I was out for a quick lap round the reservoir this morning to see what was around. My usual start recently and for this visit, is to start by scanning through the Black-headed Gulls loafing on the pontoon and railings. This morning I noticed a ringed bird but it was too far to get any detail from the eastern bank so I hoped it would stay until I made it around to the other side. Making my way around several Meadow Pipits and a few Skylarks flew over. A Chiffchaff was calling from the riverside trees and a few Siskins flew along there too.
I noted there were seven Cormorants fishing this morning and later joined the gulls on the pontoon. Making my way down the western bank a couple of Reed Buntings flew up from the fence line and out into the cattle field. I got to the pontoon and found the ringed gull was still present. It had a Black Davric ring with a white alpha-numeric code of P559. Looking it up it seems this gull was ringed in Lithuania. The only details I have so far is that it would have been ringed at some time between 2008 and 2013 at a coastal site.
Roly Pitts had a look around this afternoon and saw a Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher and Sparrowhawk. John was there this evening but the only bird of note was a Chiffchaff in one of the bushes along the western bank.
So, I will start with yesterday's birds which both Adam Hartley and Ian Lewington have been in contact about. It turns out that the adult bird is indeed a Yellow-legged Gull as thought, but Ian has said it appears to show a streaky hood that make it's appearance similar to an Azorean Gull.. The Herring Gull is actually a second calendar year bird (second winter) and the other bird is actually a second calendar year Lesser black-backed Gull.
The last point there is of particular significance and Ian has pointed out that some of our 'juvenile' Yellow-legged Gulls over recent weeks have actually been second calendar year Lesser Black-backs. These birds tend to be paler and can superficially be like Yellow-legged Gulls. It is something to be aware of and we will definitely be more careful with our ID's (particularly ageing) going forward.
Ian has also had a look at the putative Caspian Gull from the 17th September. He said that he does not believe it is a Caspian Gull and has pointed out it is a second calendar year bird (not a juvenile) and is most probably a Yellow-legged Gull.
Thank you to Adam for highlighting these points and also very much to Ian for his help in identification of the birds. It appears we have a lot more to learn!
This is no Farmoor, Otmoor or Port Meadow. This is Grimsbury. It's Grim up north!
There is a running total year list in the link above.
Please send in your bird sightings to the B.O.S. and/or to me directly for inclusion on the blog. If you have some photos you would like to contribute please let me know (contact via the comments box on the right if you do not have my email already). Thank you.