Every year a Glaucous Gull

I like Glaucous Gulls. They are amazingly massive gulls and relatively easy to identify (hahaha…). I had my first adult Glaucous Gulls over 12 years ago in the Varangerfjord in NE Norway. It was an unforgettable experience finding a gorgeous adult bird on one of the fishing piers in Vestre Jakobselv.

Last year there was an adult bird just a few miles from our home in England, which I was lucky to see. It was new to my British list. Since then, I have been following the bird news of Britain and it didn’t seem to be super rare here; at least not as rare as it is in Hungary.

Following our ferry crossing between Calais and Dover, on the way back from our Hungarian trip, I checked the BirdGuides app for some interesting records in Kent county. A long staying 1st winter Glaucous Gull was reported again from the coastline of Dungeness, that seemed to be worth to go for. The girls were quite tired to get out of the car, so I went alone to find the bird on the beach. I spent some time around the fishing boat ‘scrapyard’, but didn’t find the gull. When another birdwatcher, with a spotting scope, joined me, he could easily spot the bird on the pebble beach. The 1st winter Glaucous Gull was roosting in a flock of Great Black-backed Gulls and European Herring Gulls. As the birder ticked it, he soon said goodbye. I remained at the beach an moved closer to the resting group of gulls. I was staying behind a boat. They were close enough for watching them through my binoculars. After a while, most of the gulls took off by an approaching walker, including the Glaucous Gull, which flew away towards the west.

The same first winter Glaucous Gull was photographed earlier this year by Richard Smith. It is worth to check his Flickr gallery. © Richard Smith

The same first winter Glaucous Gull was photographed earlier this year by Richard Smith. It is worth to check his Flickr gallery. © Richard Smith

Abandoned fishing boats on the beach. The boats are visible even on Google Maps. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Abandoned fishing boats on the beach. The boats are visible even on Google Maps. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Some boats are in perfect condition and still used. Gulls were roosting behind this boat. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Some boats are in perfect condition and still used. Gulls were roosting behind this boat. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Image of the beach with the flock of gulls. Some Great Black-backed Gulls are taking off, but the Glaucous Gull is still sitting on the ground. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Image of the beach with the flock of gulls. Some Great Black-backed Gulls are taking off, but the Glaucous Gull is still sitting on the ground. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Other birds of note from the beach included a pair of ‘European’ Northern Wheatear and two stunning adult Mediterranean Gulls. Both were new additions to the year list. In the sea I saw an unidentified dolphin species. A Whimbrel, a flock of Brant Goose and Sandwich Terns were flying over the sea. Despite I was a bit exhausted from driving all night long, I enjoyed this coastal birding a lot. I still don’t understand why we are living so far away from the exciting British coasts…

Here is the eBird report from the coastline of Dungeness:

Brant Goose 7
Northern Gannet 3
Eurasian Oystercatcher 2
Whimbrel 1
Mediterranean Gull 2
European Herring Gull 46
Lesser Black-backed Gull 2
Glaucous Gull 1 (2y)
Great Black-backed Gull 29
Sandwich Tern 8
Stock Dove 2
Common Wood Pigeon 2
Eurasian Magpie 12
Eurasian Skylark 1
Barn Swallow 3
Northern Wheatear 2
Dunnock 1
White Wagtail (British) 5
European Goldfinch 1
Eurasian Linnet 2

Huge thanks to Richard Smith, London bird photographer, for providing his image for my blog post.

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