Friday, 10 August 2012

Wknd 11-12 August

Starting another new post for these images of white-32A4, a 2nd-sum to 3rd-win Med Gull, ringed as a chick on De Kreupel Island in Netherlands on 24 June 2010, on Seton Sands rocks in late evening sun on 9 August. Still plenty black in outer primaries which led to me initially ageing it wrong as a 2nd-win, however per Olsen & Larsson 2nd-sum have P7-10 varying black, exceptionally to P5, but moult of outer primaries is typically only complete by mid Sept, 10% by mid-Oct, so even though it has dropped P6-P7 the retained black is OK for a "3rd-win" ("win" by virtue of complete moult of head). Extent of black stated to be variable, with some males just weak dark grey markings P9/10, so this bird perhaps a female? Certainly will be more careful with claiming 2nd-win before primaries are moulted in future!

An interesting bird given the Loch Ryan (D&G) and Irish sightings too, clearly establishing Lothian coast as a passage route from breeding grounds, presumably from around IJsselmeer area in coastal Netherlands, to the Scottish West coast and beyond; however, the April 2011 sighting is well into breeding so perhaps this bird summered in Wexford area that year, as a 1st-sum? Anyway, presumably these birds generally cross the North Sea west post-breeding, then "coast" up along the east coast; supporting this theory white-32A1 (ringed as chick on same day, so presumably a near relation!) was logged at Newbiggin on 26/9/10, 3 months after ringing; a nice account of this and other Northumbs birds is available in NTBC Birds Notes 3.

Also at Wrecked Craigs, another light-green over red (right) adult Sandwich Tern (in 145, 48 juv); as per sightings in May and early July (2), this is one of 300 chicks marked at Sands of Forvie in 2008. Can't remember when last at Seton without colour-rings to read - quite a job to keep up with reporting and documenting them all!

View looking the other way at Seton, Mute Swan now resident since spring 2009, has drawn in a few passing birds in recent days and once seen a good mile offshore (3/8); alone again now - no wonder as was seen chasing off an interloper yesterday in aggressive busking display, presumably wants to keep its free hand-outs of bread for itself!

Longniddry shore at dusk - another 65 Sandwich Terns here:

Friday morning - Shags blue-CCI, blue-ZLP, green-SPJ and red-TLZ. The former is an old friend (ringed Isle of May 14/7/98) and the first ring I read here back in Nov 2006, but did not confirm code until resighted in Sept 2009! 2 Sandwich Terns light-green over red and one white darvic (ELT?) in 153 birds. Also first Arctic Tern of the autumn, 2 ads + juv, also 6 + 1 Common Tern. An unusual sighting of an adult Great Crested Grebe just offshore.

Friday evening, another glorious sunset and an apparent 3rd-win Med Gull on Seton Sands rocks (could not see legs to confirm same), also two very different looking adult Med Gulls, one larger bird with blocky head all white but for a tiny ear dot, the other a very small individual (perhaps same as last week July?) shown here:

Saturday - out of the area on trip to Montrose, bit of a busman's holiday as arrived to find beach covered in terns and gulls, c. 3k; after some scrutiny estimated 300 Common Tern (many juvs), 280 Sandwich (white darvic and red-ESF shown below, plus red/green and light-green/blue Forvie chicks), 38 Arctic (c. 12 juvs); gulls breakdown c. 1600 Herring (many plunge feeding in shallows), 300 BHG, 190 Kittiwake (many juvs), several Common Gull (1 juv), 3 LBB, 1 GBB. No Meds though :( Photo of a small slice of this gathering below, the Arctic Tern band is along the middle. [PS - red-ESF was ringed as an adult on the Ythan on 3/8/11 and seen thereafter at Girdleness on 27/8/11).

Dusk Sunday - no change with 2 ad Med Gulls and apparent 3rd-win, but could not see legs to be sure latter is same white-32A4. 3 juv Common Gull in 320, 22 juv BHG in 420, 85 Sandwich Tern.

Monday morning - ad+Juv Roseate Tern on Wrecked Craigs rocks, a brilliant species, marvellous calls too, and long-awaited patch tick. Ad ringed both legs, tall metal ring right leg, BTO metal left; juv ringed probably only metal left - this type of ring standard in Europe (& N America) - unfortunately futile to try to read the tiny stamped digits at range 300m! Also Shags including red-TJI (3rd-sum, ringed Isle of May 20/6/09), red-LLZ (ad, ringed Isle of May, 19/7/05), red-CFZ (also here 10/9/11), green-Z*D and a couple of blue.

Tuesday - Shag red-LLZ still, this Isle of May 2005 chick previously seen here various dates in Aug 2009 and Oct 2011, but also spotted at Aberdeen harbour in September 2009 just a month after being seen here.

Tuesday evening - arrived at Seton a bit late, half an hour after sunset one ad Med by the burn and 360 moulting Eider floating on sea at burn mouth.


  1. Nice post Stephen - never really thought of our Med gulls going any further than Fife before but I would imagine it'd be as easy for them to cut through to the West as the other gull/skua species.

    Keep it up


  2. Smart. I think this was the same one seen at Musselburgh last August. Sadly, I was unable to read the ring (luckily someone did a bit earlier in the month from memory).
    Great shots!
    I notice Buckhaven had 5 ads at once - at least we seem to get all the ringed ones!

  3. You're right Stuart, same bird you saw, I'd intended to hyperlink the sightings history (now done); remarkably Gavin who saw it at Muss bumped into very same bird over at Loch Ryan 7 months later, he got excellent photos of both allowing us now to compare 1st-sum>2nd-win, 2nd-win and 2nd-sum>3rd-win plumages.

    From what I hear about our Fife "competition" they have it easy over there with relatively few other gulls to check throo; at least one of their birds has been ringed (metal), I did try to engage with one of the photographers of same but nothing came out of it, not sure if anyone else has attempted to read it/any though should be feasible when quite tame/coming to bread.

    There are some other examples on Johan's site** of birds recorded both here and in the west/Ireland. More sightings needed though...