Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Thursday 10 July 2014

Unpresidented gull movement

So far the Summer hasn't been too shabby - until yesterday that is! The wind has picked up (25 mph N-NW) and brought with it heavy cloud cover and intermittent bouts of rain; however, "every cloud", today has seen a spectacular arrival of Black-headed Gulls on, and over, Newland's Farm.
I first noticed that something was going on when Ian Rackley and I were having our first tea break. There was a steady trickle of moulting adults passing west over Pyson's Road and I commented as such; Ian being completely un-impressed - "They're bloody seagulls!"

Black-headed Gulls passing over Newland's farm
The passage has continued for most of the day, so I can but speculate at the number of birds involved, but feel it would be in the 1,000's!  I grabbed my camera gear and headed over to the "big field", where the guys are planting the next cauliflower crop, as soon as I finished work. Several hundred Black-headed Gulls were settled on the deck, surprisingly few juveniles (a rough guess would be 12 - 1 adult/juvenile ratio) The fact that the birds were arriving from the south and east would suggest that they are from the continent and not from the colonies along the Swale, Medway and Thames river systems.
I guessed that juveniles were outnumbered 12:1 by the moulting adults seen today
I managed to get a few images, but had to resort to ISO 800 1/800 sec due to the dreary conditions. Closer inspection of the decked flock revealed a few Common Gulls (mainly 2nd year non-breeders) and the first newly fledged Herring Gull from the adjacent Pyson's Road colony.
Early July isn't when I expect to see large numbers of
these smart little gulls around Newland's; mid-August is far more typical
when they are usually accompanied by decent numbers
of Mediterranean Gulls
I'd told Bev that I'd only be out for twenty minutes yet, due to the scale of the movement, I ended up doing the complete circuit and spending an hour and a half for my trouble. I clicked away merrily, but was rather surprised to see an adult Black-headed Gull, that the approaching tractor flushed, sporting what I could only assume was a radio tracking aerial. It was only when I checked my downloaded images that I saw that I'd been incredibly fortunate to get a few "grainy" images of the individual and question my first impression.
Having had time to look at the series of images I am convinced that this individual has been
the victim of a very serious injury. The angle of the exposed projectile (far too thick to be a
modern tracking device) suggests that the bird has been involved in some kind of bizarre incident.
Natural (on a rubbish tip) or man-made? We'll never know.
Closer inspection would suggest a far more sinister explanation - I have no idea as to how such an event could occur? The only other event, worthy of note, was the capture of a rather smart micro (netted in the front garden) which I photographed this afternoon. I haven't bothered attempting to get an id - as yet.
A rather smart little chap

1 comment:

  1. Homeosoma sinuella ...

    ps: Don't write that book ... you'll get locked up/and/or sued.