Gull Friday

There weren’t many birds on Spade Oak Lake, Little Marlow in Bucks, on Friday morning (29 March).  Chiffchaffs and blackcaps were singing in the sunshine, and some wigeon, gadwall and a lone mandarin duck were on the lake.  There were a few lapwings on the shore and herons and cormorants in the trees above.  I wondered if I was missing anything.

Gulls 1

View across the lake

I asked that question to a man behind a telescope which was trained on the far shore. He said he was watching a Caspian gull.  That was a first for me, and I dug out my Collins Bird Guide—but the gull was not featured.  When my edition was published (1999) the Caspian was classified as a subspecies of herring gull and so has no separate entry nor picture.  Wikipedia says it has ‘a troubled taxonomic history’.  It was only formally recognised as a species in 2007, the first UK record was in 1995.

Through the telescope I saw the gull preening itself.  Then it went to sleep and looked like the other gulls along the shore (as it did anyway through my binoculars).  There was a row of five and my helpful birder told me they were (right to left) herring, Caspian, common, herring and lesser black-backed gulls.

Left to myself I would not have identified them, so it was a fortunate encounter.

Gulls 2

Close up of the five gulls, the Caspian is second from the right.  There is a gadwall in the foreground



About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
This entry was posted in Birds, Bucks and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s