I had a walk along the cliffs at Langdon Bay today. There were very few birds in the bushes, I did come across a flock of Long-tailed Tits, with some Blue Tits and Great Tits around. As usual there were a few Chaffinches, Blackbirds and Robins but little else. Some one started feeding the Gulls and this brought in Crows, Jackdaws and Magpies as well as a lot of Herring Gulls.
As is normal at this time of year there is a lot of discussion about gulls in the birding world. The fact that we are witnessing the process of evolution as the Herring Gull complex appears to be developing into a number of similar but slightly different species makes life difficult. The adults are hard enough, especially when there not on their breeding grounds, but juveniles and immatures are really difficult. This is a straight forward (or at least I think it is) first winter Herring Gull (Larus argentatus argenteus). I have to admit that I don't even find the distinction between the two European races of Herring gull very easy, but as I was checking through I suddenly remembered that I was due at the surgery for my Flu Jab. I don't normally bother, but with the forecasts this year I decided to get some insurance.
Great Black-backed Gulls are easier that the Herring Gulls, and even at this time of year have white heads.
When we do bird surveys it pretty easy, if you see one it's present in the survey area. If you recognise the song or call, if you hear one it's there. I remember reading that during a mammal survey similar criteria were used. Consequently there were very few tetrads mapped with moles in them. Then someone realised that, yup, if there's a molehill, there may not be a mountain, but there is a mole.