A couple of days ago |I greeted the news of a Glaucous Gull in Dover Harbour and pictures by Phil Smith with some frustration. I was preparing the quiz I did last night for the KOS, and didn't have time to go and see it. I decided to have a look today and it was on the old Hoverport, miles away with other large gulls. Something spooked them all while I was watching and I last the Glaucous Gull in the melee that followed.
Gulls often roost on the roof of a warehouse in the Western Docks, and and I often check these, although the best I'd managed were a few Mediterranean Gulls.
The best viewing point is from the high road that leads up to the P&O offices on Channel View Road. It is a long way from the roof but the whole of it is visible. Sure enough sitting but he ridge the Glaucous Gull stood out like a snow ball.
I drove round to The Viaduct and stopped briefly to see if the bird was visible from the road there. It is a bit busy with lorries but I managed a couple of pictures before I had to move and park.
It did stand up for a few seconds remained more or less head on. The striking bill, with the a very prominent dark tip is characteristic of this species.
It soon resumed its sitting position and I had to move on as large truck appeared behind me. I parked at the bottom of the road and walked up the steps back on to the viaduct.
Walking back gave me the opportunity to get a more sides way on view, showing pale wing tips and short primary projection
I have to admit that I find separating first and second year Glaucous Gulls can be quite difficult. In this case I think that the completely dark bill tip, regular patterned upperparts and dark eye show it to be a first winter bird.
Something attracted the birds attention and it sat up alerted to some real or imagined danger. What ever it was all the birds became agitated and took to the air.
By the time I found the Glaucous Gull, in the mob of Herring Gulls,it was flying away from me.
As it reached the main Western Docks office building I thought that it was going to be my lot, and it would disappear.
Happily it circled back towards me gave me some good overhead views. The pale, semi transparent primaries being quite striking.
The barred undertail coverts were noticeable as it flew over.
It carried on circling around, but the skies darkened and the rain started, so I left it well satisfied with a good display.