I had an e-mail the other day from a Maltese birder, Edward, who expected to be passing through the port of Dover today. He wanted some information as to how he might see the Kumlien's Gull. Since Maltese birders are rarer than Kumlien's Gulls I offered to pop down and meet him if he gave me a call, when he was near to arriving. Although my mobile was refused access to his phone we did manage to meet and spent a frustrating time on the Prince of Wales Pier, where the Gull had been reported yesterday. I met Phil Smith and when he gave me a call to say he'd seen our Gull fly past the end of the pier my hopes were raised. We tried the "feeding the Gulls with bread" trick and accumulated a good group of Herring Gulls, with the occasional Kittiwake dropping in, but no sign of the boy. As time was pressing and Edward had a Euro-train to catch I decided to take him round to the car park by the Admiralty Pier. We scanned all the visible gulls, with no luck and as he didn't have time to go out on the pier we had one last try, going out of the car park and onto the "beach" to look along the outside of the harbour. The first distant bird I clapped eyes on looked quite good, and although it was head on making it difficult to be certain in the bright sun light, I got Edward on it and hoped that as it got closer my optimism would be justified. Soon it was quite close and Edward exclaimed that it looked like an Iceland Gull, which was hardly surprising. It was a generous bird and gave us a complete circle showing all it's Kumlien features. A very satisfactory end to what had the making of an annoying miss.
While I was waiting for Edward to arrive I had the company of this Rock Pipit. I watched it have a big feather shuffle as it sat sunning itself on the wall, something it would have been able today and hour earlier as we were shrouded in fog.