Monday, 24 September 2012

New gull for the patch

Juvenile Sabine's Gull over the Thames at Rainham today - my 14th larid species on the patch.
OK, I know - these are possibly the worst photos ever taken of a Sabine's Gull in Britain. But I will publish anyway and be damned, because this was a much-wanted bird for my patch at Rainham Marshes, Greater London. In fact, as well as being my first Sabine's in the capital for 24 years, it was also my 195th species at Rainham, and no less than the 14th gull species I've recorded there. It was the pelagic prize we'd all hoped for on a day-long river watch yesterday during rain and strong easterlies, only to leave disappointed; then today, with continued blustery weather on the Thames, this bird was found by Kev Jarvis from the south shore and picked up by Andy Tweed, Dave Smith and Howard Vaughan from the visitor centre at Rainham RSPB. A cracking gull, and one of nine larid species I logged today (2 Caspians, 33 Yellow-leggeds and a first-winter Mediterranean being the other noteworthy gulls), along with 14 Common Scoter.

The bird must have been the best part of half a mile away when I photographed it, favouring the south side of the river.

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