Who am I?

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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, 28 December 2017

Harbour star

I'm unsure of the exact date that Simon Mount discovered the first winter Iceland Gull, in Ramsgate Harbour, but feel it must have been present for over a month now? I had noticed that it had been reported recently, on the KOS website as being present, but as a juvenile?? Surely if records are to be taken seriously, then they should be accurate, or is that just me being a twat? If it doesn't matter, then records don't matter and exactly why I have no role to play in the whole pantomime that is amateur natural history recording. Just an opinion - don't lose any sleep over it!
With the sun shining brightly, from a cloudless sky, and temperatures barely above freezing, there was no great desire to get out with the rods. I waited until well after noon before deciding that a wander down to the harbour might be a worthwhile effort. Bev tucked up comfortably, in front of an open fire, I headed out into the chill to see what I could find in the couple of hours I had available. Binoculars to hand and the long lens kit slung over my shoulder I had a lovely stroll along the coastal path down into Ramsgate and the harbour basin beyond.

The bird was still present and performing superbly for a steady stream of admirers. For the majority of the time I was watching; it was the closest gull and looks very likely to be a candidate for a January 1st tick for all the Kent Listers involved in that New Year's Day ritual. I'm off fishing early that morning, but might just make a detour to grab that insurance tick, on my way home? Nothing much else worthy of note. A few Fulmars are already back on their nesting ledges, below Winterstoke Steps, and a couple of Curlew flew towards Pegwell as I walked home. Turnstones, Great Black-backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls were present in decent numbers around the harbour, but it was a lone Redshank which stood out as a surprise, as it fed quietly behind the Maritime Museum. I can think of worse ways of wasting a couple of hours!


  1. There are also the Caspian and Glaucous Gulls at Dungeness, photos of which are appearing daily by the dozen on the KOS Facebook Page.

    1. I'm aware of those birds, via Dave Walker's DBO website, and have seen some outstanding images posted by the gull aficionados who have made great steps forward with id criteria, especially for the various age groups of Caspian Gull. As for the Ramsgate Iceland Gull, there were some serious looking camera outfits on display yesterday and I would hope that some nice images were obtained by the owners of such equipment. The only photo of this gull, apart from my own, that I have seen was taken by Steve Ray and posted on Birdguides - a wonderful flight image. Hope you're getting plenty of the rain you'd been hoping for, it's chucking it down here and I expect the river to be unfishable until after the bulk of this excess water has run off. Another trip to the canal might be in order? All the best and wishing you a great 2018 - Dyl

    2. Chucking it down here but after a few rainy days recently the impact on the reserve so far as been pretty negligent, just an inch or so in the ditches, so just another three foot or so to go. The ground round here got so dry after 18 months dry weather that it's still soaking it up.

    3. Dyl, I'd have to look this up to confirm (and can't be bothered) but I seem to recall that white-wingers don't moult juvenile feathers in their first autumn like other big gulls, so technically are still in juvenile plumage. Hence the pedantic (but arguably accurate) 'juvenile' label. Personally, like you I prefer a label that refers to age, ie, 'first-winter'. Or you could sit on the fence and go 1cy, 2cy etc. Bo-o-o-ring! Somehow I can't see you sitting on the fence though...

    4. Gav - thank the lord! I worded the post purely to demonstrate the absurdity of amateurs getting involved in the gathering of sound, scientific, data. Just go out there and be delighted/amazed by the wildlife that can be discovered by anyone with a desire to look!
      Hoping that you, Rob and family have a great 2018 - take care - Dyl