Thursday 1 May 2014

Gulls and Guinea Pigs

Unlike the Black-winged Stilt, a species which has evolved to occur at Swineham only when I am absent, the Little Gull seems to time its erratic appearances there to fit my own rather better. Little Gull is often reported at Swineham at this time of year as if it's the same lingering bird (including by me) and while some no doubt linger, I suspect we are actually seeing a steady trickle of different birds. Three together this week certainly seems to support my radical hypothesis that there has been more than one recently!

Photographing them is far from easy though, as they usually feed out in the middle of the large lake, views of which are in any case obscured from the most promising angles. So I've scraped together a few recent shots where birds did actually come closer to the footpath. The best I can do by way of a reward, loyal reader, for your returning to these pages long after the seekers of proper news have returned to more exciting corners of the internet.

And now we've got this bit of the world wide web back to ourselves, and on the subject of Gulls, I can also titillate you with photos of a startlingly white 1st winter Iceland Gull: a consolation prize for me at Radipole Lake yesterday, after I went down early morning hoping to photograph a close drake Garganey from the previous evening which had unfortunately moved on to the far end of the reserve. I had the Gull pretty much to myself for all of 7 minutes before it flew strongly north, in the general direction of my workplace in Dorchester. Sad to report I could not add it to my office list later - Peregrine and Black Redstart remain the star birds on that.
And finally in this week's post, an exclusive Hello! magazine style photoshoot with the new arrivals to the family, Hodge and Mufti. After a nervous start, they seem to have settled in well, and I am amusing myself greatly by watching them squitter for cover every time I open the door.

The new lawnmower/boot-scraper/duster. I think this is Hodge. I let him roam free on the lawn. It's my best hope of getting Goshawk on the garden list.
In its native south America, the Guinea Pig (Cavia porcellus) is used by indigenous people as an important food source. In Western Europe, the species has also been extensively deployed in biological experimentation. Not liking your options, Mufti. You can run (barely), but you can't hide... 
Go on then, one more of that Iceland Gull

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