Winter gulls, black-necks and finches

The gull roost on Ibsley Water has been really impressive this winter not just because of the sheer numbers of individuals but also because of the range of species. At the moment I think the following 12 species have been recorded so far:

Black-headed gull

Franklin’s gull (first record for the reserve and the second Hampshire record)

little gull

Mediterranean gull

common gull

ringed billed gull (two individuals, an adult and a first winter, the fifth and sixth records for the reserve)

lesser black-backed gull

herring gull

yellow-legged gull

Iceland gull ( 1 first winter, 23rd of January, fifth record for the reserve)

glaucous gull (1 first winter on new years day, a first for the reserve)

greater black-backed gull

In past winters a few kittiwakes and Caspian gulls have both been recorded but I don’t think any have been seen this winter. I wonder which species will turn up next. Thanks to Andy Johnson for this photo of last week’s Iceland gull, it was fairly distant and but the photo clearly shows the white wing tips of this Arctic wanderer.

iceland gull

Iceland gull, Ibsley Water 23/1/2015 Andy Johnson.

The name Iceland gull isn’t really that accurate as this species doesn’t breed in Iceland they just turn up there during the autumn and winter, they actually breed in Greenland and Arctic Canada. It’s fascinating to think that before this bird made it to Britain it had probably seen more seals, walruses and maybe even polar bears than humans.

The black-necked grebes on Ibsley Water have also provided some interest, with two individuals currently present. They have occasionally come quite close to the Tern hide, normally during the late in the afternoon when gull numbers start to build up. Thanks to Alan Lewis for the photo below.

black-necked grebe

Black-necked grebe, Ibsley Water, Alan Lewis

Finch numbers coming to the woodland hide still remain low, it seems there is a lot of birch and alder seed around and this is preferable to the bird feeders. Just a handful of siskins, a single brambling and single lesser redpoll have been seen from the hide. Thanks to Polly Copleston for this male siskin photo.


Male siskin, Woodland hide, Polly Copleston

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