Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Return to Scarborough!

In January this year my family and I had a day trip to Scarborough (see here). We managed to see lots of super birds and have a good day out, so in the lull between Christmas and New Year we decided on a return journey.

First stop today was the most exciting place in Scarborough, the Holbeck Car Park! We always try to start a visit here as it is the place to see Mediterranean Gull and today was no change. The key to a good view is to arrive with some bread and throw it in the air. Within seconds the first birds appear, along with Black-headed Gulls, and fly down to take the food. The birds come within 2 metres and, with a little patience, it's possible to get some excellent views and pictures. All these are taken with a small hand held "point and shoot"camera, nothing fancy!

Adult, winter plumaged Med Gull

1st winter (with bread)

Being able to see Mediterranean and Black-headed Gulls together (as below) gives us a great opportunity to look at the differences between them. The Med Gull (left bird) has a much heavier bill and the amount of black on the head is much more extensive than on the Black-headed Gull. Also the Med Gull's wings are completely white in an adult bird, whereas the BHG's wings have black in them (not seen in this photo unfortunately). The Med is also slightly larger than the BHG.

Adult winter (on left) with an adult Black-headed Gull

Enough of the lesson now, let's get back to the other birds seen today. After looking at the gulls we headed down to the town centre where we parked on Marine Drive. Looking out to sea we spotted a Harbour Porpoise swimming off shore and a Red-throated Diver fishing. Overhead were a few feral Pigeons and a fly-by Peregrine Falcon! Walking down to the harbour we saw 6 Turnstones feeding among the seaweed, several Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls, a Shag, 2 Great-crested Grebes, 2 winter plumaged Guillemots  and another Red-throated Diver.

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