Lots of reports of unusual gulls in the Anglers/Wintersett country park area’s had us organising a trip out on Sunday. Only Steve B missing, sunning himself in the middle of the Atlantic! After a late start, well 7:30am, we left Chris B’s home and headed over the hills into Yorkshire. We reached Wintersett, and it was a little icy and quite misty so we walked over to Anglers. The Long tailed Duck showed pretty well and the mist began to break up, we had a plan to return to the area for the gull roost later in the day. Another look at Wintersett revealed two handsome drake Scaup and a few Grey Partridge. The “boatmen” had begun to arrive at Wintersett, so we left the area like the bird also did. We headed to Old Moor RSPB reserve for the reported female Smew along with a supporting cast of Brambling, Yellowhammer & Tree Sparrow. We managed to “clean up” all the target species at this very well supported reserve. Lots of people out on an unusually warm February day! Next stop was Edderthorpe flash, but,unfortunately the light was against us, so not much seen here apart from our first singing Skylark of the year, what a gem! Back at Anglers for the gull roost and a well filled bird hide saw us all get a seat and wait for the action. A Yellow-legged Gull usually appeared at 3:20pm, but it was early today and we all enjoyed great view’s of the local “bully” chasing even bigger birds around the water. This bird was a lifer for one of our number and most appreciated by all. A concerted effort was now required to find a Kumlien’s Gull that had been appearing most late afternoon’s in the roost. To a full hide, one of us found a gull with no black on its tail and a pale grey back and said, “Have a look at that gull”. The bird was watched and photographed and lots of interest shown in it and it was pronounced, by the local gull expert’s, that, that was the bird we think is a Kumlien’s, result! After so much excitement in the hide another chap came in and said, “The Caspian Gull is showing on Wintersett Reservoir”, off we went again through the mud and tangled undergrowth. There was nobody looking at the large gathering of gulls as we arrived, we said , “We will find it ourselves, we have a picture”. After about an hour and as the gulls had multiplied ten fold, all we had seen was the Yellow-legged Gull again and lots of candidates for the Caspian Gull but nothing we all agreed too was the bird! It was getting cold so we left the reservoir all agreeing that we had enjoyed the gull roost, we must do it again. We reached Rochdale by 6:30pm all of us with at least 6 year ticks in the bag. A memorable day out.
Dave Ousey.


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