Saturday, 23 January 2016

January 22nd, 2016 - The Hoveringham Gull Roost

I'd been keeping track of the comings and goings on Facebook, and Hoveringham had been pulling in a good selection of birds and with my year list in mind, I really needed to visit and clear up.

I finish work at 12, but as my Mum's going to Marks & Spencers, I get her to detour and drop me off at my stop on King's Street.

The Pathfinder is now a double decker, and I go straight upstairs at the front, in the hope seeing something good as we hurtle along the A612. Still needing Stock Dove for the year, I keenly watch the fields, but alas there's nothing but Wood Pigeons.

I am set down by the Red Lion and walk to the Sailing Lake, which must be a mile or two, though there's bird potential all the way, so it's not too bad.

I'm first to arrive at the big tree and eagerly set up my scope.  It's still only 2.30, though the sun is now shining and only a handful of gulls are on the lake.  I begin checking the assembled birds, which are mainly Black-headed Gulls with the odd Common, Herring and Great Black-backed.

I watch a few Goldeneye and a Little Grebe as a few more gulls arrive and do another sweep (I always go left to right) and at the end of my sweep, I spot an interesting looking white-headed bird, bathing.  It's a 2nd winter Caspian Gull. The bird shows a single white mirror in P10, but has far too much brown in the coverts for a 3rd winter, so I'm happy with the age.  This bird has a hell of a snout, but before I can enjoy it, it takes flight and heads off.

Shortly, I am joined by a couple from Woodborough and more birds arrive including a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Sam Viles and his father arrive, shortly followed by Simon Roberts and another guy whom is unknown to me, but seems to be a regular.

By four o'clock it's still quite light in the clearing skies and at about 4.15 a shout goes up of 'Glaucous Gull.'  It's a nice first winter, probably a female, as it lacks the brutish appearance of many glaucs.

Hoping it's all about to kick off, we have to wait another 35 minutes for the next goodie.  I'm beginning my sweep and see a bird head on, which looks for all the world like an Iceland, but I don't want to make the call just on head, breast and bill.  After an agonizing three or four minutes it turns, revealing the white primaries and I eventually get everyone on it, in the less than perfect but still easily birdable light.

And that is that.  I get a lift back to Nottingham with Sam and David, for which I am very grateful.

I have a nice glass of white wine, in celebration of a successful trip!

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