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, 14 August 2015

Sabine's Gull - Pennington Flash, Manchester

When a cracking adult Sabine’s Gull turned up at Pennington Flash last Tuesday, I was keen on seeing this extremely beautiful gull, especially as this particular individual had been flying to within touching distance at times. Just 45 minutes from my house, I soon made the journey after work the next day, with the bird having been showing well and coming to bread throughout the day.

Frequenting the patch of water outside Horrocks Hide (handily just a few paces from the car park) we immediately caught up with this stunning gull, showing amazingly well and sitting happily extremely close to the side of the lake. Having been coming to bread that morning, we brought our own brown loaf to tempt it for a snack even closer to the bank, and sure enough as soon as the bread hit the surface it flew towards us, inquisitively wondering what morsels had been provided and flying to within just a few feet. Sadly, the Sabine’s mustn’t have had a taste for brown bread, as it quickly lost interest, floating a little further away and allowing the resident Mute Swan to gobble up the leftovers.
Sabine's Gull - Pennington Flash
This is only my second Sabine’s Gull after seeing a juvenile a few years ago at Belvide Reservoir in Staffordshire (which bizarrely showed even closer, coming to within touching distance of the side) but I was really keen to see an adult plumaged bird. With the jet black head, yellow tipped bill and beautiful diagnostic black and white patterned wings, Sabine’s Gulls are unmistakeable in flight and definitely one of our most attractive species of gull. Usually a pelagic species in the UK, breeding in the arctic and only passing through during the autumn when strong gales bring them closer to shore, I have yet to see Sabine’s Gull on the sea. Individuals are often reported from the nearby Wirral coast and the North Wales shoreline during autumn gales in September, so it is definitely worth looking out for birds during strong Northerly and North Westerly winds.
Sabine's Gull - Pennington Flash
The Pennington Flash bird seems to favour the left hand side of the lake before Horrocks Hide, where there is a small fenced area going down to the lake side. Present now for over a week, it has recently suffered an attack by a Pike, with visible damage sustained to the belly after having been reportedly dragged under the surface of the water. Luckily, the gull made an escape, and looks to be settled here for the time being. 

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