Posts Tagged ‘Yellow Legged Gull’

A family holiday spent at the Sahara Beach Hotel in Skanes, Monastir, Tunisia. It was our fifth visit to the area so I already knew where to go birding. Managed to do some birding every day, but mainly in the morning, usually around 6-15am as it became very warm around 9-30am. The area around this hotel is dominated by very large salt lagoons and lots of breeding birds, including Yellow legged Gull, Slender billed Gull, Little, Common and Gull billed Tern’s and good numbers of Collared Pratincole. Waders in the shape of Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed and Kentish Plover. Lots of Greater Flamingo directly behind the Monastir Airport, along with Spoonbill and Stone Curlew in small numbers. At the local dump near Sahline, up to 180 White Storks were present but the spectacle of uncountable numbers of Yellow legged Gull will stay with me for a long while! In the hotel area’s Hoopoe, Serin, Crested Lark, Bee-Eater, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Spanish Sparrow were seen in varying numbers. Around the salt lagoons various bushes and mixed habitat held up to 8 Great Grey Shrikes of the algeriencis form that allow close attention to photograph! Also in those area’ s are small numbers of Zitting Cisticola(Fan Tailed Warbler), Greenfinch, Linnet, Short Toed Lark and the abundant Rock/ Feral Dove. Smaller numbers of Collared, Laughing and Turtle Doves also.Large flocks of Spotless Starling are great to watch as they dig for food on the ground and squabble just like “our” one’s. There are lots of Swift and with a bit of luck a few Pallid Swift can be found as they chase their prey close to the ground. Small numbers of House and Sand Martins were seen, but not many Barn Swallow’s (think there is a sad decline this year in their numbers) On the journey from Enfidha Airport to our hotel a single Carrion Crow was seen flying around a small village, a bit unusual that? A single Barbary Partridge was seen one early morning in the scrub around the salt lagoons and in the evening a single Hobby was out hunting and then a flock of 5 Shelduck flew past. A few Kestrel’s and Sparrowhawk’s were seen again in small numbers. Our our return home and near the airport at Enfidha a Booted Eagle was seen hunting and great end to a very localised birding / family holiday.


Our almost annual trip to Moore local nature reserve in Warrington was well attended this year, apart from one of the lads choosing down rather than feathers! We met at 6am in Rochdale and with myself at the wheel arrived at Moore around 7am. It was cold but we had the reserve almost to ourselves. After we had all spread out and began to search for the sometimes hard to find Lesser Spotted Woodpecker a Greater Spotted Woodpecker & Green Woodpecker were soon heard. Then the much quieter and more rapid drumming of our target species was heard. The bird was only about 15 yards away and happily fed amongst the mossy/lichen covered branch of an old tree before landing 30 yards away and beginning to drum, great views! Its a smashing reserve for various species and worth a visit if you are ever in the area. A few more birders were arriving by now and we told them what we had seen. As the tide was around 11am at Liverpool we decided to visit Richmond Bank to search for the various type`s of gulls that are usually present. The tip area were the gulls visit closes around midday so the earlier the better we all thought. So by 8-45am we met another 6 “gullers” and began our search through the many birds present. Conditions for viewing were excellent and within 5 minutes of arrival a juvenile/first winter Iceland Gull was found. It remained in view for our 2 hour stay! Then a  Herring Gull that looked like a Yellow Legged Gull was seen, until a really well marked Yellow Legged Gull gave itself up, what a nice example. Next up an adult type Caspian Gull was seen. Long “spindly” legs, slim parallel bill. black beady eye on a tapering head shape were some of the noted identification features. Round about this time Steve B (who has a small attention span with gulls & wildfowl) just happened to point out to us all a Glaucous Gull flying down the river, well done Steve! By this time the River Mersey was beginning to push the birds off their roost areas and as we all watched the tidal “bore” the sound was quite spectacular, most of our team have never seen or heard this before. We believe it was to do with it being a 9.9 metre tide? An Iceland Gull was seen flying up & down the river as the river area was completely covered by now. We called in at an area along the East Lancashire Road (A580) to see if we could see any Yellowhammers and managed to find one. We managed to get home around 1pm and all had enjoyed the half day trip, all seeing around 7 new species for the year.

Dave O.

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.