Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Minsmere - 18-03-12

A late morning visit to Minsmere was the order of the day with early spring migrants the target. Getting to North wall the first 4 of 5 Wheatears for the day were noted, all stunning males and looking even better when the odd patch of sun illuminated them. A singing Chffchaff was further proof that spring is just around the corner. The scrape was mainly covered  with Black-headed Gulls but a few Avocet, Dunlin, Turnstone and a Pair of Mediterranean Gulls were also present. Big gull numbers were down with only 30 odd loafing about. A couple of Caspians, one of which may have been a hybrid but didn't manage any shots of the primary pattern, were picked out. On the sea 3 Red-throated Divers, one in summer plumage, and a few Gannets were seen. Near the sluice the 5th Wheatear of the day put in a brief appearance. The levels was playing host to 400+ large gulls and a scan revealed about 5 Yellow-legged and a Caspian. The most interesting bird from my point of view was a herring gull type with what looked like yellow legs, the bird however as the photo shows was standing in water only letting the top inch of the leg to be visible. It also never lifted its head. Based on the colour of the mantle I suspect it was a Marsh Gull, or Omissis type Herring Gull and proves the not all Herring Gulls with yellow legs are Yellow-legged Gulls. The walk back to the carpark provided a couple of Whopper Swans behind south hide and a fly over immature Spoonbill.

Wheatear 1 of 5
omissis type Herring Gull? (standing in water just below centre, note mantle tone similar to Herring Gulls in flock to the rear) Yellow tops of legs just visible.

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