12 January 2014

Newgale Gulls

As a result of the extraordinary series of storms which powered their way across the Atlantic in late December and early January, the shingle bank at Newgale was breached and the marsh flooded. The road was closed by piles of shingle and the Duke of Edinburgh Pub became a temporary island. The flooded marsh, for a period, held an amazing amount of water and huge numbers of Gulls bathed and roosted there.

The Marsh and The Duke of Edinburgh

It later became apparent that the gulls were being drawn by the quantities of shellfish and worms scoured from the seabed and deposited on the beach.

The first rare gull was found by Dave Astins on 31st December - a juvenile Glaucous Gull which was roosting on the marsh

Photo D J Astins

and this was soon followed by this near adult (buff markings to coverts/scapulars) picked up, once again, on the Marsh by Clive Hurford the next day

Photo M Young-Powell
I picked up this next bird on the 8th while looking over the Marsh, sheltered from the howling gale beside MM Carter's Hardware shop. Though this photo of the juvenile Kumlien's Gull was taken the next day by Bob Haycock, feeding at the North end of the beach. A regular gathering place at the mouth of the Brandy Brook.

Photo B Haycock

A dark bird, consistently in the third quarter of the Hampton Scale and consequently close to Thayer's Gull. 

I counted 18 Mediterranean Gulls on the Marsh one time but I'm sure there were many more. An adult and second winter here.

Photo M Young-Powell

The 10th January was the hightlight of this period to my mind, with lots of gulls on the Marsh and at the North end again but even more in huge groups all along the beach. The near adult and juvenile Glaucous Gull was joined by a second juvenile. 

Photo M Young-Powell

Dave Astins and I had a great morning, Dave picking out this juvenile Iceland Gull which provided a nice pallid contrast to the juvenile Kumlien's. The hybrid Mediterranean Gull x Black-headed Gull first seen yesterday is in front.

Photo B Southern

Later in the afternoon Mushaq Ahmad joined us and he picked up a new Kumlien's Gull, this time a smart adult which showed next day also at the North end of the beach.

Photo M Young-Powell

Photo D J Astins

The numbers of gulls had dropped dramatically on the 11th with good weather and even more so the next day but still Arfon Williams managed to find a second winter Ring-billed Gull. Hard to be certain but maybe drawing the curtain down on quite a drama.

No comments:

Post a Comment