Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Back to Sussex

A return to Brighton this weekend meant a catch-up with family there, and some retail therapy, after the previous weekend was lost to illness. Urban Herring Gulls and Starlings aside, therefore, birding was not really on the agenda. It was nearly dark when we left Brighton on Sunday afternoon, but the clouds cleared as we headed west extending the day a little, and when my passengers started complaining of car-sickness, conveniently close to West Sussex's returning Kumlien's Gull, that gave me a good excuse to take the detour necessary to pull over for a look.
2nd winter Kumlien's Gull (#73)
The best I could manage by way of a flight shot
King of the castle!

I arrived to find several photographers just packing up - the Gull hadn't been seen for half an hour and was thought to have gone to roost further up the River Arun. Typical, I thought, as I jumped in the car and started to reverse out of the car park. As I did so I checked out some Black-headed Gulls on the car park wall - and there was the Kumlien's Gull! I filled my boots in the fading light: if you are only going to see one good bird in a weekend this was a good way to do it. It was also educational to study this bird as it matures. Let's hope it follows the example of the Gosport Ring-billed Gull and keeps returning so we can see it into glorious adulthood. A few previously un-posted photos below of what is presumed to be the same bird from this time last year.
1st winter Kumlien's Gull, 19th Feb 2014
1st winter Kumlien's Gull, 19th Feb 2014
1st winter Kumlien's Gull, 19th Feb 2014

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