Mysterious gull, I want to get close to you…

My mate Andy and I had a trip up to Redmires last night to have a squint through the gulls. It’s probably the most accessible large gull roost in Sheffield (at least by public transport), and well worth a look if gulls are your sort of thing. At the moment there’s a large group of lesser black-backs, with (at least) one yellow-legged among them, but Caspians have also been recorded there in previous years.

Lesser Black Backs, with a Yellow-legged friend

Sadly I’d gone straight from work, and so didn’t have my scope with me, which is always a useful object for gull-watching! Despite this, we managed to find one of the yellow-legs fairly quickly, on the Middle Res. It’s on the left of the photo above – the mantle is much paler than the LBBGs, it had obviously yellow legs, and the steep forehead and long legs are among the physical characteristics that point towards YLG.

I was glad at least one obvious bird was around as there were a few other maybes…

Yellow-legged Gull (and possible Yellow-legged Gulls!)

Bird 1 is the same as above. Bird 2 was out on its own a bit further off, and was a good contender for an adult (it appeared yellow-legged, and shows distinctly long legs) but we didn’t get quite good enough ID to clinch it and the photo is terrible. Bird 3 is a possible juv, showing characteristic long-leggedness and very pale head and chest, suggesting YLG. Bird 4 is another possible, but I’m possibly leaning towards juv LBBG on that one, but it’s near impossible to tell from the photo.

Gull ID is by far not my strong point as you can see! But they’re fascinating, if slightly frustrating, birds once you get squinting, with the subtlest differences revealing species you’re likely to overlook without a bit of care. I’ll just remember to take my scope next time!

Also on the res were 2 dunlin, 2 redshank, 12 golden plover and 1 little ringed plover. There was a flock of around 60 lapwing on Roper Hill, a small flock of siskin flitting around, and many kestrels, at least 5 individuals, with 3 hunting together at one point.

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Pete

My name is Pete

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