Saturday, 29 August 2009

More Meds

4 Mediterranean Gulls by the Seton Burn this evening, 3 adults including Cherry Blossom (red-7P8) and an adjacent bird with more mask (1st pic), plus a pretty adult with moulted primaries hence stubby rear (2nd pic), both latter unringed; late on also an unringed juvenile on shore east. Earlier, a colour-ringed Herring Gull, orange-1787 [ringed as an adult on 30/11/07 at Seamer Carr landfill, near Scarborough, North Yorkshire (TA038820), and also there on 15/1/08 - per Sara Bone, CSL - see full details in Comment below], following a yellow darvic BHG last night. Whimbrel still present (probably same since 14/8) and by dusk Sandwich Terns still numbered 46 in very windy conditions.

Earlier, Common Swift over Blindwells.

Sunday update: a very distinctive aberrantly-plumaged House Sparrow present in the flock (85+) at Port Seton playground (by Wrecked Craigs), fawn or biscuit coloured. This may be a "brown" or simply leucistic variant, discussed in this paper "Not every white bird is an albino: sense and nonsense about colour aberrations in birds". Many thanks to the author, Hein van Grouw, for his comment below confirming this as a "Brown" plumage mutation. An apparent albino has also been seen recently been in Dirleton, photo.

Meanwhile, 5 more Shag darvics on Long Craigs rocks (one new, details) and towards dusk 2 Mediterranean Gulls on shore W of burn, Cherry Blossom and her friend (again standing nearly adjacent on beach, and clearly aware of each other). Did not make a thorough search as a chap with a kayake went down the burn flushing everything. Still 46 Sandwich Terns, 17 Mute Swans, 10 Dunlin, 6 Goosander, 2 Wigeon, and the single resident Whimbrel, plus a juv Black-tailed Godwit flew in from the NE calling.


  1. Dear Stephen,

    Thank you for your email. I checked the bird on your website and I can tell you this colour is caused by the mutation Brown. I don't think it's a juvenile. It has fresh adult plumage so it shows the colour beautifully. In a few month times the bird will be more bleached by the light.

    Hein van Grouw, Curator, Bird Group, Dept. of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Akeman Street, Tring, Herts, HP23 6AP, UK

  2. Comment received from Sara Bone, CSL, via email:

    Hi Stephen,

    Thank you for reporting this sighting.

    Herring Gull with orange ring 1767 was ringed on the 30th November 2007 on Seamer Carr landfill, near Scarborough, North Yorkshire (TA038820) as an adult, with metal BTO ring number GN78278.

    It has been seen once since it was ringed, on the 15th January 2008 back on Seamer Carr landfill (seen by the compactor driver sat on the bucket of the compactor!).

    Thank you for this sighting, it is interesting to get more sightings to Scotland. Although some of the birds that winter in Scarborough are locals, and present all year round, a good proportion appear to be Scottish breeding birds come south for the winter.

    If you have any more sightings, or any questions, please get in touch.