The Portland Naturalist

The Portland Naturalist

Monday, 24 February 2014

Glorious(!) Gulls

Not a massive amount to relate in the last week.


A Great Skua was a bit of a surprise sitting in Portland Harbour, though it appears this wasn't the only out of position Bonxie around that morning. 

The only other notable sighting was of a couple of adult Little Gull again in Chesil Cove.

This dark Gull stood out like a sore thumb among the Herring Gull at Ferrybridge, though I'm assuming it's just a dark argenteus.


There was still a number of Kittiwake knocking about the place, this one at Ferrybridge.

But, the most notable sightings was still a Little Gull in Chesil Cove, as well as a Great Skua, Red-throated Diver, plus the patch tick of a pair of Common Scoter past.

The other notable (for Portland) sighting was a Lapwing, which was on the shore of Chesil Beach a fair way down The Fleet (so not quite at Ferrybridge!).


A walk around the Suckthumb/Reap/Barleycrates triangle produced a cracking Firecrest at the former, which one hopes is a primary migrant, on this spring-like day.

Chesil Cove was still sadly littered with dead Auks, a great number with their heads missing. What's doing that?  Perhaps a Fox?  Not sure it was the Carrion Crow which I watched feeding. 

I am determined to get some decent stuff pass through the Cove, and today saw glimpses of quality with 5 more Common Scoter and a Black-throated Diver.


On what was a very foggy and soggy day, I rather embarrassingly mis-ID'd an Eider in Portland Harbour.  It held it's head up straight for much of time, and looked all the world like a Velvet Scoter neck and head shape!  The visibility and choppy waters didn't help! 

The fourth Glaucous Gull (a 1st-winter) of the year was found scything through Chesil Cove, which had just previously dropped into Radipole Lake.


A beautiful day, that produced nothing of interest bird-wise, except my first Linnet at Ferrybridge since the autumn, undoubtedly a migrant.

I had a walk round Blacknor, and it was worrying to find all the Alexanders looking damaged by salt-spray, clearly caused by the recent storms..

This is unfortunate as this plant is vital on Portland for providing food and cover for passerine migrants.


It was nice to see the adult Glaucous Gull once again, this time lurking in Chesil Cove.  A shame however to see it sporting some sort of line coming out the side of it's bill.

It may look like another white-winger at the back, but in fact it's just a Herring Gull that's let it's wing-tips droop into the water.

Gulls have very much been at the centre of my attentions recently (although I've now missed three Icelands!), so it was nice to (just!) get five species in one shot. Although I couldn't quite get a Great Black-backed Gull in it too!  Great to have some adult Lesser Black-backed Gull back from Spain/North Africa.

Spring is very much in the air now.  I can smell the first Wheatear round the corner!

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