Sunday, December 19, 2010

Anyone seen the sea?

The photograph above was taken on 18/12/10 in my back garden, and shows a Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus. This seems quite unusual to find a gull on the back lawn, but I'm regularly getting a flock of about 15, pinching the suet pellets that I put out for the Starlings. It must be due to the extreme cold weather we are having driving the gulls away from frozen water in search of garden titbits.

This specimen has brown wing markings and a black tail without white spots which makes it a juvenile in its 1st winter plumage. In the summer, this bird will develop a dark chocolate coloured hood, which often looks black, and it is from this that gives the bird its name. The orange blob below its bum is actually a biscuit (in case you were wondering).

An even rarer bird that has given me a new garden tick is shown below.

This is a Common Gull Larus canus, and appeared with the same flock of Black-headed Gulls. It landed on the lawn once during observation, but I was unable to get the required photograph. Instead, it spent most of its time up on my neighbours roof watching the other birds get their fill. The word common is rather a misnomer in this case as the Black-headed Gull and Herring Gull are the more likely species to be seen.