Monday, 15 February 2010

French Bread?

Looking at the page of Bockhill's latest sightings on the KOS WEB sight I noticed that a Water Pipit was around in the Bay.

Jack told me it had been beyond the houses. As I walked along towards the shingle bank beyond the houses a Pipit flew over me and called. I did manage to get my binoculars on it and the pale underparts were apparent. Scanning the breakwater in front I saw it on top and took a very distant shot. Of course as soon as I moved forward it was off. Although I know it is hardly an identification feature, I have always noticed that unlike Rock Pipits, that often fly short distances and land when disturbed, water Pipits normally go up and stay in the air for ages, even if they pitch down not far from where they stared. This was a Bockhill/St Margaret's tick for me so I was pleased that it had been so easy to find.

One bird I still haven't seen at St Margaret's this year is a Mediterranean Gull. Last year there were loads around, I don't know why it's changed this year. As I wanted to go to Folkestone I thought I'd take a look along Wear Bay Road, near the Martello Tower. where some can normally be found. There were several on the Lamp posts I had some fun taking flight shots. What I wanted though, was to get some good views of them on the ground. A 49p thick cut, white loaf, ensured that would happen. If you do this, don't put too much out at once, the whole area gets swamped with Herring Gulls. Whereas a few little bits at a time doesn't seem to attract the big guys as much and only Meds and Black-heads seem to bother.

Having got clogged up with a dollop of Lidl's best bread this one decided to wash it down with a couple of beaks full of puddle water.

The only group of birds that can suck up water are Pigeons, so all the others, including gulls have to get their beaks low enough to fill up. and then lift their heads up to let the water run down their throats.
There seemed to be a lot of adult birds around, and several 1st winters, but I didn't find one single second winter, these have a few black tips to the otherwise white primaries.

The adult birds were in various states of getting their summer black heads. I particularly like the punkish style of this one head gear.

It is one when you get close, and this one was about two metres away, that you get to see the red eye-ring. Altogether I saw between 30 and 40 birds, and that was without really trying and without leaving the car, save to get the bread.

I was quite amused at the behaviour of this first winter bird. It knew where the bread was coming from, so it came over and faced the car and proceeded to make begging calls, similar to those it make when the adults are still feeding their young. It gave up in the end and waited for me to dispense some more doughy bread.

One of the adults was wearing this piece of jewellery as well as a silver ring on it's other leg. I could make out the words Paris on that ring, so it was a French bird. I should be able to find out its history from the number on the green ring. I took quite a few more pictures that you can find here.


Eagleseagles said...

Lovely photo's of a lovely gull!

I really enjoyed reading about your car feeding antics - great birding!

Be interesting to hear about the "french" gull.

The head shot here is really striking.

Eagleseagles said...

I have posted a link to your blog on my blog!