Sunday, 13 March 2011

Gulls Galore.

A drive southwards to Hayling Island on Friday to visit Anita's parents provided an opportunity for me to take a stroll at the disused Oyster Beds.

The early 19th century was probably the hey day of the Hayling Island oyster beds but in 1902 when new drainage / sewerage pipes were laid to meet increasing housing development the outfall into the harbour nearby caused major pollution and the oyster business failed. In the 1980's a large volume of rubble was 'dumped' into the beds. Many of the 'bunds' have been breached so nearly all of this previously protected area is now tidal. 

Despite high tide being some hours away there was very little on the water apart from two species of gulls: the more common Black-headed (Larus ridibundus) [bottom RH image] which is poorly named as in breeding plumage it has a dark chocolate brown head and the gull that does sport a black head, the MEDITERRANEAN (Larus melanocephalus) plus a thicker and blood red bill with its distinctive white eye. When this species stretches its head the black cap can appear to extend much further down the neck.

With a very strong westerly wind I attempted a couple of digiscoped shots [above and below] of  the Meds out on the closest bund and  estimated that at least 30 individuals were encamped on this rubble island and constantly moving the Black-headed Gulls away from their space. 


Eventually an opportunity arose to capture this special species in flight with the DSLR and 70-300 lens.


Other species sighted included Grey Heron, Little Egret, Cormorant, Mallard, Red-breasted Mergansers, Little Grebe, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Greenshank, Common Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Curlew and the usual Dark-bellied Brent Geese plus Kestrel, Crow, Magpie, Greenfinch, Mistle Thrush and Great Spotted Woodpecker.   FAB.

14 comments:

  1. As always, you've gotten some wonderful images. Very, very nice. :)

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  2. Hi Frank,
    Great pictures of those amazing Mediterranean Gulls! I told you they would be better than my poor efforts and I was right!
    J
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

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  3. The flight shot is beautiful!

    Kah Wai
    http://kwbirding.blogspot.com/

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  4. Thanks very much Lois.

    Cheers John. This was not an attempt to upstage you.

    Thanks Kah-Wai Lin.

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  5. Very nice gull photos Frank. I too have always thought 'Black-headed' isn't a very accurate name ;)

    You had some good sightings on your visit.

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  6. GUlls galore, and some sun ! Thats a bonus frank :-)

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  7. I like the idea of Meds pushing out the black-heads Frank. A good suggestion for Leighton Moss.

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  8. Thanks Jan. Not a bad list for an 90 minute stroll.

    Sure was Warren but it didn't last long!!

    Hi Phil. Yes, it would be good to see their range extending further north.

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  9. So long I've not seen the Mediterranean one!!! More than 12 years I think!!! Beautiful set of pictures Frank. This place looks very nice for bird watch.

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  10. ...fun! Love the flight shot and the digiscoped images. In the previous post, love the photo of the blossoms--so pretty!

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  11. Hi Chris. Definitely a good location for gulls and shorebirds.

    Thanks Mona.

    Hi Kelly. Would have preferred some closer shots but with the Meds I'll take what I can get for now. More blossom also appearing in the garden thanks to the sunshine.

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  12. Very nice shots Frank. Looks like you have plenty of Med Gulls around there.

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  13. Cheers Adam. Just a pity I had to travel to see them and couldn't add them as a patch tick!

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I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.

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