Saturday, 6 September 2014

Evening birding at the pier: Gulls

Earlier on this evening I popped down to my local patch, Barna Pier, to see what was around. It was high tide and there was rotting seaweed everywhere, I decided to walk up along the beach, checking the wagtails and pipits as I went in case there was anything unusual. After about half an hour I looked into a flock of gulls, and purely by chance spotted a juvenile Little gull, it soon flew off with the rest of the flock and I turned my attention to the waders. There was one sanderling, a good record for the patch, I only usually see birds passing through here. I set about trying to photograph the waders by waiting on the edge of the tide for them to come closer.
    Unfortunately the small shorebirds wouldn't play ball and kept at a distance...But all was good when the little gull flew back in again. I slowly approached this bird, It seemed quite shy but eventually I got some good flight shots and also happened upon a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, a patch tick! 
    Not a bad evenings birding for an hour or two, just goes to show how every visit has potential to turn up something special. Below are some of the usual pictures of the birds and also some images of my "Patch", Barna pier taken recently.

1st winter Mediterranean gull and juvenile little gull
Little Gull

Flying with a mixed flock
The patch- Barna pier is in the left-centre, the beach there holds most of the migrant potential for wagtails, pipits and small calidrid sandpipers
Facing directly south, this area is good for roosting terns in summer and larger waders and brent geese in the autumn and winter
Overlooking the burren and Galway bay, this is where my small patch ends, Decent seawatching can be had here with a scope, all four skua species, manx shearwaters and storm petrels are often seen as well as scarce birds like Sabines gulls and Sooty shears

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