Saturday, 30 January 2010

Stubbers Green - cold enough for Iceland

January is now coming to an end and chances of a local 'white winger' are diminishing. Filled with little enthusiasm, I decided on an impromptu mid morning check of Priorslee lake. Weekend Gull assemblies are notoriously small though and with news of the 2nd Winter Iceland Gull showing at Stubber's Green, temptation came my way! After 30 mins of inactivity (less than 100 Gulls), I was driving down the M54!!

I settled for the grassy bank end (big mistake) with hopes of close views and waited... There were certainly plenty of Gulls, including the distant 'regular' 3rd Winter Caspian Gull.

90 mins had elapsed and a local birder announced he had seen a Glaucous Gull at Kingswood pool, Cannock! After another 10mins I decided to thaw my feet and fingertips out, then head over that way - a good idea but I never actually got there.....

Driving up the road to turn the car around, I noticed there were a few gulls at the sailing club end - I thought it best to check them out, (an even better idea) so parked up again and .... yes, you've guessed it - amongst them was the Iceland Gull!!

Sadly by this time, I was shooting into the light but some record shots of this classy Gull....






Drifting and preening....






Before flying off even further across the pool.....










Main mission accomplished, I set off for Cannock (hmm, but as you know, I never actaully got there!) Half a mile down the road, I saw out of the corner of my eye the familiar sight of the 'Chasewater team' GE, PJ, RC et al - scoping through some netting! A quick U turn and I joined them - for my first look at what turned out to be Highfield South Landfill site - I bring you news from some exotic locations eh!!

First good bird was a 1st Winter Caspian Gull - in fact the first time I've encountered one of this age.









Then, record shots of a couple of 2nd Winter Caspian Gulls also present. The distance and flighty nature of the flock made refinding birds quite difficult!










A throat distending / stomach gagging moment as it swallowed what looked like half a chicken (whole!) Glad I wasn't that close now!






Finally, the real bonus bird - a 1st Winter Glaucous Gull dropped in!!












Job done and with four Caspian Gulls, Iceland and Glaucous in the notebook, a Gull feast to remember! I never did get to Cannock or Chasewater (and neither did the lads?). It was absolooooooootely freezing, so back in the car, heater on and homeward bound.......

The weekend continued with some Parkgate (Wirral) action and a decent Winter high tide of 9.9 metres - enough to part flood the saltmarsh? Find out, with images to follow when I get chance.......

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