Sunday, 6 March 2011

RSPB Old Moor - 6th March 2011

As those of you who know me will most likely know I do like to look at gulls- especially those that are still relatively uncommon and tricky to see such as Mediterranean Gull!! As such, I managed to persuade my family to have a drive over to RSPB Old Moor near Barnsley in South Yorkshire to see if we could catch up with an adult summer-plumaged bird that has been present for a few days. Lady luck was on our side, and as soon as we sat down in the hide we managed to pick up the bird sat approximately 300m away in amongst the large and very noisy Black-headed Gull colony.

Mediterranean (left) and Black-headed Gull

Many people feel intimidated with gull identification, but if you look at this picture, it soon becomes clear that the Med Gull is slightly larger than the Black-headed and has a much blacker hood (unlike the chocolate-brown one shown here on the BH Gulls) which also extends much further down the bird's neck. In addition it has a thicker, much redder beak, and , as an adult, the wings of a Med Gull are completely white, whereas the BH Gull has black in them (the primaries I think, but don't quote me!!) All in all a beautiful bird and one well worth a visit if you get time.

Other waterbirds present on the reserve this afternoon included 100+ Wigeon, about half a dozen Goosander, Lapwing, 1 Redshank, a few pairs of Oystercatcher, which were settling down to breed,Little and Great-crested Grebe and several pairs of Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Teal.

Male and female Gadwall

We didn't spend much time looking at the smaller birds today (the cafe was calling!), however we did manage to see Tree Sparrow, a real Old Moor speciality, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and the usual Tit species.

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