A tale of nature, wildlife and birding from Cheshire, North Wales and across the globe....

A tale of nature, wildlife and birding from Cheshire, North Wales and across the globe....

Friday, 7 November 2014

Ring-Billed Gull in Hampshire returns for its 13th Year

Day 3 of our south coast road trip and we headed off to the Siberian Stonechat in glorious sunshine – beautiful weather considering it was almost November. Upon arriving at the hide, after a brief 10 minute wait, the bird was relocated at the far end of the field amongst the reeds, favouring a bramble bush and using the thick reed stems lower down to perch on. Even at a distance, the paleness was clear to see, and the British Stonechats on the fence posts nearby offered a handy comparison between the two species.

Siberian Stonechat
Record shot of the Sibe Stonechat
Eager to search for the Firecrest that was reportedly heard as we were making our way down to the hide, we stopped by the pine trees on the way back to try and get a glimpse of one of my favourite birds. After several Goldcrests bumbling through the leaves, my eyes locked on to a bird flying in from the left and landing in the ivy covered tree right in front - raising my army bins I immediately saw the bright white stripe above the eye – bingo! Absolutely gorgeous birds, it’s always great to catch up with them, and this bird showed really well in perfect light before flitting off and away in to the dark pines – eluding everyone else that had by this time stopped to see what we were looking for.

Hampshire
The Harbour in Hampshrie
After learning that very morning that the regular wintering Ring-billed Gull had returned to Walpole Boating Lake in Gosport for an incredible 13th year, we headed there to try and catch up with it. After dipping a first winter in an Asda car park in Liverpool a few years back, I was keen to see a much nicer adult bird in all its glory. Our target was quickly picked out sitting on a yellow buoy in the middle of the small lake, before offering amazingly close views as it landed on the boardwalk – completely unperturbed by our presence.


Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

It would be interesting to find out where this bird actually summers – I would assume it doesn’t make the hefty crossing over the Atlantic every spring and autumn – so where does it go? It’s also remarkable that it always makes its way back to this small lake in the middle of Hampshire every winter – evidently the huge amount of bread and chips provided by the locals just prove too much for it to resist year on year!

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull
Shy after all the attention....

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