Iceland Gull for Christmas

Yesterday a 2nd winter Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) was found by a local birder at the Newton Leys small lake near the landfill. My health challenges didn’t allow to do my usual birding routine in the last few weeks, but the Christmas shopping at the local ASDA superstore was a good excuse to grab a camera as well and visit the site where the bird had been relocated earlier this morning. The gull roosting site was almost the backyard of ASDA so didn’t have to go far.

Characteristic Iceland Gull among other gulls at the Newton Leys narrow lake. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
The Iceland Gull is a rarity in our area so it was a real treat to see it just two miles from my home. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

At my arrival, half of the gulls were roosting on the pasture(?), the rest was on the lake. The Iceland Gull was on the lake but it didn’t take long to find it from behind the pavilon. Unfortuantely the gulls didn’t tolerate truck drivers and myself walking on the main road so I decided to return back to the pavilon.

Even walking on the paved road wasn’t far enough for the gulls and they moved to the nearby field. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
The beauty of buff colours. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly

From behind the pavilon there was a spot where I could use my camera between the distracting fence frames and there was a good overall view to every part of the field. While making record shots of the relatively distant gulls Harry, the founder of this bird arrived in a hope to make some better shots in this sunny early afternoon.

Bellow, a few not so great record shots of the gulls including another vagrant gull. A first winter colour ringed Caspian Gull was also spotted (only realised when watching the photographs on the display) next to the Iceland Gull.

Iceland Gull is easily separable from the similarly coloured wintering juveniles. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
Lots of Black-headed Gulls were flying around the roosting site. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
Spot the Iceland gull. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
Black-headed Gulls kept a distance from the large gulls. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
Colour-ringed 1st winter Caspian Gull on the left with a possible Polish origin. The preening Iceland Gull is next to it. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
Flyover Great Cormorant. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
Greylag Geese take off towards the Lake Estates. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
Iceland Gull showing its pink foot. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
Iceland Gull with Great-black Backed Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls and European Herring Gulls. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
Another record shot of the Iceland Gull.Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
It was resting and sleeping quite often during my stay. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
A stunning soaring Red Kite in perfect lights. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
Disturbed gulls with the Iceland Gull just before take off. Sony RX10 IV © Gyorgy Szimuly
As the IOC name Mew Gull, is less preferred here, I add the Common Gull instead. Mew Gull Larus canus

eBird checklist from the spot:

Greylag Goose (Anser anser) 8
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 77
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 2
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) 12
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 1
Stock Dove (Columba oenas) 4
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) 6
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 180
Mew Gull (Larus canus)  6
EuropeanHerring Gull (Larus argentatus argentatus) 34
Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans) 1
Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus graellsii) 8
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) 5
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) 2
Red Kite (Milvus milvus milvus) 6
Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius) 1
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 26
Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) 94
Rook (Corvus frugilegus) 4
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) 37
Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis) 1
Eurasian Wren (British) (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus) 1
Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) 1
Dunnock (Prunella modularis) 1
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii) 9
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) 38
Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) 1

Thanks to Harry Appleyard for the excellent find and Simon Nichols for running the local hotline and providing useful information.


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