Monday, 27 April 2015

Missed it; if it ever existed that is

The Safari's  morning look over the a very cold sea wasn’t productive at all, it was deathly quiet out there. Other than a small raft of gulls is the middle distance all we had to show for it were two shimmering Gannets well to the north.
At lunchtime we tried again but by now the cold had changed to horrible heat haze, everything was indistinctly wobbly not that there was much. A look at the few gulls on the beach didn’t give us anything to shout about but half a dozen Turnstones on the soon to disappear outfall pipe made us feel totally sad at the imminent loss of this small but vibrant ‘reef’ community. Looking north the light was fractionally better although bright sunlight is never good for discerning the subtle greys of gulls’ mantles. A bit of a wide shallow runnel held about thirty of the winged wonders almost all adult Herring Gulls with a few Lesser Black Backs and what looked suspiciously darker backed and brighter legged enough to be a Yellow Legged Gull. It took an age of it wandering around to come close to and at the sane angle as a nearby Herring Gull. With the side-by-side comparison it was just about dark enough to call but its clinching legs were now underwater as paddling in deeper water. We made the decision to nip back to the office to get the big camera and then drop down on to the beach for a good close look. We weren’t gone long but sadly long enough; when we got down on to the beach we gave the flock a good look with the bins, the light was better with them being closer and being down at their level but could only see Herring and Lesser Black Backed Gulls in the water. We tried a few test shots on the ‘normal’ gulls and thought it can’t have gone far so we scanned the rest of the beach – there flying south along the tide line was a gull with what seemed like a slightly too-dark back for a Herring Gull but could just have been shadowed due to the angle we were looking at it from and a big wedge of black in the wing tip but it was hard to tell what was real and what was lighting effect in the horrid light and the bird now far too far away for a pic. 
Lesser Black Back with watery reflections
So the moral of the story is if you find a dodgy gull leave and go back to it and can’t find it a) it probably wasn’t so dodgy after all or b) you just missed it fly off, the former is the most likely.
Our solitary bees in the garden were hard to come by too with just one hairy faced male of a still unknown species being seen. We had the camera to see if we could get a better photo than last week’s abysmal efforts only to find we’d drained the battery on the gull pics and didn’t have our spare with us as it’s in our other coat pocket back at Base Camp – dohhhh school boy error – always take your spare battery.
Phone pics
Where to next? Looks like winter has returned with a big last bite, could be something out there somewhere to be found tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know who snuck off without waiting in your outback.

1 comment:

Stuart Price said...

Large gulls............once you look at them closely you realise no 2 individuals looke the same.........