Feb 2nd   Leave a comment

I am working at home because of lockdown, teaching students remotely and trying to make the best of it. But one aspect of the make do arrangement that is just brilliant is that I am in the right place when someone finds something out at Fife Ness. I was just finishing a meeting with a student (honestly) when John Anderson phoned – there was a glaucous gull on the rocks by Stinky Pool. Fifteen minutes later I was out there looking at the gull too, as it took a break in the cormorants and shag roost. Ten minutes even later it was on its way south again, flying over the lighthouse at Fife Ness. This seems to be the way of Crail white-winged gulls – they stop its only for a short while. But my haste was vindicated. Today’s glaucous gull – and only about my 7th or 8th in my 19 years here – was a second winter bird with its wings going almost pure white, and more patchy biscuity-brown elsewhere. It was stood in exactly the same spot as the Iceland gull on November 26th last year. But in contrast, today’s bird showed the characteristic flat head, beady head and low brow (a more thuggish look) of a glaucous, with a heavier pink bill with a neat back tip. The rain started again as the gull left but I stuck it out for a quick seawatch, sheltering in the lee of the seawatching hide. I was rewarded with a black-throated diver coming past heading north. I had been hoping for one of the great northern divers that others have been seeing this week, but a black-throated will do very nicely, taking me up to 102 for the Crail year list.

The 2nd winter glaucous gull taken on my phone through my telescope – phonescoping works well in poor light.
But John’s photo is much more detailed – note the “nasty” look (apologies to glaucous gulls, but it is really is the best way to always split them reliably from Iceland gulls) (JA)

Posted February 2, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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