’s legs and they are yellow.  So is it a dead pale LBB you ask?  I reckon no.  I’ve had a fair bit of recent experience with the ol’ YLG and have a fair handle on the mantle colour that I should be looking for and this one was good enough to stop me sharply when driving past.  I reckon it’s a good ‘un. 

And that bit about trying to connect with it later?  Folly.  I forget that my patch is mainly a beach, by a port, with a river, many chip-n-bap-vans and several hundred gulls knocking about a hugely large area.  The chances of me connecting with that bird at lunchtime were about the same as casually walking up to a Hoopoe when I fancy it.  Eejit.

probably maybe

Saw what I reckon was a Yellow-legged Gull sitting on one of the buildings of the Power Station with a Herring Gull first thing.  Obviously a patch tick, will try to connect with it again later…

suffolk’n good

Eh? That doesn’t make any sense at all.

Anyway, here is a photo that I took of the docks in Lowestoft (looestuf’) and I quite like it.  The gull in the photo is not the Iceland Gull, as it has a missing primary etc etc

hamilton dock doing sunset

quality rare gull photos right here!

If  you have been perusing the interweb regarding the Slaty-backed Gull today, you will see that although over a thousand people did not see the bird in Rainham, a couple of Belgians and a Norfolk Birder reportedly DID see the bird. 

I can confirm that I am a Norfolk birder and I did see a rare gull today when other birders didn’t and here it is in all it’s Larid glory – lap it up kids…

Iceland Gull doing Lowestoft


Brilliant eh?  That’s right, Iceland Gull, connection, result.
If I was so inclined, Mrs Thing and I could have chuffed on down the A11 at stupid-o-clock heading for Rainham to go and join the throng  literally staring at a rubbish tip – waiting for a bird to show up, but I’m so thankful that I don’t get overly exited about these things- just very interested.  The official count on site was 1200 and it sounds like hell (and I pity the regular RSPB members that came for a nice-day-out looking at ducks) .  I’m probably being quite annoying by saying that I found it highly amusing that the bird wasn’t seen today but doubt if anyone that went or cares will actually connect with this post.  I was ‘working from home’ yesterday and was able to watch the whole thing unfold online during the course of the day, and noted many of the big listers that seemingly don’t have a day job getting in on the action, and the frustrated mass that have to hope that birds stay until the weekend piling into Essex today.  It’s fairly likely to hang around, but unlikely to be a properly twitchable bird, so there will be a fair few vexed twitcherers revisiting Rainham over the next few weeks methinks, and a host of claims of the bird popping up here and there.  Hey – how far is Yarmouth from Rainham as the Gull flies?  Now, I wonder….
Did I mention a rare gull?  Alright, it was ‘only’ an Iceland but there is still plenty of interest in it and actually the bird was brilliant, and showed for a short while.  Obviously when seeing/watching a little cracker like this the bins rule, and the camera only came out when it settled hence the incredible quality image that you see above. Note the missing primary, the lovely white wing tips and the largely dark bill – absolutely cracking bird.  You don’t see the detail?  Ho hum.
Just to show that every photo I take is not completely shite, here is a snippet of a sky full of geese, like today and everything yeah?

Geese doing Pink Feet

Yes, it is Saturday night and I am doing this.  Don’t worry – I’m not completely sad.  Once this is done I’m off to clean my bins.  Cracking.


whilst the twitchosphere is going mental for a funny looking gull in Rainham (Slaty-backed no less), this little snippet may amuse…

Punkbirders Slaty-backed ID guide