Saturday, 9 February 2013

East Conwy coast gulling

No sign of any white wingers this afternoon after yesterday's Iceland Gull however there were still tens of thousands of Gulls to search through between Llanddulas Pier and the mouth of the River Clwyd at Rhyl. With so many 'argenteus' Herring Gulls it's always good to look for 'argentatus' birds from the north. Several good candidates this afternoon including the bird below - lots of white in the primaries, mantle colour and structure all pointing to this being a nice 3rd year Northern Herring Gull. A first winter Lesser Black backed Gull was also present and allowed good comparison with the Herrings - note the dark plumage and the all dark tertials. When the bird flew, the 'pale panel' of the Herring Gulls was completely absent. It would be good to try and build up a picture of numbers as you go west. I know that the first 'argentatus' Herrings recorded for Ceredigion occured last year. Be good if North Wales birders kept a look out and posted records of 'argentatus' or contentious birds on here.

Note the extent of white in the primary wingtips. When the bird flew the bird showed quite a bit more white than the local 'argenteus'
 Note the bulk of the bird in question; here alongside a local adult Herring Gull. The mantle colour is one shade darker too.
First winter Lesser Black backed Gull - note the overall dark plumage and especially the completely dark (almost black) tertials.

Many thousand Common Scoter offshore with only 2 Velvets picked out in flight. 130 Wigeon also on the sea which was unusual for here. Monday and Tuesday look perfect days for Scoter watching along the eastern Conwy coast.


  1. 1st winter Caspian Gull reported at the mouth of the River Clwyd at 4pm too- just after I'd left!! Gutted.
    Flew west apparently so fingers crossed for tomorrow.

    1. Good stuff Marc. That 3cy bird looks like a brute.

      Must get over and do some gulling - it's that time of the year! Maybe it's time we had another informal workshop like last year's event with Martin Garner. Is anyone up for it?

      There've been relatively low numbers on the Lleyn these last few days and nothing unusual to report despite trying. Abersoch had a few hundred gulls yesterday including 14 adult Lesser Black-backed' - presumably migrants.

      Be good to connect with a local Caspian soon :-D

  2. First winter lesser bb gull at Llandulas this afternoon on jetty side - could be same bird? Also at least 1 adult argentatus by river outflow here.

  3. Generally the odd argentatus type amongst the Gresford flash gulls at this time of the year. Huge brutish birds. Still searching for the elusive caspo. Reported at Rhyl and 2 at Hoylake today. Bet you'll get one tomorrow Marc especially as I will struggle to get out!

  4. Are wintering LBBG rare in Wales or something?

  5. North Wales coast Harry - go inland some 20 miles and you get small flocks. They don't arrive on the coast until February. Had 3 amongst 5000+ large gulls today.

  6. It's very odd as they are the commonest big gull at the flash year round, but 20 miles away at the coast this is not the case.